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What Is Limescale, And Does It Affect Plumbing?

fb-limeWant to see something really cool and really scary? Click this link.

Okay, are you back? That was limescale, and the scary part is it’s hard to tell where the pipe ends and the limescale beings. The limescale in that photo has built up over many years and, as you can probably guess, is seriously preventing the water from flowing as it should.

What is limescale? Does it affect plumbing in Denver? Can it really be that bad? Let’s take look.

What Is It?

Limescale is a solid deposit that is found when hard water evaporates, leaving behind the minerals. These naturally-occurring minerals and compounds are mostly calcium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and magnesium.

Is Denver’s Water Hard or Soft?

Rainwater is naturally soft and contains no minerals, so you might think that as close as we are to the source of the country’s water that our water would be naturally soft. But you also have to remember that our relatively shallow rivers are fast-moving; more of the water touches the rocks and wears it away. That means that Denver’s water tends toward the hard side; in fact, it’s slightly harder in winter. Because of this, Denver’s water tends to form limescale.

side-limeWhere Does It Cause the Biggest Problems?

Limescale can cover the inside of pipes, making it harder for water for pass through them. (Click on that link above again…the pipe is now half the size it once was.) It can also cause scale to form in toilets, which doesn’t cause problems but can be unsightly.

Another problem that limescale causes is in reducing the efficiency of hot water heaters. The water heater will bring in water, and the limescale settles to the bottom. After many years, a substantial part of the bottom of the hot water heater can become filled with this sediment.

And Yet It Can Be Beneficial

In our previous blog we told you all about the dangers of having lead service pipes heading into your home. Interestingly enough, a home with lead pipes can have its water tested and come up completely lead-free. How is this possible? Because over the decades limescale can actually coat the inside of the lead pipes, preventing any of the water from touching the lead! While this makes for less efficient pipes, it does prevent the homeowners from drinking contaminated water.

How Do You Get Rid of It

There are ways to remove limescale from just about any surface, including the inside of a hot water heater. These solutions are often incredibly acidic and harmful to human skin and eyes, so they should be used with caution and only by a professional. An example of such a limescale-destroying chemical is hydrochloric acid, which reduces the scale to carbon dioxide and salt.

The Denver area might not have the hardest water, but it is on the hard side. How much do you have to worry about limescale? Much of it has to do with the age of the pipes in your home. If you have concerns, contact your local plumber and we can take a look.

 

 

 

Should You Consider Having a Plumber Install A Home Water Filtration System?

fb-safepipesWith the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan, regarding the high levels of toxins in their water supply, more citizens have been paying closer attention to the water supply here in Denver and all along the front range. People have been asking plumbers if installing a permanent water filter in their homes is a good idea. Well, the answer comes down to a very definite maybe/maybe not! Let’s take a look at where the water around here comes from and what could make it less than desirable.

Where’s The Water Coming From?

A few months back we wrote a blog about where Denver’s water comes from, but we’ll let denverwater.org sum it up. “Denver Water’s drinking water sources are the South Platte River and its tributaries, the streams that feed Dillon Reservoir, and the creeks and canals above the Fraser River.” All of those rivers are fed by snowmelt and supplemented by mountain storms.

Is There Anything To Be Worried About?

In short, no, but keep reading. Denver’s water turns out to be naturally clean, and the public water service’s test for microbial, chemical, and metallic contaminants all fall within allowed ranges. You might have found a booklet in your mailbox detailing this information, but if you pitched it please enjoy this .pdf from denverwater.org. Click to page 7 and you’ll see that there are no violations in the safe levels of pathogens in the water.

When it comes to lead, our mountain water is lead-free and leaves the water treatment plant lead-free. It’s those last 30 feet that can be a problem…

What About The Pipes Leading to My House?

Flint, Michigan’s main contaminant was lead. During the early part of the 20th century, lead pipes (and pipes soldered together with lead) were used to transport water from the treatment plant and into people’s homes. Lead can leach out into the freshwater, and certain other contaminants can make it leach out even faster. While the idea of using lead pipes seems insane today, the dangers of lead weren’t known as well back then.

Up until the 1950s, lead was also used in some Denver water pipes. Though the city pipes have since been replaced, there’s no way of knowing which home building contractors were using them when they constructed new neighborhoods. If your house was built during the 1950s and before, there is a chance that you still have lead freshwater pipes. We’d recommend having your water tested if you live in an older house. The good news? You can get a free lead test from your Denver water supplier here.

