5 Way To Clean Your Drain Yourself…That You’ll Seriously Regret

5 Way To Clean Your Drain Yourself…That You’ll Seriously Regret

Here at Garvin’s, we’ve always been plumbers. After all, it’s a family-owned business and has been passed down through three generations now. We grew up knowing what will and won’t work on a simple drain clog, and since we have the professional equipment we’ve always been able to take care of our own home plumbing and sewer system.

That’s not true of our customers, and we do our best to understand when someone comes to us and tells us the wacky thing they’ve tried to do to clean out their pipes before we got there. Here are a few home remedies our customers have tried that turned out to cause more harm than good.

Coat Hangers

You wouldn’t take a coat hanger and start poking around under the hood of your car. You wouldn’t take one and ram it into your house’s electrical box. So why do some people think that it’s perfectly acceptable to try to get rid of a clog with one? When you use a piece of metal like a coat hanger that isn’t Garvins 3made for the job you’re more likely to damage your pipes and your sink’s plumbing. Not only that, but it probably won’t work, because what you’re dealing with isn’t a solid mass as you might imagine it, but a collection of grease, hair, and food particles that aren’t so easily dismissed with a pointy object like a hanger.

Garden Hose

Well this is a fun one. Some people, realizing that a professional drain cleaner sometimes uses a water jet to clean the pipes, have actually tried to use pressurized water to get rid of their clogs. Their first thought was to open the window, take off the screen, and pull the garden hose into the kitchen.

You can probably imagine that this is a bad idea. First of all, they couldn’t get a firm seal over the sink, and that leads to water being sprayed everywhere. And not only water, but whatever else was floating just above the clog, so it got gross fast. Plus, a garden hose just doesn’t have the PSI of water pressure that a professional unit has.

dreamstime_l_2667231It was even worse, though, when they did get a solid seal over the drain. The pressure would build for a fraction of a second, but the clog would hold. When that happens, the hose is going to fly off out of the sink and smack anyone standing near.

Drain Cleaners

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve railed against drain cleaners, so we figure it’s about time! We hate chemical drain cleaners. They seldom work, and even when they do they punch a very small hole in the clog and then drain away, leaving the remainder of the clog to repair itself in a short time. Drain cleaners are dangerous to keep in your home, and also dangerous to the next person who performs professional drain cleaning if they stick around. They’re harsh on your drain pipes, and they’re bad for the environment. Just say no to chemical drain cleaners!


Bleach is pretty amazing, we’ll admit. After all, nothing in the world can ruin your clothes and blind you faster! The problem with bleach (much like the drain cleaners mentioned above) is that it’s very caustic when concentrated and ineffective when it’s not. So, much like drain cleaners, it’s just not going to work. Even more, it could damage your sink basin and metal components, and will be cause potential health hazards if it sticks around in your pipes for too long.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t give simple drain cleaning a try before calling us. After all, a simple sinks-only plunger can do wonders and save you a lot of money. But if that doesn’t work, you should probably give a professional plumber a call. Contact Garvin’s when your drains are clogged!

Toilet Seat Up Or Down? Your Local Plumber Answers The Universe’s Biggest Question

Toilets: The cause of, and solution to, most of life's problems.

Toilets: The cause of, and solution to, most of life’s problems.

We don’t usually like to get too political around here, but it’s a highly-political year and we thought we’d tackle the biggest debate the world has ever known. And you’ll get a definitive answer. You’re welcome.

As plumbers, we believe that we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in people’s bathrooms. That’s why we’re asking…

The Question: Toilet Seat Up Or Down?

You have to ask yourself “why did this subject even come up in the first place?” Was it a thing before a stand-up comedian needed material and made up some story about his wife complaining about the toilet seat being left up?

We’re guessing that the idea of men putting the toilet seat back down after using it came from some sort of watered-down chivalry. Men aren’t laying their coats down over puddles so that women won’t get their feet wet, and they’re no longer going on quests to save women from dragons. (Not that men wouldn’t fight dragons, it’s just that they can’t because they’re not around anymore. Rumor has it dragons went extinct because all of the female dragons killed all the male dragons for leaving the toilet seat up.) Men’s small act of chivalry when they put the toilet seat down today seems to say “I will put you first in this scenario, and I will touch the dirty toilet seat so that you don’t have to.” Men!

