You’ll Need A Sewer Snake If You Send This Stuff Down The Drain

video_ctaAt Garvin’s, we fully understand that you’re in a delicate situation when you call us for emergency sewer service. The stuff that you thought you’d never see again has come back to haunt you, and we’ve seen more than one person turn red from embarrassment when we point out what “that used to be.”

So we’re here today to tell you how to avoid us needing to bring the sewer snake into your home and send the bad stuff one its way. Taking this little bit of advice could save you tons of embarrassment (and money) down the line.

Offender #1: Grease — Grease might seem innocuous enough. After all, it went down the drain, so it’s gone forever, right? Nope. While you might have sent it down the drain when it was warm, it quickly cools down and congeals. You might send hot water down and it liquefies again, only to cool into a big white blob. And one time you send really hot water down and it makes its way to the sewer line. But there comes a point at which all hot water cools before it gets to the blob, and it just sits there. And sits there. And it starts collecting stuff, stuff you thought you’d never see again.

Offender #2: Toilet paper — We’re not telling you to not use toilet paper. In fact, please use toilet paper! But there are better toilet papers out there. Some break down quickly, other’s just stick around to get caught by the grease monster we mentioned up above. Check out Consumer Reports for the best toilet paper to buy, which includes how fast each disintegrates.

These are just two of the top offenders that clog up your drains and sewer lines and eventually require the use of a sewer snake.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned! Avoid flushing or pouring these things into your sewer system and you could save a whole lot of problems in the future. But if these things have already happened, don’t worry…the chances of it being something we’ve never seen before are slim. We won’t embarrass you, so give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!



What’s The Difference Between Drain Cleaning And Sewer Cleaning?

drain cleaning vs. sewer cleaningYou know, we provide drain and sewer cleaning services every day. So while simple differences in our industry might be obvious to us, we have to remind ourselves that they’re not always obvious to the customer. (It’s true of every industry; if you’re in insurance, a lawyer, or work in a factory you’d probably be surprised at the terms used in those jobs that we don’t know!)

So we don’t mind you asking “what the difference between drain cleaning and sewer cleaning?”


Drains are the part of your waste-water system that is mostly in your house. These include your sinks, down through the p-traps, and to the sewer line. It also includes the drains that go from your toilet to the sewer line. Drains will not have roots in them as a sewer line would, but instead are clogged with what you send down the sinks, whether perfectly normal or downright embarrassing. A single drain can be clogged, which is usually a fairly easy fix with physical drain cleaning. When most of the drains are clogged or running slow, then your problem is probably with the…


The sewer line is the part of your water system that takes all the water from the drains and send it on its way out of your house and into the common sewer line that your city treats. Sewer lines are larger than your drains, but they have two reasons to require sewer cleaning. First, they can accumulate all of the stuff you’ve flushed or poured down the drain, and the problem usually starts with grease from a kitchen sink. They also have to contend with tree roots that are getting into the joints looking for water and nutrients.

No matter whether you need simple drain cleaning or sewer cleaning that requires rooter service, we can help. Give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call when your water is running slow.



What Are The Signs Of  A Broken Sewer Line And How Can A Sewer Service Help?


dreamstime_xxl_44894370The beginning of a broken sewer line can be surprisingly subtle. Most people think that one day everything is fine and the next that your bathroom floor is covered in raw sewage.

The good thing is, there are signs to watch out for before bad things start coming back up your sink. And the right sewer service can help you repair them quickly.

Bad Odors: Drain traps are there to prevent gasses from coming back into your home. Most of the time they work amazingly well, but if your wastewater isn’t going away like it should, then some of that foul-smelling water can get back into your home and cause an odor. The same is true with any open drains you might have, such as in the room with your water heater.

Lawn Problems: Are you aware of where your sewer lines are? They’re often in your front yard, heading from your home to the main sewer lines under the street (the city can tell you where they are). If there’s a correlation between the location of your sewer lines and lawn indentations, soggy spots, or strange patterns in your grass, you might have a broken sewer line.

Persistent Clogging: This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s something that far many people ignore for far too long. If one drain in your home is slow, you probably don’t have a problem and just need drain cleaning. If it’s just sinks but the toilets are fine, same thing…you might just need need drain cleaning service. But if every drain, including your toilets, are slow or are persistently clogging, you might need sewer pipe repair.

Call Garvin’s when you think you might have a broken sewer line. We can confirm your need for sewer pipe repair with our sewer camera, or tell you if you just need a good sewer cleaning with our rooter service. Either way, you’re in good hands. Contact us today for a quote!




Simplify Simplify Simplifying our drain and sewer cleaning services


I put this word on my vision board this year and had no idea how it would come about other than to remind me to say “no” more.

And for those of you waiting to hear — HERE IS MY BIG NEWS:

I decided to simplify, get back to basics and close down the plumbing department for restructuring.

