Watching Out For The Environment: Rooter Service Is The Way To Go


Rooter service beats chemicals every time.We’ve talked many times about the importance of keeping chemical drain cleaners out of your drain. It’s simply bad on so many levels. It can eat at your pipes, it offers only a short-term fix, and you’re bringing poisons into your home that don’t need to be there.

But if you’re concerned about the environment, as we all should be, using a mechanical rooter service is the way to for one simple reason: it keeps those poisons out of the environment.

Avoid the Chemicals: There are two basic types of chemical drain cleaners: alkaline and acidic

Alkaline: Sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrate, sodium stearate, aluminum…all of these are found in common household drain cleaners. Sodium hydroxide is used to dissolve organic tissue, and sodium nitrate has been found to increase deaths from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Do you want any more of this in your house or your water supply?

Acidic: Think the alkaline sounds bad? Sulfuric acid is the main ingredient in acidic drain cleaners, and according to the manufacturer: “potential hazards include violent reaction with water and the production of explosive hydrogen vapors upon contact with most metals; chronic (delayed) and acute (immediate) health hazards if inhaled, ingested, or contacted, including severe eye, flesh and skin burns or even permanent visual loss, inflammation of respiratory membranes, and corrosive burns to all human tissue. It may even be fatal if swallowed.” (via Wikipedia)

But Wait, Isn’t The Water Treated?: Water is treated to a point where it reaches the minimum safety levels as dictated by the government. The safety levels of different chemicals is always changing, and Denver water management has done a pretty darn good job keeping those contaminants below violation levels. But at the same time, wouldn’t it be nice if those levels were even lower by not introducing the chemicals into the water system in the first place?

It’s great that most of the drain water contaminants are removed from the water so that it is safe to drink. But it’s only removed; it’s not gone from the planet. Those chemicals still have to be disposed of somehow, leading to a huge environmental concern: how do you safely store millions of barrels of poisons? Better to use a mechanical rooter service than to send those chemicals down the drain…or to have them ever created in the first place.

Grease Education: While it’s not a poison (except, perhaps, to your arteries!) grease is incredibly important to keep out of the sewer system.

How does this protect the environment? Well, imagine if everyone sent all of their grease down the drain. It causes clogs in the home, which have to be dislodged with rooter service. That sends it into the public sewer system. If restaurants weren’t required to use grease traps, all of that would head into the sewer system as well. That would lead to almost instant backups of the sewer lines, which would require thousands of man-hours a year to clean them, and during most of those they’d be running gasoline-powered dislodging equipment to fight the massive clogs and suck them up (more gasoline) and then transport them to the dump (even more gasoline).

The amount of grease in the sewer system couldn’t be handled by the treatment plant, so some of it would overflow downstream, polluting waterways and endangering wildlife. In other words, keep grease from going down the drain and protect the world!

It’s best to just avoid chemical drains completely and use the proven technology of rooter service. Give Garvin’s a call and you’ll be saving the environment and your sewer system.



Why So Many Drain Cleaning Calls On Monday?


Here at Garvin’s, we’re ready to go. What that means is that you can call us 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year (and even February 29th this year!) and we’ll be there to take care of your unscheduled sewer emergency.

But what if it’s not an emergency? What if something happens over the weekend but it’s not so bad that you can’t wait? While we’re out every day of the year, there’s one day of the week on which we get more calls: Monday. Why is this? Well, there are a few reasons why so many people call us on Monday.

The weekend is two more days for something to go wrong: Mondays are just naturally busy for many business. People get sick over the weekend and wait until Monday to call the doctor. People organize their “to-do” list over the weekend and end up calling customer service for their broken electronics first thing on Monday.

It’s much the same with sewer and drain cleaning. People start having a problem over the weekend and they wait until Monday to give us a call.

Taxing the system: Saturday and Sundays are the days of the week that people are most likely to have lots of people over. Maybe it for the Bronco’s game, maybe it’s a company party they’re hosting. When you have lots of people over, you’ve got two things going on. First of all, you’re sending exponentially more water and waste down than you normally would. If your sewer drain was on the edge of clogging, this could send it over the edge.