At the same time, men who feel put-upon to follow the rules of the bathroom will say something like “I thought you wanted equal rights, so I’m just treating you equally and letting you take care of your own toilet seat needs.”

Men like this often go as extinct as dragons.

The Answer

So, let’s say that all things are equal and that chivalry has nothing to do with it. When that happens, you have to let math decide. Percentage-wise, women tend to sit down 100% of the time they use the restroom, and men tend to sit down about 10% of the time they use the restroom. Any way you look at it, the toilet seat is being used in the down position a greater percentage of time than it is in the up position. Math wins the day!


  • All male household
  • Man with a bladder control problem (not that he’d admit that he has a bladder control problem)

Well, that was exciting! We hope you didn’t mind your local plumbing company weighing in on two of the most important questions that can be answered in a household.

Garvin 2

You Know Who To Call For Plumbing Service. But Do You Know Who To Avoid?

dreamstime_xxl_4603668With over 80 years of sewer and plumbing service to the people of the Denver area, Garvin’s has built the reputation it deserves as the go-to plumbers along the Front Range.

Being in business so long, we’ve seen many plumbing companies come and go. Sometimes it’s because of poor management, but more often it’s because they simply didn’t have the skills or were downright unscrupulous. We’re not going to name names, but when you’re looking for a local plumber, it’s important that you ask a few questions and get some verification on them before you write them a check or even let them step one foot in the door.

Just Say No To Door-To-Door

While it happens more often with painters and roofers, there will probably be a time in your life where a salesman for a local plumbing company shows up on your door. They might tell you some story about having ordered too many water heaters and they’re in the neighborhood doing a water heater installation for you neighbor, and would you like one? If that’s the story, slam the door! (in the nicest way possible, of course). It’s more likely they’ll say that they have had complaints from your neighbors about clogged pipes, and that many of your neighbors have needed a complete sewer system replacement, so why not go ahead and have yours taken care of? The fact is, if you’re not having problems with your pipes, then there’s no need to have them dug up and replaced. And if you are having problems with clogs, replacement should be the absolute last step that is determined by a third-party sewer camera operator who can verify the underground problems you’re having.

When you think it through, which is going to be the better plumbing company: the one that you thoroughly researched and then called? Or the one that randomly showed up on your doorstep one day?

Check The Reputation

The internet today has made it easier than ever to check up on a business. You can read reviews, check their rankings on websites, and find out from the Better Business Bureau if they’re a company in good standing. Unfortunately, these garvins 2ratings systems can sometimes be manipulated. For instance, what are the chances that a company with 100 reviews would have a perfect five-out-of-five stars? Pretty slim. A 4.8 is much more believable.

Similarly, check for the number of reviews that there have been. If a company has one review and a 5-star rating, that’s nice. But that could be the owner’s mom (or more likely the owner) putting that up. We’d pick a 4.8-star company with lots of reviews over a 5-star company that has one review.

Check for Certification

Anyone can open up a storefront and claim to be a plumber. And they might start doing the work of a plumber. This is Illegal, of course. The problem is that it might take months or years for anyone to figure it out and legally shut the business down. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the company you’re calling has the proper certification, licenses, and insurance coverage so that you’re properly covered.

Garvin’s has been Denver’s local plumber and sewer service experts for more than seven decades, and we’re planning on being here for many more as your licensed plumbers. We’ve got the reputation you can count on, so when you’re in need give Garvin’s a call!


3 Very Different Times Garvin's Can Be There For Your Plumbing Services Needs

dreamstime_xxl_22002514Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we are full-service plumbing contractors. As our name suggests, we can tackle your sewer cleaning needs with ease, because we have the equipment and the knowhow to tackle any clog you send our way.

But what about plumbing service? Sure, we handle the water going out, but what about all that water coming in? We’re happy to say that Garvin’s is there for you no matter what plumbing problems you’re having, and that doesn’t just mean when you’re having trouble. Here are three ways that Garvin’s can be involved with your home or business.


