Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Sewer Line Contractor CATEGORY

Frank Alahwal is owner of F&A Plumbing and Rooter, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 523-0011 or by email.

Frank Alahwal

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Frank Alahwal: Plumbing Proprietor

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PACIFICA — Frank Alahwal always wanted to start a business—he just wasn’t sure what kind it would be. He certainly didn’t expect it to be a plumbing business, but that’s exactly how things turned out. “I first became interested in plumbing while helping a friend remodel investment properties,” he recounts. “I’d been in the restaurant business for nearly a decade at that point, so doing some hands-on work was a refreshing change of pace. We dabbled in several different trades, but plumbing was the one that really appealed to me. When my friend showed me how to solder pipes, I was fascinated. Eventually, I decided to pursue plumbing as a career and got a job with Roto-Rooter. Over the next few years, I continued to gain knowledge and experience until I finally got my license and started my own company.”

Today, as owner of F&A Plumbing and Rooter, Frank says he derives a lot of satisfaction from running his own business. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business, so when I decided to get into plumbing, that was my goal from day one. It’s just a passion of mine. Being a business owner can be very stressful, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

A resident of South San Francisco (where he lives with his wife, Kimberly), Frank expresses his appreciation for work and life in the city. “Workwise, I’m pretty lucky to be in such a central location—not only am I close to my vendors, I hardly ever have to cross a bridge to get to a job. I also enjoy the social perks of living in the city. Whether eating out with friends or going to the movies, there’s no shortage of things to do here.”

In his life and career, Frank espouses the importance of doing right by others. “If I could sum up my philosophy, it would be, ‘Don’t cut corners.’ I believe in respecting others, and a big part of respect is doing what you say you’re going to do. If you want to be truly successful in your life and career, you have to give 100 percent. If you try to cut corners, you’re not only going to let others down, you’re going to let yourself down as well.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Frank says he’d take an extended vacation. “Being a business owner, I don’t have many opportunities to get away, so that would be the first thing on my list. I’d probably head to a tropical location like Hawaii, Costa Rica or Tahiti—basically anywhere with a nice beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite types of movies?
A: I like smart thrillers and silly comedies.

Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: Dave Chappelle.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Chips—either Doritos or Cheetos.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Shot glasses. I get one every time I visit a new place.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A night owl, for sure.

Read more

How to Unjam a Garbage Disposal

Shares

PACIFICA — One of the most common plumbing problems in the kitchen is a clogged or jammed garbage disposal. While you may assume this requires the assistance of a plumber, in many cases, you can easily resolve the problem yourself.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: How to Unjam a Garbage Disposal

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

PACIFICA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your garbage disposal is jammed, don’t worry—with a simple procedure, you should be able to get it working again. Today we’re in… Read more

Fred Ramos is a 16-year veteran of the plumbing industry and owner of Star Rooter and Plumbing, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (510) 402-5764 or by email.

Fred Ramos

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Fred Ramos: A Family Connection

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN LORENZO — When asked how he got involved in the plumbing industry, Fred Ramos attributes it to a family connection. “Before becoming a plumber, I was a technician at a home automation company,” he remembers. “My family had been in the plumbing industry for a long time, and eventually they asked me to come over, learn the trade, and help run the family business. Today, I work alongside my wife and my brother, so it’s really a family affair. Even my niece, Jessica, works here as our secretary.”

As owner of Star Rooter and Plumbing, Inc., Fred says that after 20 years in plumbing, his favorite part of his job is being out in the field. “Even though I’m the company owner, I still do service calls. The fact is, I’ve never really liked being in the office—I’d much rather be out interacting with customers and doing hands-on work.”

Originally from Mexico, Fred resides today in Hayward with his wife and three children. Outside of work, he and his family spend the bulk of their free time tending to their ranch. “My family owns a ranch up in the hills, so I like going up there with the kids and riding horses,” he says. “We do some competing on the weekends, so between that and keeping things maintained, it takes up a good amount of time.” Besides horses, Fred’s other passion is baseball. “My kids play baseball and softball, so I enjoy practicing with them, as well as playing with friends every now and then.”