Second, you have people using your sinks and toilets who aren’t used to the limitations of your system. They might flush things that go down just fine at their house but that you’re system is going to have a major problem with.

Fixing what the homeowner might not be able to: Let’s say someone notices on Tuesday that all the drains in their house are running slow. They wait a couple of days to see if the problems resolves itself (chances are slim), and then by Thursday they say to themselves “I’ll see what I can do about it over the weekend. They try something on Saturday or Sunday and realize that the problem is just too big for them. Though it’s still not an emergency, they’re just can’t wait to give us a call on Monday morning.

The superintendent: If you live in an apartment, the superintendent probably isn’t going to pay emergency rates unless the water is literally covering your floor. If he can wait, he probably will!

When you’re having trouble with your sewer drains, give Garvin’s sewer service a call no matter what day it is. We’ll be sure to take care of all of the drain cleaning and rooter service you require. See you soon!



The Sewer Snake: 7 Benefits To Having A Professional Take Care Of It


You might be a do-it-yourself kind of person, and we respect that. There are lots of projects around the house that can be taken care of and save you a lot of money. So go ahead, frame that bathroom, replace that chandelier, build a deck!

So when you start thinking “maybe I’ll just rent a sewer snake” and take care of my clogged sewer drain for myself. Again, we respect your interest, but we’ve got a few reasons why you might want to think twice before you head out to pick up a consumer-grade or rentable sewer snake.

The Danger of the Blades: We’ll get this out of the way first: sewer snakes are not something to be trifled with. Think about what the blades are meant to do…spin around wildly in order to get all edges of the pipe clean. Those blades are meant to go after tree roots, and if they can tear through tree roots they’re not going to have any trouble ripping through flesh.

The Danger of the Coil: The coil of a sewer snake is under a lot of pressure and isn’t always intuitive on how to use. There are far too many ways to let it get away from you or to send you to the hospital with crushed fingers.

The Danger of What You Bring Back Up: There are a lot of pathogens that you can bring back up through the sewer drain, so it’s important to wear the proper protective equipment and to disinfect the sewer snake properly.

Speaking of Bringing Stuff Back Up: Our job can be pretty disgusting, but there are ways to lesson the disgust, and not knowing what you’re doing makes it much worse: Are you familiar with the best way to bring back the sewer snake so that it doesn’t bring with it the stuff you wish had gone down the drain? Not to brag, but we’re highly trained so you never again see the stuff that you sent down the drain.

The feel: Not every job requires a sewer camera, so we often have to know if the clog is completely obliterated by feel. Since our drain cleaners do this every day, they’re familiar with the feel of the equipment and if the clog is gone or if it’s just been damaged enough to let the water pass through. This leads to…

The Thoroughness: If you use the sewer snake and it only “kind of” gets the clog cleared out, then your drains are going to be clogged up again before you know it. Leaving anything is just going to be a catalyst for the next blog, so it’s important to get professional sewer cleaning to make sure you get everything.

The Cost: Doing it right the first time will be cheaper than doing it over and over again…and it will take a lot less of your time, too.

In the end, you’re going to be a lot safer and a lot happier having a professional taking care of your sewer snake needs. Give Garvin’s a call when you’re having trouble.


5 Things A Typical Sewer Drain Company Won’t Tell You…But We Will!


There are many reasons that a company might clam up when it comes to your sewer drain system. After all, if they don’t tell you the problems to avoid, maybe you’ll make them again and have to call them back for more repairs.

Here at Garvin’s we’re very interested in being your go-to when it comes to sewer drain cleaning. But we’re not interested in sitting back and watching people sabotage their system, either. Here are a few serious situations that your typical sewer service might not help you avoid.

Your Sewer Pipe Isn’t Broken: Here’s the worst of the worst. Some sewer cleaners will send down a sewer camera and convince you that your sewer pipe is broken when, in fact, it’s only clogged. They might overstate the problems they see in the video, or even show you a fake video! Why? So that they can sell you a complete sewer line replacement, of course, costing upwards of $10,000!

Since we don’t do sewer line replacements, we can be completely unbiased when we stop by with our sewer camera. We can tell you if you really need a sewer line replacement or not.

