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Why Preventive Drain Cleaning Can Prevent Costly Sewer Repair

 

dreamstime_xxl_48808347On our Preventive Sewer Cleaning page, we mention how we’re like dentists. Strange analogy, considering the business we’re in. Maybe, in fact, we’re more like doctors…wanting your system to stay healthy so that you can keep the stuff that makes you sick away from you.

Let’s take a look at that and see if it holds up…

We’d rather see you once a year than every week: What would happen if a general practitioner had all of his patients sick all the time. People would think that that doctor was doing something wrong.

Now imagine that people see our truck outside of your home every week. They’ll start to think that we’re unable to fix the problem, which reflects very poorly on us. We’ll make sure to get the job done right the first time!

Clean out your system: What does a doctor want you to do? Exercise. Exercise is like preventive maintenance for you body, because it keeps the blood pumping and cleans out your arteries…just as keeping the roots and debris from your sewer system helps keep it healthy.

Keep the bad stuff away: Doctors are always telling you to not touch your nose, eyes, or mouth with dirty hands, especially during cold and flu season. What they’re basically telling you is “keep the bad stuff away from you.” By keeping your sewer line clean, we’re also keeping your pathogens down the drain where they belong, instead of bubbling up in your sink.

We want to keep your home healthy, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with our preventive maintenance program. Give Garvin’s a call today to get started!

#CleanSewers #CleanDrains

 

 

The Worst Movie You’ll Ever Watch: Say Hello To The Sewer Scope!

 

video_ctaHave you ever seen a movie that you thought was garbage? That’s what we watch every day!

The sewer scope is a camera at the end of a cable. It’s fed down your main sewer line so that we can see exactly what’s going on in your sewer system. From it we can tell many things:

The tree root situation: Interestingly enough, seeing tree roots in a sewer line is pretty normal. The tree roots will come in (usually at the joints of the pipes) while they’re looking for water and nutrients. While a few tree roots are normal, it’s when the roots start spooling and knotting that problems occur, not only blocking the removal of sewage themselves but also catching some of it and clogging the main line.

Depending on the amount of roots we see, and if they’re prone to collecting other blocking material, the plan of attack might be to Roto-root those roots right out of there. Don’t worry, the tree remains unharmed because it’s getting most of its water and nutrients from the rest of its vast root system.

Breaks: While the tiny cracks at joints that let roots in might not be cause for alarm, a break in the sewer line certainly is. At first you may have a foul sewer smell in your basement, and then your lawn, since that means the sewage isn’t reaching the city line. The best way to tell if you need an entire sewer line replacement is with the sewer scope, which can easily tell if your problems is a broken line.

If the line isn’t broken, then we’ll of course look for other situation that could be causing your problem. Either way, the sewer scope can help us know exactly what your problem is. When you need help, give Garvin’s a call!

 

The Stuff You Sent Down The Drain Five Years Ago Might Still Be There…So Call The Right Sewer Service!

 

drain_cta_revWhenever we show up at a home, it’s not often that people will admit to the stuff that they flush. Maybe you were cleaning the toilet with a paper towel, and the paper towel got so disgusting that it was just easier to flush than to toss it in the trash can. Or perhaps it was just easier to rinse the grease off the pan and down the drain instead of wiping it off first.

And in some ways we understand. After all, the paper towel disappeared. The grease was no longer on your pan, and both the toilet and the sink are still working fine.

The thing is, problems compound. If that paper towel was the only paper towel you ever flushed, you wouldn’t have a problem. But on its way out to the city sewer line, it might have gotten stopped by a big glob of grease that solidified when cool water hit it. This catalyst of filth just keep collecting more and more debris…the hair from your shower, the food from your garbage disposal, the other things you send down your drains that you simply don’t want hanging around.

When you have a huge sewer blockage, we can send down the sewer scope and find the clog. After all this time we might not be able to identify it, but it’s often something that shouldn’t have gone down the drain in the first place. And we can push it along with our rooter service so it won’t cause you any problems.

So before you have a devastating blockage, take advantage of our preventive sewer service program. We’ll get you a drain cleaning and sewer cleaning that will help prevent catastrophic backups. Give us a call to schedule one today!