What If I’m Not On A Public Source?

Things can certainly change for those who are not on public water supplies. If you are using well water, the amount of water quality variation can be considerable from well to well. This depends on depth of the well, proximity to farmland and the chemicals in use, and many other factors. In Colorado, in-house water filtration is most often used by those on well water systems; your local plumber will be more than happy to help you install a water filtration system.


side-safepipesSo, Should I Invest in Water Filtration?

After all that information, you have to ask the question: should I invest in water filtration? Like we said before, the answer is a definite “maybe.” Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons homeowners have a plumber install a permanent water filtration system.

If You Suspect Lead – If you suspect lead, click that link on the free lead test from above. Simply having your service lines replaced won’t do any good if the lines supplying your neighborhood aren’t also replaced. Doing so could take years; installing a water filtration system will help protect you from lead.

If You Get Your Water From A Well – Unless you grew up drinking well water, it probably tastes bad to you. It will be worth it even if the only benefit of the water filtration system is that it helps you drink more water. Of course, you’ll also have the added benefit of filtering out heavy metals and pesticides, so having a water filtration system installed is nearly always worth it.

Discoloration – Does your water ever take on weird colors, even temporarily? If so, you most certainly need a water filtration system. The discoloration you see could be any number of things, including rust. (While you need iron in your diet, you most certainly don’t need rust!) Get that out of there with water filtration.

Foul Smell Or Taste Similarly, your water shouldn’t smell or taste funny. We have excellent source water and a very good water treatment plant, so if there’s something wrong with your water, the problem is probably closer than you think.

If You’ll Only Accept the Absolute Cleanest Water Denver’s water is pretty clean, but is it 100% contaminant free? No. The chances of it hurting you are astronomically low, but just because it passes government muster doesn’t mean that there’s no chance. If you’re the type of person who buys pesticide-free, non-GMO food, then perhaps that one extra step of filtering your water will put your mind further at ease.

The fact is, Denver’s water is pretty clean. But there are certain times when households might want that extra level of water filtration. A local plumber can help you install one that will put your mind at ease. Contact Garvin’s and we can help!

What is PVC, and Why Is It So Amazing?

fb-pvcAbout a year ago we wrote a blog about the many materials that have been used over the years as sewer pipes. The most common types of materials that have been used through the ages are clay, concrete, Orangeburg (wood pulp and tar), transite (concrete and…gulp…asbestos), and cast iron. Each of these had their place in the world during the time they were used, and there’s no doubt that you’ll still see some of them in use for larger projects; we often drive by large-scale plumbing projects with huge concrete sewer pipes.

When it comes to home pipes, almost all wastewater plumbing pipes are made from plastic. And while plastics often get a bad reputation because of the amount that we use once and throw away (water bottles, for example), plastics have amazing properties that make them the ideal choice for certain applications in plumbing. PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is the third most widely used plastic in the world. You might touch it when you push on your home’s screen door, use it when you swipe your bank card, or cut through it when you destroy the packing on a new toy.

Why use PVC? Let’s take a look a the advantages of PVC pipes as it’s used in household plumbing.

It’s Flexible

The types of PVC used in sewer applications is often called RPVC, with the “r” meaning “rigid.” So when we say that PVC pipes are rigid, they are indeed solid and won’t bend when you pick one up. But they are somewhat flexible when they are underground. This is important when soil is placed above a sewer line, allowing the pipe to bend a little in circumstances where concrete pipes might break. It’s also important that they’re slightly flexible as the ground settles and shifts over the years, or as tree roots try to push them out of the way.

It’s Lightweight

Another great advantage of PVC pipe is how light it is. This means it takes fewer workers to install PVC pipes. A single worker can carry a long length of PVC pipe, while it might take many workers and heavy machinery to get steel or concrete pipes into place. There’s also less fuel used to transport lightweight PVC pipes when compared to other types of materials.

It Lasts

The fact that plastic sticks around for thousands of years can be bad for the world. After all, the future doesn’t need billions of straws to deal with. But when it comes to your plumbing, you want it to last as long as possible. Metal pipes will rust, concrete pipes can give out under shifting soils, and the less said about the longevity of Orangeburg, the better! PVC won’t rot or disintegrate, and even the most ardent environmentalist should be pretty happy that the PVC pipes stand up to the rigors of sewage so that the tree in their front yard doesn’t have to be ripped up during sewer pipe replacement!

side-pvcIt’s Watertight At Joints

What’s one thing you don’t want in your plumbing system? Leaks. Push two pieces of PVC together and they form a tight bond. Put some plastic cement at the point of contact and they become more watertight than any other type of pipe.