Grease – A less-than-reputable sewer cleaner will notice just how much grease they’re finding in a drain and just bank on the possibility that they’ll have to be back in just a couple of months to deal with it again, instead of telling you the best way to avoid the grease in the first place. We’ve written blog after blog about the problems of sending grease down the drain, so we won’t belabor the point here.

Flushable Doesn’t Mean Flushable – This one isn’t so much on the sewer cleaners as it is on the product marketers. Some products such as baby wipes and feminine hygiene products are labeled as “flushable” when it’s actually a really bad idea to flush them. Yes, they do go down the toilet, and in that way they are “flushable.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re gone, as some of these products will just sit in your sewer system, catching more and more stuff as it goes by. Add a few tree roots to the situation and you’ve got a rooter service-needing clog before you know it.

Chemical Drain Cleaners – Chemical drain cleaners are dangerous, but they can also cause damage to your pipes and valves. Some plumbers will just let you keep destroying them so that they can suggest you get your pipes replaced. Instead of chemical drain cleaners, keep a sinks-only plunger handy. If that’s not working, give Garvin’s a call for mechanical or sewer jetter cleaning.

Keep The Hair Out – Hair is one of the biggest clog culprits, catching everything that comes after it like a spider web. A $2 hair catcher in your shower or tub could save you hundreds on sewer drain cleaning.

Garvin’s Sewer Service is dedicated to bringing the absolute best in sewer cleaning to Denver and the entire front range. We want you to call us whenever you need sewer cleaning, but we also want to be neighborly and help you take care of your own sewer system. Stay clean!




Get Preventive Sewer Drain Cleaning and You Can Avoid The Horrors Of A Backup

Preventive sewer drain cleaning can prevent a mold explosion!

If you’ve ever experienced sewage in your basement, you know what a terrible situation it can be. And if you haven’t, be glad, because it’s just the beginning of problems that are going to last for months.

We’ll get this out of the way first…one way to prevent many instances of sewage backing up is to to have regular preventive sewer cleaning. If you keep the roots and clogs in your sewer pipe under control, it’s less likely you’ll experience the horrors of sewer backup.

So what should you do when you head to your basement and realize that there’s sewer water in your basement?

Don’t Jump In!: Okay, that might sound obvious, but if it’s ankle-deep some people put on their waterproof boots and step in to try to find the source of the problem. The number one reason you shouldn’t do this is because the water could be carrying an electric current if it’s reached any wall plugs. The safe level is even lower if you have plugged-in electronics that are sitting on the floor or carpet.

Instead, shut off the power to the basement. If this isn’t possible (for instance, if your electrical box is in your basement) call an electrician.

Open a window!: First of all, it’s going to stink and sewer gas can be noxious. Second, it will help reduce the chance of an airborne virus affecting you. Finally, it might have knocked out the pilot light and damaged your furnace or you water heater, so you’ll want to prevent the chance of explosive natural gas building up.

If you do walk around: If you’re intent on getting to the backup to investigate, make sure that you clean your footwear and anything else that come into contact with the water in a bleach solution. Do the same to any plungers you use.

Put on latex / rubber gloves: Some of your are going to want to try to fix the problem before you move onto the next step (calling Garvin’s Sewer Service), so if you do interact with it at all make sure to wear waterproof, protective gloves. Horrible diseases living in the water can enter through cuts in our hands (and your eyes and mouth, so wear eye protection and put on a surgical / dust mask).

Call Garvin’s!: No doubt about it, you’ve got a problem. And the best way to get life moving again is to call the experts, and we’re here 24/7/365. We know the best way to get your sewer line moving again, and can help you with the standing water. If your sewer drain doesn’t respond to typical rooter service, we can also send down the sewer scope (aka sewer camera) and see exactly what’s causing your problem.

Call your insurance and restoration company: As we’ve written about before, most standard insurance policies don’t cover water damage or a backed up sewer. If you’ve had the foresight to get such insurance, give them a call. Once we’re done, you can start with the restoration company as well.

A sewer backing up is a horrible thing, but we’ll leave you with one bright note. As bad as it is, remember that most of the water leaving your house is from washing machines, showers, and sinks. While you have to avoid the water on the microbial level, there’s not much chance you’ll encounter a whole lot from your toilet.

