Bathroom Debates Beyond When it's time for drain cleaning

dreamstime_9956210There are plenty of things in the world to debate and ponder — starvation, sustainability, clean drinking water. But there are far fewer things we get downright righteous about — our bathrooms.

I don’t mean using a particular brand or color coordination, I’m talking about the good old basic age-old debates:

Which way should the toilet paper hang?

When posted online, we received comments that kept the debate alive, although it seems people with playful pets (and may I suggest children), ‘A’ is the best option. Otherwise, it seems ‘B’ is the chosen response, however there was no good reason for it other than you will make people crazy if you don’t.

For A:

“This is not a debate- CLEARLY ‘A’ wins out every time.” -Marie

“Only reason EVER for ‘A’: your dog likes to spin the roll for fun” –Kim

“B normally, but A if you have cats.” -Gene

For B:

“B is the only logical answer” –John

“B… it’s just the way I roll” –Mike

“It’s B if you want to be rolling according to etiquette standards; it showcases the design of the paper.” –Kimberly

“B and I am adamant about it.” -Shelli

“Always B. A is annoying.” –Rachel

Do you use the decorative bathroom soaps or not?

My mom had a dish of decorative soaps in the bathroom- they matched the décor of beachside- in shapes of seashells. She also kept a pump dispenser of liquid soap. She didn’t want anyone to use the decorative soaps- they were simply decorative.

How about others? What do they do?

We searched online and came up with some fun answers. I’m not going to include a link- you need to do your own search for answers to this silliness.

“Gross. No soap sharing!”

“I used to collect decorative soaps and I had so many, I just starting using them up. They are lovely.”

Which then brings me to, after you have used the toilet paper and the decorative bath soap… where do you wipe your hands?




Do you use the decorative hand towels?

Yes, my mom had these two. They changed with the seasons. I always felt weird about drying my hands on Santa’s crunchy, non-absorbent beard. So, usually just dried my hands on my pant legs.

How about you?

Again, here are a few answers we found online:

“I buy things to use them, not to just look pretty.”

“Yes, they are washable, but once you do, they fade and don’t hang right.”

“I think my guest deserve to use the pretty towels. If you don’t want them touched, frame them or something.”


I would love your thoughts on these critical questions. You can comment here or find us on Twitter, FaceBook or Pinterest to comment there.


Love Your Garbage Disposal Month…And Avoid Drain Cleaning Next Month

FM3DI--trashIt’s “Love Your Garbage Disposal Month,” hereby declared by PlumbingGirl!

November and December tend to yield high-frequency Garbage Disposal Abuse. It’s not your fault — you probably didn’t know any better. Your daddy isn’t a plumber like mine is. I’m not here to cast shame, it will be ok. However, in the effort to protect my mechanical friends, the Garbage Disposals of America, I am issuing this Public Service Announcement. (It’s also a PSA to protect you from unnecessary drail cleaning)

At risk of hurting my Disposal friends’ feelings, I need to tell you that disposals aren’t meant to do anything more than handle the scraps left after a dish is cleared into the trashcan.

When peeling potatoes, of any type, (or even yams, if they are different from sweet potatoes as is a regular debate at my house during the holidays), throw the peels into the trash rather than the disposal. Or better yet compost them.

When chopping any vegetables, anything that you aren’t going to cook, throw that into the trashcan rather than the disposal. Or put it aside for composting. Need more info on composting? Try HERE:

When trimming meats, whether skins or fats, or when cooking meats, don’t discard any of the trimmings down the drain. Use the fats for gravies or soups by canning them in either a rinsed aluminum can or glass mason jar. If you are not going to use the grease, consider recycling it through a local program (see this blog for suggestions ), or throw it away. (Usually you will want it in a sealed container so it doesn’t leak through the garbage bag.)

A new garbage disposal, replaced by a professional, can cost a couple hundred dollars. Failing to use it properly can lead to unnecessary drain cleaning Protect your friend, and your wallet, by using the trash can instead.




Dumping Oil In Your Sink Leads To Unnecessary Drain Cleaning! Here are some turkey fryer oil drop-off locations in Colorado

dreamstime_xxl_27295959Are you frying your turkey this Thanksgiving? We definitely recommend it, yum! One important thing to remember is when disposing of the cooking oil, DO NOT dump the oil down any sink or flush it down the toilet. This can lead to clogging, bad smells, build up, trapping other things in your pipes… all around bad things for your plumbing. And this can lead to unnecessary sewer and drain cleaning.

Instead, we recommend taking your turkey fryer oil to a recycling location, which accepts all food and vegetable-based oils. Here are a couple suggestions: , this organization is “working to keep cooking oils out of the sewers and landfills and turning the waste product into clean, renewable biodiesel fuel.”