For years Garvin’s has offered Sewer Cleaning and Plumbing services. Our drain cleaning department has usually had around 18 technicians and generates about 80% of our revenue. Our Plumbing Department has usually been about 5 technicians and has generated less than 20% of our revenue. To be absolutely honest, we have run in the red in our Plumbing Department for most months in the last 5 years (I can’t speak to the time before I began and have never seen those financials).

We also have had 5 managers in that department during the same time. This has been mostly because, in my opinion, we never set a sound foundation — no goals, no clear strategies — frankly, it has been mismanaged and has not producing the level of skill and service our drain-cleaning customers had come to expect over the last 70 plus years.

And so, we are currently handling the following types of work:

As usual: Residential and Commercial Drain Cleaning and Sewer Scopes of all kinds


Toilets: Replacing wax rings, installing a toilet (including removing/replacing an existing one), toilet leaks, inside the tank issues, toilet seats and handles, supply lines and shut offs on the toilets

Sinks: Replacing pop-ups, p-traps and any pipes that can be seen

Kitchen Sinks: Install or replace disposal, p-traps and any pipes that can be seen and basket strainers

Water Heater replacements

Clean out installations will be on a case by case basis


Look for our New & Improved Plumbing Department re-launch in 2015!


Of course, if you have any questions about this change, or have comments, please contact our main office at 303. 571. 5114


Kris Jordan, GM

The Value of Business Networking in the sewer cleaning industry

dreamstime_6349709Hey, we can’t talk about sewer cleaning and drain cleaning all the time! Sometimes we have to talk business. And when we do…

What is Business Networking and how does it benefit the customer?

Business Networking is basically relationship building for businesses. Take for example: you walk into your partner’s office party. You start talking to someone. You hit it off. Not in a romantic way, but more in a, “Wow, were we separated at birth and my actual sibling is from outer space just like I suspected?” kind of way.

Business Networking is similar. It’s like when you meet someone who has knowledge and insight you want. Or maybe they have connections to the same type of clients you have, or maybe connections to resources you need that you don’t know where to look for. (Like a trustworthy accountant or a lawyer to write up a specific contract.)

How does this benefit the customer?

In lots of ways actually. Do you benefit from Google or an Internet search Engine? Do you care about the content or results you get or are you fine with just anything- just the first thing that pops up? Doesn’t it depend on the size of the commitment to the thing you are looking for?

For example, if you search “restaurant”, and you are just hungry and in a neighborhood you aren’t familiar with, you are going to go with the result that makes sense in that moment. You will choose “Mama’s Pizza” two blocks away if you want pizza, and you will choose “Lou’s Latin Cuisine” three blocks away if you want that. It is low risk, low commitment, easy choice.

However, if you search “restaurant”, and you are wanting the perfect anniversary dinner, you may click the links to look at the pictures. You may read the reviews and look at the menu or wine list. You may be willing to travel farther, spend more money, maybe even call ahead for a reservation. It is a higher risk, higher commitment and a slightly harder choice.

When a business owner does networking, they are basically deciding who to give business too. We aren’t talking a $20 dinner, we could be talking about a $3000 catering event. We aren’t talking about a couple having a nice date night, we could be talking about sending our very own clients to this restaurant- clients we have nurtured a relationship with, who, if we steer wrong could hurt that very connection we worked so hard to build. High risk, high commitment, hard choice.

Yet, when businesses take the time to network, they build really high-quality relationships that make the customer’s life better. Because now, instead of just fixing the plumbing on their house, they can suggest someone to install that ceiling fan sitting in the garage, or a great carpet cleaner who can take care of the fantastic Oriental Rug in the dining room.

Businesses that network are customer service powerhouses!

If you would like more information about Business Networking, check out

Unless you want to call us for sewer cleaning, post this For Your Guests this Holiday Season

UNsht-ball_blue_1Please post in a conspicuous place everywhere appropriate for your guests and/or kitchen helpers to see this holiday season. There are 2 VERSIONS of this Holiday Guest Decree- version 1 is uncensored and version 2 is polite. You may even request guests sign in before entering your home. If you don’t you might be calling us for drain and sewer cleaning when you’d rather be napping on the couch:

VERSION 1: Holiday Guest Decree – Uncensored

  1. I will NOT put potato peels, sweet or otherwise into the garbage disposal. Furthermore, I will not put carrot peels, green beans, yams, rutabagas, lettuce, celery or any other vegetable in the sink drains.
  2. Repeat: “I will use the trash can. I will use the trash can. I will use the trash can.” This is your new mantra.
  3. I will NOT put grease, cooled or hot, down the drain. Furthermore, I will not put fat trimmed from meat, skins of poultry, nor organs or any other tough, chewy, stringy or otherwise disgusting thing into the disposal.
  4. Repeat your new mantra again.
  5. I will NOT flush anything that did not go through my digestive system within the last 24 hours. This includes: massive amounts of toilet paper, feminine products whether new or used, any meats or vegetables as listed above, toys of any kind, cellphones (remove them from pockets BEFORE sitting), glasses, dentures, jewelry, travel sized bottles of anything, including shooters of your favorite holiday vodka.
  6.  Repeat your new mantra 3 times.
  7. Enjoy your stay at my Plumbing Health Conscious Home!


