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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!

 

 

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

 

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.

Outdoor

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

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

Groceries

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.

Travel

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: http://www.ready.gov/kit

Why do I always need sewer repair during the holidays?

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

ANNOYING, Right?!

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.

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.

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.