It’s Smooth Inside

You want your water to enter you house and leave your house as quickly as possible. You also want everything else you send down to have a fast trip out of your life…toilet paper and human waste, for example. PVC is the smoothest of pipes, allowing everything to move freely on its way. If a clog can’t get started, it can’t grab other detritus and cause the need for drain cleaning.

It’s Non-Toxic

PVC is the most researched plastic in the world, and is found to be non-toxic. And considering that it’s mostly used for wastewater that you have no contact with, it’s really not an issue anyway.

Making Joints Is Easier

If you’ve ever done any pipe fitting with metal, you know how difficult even the most simple joint can be. If you’re not a master with solder, it can lead to big messes and even injuries. PVC joints are considerably less labor intensive; it’s easy to cut and easy to join. Under-sink pipes are easier to assemble (and disassemble, in the case of drain cleaning) than ever before.

While it would be great if the world would use less of some types of plastic, it’s pretty obvious that some plastics serve a purpose that’s hard to rival. PVC has been used for sewer purposes for more than 50 years here in Denver, and Garvin’s Sewer Service has been cleaning them for just as long. While the problems are few, every sewer system is going to have the occasional hiccup. When this happens, give Garvin’s a call!

 

 

Some Common Questions We Get When Performing Drain Cleaning Services

fb-drainWhile we work with our hands all days long, we also work with people. That’s why we spend so much time hiring the right plumbers and training them on how to best enter a person’s home and interact with our wonderful customers.

One aspect of dealing with customers is answering their questions. While some people will often show us the sink that’s having problems and walk away, other will be asking questions all the time. While we do have to concentrate on the job at hand, we certainly don’t mind the occasional question. After all, it’s your home and your pipes; you have a right to know what’s wrong with them! Here are some common questions we get from customers.

Customer: “Could you wear booties?”

We understand that your home is important to you, and just because you’re having plumbing problems doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped caring about your carpet. Garvin’s trucks have a supply of slip-over covers that go over our boots, which are especially handy during the wet seasons like winter and spring.

Customer: “What do you need to know?”

Some customers won’t even wait for us to ask about the problem. They’ll get things started off with a question of their own, asking us if there’s anything that we should know. How do we answer them? With questions of our own.

  • When did the problem start?
  • Did anything cause the problem to start? For example, did something go down the drain that you weren’t expecting?
  • Did you already try to fix it yourself in any way?
  • Are there any drain cleaners that could still be lurking in the clogged drain?
  • Are all of these outlets working? (We may have to plug in the drain snake.)
  • When was the last time you had any plumbing services performed?

side-thindrainCustomer: “Are you licensed? Insured? Bonded?”

All of these are very good questions to ask plumbers. We’re happy to say that every plumber that Garvin’s employs is licensed, and each is insured and bonded through Garvin’s.

Customer: “How much is this going to cost me?”

Honesty, we don’t know yet. It might simply be the cost of a service call. It could be more if we have to perform drain cleaning. If the problem isn’t just a single drain running slow, it could be that your main sewer pipe is blocked. If it is, the cost is obviously going to cost more than if we are simply clearing out one stopped drain.

Customer: “How long do you think this will take?”

Once again, we’re not sure until we take a look at the problem. A simple drain cleaning for one fixture could take as little as 30 minutes, but that will increase if the problem is worse. During emergency plumbing services, such as a backed up sewer or burst pipe, it could take many hours. We certainly don’t want to rush things and miss a problem that we could take care of now. After all, paying for one service call is always better than paying for two!

Customer: “Can You Tell When It Punches Through?”

Many customers have already tried to fix the problem themselves and are unable to do so. Maybe they had a 20-foot manual sewer snake and weren’t able to dislodge the problem in their kitchen sink. So if they’ve already fought that drain dragon, they might imagine something as hard as stone blocking the passage of their water.