VERSION 2: Holiday Guest Decree – Polite

  1. Thou shalt not use the garbage disposal for any purpose whatsoever. Thou shalt use the trash can for ALL scraps & leftovers, whether created during preparation of the holiday feast or in excess of. This includeth all the grains that growth on the land, whether fruit, vegetable or grain. Furthermore it includeth all animals that live on land, all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams that have fins and scales. These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground, and even the ground and its bounty. And tofu. Anything anyone would have on a plate or cutting board at anytime, thou shalt put in the trash.
  2. Thou shalt not use the lavatory drains for any purpose other than natural bodily process and a discreet amount of cleansing tissue. Foreign objects of any and all type, thou shalt not allow to contaminate the drainage system.
  3. As for me and my house, we will use the trash cans!


Follow these rules and your need for sewer service in Denver will be much less likely. And when it is needed, give us a call!

Are you sabotaging your sewer system in a way that will require sewer repair?

dreamstime_xxl_10290097Fatbergs and BTP: Are you sabotaging your system?

Have you heard the expression “set up to fail”? It would be used in the case of a new staff person who isn’t provided with training or expectations; and it could be used in the case of Fatbergs and BTP.

What is a Fatberg? What is BTP?

Fatberg was a recently coined phrase I came across in an article. Basically, the word is used to describe a ball of grease and wet wipes found clogging a sewer line. Shortly after that article ran, a second popped up, thus prompting a need for me to write this article.

BTP, on the other hand, is an acronym I created over a year ago that stands for Bad Toilet Paper. I define bad toilet paper as “Ultra” types that absorb water and dissolve so very slowly, they are more likely to clog sewer lines than flush through. It also describes that brown paper bag type toilet paper found in gas stations, but I digress. You can read more about Bad Toilet Paper Here.

If you are using “Ultra” style toilet papers and/or personal cleansing wipes, you are setting your sewer line up to fail. If you need proof, take a piece of toilet paper and put it in a glass of water and see how long it takes to dissolve. Do the same for a wipe. This is especially true if you have a low flush toilet.

Remember, you may be saving water, but by the time these products get to the city sewer line, or to your septic system, they are BIG trouble. The city is now needing to use extra water to push the items through and, I read, some cities are needing to purchase specialized equipment to grind up these items. Your tax dollars are being used to grind up products that are flushable, but not breaking down well.

Little Johnny can flush G.I. Joe’s all day long, but you don’t want them down the drain! They are technically flushable, but they are NOT good for the system, just like wipes and BTP.

Additionally, any product that can be thrown in the trash instead of put down the drain, should. So this would include feminine products, household cleansing wipes (those used for counters and glass), coffee grounds and more. These things will all eventually lead to the need for sewer repair.

If you have questions comments or just want to talk, please give us a call!




How to Plumbing FAILS! – Should you try your own sewer cleaning?

Ok, so tons of people every day are looking for ways to save money on their Do-It-Yourself Home Projects.

And, I think there are lots of very valid things you can do.

However, there are some you should not because:

1. You frankly just have no clue and no amount of YouTube How To Plumbing Videos are going to help you

2. Some things really do require professionals due to codes and permits and that pesky thing called “law”

3. It is easier and even cheaper to hire someone

For more on this, see my blog titled, “DIY Plumbing” which goes into more detail of the things that are appropriate and NOT appropriate in How To Plumbing, Do It Yourself Projects.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

So, instead of installing a drain pipe, the toilet bowl (which, yes, leads to a perfectly good drain), is acting as the p-trap for this wash basin. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Who cares it’s ugly, marginally functional and inconvenient… it’s more inconvenient to pull the dang thing and actually pipe it… stupid basin!

Before you consider watching a How to Plumbing Video

Before even typing How to Plumbing into the search bar

Before trying to do it yourself, ask yourself,

And more important, answer honestly:

When do I know it is time to call a professional?



Do you have any stories or pictures of your own that were complete How to Plumbing fails?

We would LOVE to see them and HEAR the stories! Thanks for sharing!

Fun story for Realtors – A Gift From Your Local Sewer Cleaners!

A special Realtor’s® Edition MadLib®

Created by Plumbing Girl at Garvin’s Sewer Service


Hey Realtor® Friends! Fill out the blanks below BEFORE reading the story. After you have filled in the blanks, apply your answers to the corresponding blanks in the story following. Have fun!


