Are you ready for a winter sewer service emergency?

Are you ready?

dreamstime_xxl_31185967This winter has been fairly easy, but with over two more months of winter left, a few tips on winter emergency preparedness seemed to be in good order.

You can store these items in a special place- a box in the attic or basement, garage or shed. Just make sure everyone knows about them. It is a good idea to store these items in a waterproof bin, or at least in a waterproof area.


A snow shovel, a broom, a bucket and rock salt

These three items can help with most outdoor water, snow and ice concerns.


Canned foods, water, can opener, paper goods such as paper towel, toilet paper, paper plates and plastic utensils

Keeping a supply of non-perishables and bottled water is always a good idea. Remember a manual can opener as well, though.

Emergency supplies

Matches, flashlights, batteries, lighters, first aid kit, garbage bags, scissors or knife, duct tape and blankets. A battery-powered radio and a lantern are both good ideas as well and can be found at outdoorsman stores.

Misc. Items

Pet supplies and medications, baby supplies. Important documents including identification.

Vehicle Kit

Jumper cables, flares or reflective triangle, flashlight with batteries, first aid kit, water, and protein bars and a stash of cash. For outside the car, cat litter for better tire traction, shovel, ice scraper, extra warm clothes and/or blankets are good items to keep around.


Here’s where the sewer service comes into play. When you leave to visit friends and family, you probably drop the thermostat in order to save energy. That’s a good idea, but remember that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t let it get below that. This can be especially bad if you’re in need of sewer cleaning and there’s more water in the pipes than usual.


These items are all very easy to get a hold of and can make a HUGE difference in your level of comfort should an emergency arise where you don’t have water, heat or electricity. There are lots more ideas and tips for emergencies found here:

Why do I always need sewer repair during the holidays?

“Why do I always get a sewer repair at the holidays?”


Yes, I hear a lot of people ask this question. There are several reasons why it can happen. Maybe knowing these, you can prevent it next year!


Guests mean that your plumbing and sewer system is being used more heavily than when you don’t have guests. The additional usage can tax a system that may have roots in the line or other debris that hasn’t quite cleared the line. The best way to prevent a sewer backup in this case is to have Preventative Maintenance run on the lines. This means having sewer cleaning before your guests come.

dreamstime_3208702Naughty Guests.

“Merry Christmas. I got you sewer problems!” Naughty guests don’t follow your house rules. Maybe it’s because they don’t know them, or maybe they just don’t care. Either way, a great way to resolve this issue is to post your house rules where they are appropriate. This means taping up a sign or even just informing the guests, such as “Old Plumbing, use the toilet paper sparingly.” It is also a VERY good idea to keep a plunger in every bathroom. Keep another one in a closet for sinks and showers.


Nature dishes out some nasty stuff. Root growth can intensify as they look for nutrition in the form of the fertilizer in your sewer line, causing the need for sewer repair. Vents offer warm places for creatures looking for shelter and if one falls into the vent, it stops movement in the line as well. Additionally, cleaning the line can be more difficult in the winter months as the ground can be too frozen to allow digging up the access point and snow covered roofs impossible to access the vent.


If you have any questions, please e-mail or call. We are here to help answer your questions.

The Thanksgiving Stuff That leads to emergency sewer service

dreamstime_xxl_27295959My dad fried a turkey once. Just once.

Mom was mad that we had a blackened turkey. Truth be told, once we peeled off the charred skin, the moist meat was absolutely fantastic.

The internet is full of recipes to try this Thanksgiving. And I’m sure that Pinterest and Instagram will have tons of pictures of both the failures and the success of what I call The Great American Fatness Day.

If you do choose to fry your dinner this year, please remember to recycle all that oil. It ABSOLUTELY doesn’t belong down the drain. (Here are two resources for this: Great West BioFuels and RecycOil). Make sure it goes in the trash, or a coffee can. In fact, many city recycling centers will take it and turn it into fuel for diesel engines. Pouring it down the drain could lead to costly sewer cleaning.

If you do have a problem, call Garvin’s Sewer Service, Inc. We’ll get your wastewater flowing in the right direction.