To tell the truth, the answer most often is “no, we can’t tell when the drain snake punches through.” For indoor drain cleaning, we’re most often using an electric power drain snake that is incredibly powerful. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it punches through the drain clog and keeps on going. While we might be able to feel the twists and turns in the pipes, it’s unlikely we can feel the break in the clog. After we send the snake down the proper distance, we’ll pull it back, hook everything back up, and send down a sinkful of water. Clog gone, problem solved! (Performing rooter service on the main sewer line can be a different story. As powerful as our electric snakes are, roots can be very tightly packed, and clogs filled with the weird stuff people flush can be very tough. Sometimes we can really feel the sewer snake working on those!)

Customer: “Can I help?”

Once you engage our help, your problem is now our problem. While we might have some questions for you, it’s best if you simply let us do our jobs. For insurance reasons, we’ll take it from here!

If we’re performing drain cleaning for you, we have no problem with you asking us what’s going on. We have no problems talking about our jobs. Do you have any questions about these questions? Contact Garvin’s right here!

 

 

 

Why Not Let Your Plumber Upgrade Your Fixtures?

feature-image_toi1200x628Not every plumbing service is about fixing your freshwater pipes or performing drain cleaning. Sometimes it’s about installing new fixtures in homes, and our plumbers are more than up to the challenge.

Of course, the reasons people replace these parts of their home can vary, depending on the fixture at hand. Let’s take a look at why people are having us replace the water-using devices in their homes.

Kitchen Faucets

Dishwashers are used after a meal, as is the kitchen sink for washing those items that can only be hand washed. But kitchen sinks are also used extensively before a meal. Think about all of the ways you use your kitchen sink. Boil a pot of spaghetti and you have to fill a large pot. Cut up some chicken and you need to wash your hands thoroughly. Grab vegetables from the crisper and you need to wash them before you use them in a meal. Kitchen sinks are used constantly, and that’s why they eventually give out. Your local plumber can help install one that’s even better than the last.

Of course, there are other advantages to having a kitchen faucet replaced. First of all, faucets of today are considerably more water-efficient than those from just 20 years ago, so you can save water by replacing them. You’ll also be upgrading to a more modern design, which can spruce up your kitchen.

When you upgrade, you can also get features that you covet when you visit other people’s homes. These include versions with pull-out nozzles so that you can more easily direct the spray and clean the sink. Many of these faucets also have at least two settings for the stream of water that is released, such as spray (for washing dishes) and normal (for filling glasses of water).

Oh, and let’s not forget another cool feature you can look for: hands-free faucets! While these have been popular in public restrooms for years, they’re making their way into kitchen so that you don’t have to grab a handle with germ-laden hands in order to turn them on (remember that chicken you were cutting up earlier?). Some use sensors, while others turn on simply by touching the back of your hand to the faucet.

Bathroom Faucets

When you think about the amount of time you spend at your bathroom faucet, it’s no surprise that it might wear out faster than some other fixtures. After all, you use your master bathroom sink(s) every time you use the toilet, but then you have to add to that the wear and tear from face washing, teeth brushing, and washing your hands whenever they get dirty.

Of course, there’s also the style that comes into play. Many people wait until remodeling their bathroom to call a plumber to replace their sink faucets, but sometimes a simple change can liven up a bathroom and make it feel new again. This second option is certainly the cheaper option!

Shower Heads

Shower heads don’t usually interest people as much as a beautiful new faucet does; there’s just not a much put into their design, and they’re hidden from most guests eyes.

But let’s take a look at what new ones can offer. First of all there are the low-flow shower heads that we mentioned in our water savings blog. Older shower heads can us up to 5.5 gallons of water per minute, but today’s showerheads can’t legally exceed 2.5 gallons per minute. Because of the effectiveness of low-flow models, you’ll get just as clean and use less water.

But what if you want a really fancy shower head? What if you’re looking for a shower head that beats all the others? You might be interested in a shower panel. Shower panels don’t just spray from an angle above your head, but instead spray you from overhead and all along your body down to you navel. When you have a regular shower head, you’re only getting hit by the water from one angle, so there’s always that cold spot on some part of your body. But with a shower panel you’re being hit by warm water in more spots and, in most cases, from directly overhead. You’ll be warmer than ever!

Oh, and did we mention that they’re also water efficient? They have to be, as they’re held to the same 2.5 gallon-per-minute standards of any new shower head. They simply direct the water more effectively before it heads down the drain.