Drop off location:

5380 N. Franklin St.
Denver, CO 80216

Drop Off Hours
Monday – Friday
9am to 4pm
Upon arrival please call 303.294.0026 for assistance

Another resource,  with many Colorado municipalities offering year-round recycOil® used cooking oil recycling facilities is:

Remember, keep those drains clean and you’re less likely to need a drain cleaning service! Read Plumbing Girl’s rant on other things you shouldn’t throw down the drain here

How to Plumbing FAILS II – Do It Yourself Drain Cleaning?

drain_cta_revSometimes we come across customers who think they can do their own plumbing. Sometimes their own drain cleaning and sewer repair. Only sometimes does it work!

They find How To Plumbing articles, books and videos

However, there are some things that really need to be left to professionals.

Quick story, just this week from our office: this customer called and said,

“Do you guys get a cable out of a sewer line?”

“Yes we do. But we think it is best if you can require the person who got it stuck to get it out. That way, you don’t spend your own money to do it.”

“Um, well I’m the guy that got it stuck. I rented it from the hardware store.”

“Oh. Ok, then yes, we can get it out for you. We charge $75 and hour.”

“Well, it cost me $100 to rent it, and I don’t know what they will charge me for bringing it back damaged. I guess at the end of this, it probably cost me at least $175 plus my day.”

“Yea, and we hate to rub salt in the wound, but we only charge $165 to have done it, professionally. And, in under two hours. And no mess.”

<man groans>, “Ok, please send someone.”

For more on when to use a How to Plumbing resource, and when NOT to, see my blog: DIY Plumbing


Spork fixes a toilet. At least until dinner time!

Good old ingenuity can solve a ton of problems. But so can a $3 toilet part. Hopefully, this temporary fix holds long enough for the homeowner to get to the hardware store and back. Toilet fixes are actually very easy, and rather inexpensive. Commercial toilets, waterless, urinals and etc., require a professional, but at home repairs can be done simply. Even without a spork.


Shower dresses as a Mummy for Halloween!

Similar to the above example, tape is a TEMPORARY fix. And typically, a good rule of thumb is: unless you are wrapping a package, tape is to be used sparingly. Hopefully, this homeowner is simply pausing to admire their work before heading to the hardware store. Shower heads are another easy thing to replace on your own, or even ask the Handyman who is already there patching a screen or something, give it a go.

But when the water won’t stop, shoots out the side, or is getting into the wall (causing water damage and BIG problems), it is time to call a Plumber. Usually this quick fix has to do with the pipe not being correctly tightened, or is a poor fit. The professional plumber can fix this, and preserve your showerhead’s dignity (not it’s mummified remains).


***ALL photos courtesy of This Old House: Inspection Nightmares***

Do you have any questions about when to use that How to Plumbing resource vs. Calling a professional?

Ask away!

Tales from the Depths: Interesting Stories and Questions About Drain Cleaning

Stories from the Plumbing Front Lines:

In my years of networking (talking to people) specifically in the world of plumbing, I have gotten some pretty interesting questions and stories.

Here are some of my favorites:

Plumbing Question 1:

Does ROCK SALT kill roots in the sewer line?


Roots grow in from the TOP of the pipe through the natural seams in the sewer line? They can also grow in because of a porous clay pipe or through a break. If you pour rock salt in your drain, it will dissolve, just like salt dissolves in a glass of water. It may pool in a high concentration in the pipe. If the roots are big enough to be touching the bottom of the pipe, it is likely that rock salt is not going to solve the problem.

Our suggestions:

  1. Get your sewer line cleaned of roots with a 4” double bladed sewer machine (referred to as Roto-Rooter® or equivalent). This does require a professional in most cases.
  2. For preventative maintenance, use a foaming root killer that will each roots in the entire circumference of the sewer pipe. We recommend RootX® for drain cleaning.

Plumbing Story 1:

I am house sitting and the only one there, and I hear a loud noise all of a sudden and trace it to the bathroom where the cold water is on full blast. I turned the faucet off and called my handyman who found no leaks, no malfunctions, nothing. What’s your opinion as a plumber?

Well, plumbing is not mechanical — it must be turned on or off either manually or with a timer. The only time it doesn’t follow this rule is when there is a leak, when it will run anywhere using the easiest path. Since a faucet knob needs to be manually adjusted to turn on, and it is very unlikely or even practical to have it on a timer, my best suggestion: Hire Ghost Busters!

 Plumbing Story 2:

I was at a County fair and overate, resulting in overuse of the toilet, and it clogged. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t want to call anyone. My plunger didn’t work and just kept making a mess as the water came up and over the toilet. Why didn’t my plunger work?