 

 

Why you should add drain and sewer cleaning to your spring home checklist

drain_cta_revMay is the time of year in Denver when we can finally begin to open windows and begin our spring cleaning.

This year, as with last year, we did need to wait until mid-May as April brought May snow rather than flowers. Nonetheless, we cross our fingers that snow is complete and begin preparing our homes for spring. Here are some tips for every area of your home to help usher in the next season.

 

1. Sprinklers and hoses

Now is the time people begin to turn on sprinklers and hoses. This can sometimes have bad results as the cold of another Denver winter may have caused outdoor spigots to crack or sprinkler heads to have been broken off. Turn on your water slowly and check the yard, basement and walls on the opposite side of the spigots for any water that shouldn’t be there.

2. Gutters and downspouts

Check your gutters and downspouts for blockages of leaves and other tree debris. With rain likely, it is a good idea to make sure your downspouts are in good working order, including making sure the water will transport away from the house and foundation.

3. Grading and landscaping

Check your home for grading issues. Make a list of the items you may need to address such as plants, mulch, walkways and more. What does your home need now to help with getting through the summer with a nice exterior finish not damaged by water?

4. Pests

Check your home for cracks that can be or become homes for pests. Awnings, loose roof tiles, broken grating or siding- these are all areas that can become problematic. Are there areas of your home that need repair before a pest can take up residence?

5. Drain and sewer cleaning

Spring is the time when roots from trees in your or your neighbor’s yard can begin to penetrate your sewer line. This is a good time of year to consider and drain and sewer cleaning service. My being proactive, you can prevent costly sewer backups in your home before they start, due to roots in the line.

6. Other Exterior needs

Aesthetics are another thing to consider adding to your spring checklist. Does the home need painting, stucco or siding? New windows, roofing or other cosmetic changes? Sometimes things that appear to be simply aesthetic really do add value to the home as well as require repairs that go beyond just appearance.

 

If you are in the greater Denver area and are looking for a quality drain and sewer cleaning service, Garvin’s Sewer Service would love to earn your business. With over 75 years in the drain and sewer cleaning business, we know our stuff. Call today with questions, for pricing or to learn more: 303- 571- 5114

How much does a sewer scope inspection cost?

Video sewer scope services from Garvin's Sewer ServiceWe get calls from a variety of people looking for a sewer scope inspection, which can also be called a sewer snake or a sewer camera inspection. And people really have different reasons for wanting one. The main reasons we see are addressed in the blog post “The Value of a Sewer Camera Inspection in a New Home Purchase”.

In Denver, we have heard industry prices for a sewer scope inspection costs ranging from Free to around $300. That is a very large range, so I’ll break down the differences from our perspective.

Free Sewer Scope Inspections.

We found some companies either offer Free sewer scope inspections for a few reasons:

  1. It sounds like this: “We clean your sewer line and then to prove to you that we did a good job, we will send the sewer camera down the line to show you.”

Our problem with this is that, if you can’t trust them to clean it correctly, then why did you hire them to begin with? ALSO, see point number 2.

  1. It is an opportunity for an “upsell” to other sewer cleaning services. Most sales profit-driven companies know that most homeowners are not aware of what their sewer lines look like and because of this, can tell them there is something wrong with the sewer line. When they do a sewer scope inspection for free, they are looking for a problem to “solve” with the help of your lack of understanding and your fat wallet.
  2. They don’t give you a copy of the DVD without a charge that makes them now enter into the Mid to High Priced range.

Mid-range ($150+) and High Priced (300+). (for 2015)

We put these in the same category because there is not a ton of difference here in what is being offered.

Understand that a sewer camera is an expensive piece of equipment and the repairs are also costly and time-consuming as they usually have to be sent out for repairs. This is what you, as a consumer are paying for when you hire for a sewer scope inspection- that and expertise.

Anyone can run a sewer camera, but not everyone is equipped to interpret what is being seen. Be sure to hire a reputable company (ones that have been in business a long time, or have online reviews or awards that corroborate their skill.)