As we said, preventive maintenance can be a great step to keeping roots out of your sewer drain pipes, and being alert to sewer problems can help prevent sewer backups before they happen. Give Garvin’s a call at the first sign of trouble.



One More Thing About Garbage Disposal Installation and Proper Drain Cleaning


We talked at length recently about the right way to treat your garbage disposal so that the stuff you send down it doesn’t gum it up, cause it to stop working, and lead to unnecessary drain cleaning. But there are a few things that can happen even if you’re taking care of it.

Keep It Clean: Because garbage disposals are constantly chopping food, parts of the food are going to get tossed to the side and stick to the inside of the disposal. The food starts to rot, and the stink begins. Grinding ice can be a good way to clean it, as the ice will bounce around and knock the food off without damaging the blades. Chopping small pieces of citrus fruit peels can can freshen it up.

Use It Often: If you don’t know much about garbage disposals, you might be curious when you open the box and find a hex wrench (or maybe you moved in and found it under the sink. Or maybe whoever performed your last garbage disposal installation failed to tell you about it).

This hex wrench fits a hole in the bottom and can be used to manually move the blades in the garbage disposal. Why is this necessary? Well, sometimes the garbage disposal might lock up, usually due to disuse for some time. For instance, we’ve come back from a two-week trip, tried to turn it on, and found that it simply doesn’t work. Unplugging it and moving that hex wrench back and forth just a few times should get it up and running again.

Getting stuff out: If something hard goes down into the garbage disposal, like a hard fruit pit, a broken piece of glass, or a piece of silverware, don’t stick your hand down there. Unplug it and get the offending item out with tongs.

And if it doesn’t work?: What happens when you’ve tried everything and yet your garbage disposal still isn’t working? What if you’ve cleaned it out in every possible way and yet you know it’s still the source of the bad smell, and that it’s worth the money to you to replace it? Perhaps your 30 year old disposal sounds like a garbage truck eating a metal garbage can and you need a quieter one to deal with your new jittery dog. In all of these circumstance, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call and we can get your garbage disposal properly installed!




Keeping The Wrong Stuff Out Of Your Garbage Disposal Prevents Unnecessary Drain Cleaning


Garbage disposals are pretty cool, we have to admit. It’s great when you’re cleaning plates after a meal and don’t want it to stink up the kitchen by having it sit in the trash. It’s also a great alternative to sink stoppers, which can be difficult to keep clean and keep on top of.

When you are in need of garbage disposal installation or cleaning, please give us a call here at Garvin’s. But we’re happy to give you a few tips to cut down on drain cleaning and keeping your garbage disposal up-and-running in the meantime.

Know what not to send down: People put the wrong stuff down the garbage disposal, and that can ruin both the disposal and clog your sewer drain. Don’t let the name fool you…garbage disposals aren’t supposed to be a trash can for anything that will fit into it.

So, what should you watch out for?

  • Stringy and starchy fruits and veggies – Potatoes skins, artichokes, mangos, asparagus, rhubarb, celery…all of these will cause your garbage disposal to choke and seize up. Many of these are just too tough for the blades, or their “strings” get caught around the blade mechanism. Send this stuff to your composter and let the heat and bacteria break them down so that they can fuel your garden.
  • Grease – We know, we say it a lot. (The moment people stop doing it, we’ll shut up about it!) Oils and grease aren’t just bad for you drain, they’re also bad for your garbage disposal. Put the grease in the trash or recycle it.
  • Coffee Grounds – Coffee grounds tend to get caught in the trap of your garbage disposal, so it’s best to toss them or compost them like the fruits we mentioned above.
  • Bones – Some garbage disposals claim that they are great at getting rid of chicken bones. We don’t recommend it. While chicken bones are certainly thinner and softer than what you’ll find in a t-bone steak, there’s really no reason to risk them getting trapped, starting a clog that you really don’t want to have to deal with.
  • Pits – This one is pretty obvious. Stone fruits like peaches (also known as drupes) produce pits that are as hard as…well, stone. Watch out for avocado pits as well (the skins are pretty tough, too). If it’s something that could rattle around in your garbage disposal for days, it’s probably a bad idea to put it in there in the first place.
  • Utensils – We know that you didn’t intentionally put your spoon into the garbage disposal, but when you turn it on and it sounds like a plane crash in your kitchen, you feel pretty freaked out (and you might have damaged the disposal as well.) Before you use your disposal, take a quick look to make sure that no one has dropped anything in (and that Lily Tomlin isn’t down there)  

Garbage disposals make life easier, but they’re not catch-alls for anything that falls down your drain. Treat it right and you won’t need drain cleaning nearly as often. But when you do, give Garvin’s a call.