Here’s the great thing about having a showerhead that uses less water: when you use less water, you have to heat less water, and that means you’re not only helping on your water bill but also on your natural gas bill. You can keep that Xcel Energy bill lower and reduce stress on your water heater at the same time.

side-image_toiToilets

There are five good reasons why people call their local plumber to replace their toilets.

It’s not a low-flow: We’re all charged with using less water, and one way to do that is to reduce your gallons-per-flush. If your house was built before 1994, it’s very likely that you’re using too much water in your flushes. Call a plumbing company and you can start saving water and money right away.

If it’s an early low-flow: The United States jumped on the low-flow toilet bandwagon in 1994, and such water efficiency has saved billions of gallons of freshwater. Unfortunately, the toilet industry wasn’t quite up speed on a different type of efficiency: solid waste removal. Solid waste would often take multiple flushes to send on its way, negating the water savings. But toilet design got better, and today’s toilets are much better at doing their job. But if your house was built around 1994-1996 and you don’t think it works as efficiently as it should, you local plumber can replace your toilets with ones that move things along. (Oh, and they’re even more water efficient than they were back then.)

If it’s out of style: You know what? Toilets go out of style. Even the basic design changes over the decades, and colors do too. Some people call a plumbing company to change their toilets because they’d rather have one that’s attached to the wall instead of the floor, making it easier to clean underneath.

It’s Broken: Most homes are built with fair-at-best toilets. The homebuilder isn’t going to install the best, because they’re trying to save money. A few years later, toilets start to give out. Some people fight these cheap toilets for years. Seal rings disintegrate, chains break, float heads get misaligned and lead to perpetual leaks. So they take a trip to Home Depot and grab the part, only to have something else go wrong with it in a few months. After a while, it simply isn’t worth it anymore, and that’s when they give a plumbing contractor a call to have a replacement toilet installed.

It’s Dirty: Okay, most people don’t replace their toilets because they’re dirty. But after a decade or more, the calcium deposits (scale) starts to build up and make the toilet look pretty bad. If you’re not having any luck in cleaning it and it’s embarrassing when you have guests over, be sure to call a local plumber and we’ll replace your toilet. At the same time you’ll be improving your water efficiency and getting a new toilet that won’t need repair nearly as soon!

Phew, that was some blog! But there’s a lot to say about the reasons that people call their local plumber to replace certain parts of the bathrooms and kitchens. Whether you’re replacing all of them during a remodel and need extensive plumbing contractor work, or if you simply need that single fixture changed out, Garvins’ is ready to help. Contact us for all of your plumbing services!

 

 

 

Happy Holidays! Here’s What Can Go Wrong With Your Plumbing!

feature-image_vacay1200x628Here we are just a couple of weeks away from the many festive holidays of December. Maybe you’ve hung lights, perhaps invited some sort of tree into your home for a few weeks. If you’re like us, you’re running around trying to get those last minute items for everyone on your list.

Of course, with the holidays comes travel, whether it’s you heading out of DIA or people you’ll be hosting in your home. Unfortunately, with the winter holidays (and winter in general) comes all sorts of plumbing problems that many people aren’t even ready for. After all, there’s so much to do! Thinking about plumbing is often at the far back-left of people’s minds, right between the is-it-New-Year’s-Eve-already? incredulity and the soon-to-be-arriving fear of what to do on Valentine’s Day.

Here are a few things that might show up with plumbing in December. If you have problems, be sure to give your local plumbers a call…but we’d rather you didn’t have problems at all!

If You’re Sticking Around…

If you’re sticking around for the holidays, chances are you’ll be cooking some big meals. And there’s also a good chance that you’ll be having lots of people over using your plumbing.

Avoid Drain Clogs

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat…and the goose fat can clog up your drains. Turkey fat, pig fat, beef fat, and chicken fat can all do the same thing. As we mentioned in our Thanksgiving blog, you shouldn’t be sending anything fatty down the drain, including grease, fats, and oils. They solidify quickly and will lead to drain cleaning…and you certainly don’t want to have to stop cooking and visiting just to deal with a clogged drain.

Also, there are those food items that just shouldn’t go into the garbage disposal or down the drain. Pumpkin parts, potato peels, asparagus ends…all of these should be heading into the trash (or better yet the garbage disposal).