If you’re having a new home built, Garvin’s can ensure that all your pipes are properly installed. We say “properly” because it’s so incredibly important to make sure that absolutely every pipe is installed at the right angle, every gasket is secured properly, and ever joint is tight. If pipes aren’t properly installed, it can cause problems that show up weeks, months, or years later, well after the pipes are sealed in behind drywall and under flooring. Don’t take the risk of hiring a subpar plumber to take care of your plumbing services; give Garvin’s a call and know that you’ll be getting the best the first time.


Remodels can be tricky, and they often have to be done quickly. Unlike new construction, there’s often someone watching over your shoulder, wondering when you’re going to be done. “Quick, get the pipes in so that we can install the cabinets.” “Faster, we have to put in the countertop!” We completely understand that you have other contractors who are waiting on us during a remodel, so we will make sure to move quickly and efficiently. We’ll also make sure your old piping gets properly disposed of, considering sewer pipes are a bio-hazard.

Basic Repairs

Of course, Garvin’s is there for all of your plumbing repair needs. Basic plumbing services run the gamut from a simple garbage disposal fix to discovering why your water bill doubled last month. We can fix your incoming plumbing (white water) and your outgoing plumbing (black water). If you’re not getting the water pressure you need, it could be a problem with leaky pipes on your end. If you’ve got a clog, we can help determine if it’s in your pipes or if it’s the city’s problem.

Emergency Plumber Repairs

When you’re up to your ankles in water, Garvin’s can help you whether it’s fresh water or sewer water. (Either way, get your ankles out of the water before it rises to electrical outlet levels!) No matter the time of day, Garvins 1no matter the day of the week, no matter what holiday it is, we’re not going to charge you extra in your time of need. We’ll be your emergency plumber to get you stop the water and get it running properly again.

As you can see, Garvin’s is there for you with the sewer and plumbing service that will keep your home running for years to come. When you’re looking for the best, give us a call!

How Best To Avoid Needing an Emergency Plumber


dreamstime_xxl_3012593At one time or another in your life, you’re going to need a plumber. But with a little bit of information, it becomes less likely that you’ll need an emergency plumber. Here are some tips that can ensure that your chances of needing a 24-hour plumber in the middle the night are diminished.

Know where you main water shutoff is

You’re having dinner one night and suddenly the kitchen ceiling collapses, dumping gallons of water! You never knew anything was up, and now you have a freshwater leak from the upstairs bathroom pipes that’s still spraying water into your kitchen. Yes, you’re going to need an emergency plumber sometime tonight, but what do you do during the 20 minutes it takes him to get there?

There’s no more important way to stop your water emergency as it’s happening than to know where your water shutoff is. The main water shutoff in a house with a basement is usually in the utility room and will often be on the side of the house closest to the street and close to the water heater. It often comes up through the concrete floor and will be the first valve from the ground. If it’s a wheel-type (washer shutoff valve), turn it clockwise until you can’t turn anymore. If it’s a ball valve (a lever type) turn it until it is perpendicular to the pipe (or until the water leak stops).

Check your pipes for active leaks

Most sink pipes in homes today are made from either ABS or PVC. Both of them will last longer than any of use will be alive, so it’s never the pipe that leaks. The joints, however, are a different story. Because the pipes won’t bend, they have to be cut and then put back together with elbows and traps. Before something goes terribly wrong, it’s good to check for leaks under sinks, in your basement, and on the walls. Doing so could help you find a tiny “drip-drip” leak before it becomes a “gush-gush” leak. If you find a leak, give your local plumber a call.

Periodically check for signs of leaks

Don’t just look for the leak, look for the signs of a leak: warped cabinet boards under sinks, yellow spots on the main floor ceiling below an upstairs bathroom, and mold or mildew can all be signs that there’s water coming out where there shouldn’t be.