Gross. Ok, I’m sure we have all had the “Toilet Clog Scare,” so let me address it. Yes, toilet clogs can happen for a variety of reasons, but they all involve something being stuck in the toilet. A good plunger should always be in every bathroom that is being used. A homeowner and building owner or facilities manager, for that matter, may want to consider getting something called an Auger. An Auger is about a 7 foot cable with a handle on the end that you can insert into the toilet. It goes much deeper than the plunger, and unlike the plunger that is using pressure to force the blockage through, you can spin the cable in the line to loosen anything clogging the space.

These can be purchased at the hardware store and are great for people who have frequent toilet clogs. Note here, they don’t work on toys, brushes or cell phones that may have fallen in and clogged the line… for that, you may need a professional as it could include needing to pull the toilet up.

Do you have a question you would like clarified? A plumbing related story to share? Please do!

Spring Drain Cleaning

drain_cta_revIs it time for spring drain cleaning yet? If you are itching to get some things in order, here are some helpful plumbing-related tips:
Give some love to your dishwasher and sink. Your dishwasher and kitchen sink are usually tied together and will affect each other. For example, if you put too much food into the disposal, it could back up into the dishwasher. Likewise, if you leave too much food on your dishes, it can clog the food trap in the dishwasher.

Clear the dishwasher of any food and run it empty, using baking soda or vinegar as the detergent. Freshen your disposal with a lemon peel and ice or with a commercial freshening agent like “Disposer Care”, found in the dish soap isle of the grocery store.
To prevent back-ups and clogs, scrape your plates into the trash or compost, rather than using the disposal or dishwasher to deal with the excess. Both appliances are really only designed to deal with “licked clean” plates.

To restore the sparkle of your faucet, a mix of half vinegar and half water can remove water spots and fingerprints. Be careful to not use an abrasive cleaning product or cleansing sponge that can damage your faucet or sink’s finish.

Water damage can be slow and sneaking and catastrophic- do a check of your plumbing around the house to find moisture. Hopefully it is dry, but if not, is something loose? Does it need a seal? Is there rust? Water can be very damaging, leaving mold, moisture and corrosion.

Remember to check:

  • Under the kitchen sink.
  • All bathroom sinks.
  • Caulking and grout around the tub and toilets and see if it needs to be repaired to prevent water damage.
  • Under and on top of the water heater- any moisture there?
  • Near the washing machine. How are the faucets? Hoses? Drain line?
  • The hose spigot outside- are there any visible cracks or dripping?
  • Are your gutters and downspouts clear? Are they able to release water without it damming?
  • How is your furnace and air-conditioning unit? Is it able to drain properly? Is it free of debris? Have you changed the filter?

Follow these drain cleaning pieces of advice and your drains will last longer. For more information, tips or questions, give us a call! 303-571-5114

Better drain cleaning than Drain-O

dreamstime_9750246I was listening to the radio the other day and the LMFAO song, “Party Rock Anthem” came on. Of course, I turned it up, because it lends itself to that. I was bouncing around in the rush hour traffic when all of a sudden, one line of the song rang out among the others. I felt an immediate need to jump on my computer and write a blog about the following statement: “Like Drain-o™ I got that devilish flow”.

Ok, that’s quite a stretch, but I’m PlumbingGirl and I can write about what I want.

In my opinion, there is nothing more devilish than chemical chemicals when it comes to drain cleaning. Webster’s defines “devilish” the following way: dev·il·ish, adjective, 1. of, like, or befitting a devil; diabolical; fiendish. 2. extreme; very great: a devilish mess.

Is there any other way to describe a product with the following warning label caution? (Bold is my emphasis)

Warnings: Poison: Keep out of reach of children. Poison: May be fatal or cause permanent damage if swallowed. Causes severe burns to eyes and skin. May cause blindness. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mouth and clothing. Always keep out of reach of children. Immediately give first aid. Eyes: Rinse immediately with water. Remove contact lenses, then flush eyes with water for at least 20 minutes. Swallowed: Rapidly rinse mouth, then immediately drink a glassful of milk or water. Do not induce vomiting. Skin: Remove affected clothing. Flush with water for 15 minutes. Then immediately call poison center, physician or emergency room. Keep out of reach of children.
Acute Health Effects: From MSDS Inhalation: None known. Eye Contact: Corrosive. May cause permanent eye damage. Skin Contact: Corrosive. May cause chemical burns. Ingestion: May be fatal if swallowed. May cause severe damage to the digestive tract. Medical Conditions Generally Aggravated by Exposure: None known.  Source:


Sorry for grossly misusing such a classic song out of context. However, I felt to make my point, it was important. Do you see what they say 3 times above? (hint: they don’t want it around children).