Extra People

Whenever you have extra people over, you’re going to be putting a bigger strain on your plumbing system. They’ll be flushing more often, and maybe flushing more than they should. If you currently have trouble with your plumbing, give your local plumber a call and we’ll perform drain cleaning service before they get there. You’ll be saying goodbye to years of gunk that are built up in your sewer system, and you’ll get to enjoy the benefits for years to come. We can also fix your toilet if it isn’t working properly. After all, if it’s not flushing correctly, it could lead to a lot of embarrassment for your guest and for you around the Christmas holiday.

side-image_vacayIf You’re Heading Away…

If you’re leaving for the holidays, you don’t have to worry about people coming in and clogging your toilets with too much toilet paper, or your mom trying to grind ham bones in the garbage disposal. But leaving for the holidays brings about its own problems. Let’s take a look at how you can avoid calling a plumbing company this December.

Protect Your Pipes

We wrote an entire blog about protecting your pipes during the winter, so be sure you click on that link and find out how to prevent broken pipes due to freezing. You’ll want to leave the furnace at above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and expose as many pipes to room temperature air as much as possible. Opening up cabinetry under sinks is the first step in doing so.

Also, it’s probably a good idea to have a friend on call in case the temperatures are predicted to plummet. You can have them leave a slow drip going in your sink to keep the water moving. Better yet, just have them turn up the heat overnight!

Protect Your Home

If you’re leaving for a few days or a few weeks, make sure that you take some “anti-burglary” steps to protect your home. Buy light timers, have a friend come check on things, and make sure you lock everything up before you leave

Wait, what does “protecting your home from theft” have to do with your plumbing? Well, there are many movies that run on a constant loop on TV during the holidays, and one of them is Home Alone. As you might remember, one of the criminals in that movie has a weird inclination to burgle a home and then stuff a rag in the sink, turn on the water, and cause extensive water damage. And, as it turns out, there have been copycats in real life who do the same thing. Are the chances that great that it will happen to you? No. Are some people just destructive jerks? Absolutely!

The holidays can be a great time, but they can also lead to big plumbing problems. Stop these problems before they start with a little prevention. And if something does go wrong, be sure to contact Garvin’s!

 

 

Why We’ll Never Push You Into Plumbing Services

featured-image_plumbing

We’ve mentioned it before and we’re certain to mention it again: we’ve been in the plumbing services and sewer cleaning business for more than 75 years. And as you can probably guess, a local company doesn’t stay in business for 75 years by ripping off their customers left and right. A company stays in business for that long because they’re respecting their customers and will charge them a fair price.

Then there are THOSE companies…

Of course, some plumbing companies aren’t so worried about their reputation. Someone just told us of a less reputable plumbing services company out there who recently took advantage of one of their customers. The customer called these plumbers because his garbage disposal went out. When they got there, sure enough, the garbage disposal didn’t work. So instead of fixing what was broken and charging them a fair hourly rate, or even selling him a reasonably-priced garbage disposal and installing it, they did something considerably less reputable: they sold him a $900 garbage disposal. If you’re familiar with garbage disposals, you probably know that they run from around $80 for a basic model to maybe $250 for a top-of-the-line unit. They sold him one that had many times more power than he needed, overcharged for the garbage disposal itself, and added in some extras charges because…well, just because the guy was well-off and gullible.

Wait, it gets better!

(Well, it gets worse.) The next week his toilet was clogged, and it had been clogging up fairly regularly. In a case like this, a plumber would usually perform drain service or sewer cleaning in order to clean out the lines and get the wastewater flowing again. Oh, but they didn’t do that, because they smelled money. Instead, they sold him a new toilet! Now as you might know, toilets can certainly have problems with their mechanical parts, but those parts aren’t preventing anything from going down the drain. The problem was with the pipes themselves, but they found a way to bilk this poor guy out of even more money. “Hey, he fell for the garbage disposal trick, let’s see what else we can get away with!”

Oh boy. We really wish this guy had called Garvin’s instead of falling prey to those other guys. Today that customer has a restaurant-level garbage disposal (did we mention that he’s disabled and orders all of his food in, so he’s not actually cleaning many dishes?) and a new toilet, but his toilet drain is still clogged and he’s out nearly $2000.

That brings us around to our topic of today (took us long enough, didn’t it?). We’d like to talk a little bit about pushiness in our industry.

featured-side_plumbingA Good Plumbing Services Technician Will Not Be Pushy

One of the best ways to tell if you’re being taken for a ride is if the plumber is being pushy. Are they trying to sell you a new sink along with your drain cleaning? Are they pushing a sewer camera inspection even after the sewer cleaning has taken place and the pipes are flowing?