  1. Location: _______________
  2. Person or thing: _______________
  3. Verb: _______________ (an action word)
  4. Verb: _______________
  5. Noun: _______________ (a person, place or thing)
  6. Noun: _______________
  7. Verb: _______________
  8. Adjective: _______________ (a word to describe something, ie. Blue, crazy, soft)
  9. Plural Noun: _______________
  10. Plural Noun: _______________
  11. Plural Noun: _______________
  12. Adjective: _______________
  13. Plural Noun: _______________
  14. Exclamation: _______________
  15. Adjective: _______________
  16. Plural Noun: _______________
  17. Number: _______________
  18. Unit of measure: _______________
  19. Number: _______________
  20. Form of currency: _______________
  21. Adverb: _______________ (this is a word usually ending in ‘ly’ that describes a verb, ie. quietly)
  22. Verb: _______________
  23. Adjective: _______________

Now, insert the above words into the following silly story you just created!


The BEST way to buy a house

By: (insert your name here)

The following is for entertainment purposes only. Consult a lawyer before using this as actual advice. *giggle*


The best way to buy a home in __1.__ is to first start by hiring a __2.__. These folks really know how to __3.__ for the best possible outcome. The first thing your Realtor will do is __4.__ the __5.__ of your __6.__. Then, they will help you __7.__ what is best for your __8.__ situation.

He or she will then ask you a series of questions like, “Do you have __9.__?”

“How many __10.__ are you interested in?”

“Do you prefer __11.__ or __12.__ __13.__?”

And “What is your price range?”

To which most first time home buyers respond, “__14.__”.

Although some also ask, “Will there be room for my __15.__ __16.__?”

“I’m really looking for __17.__ __18.__”

And, “Price range? Um, __19.__ __20.__”.

We hope with this advice, you will now be able to __21.__ __22.__ your __23.__ home.

Good luck!

How does plumbing work, and when do I need sewer service?

dreamstime_xxl_15298535How does my plumbing system work?


Hey Folks!

So many times we get calls from customers who just don’t get how their home’s plumbing & waste system works. Today, I am here to help!

First, plumbing is made up of two main systems: water and waste

First the difference between a water system and waste system are:

1. Water systems transport clean water through your house. This is would be water to sinks, bath tubs, toilets, washing machines, water heaters, and outdoor spigots and sprinklers.

2. Waste systems transport dirty water away from your house. These would be where drains are found- all connected to the above water systems listed above.

If you are like me, you remember anatomy class. (You betcha, I remember! *wink*) And you remember un-oxygenated blood flows to the heart (blue), and oxygenated blood flows away from it (red).

This is kinda like how your plumbing system works. Clean water flows in (blue), and dirty water flows out (red).

If we pretend a washing machine is a heart, we see clean water fill up the basin and wash the clothes, and when it empties, the water runs into the drain. Blue in, red out.

The difference for Garvin’s is whether we send someone with skills and training in plumbing (clean water blue) or in drain cleaning (dirty water red) and sewer service. There is different training for each specialty, so, we separate the departments. This helps customers get the very best skill set to take care of their unique problem, don’t cha know.

Simple enough so far? Here’s the next anatomy lesson:

The sewer line is like a spine. It is typically 4” in diameter and runs from your house out to a city main or septic tank. The sewer line has a vent pipe that runs all the up to your roof. (Which is why sometimes you hear people say they will go from the roof vent).

Off of the sewer line, sprout secondary lines within the house, which are usually 2” lines. These would be like arms and legs. These lines run off the sewer line to all the different drains in your house, so like, a bathtub and sink, etc. They may be connected to each other vertically, like a bathroom on the first and second floors, OR they can be connected horizontally, like a bathtub and toilet in the same bathroom.

Sometimes an arm AND a leg have a problem, and they both need attention. An example would be a plugged kitchen sink and a plugged bathtub.

Other times, when something is wrong with two areas, the problem is most likely, in this sewer analogy, the spine. We can determine this by seeing if a drain in one area affected, or if toilets being flushed make the problem worse. If toilets worsen the problem, or if they are the point of the backup, it is the sewer that is blocked and will need sewer cleaning. (We can check that with our sewer scope.) Holy buckets! Then you can have a mess!

Sewer lines back up at the lowest part of the house- this could be a basement floor drain, basement or lowest floor bathroom (tub or toilet). When a toilet starts gurgling on a lower level,  that could be a sign you are going to have a sewer backup.

Call us and we can walk you through determining what your plumbing problem might be! In the Greater Denver and Boulder areas, call 303-571-5114.


Got any other questions for me?

Comment here or on Facebook, e-mail AskPlumbingGirl @