What our techs are thinking during your sewer cleaning

As a homeowner, I understand that talking to a blue collar guy can be…painful.

dreamstime_17872277Trust me, the guys tell me it can be painful too. And while most customers go above and beyond to make sure it goes as smooth as possible during the sewer cleaning, others just don’t seem to understand what we need.

Here are the complaints I get from guys regarding customers. I would LOVE to hear what bugs you about conversations with blue collar guys.

1. The customer stands over me and watches my every move. I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

2. The customer shut off the light while I was working.

3. The customer answered the door in her robe and didn’t care if and when it fell open. She wore little (or nothing) underneath.

4. The customer’s dog wouldn’t leave me alone. The customer kept saying, “Oh, he wouldn’t hurt a fly” even though the dog was baring his teeth at me. (It was a Chihuahua).

5. The customer was a hoarder and didn’t understand that I needed access to places. And needed more room than a 3×3 foot space.


What is your Blue Collar Guy Pet Peeve?


Garvin's Sewer Service Cares About your winter plumbing

Spigots are sexy.

Well, not really. But they are important.


Because if treated properly, they won’t flood your basement. And if not, they will.

It’s almost like you have to succumb to the power they yield.


It’s a shame they can have so much power, but they do. And while Garvin’s Sewer Service is all about drain cleaning and sewer cleaning, we have a few suggestions for your fall and winter plumbing.

Tame your spigot by:

1. Detaching your hose BEFORE the first frost. In Colorado, that is usually around the last part of October.

2. Making sure you have a frost-free spigot installed.

3. Know where your emergency water shut-off valve is so you can turn it off in case the spigot does split.


If you have questions, please contact Garvin’s Sewer Service at 303- 571- 5114

Sewer Service Scams and Ethics

dreamstime_xxl_52135Holy buckets! Sometimes I get all fired up about the things I see in the sewer repair industry!

I believe that people should be able to expect a fair service done by professionals trained in their field. Especially when you are hiring them to come into your home! We should be able to trust folks! So, why do I hear stories like this???

— A homeowner is told they need sewer replacement. When we gave a second opinion, all he needed to do was a sewer cleaning. Price difference: $8020.

— A homeowner is charged $700 at a “reduced Preferred Client” rate which includes a guarantee on the work performed. For less than that, we would run the line twice in a year, guarantee included.

— A local news channel ran an expose on local companies that lied about the need for sewer repair or made the problem worse before “selling” a solution to the client.

— A partnership between companies that is self-serving in that kickbacks are given for referrals performed by subcontractors, whether or not the actual work is needed.

There are ethical ways to make a profit in this world, and there are unethical ways. Garvin’s has been in business for 75 years because we do the right thing. Integrity is part of our decision-making and practices.

Can you share a horror story with me of your own? Follow me on Facebook and tell me your story.







Stuff Women Need to Know About Preventing The Need for sewer service

dreamstime_9421492Hi Ladies!

I get a lot of questions and realized I could address some of them more publicly:

1. Is Drain-O/ Liquid Plumr really that bad?

In 75 years of business we have:

  •      Gone out to clean a drain after one or similar products have failed to clear a clog (on more than one occasion)
  •      Gone out to clean a drain after one or similar products have failed to clear a clog and the product splash-back caused skin burns that sent the technician to the hospital (on more than one occasion)
  •      See the warning labels on these types of products and don’t understand why they are available to non-professionals for use
  •      Found non-chemical products to be longer lasting, and safer for the environment and all lifeforms

In this product, the “grabbing tool” is more effective than the chemical product.


2. Does the type of toilet paper really matter?

In 75 years of business we have found:

Low flush toilets and toilets with low water pressure or small openings do have more issues with the type of paper

Thick papers such as those labeled Ultra Soft/ Ultra Plush/ Super Absorbent, do cause more issues than those that don’t. Use as little as possible in order to prevent the need for sewer cleaning


3. What is the BEST way to get rid of clogs?

In toilets: PLUNGER, AUGER, or Pulling the toilet (in the case of an object falling in and getting stuck)

In sinks and tubs: a grabbing tool such as shown below

In sewers, floor drains, kitchen sinks and laundry lines: Professional Drain cleaning equipment, run by a professional sewer cleaner


4. It says, “Flushable”, yet I still have problems.

Tampons and wipes are HUGE culprits in creating clogs. Wrap the cotton portion in the trash rather than flushing it and limit the use of wipes. This will save you money on sewer cleanings. They are designed to be strong and absorbent, not like toilet paper which is designed to disintegrate.