Garvin’s Sewer Service strongly discourages homeowners from using and/or storing chemical drain cleaning products. There are much better ways to go about drain cleaning

Garvin’s offers some less caustic products to prevent problems. And of course, we offer the absolutely Earth friendly drain-cleaning service known as “snaking” or “rooting”.

Thanks for listening,


PS. Toilet running? Just give the handle a WiggleWiggleWiggle- Yeah! 😉

Drain Cleaning Can Reduce Water Damage

dreamstime_xxl_31620048Water damage can happen after a water line break, heavy weather hits, sewer line or toilet backups, sprinkler issues and even, as a friend recently experienced, a fish tank mishap. Here’s some tips on what to do to limit water damage:

1. Turn water off. If the source of water can be stopped, do that first. Stop using your water system as soon as possible in the case of a plumbing related issue.

2. Avoid danger. Be careful of electrical hazards, sagging ceiling panels and other damaged items that could become hazardous.

3. Call a professional. There are many service providers who can help fast. Plumbers, Insurance Agents, Restoration companies, etc. are here to help.

4. Dry it out. Remove as much standing water as possible from hard surfaces such as furniture legs and hardwood floors. The sooner you can begin the drying process, the less damage you will experience to carpet padding, drywall, furniture and more.

5. Get a water alarm. Water alarms are small devices that can be placed anywhere you don’t want water damage. Many people place them near floor drains, under sinks, inside window wells, behind washing machines, etc. We sell them for $15, or you can find them at a hardware store.

If you need a Professional to help with any water damage issues, please check out our referral page or call us! (303) 571-5114


Cold Weather Tips Beyond Basic Drain Cleaning

dreamstime_xxl_29441130Even though we do drain cleaning and sewer repair every day, we’re interested in helping you deal with every aspect of your home’s plumbing…and beyond!


A special note from a friend:

Unless you live in the tropics or in the south, the COLD WEATHER IS COMING.

As a reminder, UNHOOK ALL HOSES and ANY OTHER DEVICES that are attached to outside faucets IMMEDIATELY and I mean NOW… because here in Colorado, is is Monday October 17th and the weather forecasters are telling us we should have our first hard freeze tonight.

I know this is a bit of a late notice, but tenants are responsible, like homeowners, for thinking about maintenance of their property at all times. We have already contacted various sprinkler companies to get in touch with tenants to get into the house, turn off the outside water and to blow out the sprinkler system..

Take this opportunity to check out the furnace filter… AND check the batteries in any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your property. It only takes ONE issue to cause terrible trouble, damage or death to your family.

Be sure your pets are properly taken care of — make sure the water in their bowls doesn’t freeze, and that they have adequate shelter to stay out of rain and snow (I am guilty of this – I saw all 4 of my doggies huddled under a small roof overhang this morning while they were getting drenched… poor little bugs).

Of course there are all kinds of things to prep your car for the winter…

Lastly, make sure YOU are prepared… maybe have a blanket and snow shovel and ice scraper in your car and maybe some cash tucked somewhere for food, gas, help, etc!

Enough “mothering” of everyone… enjoy the gorgeous fall colors if you get them where you live!
Genie Reynolds – Broker / Owner
Office/Fax – 303.622.6449 Cell – 303.881.1912

Thank you for your continued support and referrals!


Does Hard Water Affect Your Need For Drain Cleaning?

dreamstime_12124506Here is some great info from our friends over at Clear View Water. We have permission to repost this, and if you have any questions, contact them directly.

Healthy. Pure.

Families and Homeowners across Colorado continue to reach out to us with questions like “What are the signs of Hard Water in my home?” We hope these answers help!

Here are a few of the tell-tale signs of hard water:

  • Scale Build-up.
    Hard water allows soap to stick to shower doors, shower walls, tubs and faucets; which increases cleaning time and efforts.
  • Dry Skin.
    Hard water dries out skin and hair.
  • High Cleaning Costs.  Excessive hardness levels cause homeowners to
    use increased amounts of soaps and detergents for cleaning and bathing.
  • Etching and Spotting.  Glassware, pots and pans become scratched and
    have spotting due to hard water.
  • Damaged Appliances. Water heaters, pipes, faucets and dishwashers
    breakdown or fail when exposed to the daily effects of hard water.

The good news is that there is a green, sustainable solution to these hard water issues.  If you have questions about hard water in your home and want to learn more about our Whole House Anti-Scale System, please reach out to us at
303.801.7031 today!



Water, LLC

P.O. Box 181782

Denver, Colorado 80218