At Garvin’s, we let our work speak for itself. We’ll tell you what you need, and won’t try to push you into buying anything more. We can even give you priority options if there are multiple problems going on with your plumbing.

We’ll Treat You Right During Emergencies

One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is when you have plumbing problems that are destroying your home. Maybe a pipe burst, maybe you have sewage backed up and spilling onto the carpet. The only way to make it worse is to call the wrong plumber who’s going to use it as an opportunity to nickle and dime you, using your time of desperation as his piggybank.

If you’re in the middle of an emergency situation, Garvin’s certainly isn’t going to try to take advantage of you. You’re our Front Range neighbors, and we want to help you fix your plumbing problems as quickly — and as fairly — as possible. That means stopping the water, containing it, and getting it out of your home as quickly as possible so that it damages your property as little as possible.

But How Do You Find A Good Plumber?

Well, we’re a bit biased, but we’ve heard of this great place called Garvin’s and you can contact them right here! There are other fair plumbers out there you can find, and the best way to find them is to ask for testimonials and references. A good plumber will also be bragging about awards they’ve received for their services.

You don’t stick around for 75+ years by treating your customers like the stuff you flush down the toilet. You stick around by treating people right. No matter what type of plumbing services you’re looking for, Garvin’s is here to help.

 

3 More Things To Watch Out For In Unscrupulous Plumbers

3-more-thingsIn our previous blog we discussed the first four things you should watch out for when hiring a plumber, including their lack of history with clients, a price so low that no one could offer it and make money, and the fact that they’re going door to door looking for work. Any of these is enough to raise red flags and cause you to go with a more reputable company.

As it turns out, those aren’t the only things you should be looking for. We’re back this week to give you a few more tips on what you should be wary of when you’re vetting a plumber or sewer cleaner.

Lack of References

It’s incredibly important to get references when it comes to anything having to do with your home. After all, you’re letting a person come in and fix the parts of your home that deal with life-giving water and human waste removal, neither of which is to be taken lightly. If that person can’t give you five references off the top of his or her head, there’s a good chance that they haven’t been making their customers happy.

Even if it’s a brand new company, the training a plumber has to go through before they can strike off on their own will leave them with enough references. Always ask for references or read testimonials!

Lack Of Certification

Considering the job of a plumber is to help you bring in fresh water and remove harmful blackwater, it’s understandable why it would be a regulated trade. Plumbers are required to have licenses in 44 states, and Colorado is one of them. If your plumber can’t show you a license and proof of insurance, there’s really no reason to hire them no matter how good the price is.

They Have No Signage

There have probably been times when you open the front door to a tradesman you’ve called — maybe a landscaper or roofer — and they have absolutely no identifying characteristics to prove that they’re from the company you hired. They have no embroidered shirts and no markings on their van. It just doesn’t feel right, does it?

In cases like this, one of two things has probably happened. First, you might have found a new plumber. There’s nothing wrong with that; we understand that every new plumbing company has to start somewhere, and we welcome the competition. But doesn’t it seem weird that they’d invest thousands of dollars in plumbing equipment and not spend $100 to get a uniform and van decals? What are they trying to hide?

The other possibility is that someone has sent you a subcontractor. You called a company, and their one guy turns out to be busy that day. So they called their handyman friend (who may or may not be a plumber) and sent him to your house. The reason he doesn’t have any identifying characteristics is that he works for one company on Monday and then two different companies on Tuesday. Garvin’s will never send you a subcontractor, and we’ll always arrive in a marked van and identifying Garvin’s clothing.

Unfortunately, you’ve got to be careful out there. Try Garvin’s plumbing and sewer service once and you’ll be convinced that going with long-lasting professional is the right choice.

 

 

Hiring A Plumber In The Denver Area? Here Are Four Red Flags To Watch For

red-flags-to-watch-forWhen you’re in need of plumbing services, you don’t want to mess around. After all, getting fresh water into your home and getting rid of wastewater are two of the most important aspects of an advanced civilization. (It might sound like we’re exaggerating, but we’d pick clean drinking water and a flush toilet over an iPhone any day!)