4 Reasons People Call Garvin’s For Rooter Service


garvins_sitebg6_cartoon_mobileHere’s something that’s not a secret, even though we don’t like to admit it…when it comes to sewer cleaning in Denver and its suburbs, there’s more than one company you can go to for rooter service. Not really shocking, is it? So you might wonder why so many people choose Garvin’s Sewer Service when every drain in their home is running slow and rooter service and drain cleaning seem inevitable. Here are just a few of the reasons.

We’ve been at it for over 75+ years: Here’s the big one…we were the first sewer cleaners in Denver, and we’re still here. We started in 1940, so the new year will mark our 76th year serving Denver, its suburbs, and other nearby towns including Littleton, Arvada, Aurora, Longmont, Cherry Creek, Westminster, and just about every place in between. We’re now on our third generation of family owners and employees, because we’ve built a business that’s necessary and respected in the community. We started in the Golden Triangle neighborhood in Denver, but in 2001 we moved to Englewood in order to have a more space and a central headquarters (with a bit less traffic) to serve the Front Range.

Of course, a company doesn’t survive for more than three-quarters of a century without learning a few things, such as…

Respect for the customer: How long does a company last if they treat their customers poorly? Not long, and we’ve seen many companies come and go over the years who just didn’t know how to treat the customers right. They might charge for service only to have the problem return, or overcharge when the customers were at their most vulnerable.

At Garvin’s Sewer Service, we’ve outlasted those other sewer cleaners because we’ve always treated customers and their homes with the utmost respect, and that goes for every one of our employees. When you do that, you’re going to get…

Excellent Word Of Mouth: It’s not just because we’ve been around so long that you’ve heard of Garvin’s Sewer Service…it’s that people are talking about us. That’s because Garvin’s has changed with the times when it comes to customer service, delivering the absolute best available.

We’ve got the right equipment, and we know how to use it: Much as we’ve stayed with the times in regards to customer service, we’ve also kept up-to-date with the equipment we use. We’ve got the right equipment for your job, no matter whether you live in a 1,000 square-foot house with 100-year-old plumbing or need commercial sewer cleaning for a highrise with 200 toilets. We have the classic rooter service machines as well as the most state-of-the-art sewer jetters and sewer cameras. We know how to best deal with your plumbing and will bring the right equipment to clean your drains and sewer lines.

We’ve been doing this for a while, so we know how to deal with clogs, roots, and the worst of what people send down the drains. When you need the best in rooter service, give Garvin’s a call!



Have A Funky Smell Coming From Your Sewer Drain? Here’s What It Could Be


Stop just covering up the smell from your sewer drain.If you walk into a room and smell something bad, you might not know exactly what it is at first. Did someone microwave salmon? Did someone drop an egg behind the refrigerator? Maybe someone forgot to flush the toilet.

In these cases, we’ll let you take care of them…sewer cleaning service doesn’t usually involve finding eggs behind the fridge. But if the smells are coming from your drain, it’s a good idea to call us for drain cleaning. Some of these problems can be fixed easily, and others will need expert repair.

Garbage Disposal: Garbage disposals are pretty cool, in that they let you chop up your food refuse before it heads down the drain and becomes clog fodder. But because they’re grinding up the food and making it fly around the inside of the disposal, particles of the food get stuck to the sides and don’t get washed down the drain. The food particles start to rot, and the stink starts. To prevent this, grind some ice so that it will fly around and help dislodge the food (be sure to look away so that the ice shards don’t hit you in the eye). Grinding small bits of orange or lemon peel can also help freshen it.