Keep these tips in mind when you call for a sewer scope inspection:

  1. Ask them their price. If they want to send someone out first to quote you, you will likely be charged a service call charge or the technician will attempt to sell you the service, typically at the High Priced range. Why do we say this? Because the costs involved in sending out a technician need to be recouped somehow. This is not bad, it is a business practice that is chosen by the owner or management. It is why the price can, and usually is, higher.
  2. Ask them if they are going to provide a copy of the DVD and if that is included in the price. Some companies offer the service for a low cost and then charge extra for the DVD.
  3. Be informed about what you will be looking at. This BLOG on Sewer Scope Scams will help with that.
  4. Never feel pressured to take quick action. You have a right to a second opinion. Many city sewer and water departments will take a free second look at your DVD (which is why it’s good to have a copy.)

If you have any questions about sewer scope inspection costs or are interested in a free second look at your DVD, please call Garvin’s at (303) 571-5114 and ask for Mitch.

How bacon grease down the drain can lead to you needing sewer cleaning

What do I do with my bacon grease?

dreamstime_xxl_20858262Drain cleaning service providers typically deal with the same most common clogs:

  1. Grease
  2. Too much slow or non-disintegrating product in the sewer line (such as wipes, tampons, paper towel and more)
  3. Roots

Preventative maintenance can help with all these.

Instead of pouring bacon grease down the kitchen sink drain, consider these other options:

  1. Use an old coffee can, pouring the grease in and not throwing the can away until the can is full and cool.
  2. Reuse a plastic oil container. Do not pour hot grease into a plastic container. You can also use this method for saving oil from fried foods such as fried chicken.
  3. Pour hot bacon grease into a porcelain cup. This is typically a coffee mug. You can store this in your fridge or freezer and use the grease in food preparation in the future.

If you DO pour the bacon grease down the kitchen sink drain, do NOT use a chemical drain product to clear the grease. Chemical drain cleaning products are designed to break down grease that builds up along the side of pipes. They typically will not clear other items that are part of the clog, such as food items.

A professional drain cleaning service can clear the drain in one of two ways. Some companies will use a mini-hydro jet or sewer jetter. These blast hot water through the pipe. Some companies will us a mini-rooter machine. These machines use blades to clear the clog. Either one works just fine, however, some residential homes can experience flooding from improper use of the hydro-jet.

Finally, it is also important to note that grease can also be a build up of soap scum and shampoo, detergent and other residues. Using a sensible about of these products and choosing cleaner products, can help with this problem and reduce your need for a drain cleaning service.

For too much or slowly disintegrating products in the line, the preventative maintenance tip would be to simply limit or stop putting those products down the drain.

For roots in the sewer line, a preventative maintenance cleaning is best in Spring and Fall. The cleaning will clear the roots from the line before you experience a back-up. Most homeowners with sewer line roots get their line serviced with preventative maintenance every 12-18 months, depending on the severity of past root problems and the number of people in the home. (More people = more frequent cleanings).

If you want to avoid calling for a drain cleaning service, you will want to consider options for preventative maintenance. If you have any questions, please call Garvin’s Sewer Service at 303-571-5114, or search their other blogs for more homeowner tips.

The Value of a Sewer Camera Inspection in a New Home Purchase

gavin-van_compressedThere are three main reasons Garvin’s Sewer Service thinks are valid for sewer scope (aka sewer snake, aka sewer camera) inspections. We frankly get frustrated when we hear other companies do these on a regular basis because we see homeowners being sold something they don’t need based on the infrequency, and therefore lack of education, about what a sewer camera inspection is designed for: home purchase, known sewer problems and homeowner preference.

First, a sewer camera is an expensive piece of equipment. The repairs are costly and most damage is caused on the camera head. This damage is limited by proper use by a trained technician. As with every other business, the costs of the equipment and repairs are passed onto the customer. This is why Garvin’s Sewer Service keeps their prices low by not running the camera at every job site.

Reason One: A New Home Purchase

The first main reason to consider a sewer scope inspection is due to a home purchase. In the transaction of Real Estate, a typical home inspection does not include a sewer camera inspection. And, because a sewer repair or replacement can range from $3500 to tens of thousands of dollars, paying around $200 for the peace of mind of knowing the condition of the sewer is important. We also highly recommend in the home purchase transaction that the home BUYER pay for the inspection and not the home SELLER.