Do you have any other questions you’d like me to answer?

Follow me on Facebook and ask me there! Or go ahead and give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call today.




How Preventive Sewer Maintenance and Sewer Scopes can fix root problems

roots in the sewer lineWe have a root showing contest happening here in the office.

Let me explain.

When roots enter the sewer lines, they cause backups. We send our guys out to nab the problem. Most of the time, these roots come out in bits or are pushed through to the city main. In some cases, such as these, they snap a photo for our wall of fame.

Brian’s Big Root
Brian’s root came from a storm drain. It took him about 4 hours to clear it out of the line. Another company suggested using a high-pressure water sewer jetter, but it is the blades on the machine that get these root snakes out of the line.

Bill and John’s Big Root
Bill and John wrestled a Lock Ness-size root-ster from a commercial drain line. Preventative maintenance does save money in the long run. Hours of work by two men to clear the line once could have been prevented with annual cleanings.

Mark’s Nasty Root
This clog was a blend of waste entangled in roots. It impacted the line so completely, it couldn’t be removed. The line was dug up and replaced. Again, regular maintenance could have prevented this repair. The home was occupied by a single woman who never cleaned the line.

Tom’s Fat Root
Tom pulled a root from a residential sewer line that was causing a severe sewer line back up. The client hadn’t had the line ran in over a decade. Tom battled them until they finally came, kicking and screaming, out of the line. Cleanings and root destroying product used 1-2 times per year could have prevented this nightmare. We recommend RootX.

Stories from the Trade Show: Do You Even Need Sewer Replacement?

dreamstime_2797965They say fact is stranger than fiction…

An older woman approaches me at a recent trade show and says, “How much do you guys charge for sewer replacement?”

“It depends on a bunch of things,” I reply. “Can you tell me a little about what’s going on?”

I always ask that question when people ask me things because a lot of times they have misinformation and have already made diagnosis about what’s happening based on that.

“Well, I live in a cul-de-sac with four houses and two of my neighbors have gotten sewer replacement. I figure it’s just a matter of time.”

I smile and ask, “How often are you having sewer backups?”

This is important because most the time, there are signs it is bad or going bad.

“Oh, never. We haven’t had them in the time me and my husband have been in the house,” she answered.

“Ok, and how long have you been in the house?”

“Twenty-two years,” she pauses and then adds, “I’m sure it is time to get it replaced.”

I looked at her with gentleness. “The sewer line isn’t an appliance — it isn’t just going to stop working. I have seen 100-year-old sewer lines that are in perfect condition.”

She looked at me a little surprised. I continued, “Let me ask you something, if your neighbor broke their arm, would YOU get a cast?”

She smiled at me, “Heavens no!”

“Ok, so, if you would like to have peace of mind, we can come clean the line and see if everything is ok. It sounds like it probably is. After that long maybe just a sewer cleaning is in order.”

“Thank you dear. I will take your card… and this piece of candy.”

You know what? She did give us a call. Hope you will too.

Stories from the Trade Show: Drain Cleaning 101

They say truth is stranger than fiction…
dreamstime_xxl_15298535A man approaches me at a recent trade show and asks, “Do you guys sell plungers for low flush toilets?”

“No,” I reply, “But any hardware store sells them.”

“I have one and it’s not working because my,” he pauses, thinks, then continues with finger quotes, “my ‘deposits’ are as large as the exit pipe. I eat a lot of roughage and am having to flush several times to move it through. I’m certain I am NOT saving any water. After I flush several times, I wipe then flush that. The rubber on my plunger is wearing out.”

Remembering my training in raising teenagers and thus having no reaction to the absurd, I respond, “There is an item called an ‘auger’. It is metal and is a 4ft. long cable that can go into a smaller opening and clear the clog. It might avoid your need for professional drain cleaning.”

He smiles, thanks me, and walks away.

Good luck, sir. Good luck.