Kitchen Sink: It’s unlikely that you’ll smell sewer gas coming from the kitchen sink, mostly due to how amazing j-traps are. If your kitchen sink stinks, it’s most likely a building clog above the j-trap that you need to take care of. The stink is coming from the spoiled food that’s accumulating and the grease that’s becoming rancid. Don’t use chemical drain cleaners; instead, give us a quick call.

Bathroom Sink: Bathroom sinks usually stink because of the accumulation of decaying matter, usually hair and skin cells. Sweet-smelling soaps and toothpastes can mask the problem for a while, but eventually it might become overpowering. If you’re not comfortable taking your drains and stoppers apart, give us a call and we’ll help with your drain cleaning.

Shower Drains: Shower drains are often the forgotten drain in the house. Well, it’s forgotten until you’re ankle-deep in water. If the clog is further down that just under the drain cover, it’s time to call for professional drain cleaning service.

Toilets: As dirty as we imagine toilets to be, they’re actually one of the least likely to smell (as long as the outsides and floors around them are kept clean, of course). That’s because most of the smell that might emanate them is stopped by the standing water that’s in the toilet, something that sinks don’t have until you get to the j-trap. If your toilet is the source, it might be a bigger problem. Check down in the…

Basement: All sewer drains run down the the basement, or under the house, for one simple reason: gravity gathers everything you want gone and moves it to the public sewer line. So if you go down to the basement and smell sewer gas, you’ve got a problem. This could mean that your sewer pipe is broken, which is preventing your sewage from reaching the public sewer line. Our sewer camera can head down and find out. It could also mean that your sewer vent has suffered some damage. In either case, we fix it or help you find someone who can.

If you’ve got a sewer smell problem you can’t fix, give Garvin’s a call and we’ll be there to help.




4 Sewer Drain Problems That Are Almost Impossible To Avoid


There are precautions you can take to avoid the need for constant sewer drain cleaning, but other things aren’t so easy to avoid. For instance:

Previous owners: If you’ve moved into a house that was previously owned, there’s a good chance that some of the stuff that they sent down the drain is still there. While they might have hired move-out cleaners (or maybe you hired move-in cleaners) to make the house sparkle when you bought it, there’s a lot of stuff left in the drains that you can’t see but can still affect your health and the health of your drains.

Because you don’t know how they treated your drains, problems might arise. However, you can avoid these problems if you call us for some of our Denver-famous preventive drain cleaning service.

Hair: Even if you use a hair trap, some of those hairs are going to slip down the drain when you shower. When you combine that with the grime that builds up because of skin cells, soap and hair products, your shower drain will eventually back up, leaving you to feel uncomfortable in standing water. Keep your sewer drains clean and send the stuff that comes off your body all the way down to the public sewer pipes.

Tree Roots: Trees! We love them! But their roots are constantly searching for water and nutrients, and sewer pipes give a constant supply of both. Roots getting into a sewer pipe is pretty normal and doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need a sewer line replacement any time soon. But it’s important to keep the roots cleared out so that they don’t grab passing toilet paper and create a clog that could back up into your home. You can’t necessarily avoid tree roots, but you can keep the roots at bay with proper rooter service.

Time: You use hair traps, you buy the fastest-degrading toilet paper, you don’t put a pizza plate in the dishwasher until all of the grease has been wiped off and put into the trash. Maybe you even stop stuff from going down your garbage disposal “just to be sure.”

You can be the most careful person in the world, but eventually over the days, months, and years, stuff is going to build up in your drains and sewer lines. It’s not your fault, and some of it can be attributed to the problems listed above.

Total Collapse: Entropy! Order becomes disorder! It’s the reason you have to clean your house, the reason that your old Zenith television wore out, the reason everything eventually gives out. We’ve been in the business for over 75 years and have seen a lot of sewer lines give up the ghost. We’ve also seen 75-years-old sewer lines that are just fine. Eventually, though, shifting ground and huge roots will cause it to crack and prevent your sewage from reaching the public sewer line. When this happens, we can send the sewer camera down to see what the damage is, and if it’s a total loss, we can recommend reputable sewer line replacement companies.

There are fixes to your problems, but not if you ignore them. Give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call and we’ll make sure your drain cleaning and sewer cleaning are taken care of in a snap.