If, as a home seller, you recently had a sewer scope inspection done and know the following, then you can provide a copy of the DVD to the buyer showing:

  1. The line is in good condition
  2. The home has been occupied since the inspection
  3. No sewer line back-ups or ground shifts have occurred since the sewer camera inspection was performed

Remember, there are laws about disclosing information about a property and it is illegal to provide inaccurate information in the home purchase transaction. It is for this reason Garvin’s Sewer Service suggests the buyer request and perform the inspection.

Reason Two: A Known Sewer Line Problem

The second reason to get a sewer camera inspection is when the sewer line has been cleaned and is very problematic. There is no value in cleaning a sewer line that is still backed up, as you won’t be able to see anything. Additionally, you want to know what is causing the blockage before you determine if the sewer line needs a repair or replacement.

If the sewer line is blocked by concrete, falling apart or completely sealed and compacted with waste, a section of the line may need to be removed. However, if the line is simply blocked by roots and common non-flushables, you can simply have a sewer cleaing and the added expense of a sewer camera inspection isn’t needed.

Garvin’s Sewer Service has seen some companies charge several hundred dollars to clean a sewer line and then perform a sewer camera inspection to “show you it was cleaned sufficiently”. What we have found to be true is that these companies charge the extra money to put in their pockets (the line better be cleaned sufficiently if they are professionals, and if you don’t trust them to clean it well, why did you hire them to begin with?), and they use the opportunity to use the homeowners lack of knowledge to sell an unnecessary sewer line repair.

Reason Three: Homeowner Preference

If you just have a general curiosity and don’t mind spending the money to get a good look at your sewer line, then do. Garvin’ Sewer Service simply wants you to make an educated choice rather than being subject to sales pitches for less than helpful reasons. When you do get the sewer scope inspection done, we would love to be the providers of that service. And if not, we do offer free second looks at the DVD to help you interpret what you are seeing. You can also check out this BLOG for more info on what you are seeing and can expect to see in a sewer camera inspection.

As always, feel free to contact Garvin’s Sewer Service at 303-571-5114 with any questions or comments on your new home purchase and the sewer camera inspection.

High Ethics, Happy Customers and Culture Make for Longevity in the sewer service business

Garvins-Sewer-Service-250This year, Garvin’s Sewer Service is celebrating 75 years in the sewer cleaning, drain cleaning, and sewer camera inspection business.

A family-owned, honest, reliable drain cleaning company, Garvin’s Sewer Service is now in its third generation of ownership. They believe their values and mission statement create a culture that demands customers be treated the way each employee would want to be treated- with fairness, honesty and reputably. Started by Russell P. Garvin in 1940 in the heart of Denver, Colorado, it is Denver’s oldest drain cleaning company.

They are proud of their third generation customers as well as being known within the drain cleaning industry as being the problem solvers. When other sewer cleaning competitors can’t seem to get a job done, they will typically refer to Garvin’s.

Some city water departments refer to Garvin’s as well, mainly because of their high ethics. They have saved families thousands of dollars by giving free second looks at sewer camera inspection videos and performing sewer cleaning rather than replacing sewer lines.

What makes Garvin’s Sewer Service unique?

  1. When contacting Garvin’s Sewer Service, the dispatcher quotes the service price right over the phone. This is rare in their industry.
  2. The prices quoted are accurate. They don’t say one price and charge a different one when they arrive- except in rare cases where the job was bigger than originally explained over the phone.
  3. Their philosophy of service versus sales. They say, “We train drain-cleaners, not sales people.” Anyone who has ever had a salesperson come to their house to do repairs, understands how welcoming it is to NOT have that.
  4. Referral business is their highest form of marketing. They boast that even after over 7 decades in the sewer cleaning business they still cite word of mouth and referrals for the majority of their business.
  5. More than a 98% customer satisfaction rating. And with an average of 700-1000 drain cleaning jobs performed each and every month, they feel blessed.