Don’t ignore the signs from your drains

Gurgle gurgle…that’s one sound that means you might be in need of drain cleaning before long. Also, don’t ignore it if all of your drains…sink, toilet, and shower…start moving slowly at the same time, as this means you main sewer line is likely clogged. Also, if you notice that your water pressure is suddenly lower than it was before, there’s a good chance that an unnoticed leak is hiding somewhere inside (or, in the case of a sprinkler system, outside) your house

When you have plumbing problems, Garvin’s is there to tackle all of the plumbing services that you can throw at us. But we’d rather fix a leak that’s under control instead of one that had extra time to damage your house. Knowing where your emergency shutoff is and looking for problems before they happen are just two ways to protect you home.




Why You Need A Sump Pump


Garvin's Sewer Service will handle whatever drain cleaning and rooter service you need.There are many people over the years who have thought they didn’t need a sump pump, and the next thing they know they’re throwing out their grandparents’ wedding photos because the paper has become ruined.

So the question becomes, do you need a sump pump? The fact is, more people should have a sump pump than currently do, but they’re simply unaware that a sump pump is a good idea. Here are a few tips on whether or not you might want to invest in a new sump pump, or get sump pump repair on the one you currently have.


If you live on a floodplain, you’ll want a sump pump. The problem is, flood planes don’t look like most people imagine. The words “floodplain” makes most people think about a house that sits right next to the river. Of course that house is going to flood!

But for many houses, it’s the entire neighborhood that’s in danger. There might be city blocks between your house and the river. In fact, there may be many city blocks between you and a small creek or drainage ditch and you’ll still be in the same danger! Too many people don’t even realize the possibility of flooding is there because of the almost non-existent amount of water flowing most of the time. But when a flash flood comes, floodplains are farther-reaching than most residents imagine.

Leaky Basement

If you have a history of a leaky basement, there’s a good chance that you already have a sump pump. But if there’s a dry spell and you don’t think to get your sump pump maintenance taken care of, you could be in big trouble next time there’s a leak in your basement.

Low Spot

Many people don’t realize that they even live in a low spot until the day that there’s water flooding the basement. For instance, if there’s any grade in your yard that’s leaning toward the house, your house is suddenly the low spot! At this point you might start getting water in your window light wells, and as soon as they fill up the basement windows are going to burst and you’re going to have a lot of water in your basement. Let’s hope you have a working sump pump to get the water back outside.


If you have a bathroom in your basement, there’s always the chance that you could get a bad leak or that someone will leave the sink going just before you head off on vacation. Basement bathrooms are nice, but they can lead to troubles if you don’t have a sump pump.


Sprinklers can end up being more trouble than you’d expect. First of all, if the sprinkler head or pipe near the basement light well bursts, it’s unlikely you’ll notice until it’s too late. Also, long term leaks with outdoor faucets can cause your foundation to wear away, causing the leaks into your basement that we mentioned above.

Have Insurance

Garvin’s provides expert sump pump repair. But some jobs are beyond the work of any sump pump, so it’s a good idea to get insurance. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover water-related disasters, so be sure to have a rider.

If you need new sump pump installation or sump pump repair, Garvin’s is ready to take care of it so that your house is protected. Contact us the moment you need help.

4 Ways To Check For Hidden Leaks In Your Home


Garvin's Sewer Service can use a sewer snake like no one else!Leaks can cause of host of problems in your home. Not only can they waste water and cost you money, but they can also cause big problems in the unseen areas of your home, including mold, rotting, and eventually drywall collapse.

At Garvin’s, our plumbers would rather give you a little advice than to have you call us in a fearful frenzy. Here are some ways to detect leaks so that you can have us take care of them before you need an emergency plumber at 3:00am.

Watch Your Bill

If you see a sudden spike in your water bill, it could be because this was the first month you used your sprinklers or you had guest over for a week. But if everything else about your water habits has remained the same and your bill goes up, it’s likely that you’ll need to give a plumber a call so that we can help you find the leak.

Watch The Water Meter

This one is actually kind of fun. Turn off all of the running water in your house, including sprinklers, faucets, washing machines, dishwashers (also, don’t do this right after a shower to ensure that your water heater has had time to refill). Then go outside and take a look at your water meter. Unlike an electric meter that’s always spinning a little to keep things like the refrigerator powered, your water meter should be stopped. If it’s spinning quickly, you’ve got a bad leak somewhere. If you leave it off for a couple of hours and come back to find that it has moved, you’ve got a slow leak that should still be taken care of.