Unfortunately, not everyone in the business is as grounded and honest as Garvin’s, whether you’re talking about emergency plumbing or sewer cleaning. We want you to call Garvin’s when you have plumbing problems, but even more so we want you to not fall victim to unscrupulous plumbers in Northern Colorado. Here are some warning signs to look for that can tell you if you’ve encountered those plumbers you should avoid.

They Knock On Your Door

Now don’t get us wrong, we’re going to knock on your door after you give us a call. After all, we’re not going to just barge in without letting you know we’re there!

What we’re talking about are the people who knock on your front door and offer you services. They might say “other people in your neighborhood have been hiring us for sewer cleaning, you should get yours cleaned too,” or maybe they’ll let you know about a special on rooter service. The fact is, sewer problems are individual to each house, and you might never need a sewer jetter down your pipes. If you don’t notice a problem, there’s probably no problem.

Plumbers don’t go door to door. With over 75 years in business, people call us when they have plumbing and sewer needs.

The Price is Too Good To Be True

Let’s say you don’t need an emergency plumber but are still looking for some plumbing help. You call around and get four quotes: $349, $425, $399, $449. The fifth call you makes get you a quote for $99 dollars! That’s a good deal, right? Right? Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Website is Brand New

Every business has to start somewhere, but if a plumber says that they’ve been around for years but their website is only a few months old, that’s a hard story to swallow. It’s likely that they had to close up shop when the old business went under and start up a new one…something they might do over and over as they ruin their reputation each time.

Websites have been a necessity for every business for years, and Garvin’s has been providing Denver with advice since 2009 with over 230 blogs! And speaking of the web…

Check Reviews

It might sound obvious, but be sure to check reviews online. Check to see how many reviews they have, because the number of reviews can lead to getting a better plumber. It’s normal for a company to have one bad review out of fifty, because you simply can’t meet everyone’s unrealistic expectations. But you don’t want to hire a place that has two reviews that are both 5 out of 5 stars…because those reviews were left by the owner and his brother!

When you’re dealing with your home, you don’t want to trust it to just anyone. You want sewer service that is reputable and reasonably priced. If you’ve decided on the plumbing and sewer service experts at Garvin’s, contact us here.

 

How To Spot the Signs of Leaky Freshwater Pipes

spot-the-signsYou come home from eating at a nice restaurant in Lodo and park your car in the garage. Uh oh, there’s water coming from under the door! You rush in and discover that there’s a burst pipe that’s spewing gallons and gallons of water all over your kitchen! You obviously need plumbing repair, and fast!

Not all leaks are that obvious, though. Sometimes leaks can go for days, months, or years before you notice anything is wrong. While that might at first seem reassuring, leaks in the walls and under sinks can cause mold and mildew to grow, causing your family respiratory problems. So no matter how bad the leak is, you want to get the best plumbing services to take care of it as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to discover leaks before they get any worse.

Unexpected Rust In The Walls

Let’s say you’re repainting a room. You obviously need to take down framed art that’s on the wall, which means you’ll also be removing the nails from the walls. If you pull out the nail and it’s rusty, you’re going to want to check for other signs of moisture that might be in your walls. If you find any other indications of a leaky pipe or if it’s a wall in which you’re sure there are pipes, contact your local plumber immediately. (If you’re certain that there are no pipes in those walls but still find rust, you might want to have a roofer check for leaks in your shingles or siding.)

Bad Water

If your freshwater is tainted in any way, give a plumber a call. This includes bad smells as well as any discoloration. Even if you run it through a water filtration system, something could be wrong with it; a leaky pipe somewhere in your freshwater pipes could be the culprit.

Moisture

If you’re walking across the carpet one day and your sock gets wet, you’ll probably think that someone simply spilled some water. But if it happens again, look up…it might be dripping from above.

The same is true with spots on the carpet that you can’t explain. If you start seeing multiple spots in places you’re sure have never seen a spill, those might be due to moisture from a leaky pipe.

Low Water Pressure

If you’ve lived in your house for any length of time, you’ll be familiar with your water pressure. Even if you don’t consciously know the exact number of seconds it takes to fill a glass of water, you’ll know something’s off. If you have a feeling your water pressure isn’t normal, give a plumbing contractor a call and we can help you investigate any leaks in your home.

If you’re a homeowner, it pays to be diligent when it comes to your pipes. Like we said before, you know your house and can tell when something is wrong, so make sure to follow up on that bad feeling and investigate any signs of leaks. If you want more help, we’ll be there for you. Contact Garvin’s at the first sign of trouble!