The mission statement is posted on the employee training wall and is reviewed at the monthly service meeting. It reads: “We believe that customers have the right to expect fast, efficient service; that our service will be done by employees who are knowledgeable, polite, and neat. We treat our customers with respect in order to achieve a long and productive relationship upon which they can rely. We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the Garvin’s name.”

You can trust the ethics of Denver’s oldest drain cleaning company, Garvin’s Sewer Service. Contact them at 303-571-5114.

The stuff you flush that can lead to the need for sewer service

dreamstime_xxl_10290097“If tampons are flushable, why do they cause a sewer backup?”

Recently I heard from a landlord who said it was part of the lease that tampons would not be flushed down the toilet. Yet after a sewer backup, it was found tampons were the major culprit.

In fact, tampons, wipes, paper towels are the three biggest culprits to cause a need for sewer cleaning besides root growth in sewer lines. Why is that? Each product claims to be flushable.

Flushable means “suitable for disposal by flushing down a toilet” (source: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flushable). Disposable means “an article designed to be thrown away after use” (source: dictionary.reference.com/browse/disposable.

Choosing to dispose of something in the toilet rather than the trashcan is the simple definition of flushable, but that doesn’t mean it is the best or right thing to do.

Anything that can go into a trashcan, should. This includes: food, oils, trash, plastics, cigarette butts, dental floss, diapers, condoms, kitty litter and even paper towels, wipes, facial tissues, tampons and their applicators, and sanitary napkins. In fact, the only things truly flushable are waste and toilet paper.

Preventing a sewer backup is simply a choice to use a trashcan for all disposables and keeping root growth at bay. I let the landlord know that most women don’t think the actual cotton tampon is a problem. They know the applicator should not be flushed, just as they know the sanitary pad shouldn’t, but the idea of putting used tampons into the trash is just not understood. Part of the benefit of the tampon is the disposable and flushable component it offers. The women who do know this are usually homeowners or landlords who have had to front the bill of a sewer backup due to a clog caused by used tampons in the sewer.

My suggestion for homeowners and landlords is that they clearly specify to guests and tenants how “flushable” is defined. For many, it will simply be stating anything that can go in the trash, rather than the toilet, should.

I have been in many bathrooms where a sign is posted reading, “Please do not flush feminine products”. For years, I believed that to mean that I should not flush tampon applicators or sanitary pads. I did not think used tampons were considered a feminine product because it clearly said it was flushable and I wondered how sanitary it would be to put it in the trash instead.

For a teen daughter or a tenant, consider having them read “Can you flush tampons?” as an additional source of information from www.theperiodblog.com

Make sure you are clear in order to prevent a backup requiring professional sewer service. Here is a clear (and funny sign) I found online:

For more homeowner tips, follow PlumbingGirl on Facebook!

Press Release: Garvin’s Sewer Service Celebrates 75th Anniversary

A Diamond in Denver

Garvins-Sewer-Service-250Garvin’s Sewer Service, 2900 S. Shoshone St., Englewood Colorado, Celebrates 75 years in business in 2015!

Garvin’s Sewer Service began as Denver’s FIRST drain cleaning company in 1940. The company was founded by Russel P. Garvin and is currently in its third generation of family ownership.

Garvin’s attributes its longevity to their high level of ethics. Their business philosophy encompasses not being purely profit-driven. Instead, they strive to provide a good opportunity for their employees to earn a living and to have the latest, yet most effective sewer cleaning equipment in the industry.

Their website states, “Keeping our professional attitude and addressing customer concerns are the main priorities of Garvin’s Sewer Service. We support this with our Declaration of Service and our Mission statements.”

Averaging over 10,000 jobs per year, their customer satisfaction rating is over 98% (based on a NetPromoter survey). Happy customers makes repeat customers and referrals which make up more than 70% of their clientele.

Garvin’s has supported local charities such as Dress for Success and Habitat for Humanity, as well as sponsored youth programs through Goodwill Industries and Aurora Youth Sports.

Garvin’s was recognized by the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau for over 21 years of accreditation, and 9News and the Colorado Department of Labor for longevity in business along with the likes of Coors and the Buckhorn Exchange.

Garvin’s looks to have an Anniversary Celebration in the Summer of 2015.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact:

Terri Starck (303) 596-6060

Terri@TerriStarck.com