Watch the Toilet

It’s an old trick, but a good one. Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet bowl tank and wait 15 minutes. If the color shows up in your toilet bowl, you’ve got a leak, and we’d love to help you with it so that you don’t waste any more water.

Watch Outside

Remember, you’re not just using water inside. Check sprinkler heads to see if you’ve got one that’s broken or putting out so much water that it’s running across your sidewalk. Also check exterior faucets, as they’re more likely to crack due to the freeze/thaw cycle every winter.

Watch the Skies! (or at least the ceiling)

Always be aware of the ceiling that is directly below a tub, shower, toilet, or sink. If you start to notice yellowing or sagging in this area, there’s a good chance that your fixture is leaking. It might not seem like a big deal, but little leaks can turn into big leaks quickly, which could cause your ceiling to collapse. And no matter how small the leak is, any water that leaks into your home could cause a mold problem that’s very hard to fix. If you think you might have such a leak, give your local plumbers a call.

If you notice any of these problems that are beyond your control, we invite you to contact us as soon as possible before the situation gets worse. Garvin’s has the best plumbers around, and we look forward to hearing from you!



Don’t Let Your Sump Pump Repair Wait Too Long


Sump pump repair keeps your basement dryRemember the floods in 2013? Many people in our service area, including those in Longmont, got some serious trouble sent their way from up the canyon. Most of them never saw it coming, simply because it wasn’t supposed to happen where they were. Many of the houses were nowhere near the river, and they never imagined that the waters would spread out as much as they did.

It was just one of the many times that we’ve seen where people who thought they were safe from a flooded basement simply weren’t. There are three services that the plumbers at Garvin’s provide that could have helped them keep their basements dry.

Sump Pump Installation

If you don’t have a sump pump, there’s no way it could work, is there? We can handle your sump pump installation so that your basement has the added protection from floodwaters. If there’s any chance…ANY chance…that your basement could become flooded, a sump pump is for you.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Sump pumps tend to take care of themselves, but that doesn’t mean that they never need a little maintenance. If you think that it might not work in an emergency, give us a call and our plumbers will come out and make sure that everything will perform properly in the event of flood. If you’ve moved into a house with an existing sump pump, it might be a good idea to give us a call to make sure it’s working (and how you can test it).

Sump Pump Repair

If you have a broken sump pump and your basement floods, you’re never going to forgive yourself. A simple fix could have made the difference between a dry basement and throwing out everything you had down there. Get that sump pump fixed so that you’re ready when the water comes.

Sump pumps are amazing appliances, but only where they work! If you have any question about sump pump installation or repair, contact Garvin’s!




Watch Out For These Signs That Mean You’ll Soon Be Needing Water Heater Repair


Water heaters need water heater repairWhen your water heater goes out completely, it’s pretty obvious. Your dishes don’t get as clean, there’s no hot water in your washing machine, and, most important, your morning shower becomes a horrible experience! If your water heater just up and quits one day, it’s pretty obvious that it’s time to call your local plumber for water heater repair.

But it’s not always such a catastrophic failing, and there can be signs that your water heater is about to fail. When should you give a plumbing contractor a call?

If Your Water Heater Is Leaking

Water heaters are usually placed next to a drain; this ensures that any leaks are safely disposed of, and it’s an easy way to drain the water heater during replacement. But just because the drain is there doesn’t mean that it’s normals for leaks to occur. If anything in your house is leaking, it’s probably a good idea to call a professional!

Leaking can be due to a few different issues. It could be that incoming water is leaking due to an ill-fitting water pipe or a loose connection. In this case, your water heater might be fine. You’ll still want to call a plumber to take a look at what is wrong.

Leaking can also occur if there’s a fracture in the tank. This can occur intermittently, as it might only leak when the metal heats up. In this case, you might need to get a new water heater.

If Your Faucets Are Delivering Off-Color Water

Rusty water is a sign that your water heater may be rusting, and leaks are just around the corner. If the rusty water only comes out when you use hot water, it very well could be your water heater that’s on its way out. (If you have galvanized water pipes, you could get a false positive if the pipes are rusting. The best way to find out if it’s one of the other is to call a professional plumber.)

If You Hear Noises Coming From Your Water Heater

Sediment is just a fact of life when dealing with water. No matter how clean the water comes into your home, there are always microscopic particles that will fall to the bottom of your water heater, build up, and harden. After many years you might hear weird noises from your water heater due to this buildup. And speaking of years…

If Your Water Heater Is Old

Ah, entropy. The horrible reason that everything eventually gives out. Water heaters, like every other appliance, have a finite lifespan. Most seem to last about 10 years. At that point it’s a very good idea to start watching out for the first three signs of failure on this list.

With the cases above, it’s not always obvious whether you’re going to need a simple repair or a complete water heater replacement. Give a plumbing contractor a call and we can give you our professional opinion on whether a fix will be better in order to keep your old water heater around, or whether it’s time to send the old one to the recycling center and invest in a new one. Either way, we’ll talk through your options with you so that you get the best possible outcome.

If you woke up to freezing water or have noticed any of the water heater problems above, contact Garvin’s and we’ll send out the best plumber around!




More Than Just a Sewer Service! Garvin’s Is Your Plumber For All Plumbing Repairs!

If you're having trouble with your drains, call us for the ultimate drain cleaning.So, who are we? We’re Garvin’s Sewer Service, right? After all, there are around 200 blogs on this site telling you mostly about our sewer cleaning, drain cleaning, rooter service, and giving you the ins and outs related to our sewer camera.

What’s that name, again? Garvin’s SEWER Service? That’s all about dealing with blackwater. That’s what we’ve been doing for more than 75 years in Denver. So why are we talking about plumbing? Are we talking about the same Garvin’s?

We sure are. We’re happy to tell you that Garvin’s is there for all of your plumbing repair needs. We have plumbers on hand who can come into your home and take care of your plumbing services as quickly, efficiently, and in the same friendly manner as we’d handle your sewer service. So what can Garvin’s help with when it comes to being your local plumber.

Leak Repair

Leaks are a problem on so many levels. First of all, every leak wastes water, which is something we all have to be aware of in the arid climate of Colorado. And with that wasted water comes a higher water bill, something we’d all like to avoid.

Second, even the smallest leaks can cause a multi-thousand dollar repair if left untreated by a plumber. Leaks under sinks can spill out onto carpets and hardwood floors, causing considerable damage to the unlying flooring. A leak on a second-floor toilet can stay hidden for days or weeks until the drywall ceiling below it collapses in a wet mess.

All of these leaks can lead to something that’s truly horrible in your home: mold. So if you’re aware of any leak in your home, whether it’s freshwater coming in or used water going out, get it repaired by a plumber as quickly as possible.

Water Heater Repair

When your water heater goes out, you’re going to know it! You might not use hot water when you wash your hands, but the second you step in the shower it becomes pretty obvious what’s going on.

Water heaters of today are more complex than ever. Some have push button pilot lights, some have extensive computer systems, and some, of course, are tankless and work on a completely different principle from a traditional tank model. If you need water heater repair or installation, count on Garvin’s to get your hot water back. You’ll get your dishes cleaner again, and it makes for a much more pleasant shower!

Sump Pump Repair

As we mentioned above, Colorado is a pretty arid area. Still, that didn’t stop it from flooding in Longmont in 2013, soaking the basements of many owners who never thought they’d need to get their sump pump repaired. 500-year floods seem to be happening every 10 years or so!  All this to say that you can never be sure when you’ll need your sump pump. If there’s any chance of your home flooding, make sure you have a working sump pump at the ready.

Even though the plumbing service and sewer services can be considerably different, you’re still dealing with the same friendly staff, whether it’s the technician who shows up to your door, the person who takes your call, or the owner / manager watching over them. When you need plumbing services in Denver, Garvin’s is there to fix your leaks, get your water heater going, or ensure your sump pump is keeping you dry. When it has to do with whitewater or blackwater pipes, contact your local plumbing contractor. We’ll be there in a flush!