In regard to his professional career, Fred espouses the importance of addressing a multitude of aspects. “When you run a business, you have to be on top of everything,” he explains. “You have to serve the customers, oversee your crew and make sure you have all the right equipment…and that’s just the beginning! I think a big part of my company’s success is having good, hardworking guys who take pride in their work and care about the customers. Plus, when you’ve been doing this as long as we have, it gets to be a routine, so things tend to go pretty smoothly.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Fred says he’d pay a visit to his hometown. “I generally don’t do much traveling, but I do go to Mexico every so often to visit my hometown, Zacatecas. I still have relatives there, including my 94-year-old grandfather, so I enjoy going down and spending time with family and friends.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, mainly because I lived in Southern California for the first year I was in the United States.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The city—everything is around you, so you don’t have to go far to find it.

Read more

Trenchless Sewer Replacement

Shares

SAN LORENZO — In the past, when a sewer line needed to be replaced, it had to be fully excavated, which was an expensive, time-consuming process that carried the added bonus of disrupting one’s lawn, sidewalk and whatever else happened to be… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Streamlining Sewer Repairs

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

SAN LORENZO — Host, Sarah Rutan: While repairing a sewer line was once an arduous job, modern innovations have enabled plumbers to streamline the process. Today we’re… Read more

Jason Schlunt is a 11-year veteran of the plumbing and HVAC industries and owner of Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (844) 208-7715 or by email.

Jason Schlunt

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jason Schlunt: Part of the Family

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA CRUZ — Even though Jason Schlunt is co-owner of a family business, he hasn’t always been part of the family. “I got started in the plumbing and HVAC trades when I went into business with my father-in-law, Greg, who was just my girlfriend’s dad at the time,” he explains. “Prior to that, I did some consulting and worked a little in television. I knew I wanted to run my own business one day, so when Greg offered me the opportunity to partner with him, I accepted. Soon after, I married his daughter, so now I’m part of both the family and the family business.”

Today, as co-owner of Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air, Inc., Jason lists several aspects he enjoys about his adopted career. “It’s a good business to be in—it’s challenging, technical, and we get to help people make their homes more comfortable. Overall, it’s very satisfying in terms of what you come away with at the end of the day.”

A resident of Marin (where he lives with his wife, Chelsea, and their daughters, Brooklyn and Hazel), Jason expresses his appreciation for living and working in the North Bay Area. “As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I love being in a place with so much natural beauty that’s close to both the mountains and the ocean. From a business standpoint, there’s a good economy here. There are a lot of homeowners who are concerned about maintaining their homes, so that keeps us busy.”

Outside of work, Jason engages in a variety of active pastimes, both at home and abroad. “We like to travel, and we’ve been all over the world with the kids,” he says. “We also enjoy outdoor activities like biking and camping. Personally, I love surfing, which is one of the reasons Chelsea and I wanted to live somewhere close to the beach.” In addition to his nuclear family unit, Jason says he enjoys hanging out with his extensive extended family. “We have a huge family, with relatives spread all throughout the Bay Area, so there are a lot of get-togethers and activities. It seems like we’re doing something with someone almost every weekend.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Jason says his primary goal is earning the loyalty of his customers. “There’s no greater value for a business than having long-term customers. If all your customers are just one-timers who don’t ever return, it’s very hard to grow and succeed. That’s why I’ve always stressed the importance of customer service and satisfaction, because we want to have customers for life.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jason says he would find ways to keep himself occupied. “Even though I enjoy my free time because I get to travel and go biking, I like to stay busy as well, so I would probably get involved with a trade or business. I just don’t think I could sit still.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Watch a movie.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: I love Asian-style soups like ramen and pho.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: My family.

Read more

HVAC System Longevity

Shares

SANTA CRUZ — When it comes to assessing the condition of an HVAC system, age is a pertinent factor. I often meet clients who are proud to say they have a 50-year-old furnace that’s still working, despite not having been maintained. However,… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Importance of Filter Replacement

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

Host, Sarah Rutan: When caring for your home, you’ll need to learn how to maintain and change your filter. Today we’re with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor… Read more

Steve Schafer is a manager at Allstar Plumbing, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 290-9870 or by email.

Steve Schafer

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Steve Schafer: A Helping Heart

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

When Steve Schafer first got into plumbing, he was merely looking for a steady paycheck, but in the end, his career turned out to be more rewarding than he’d ever expected. “After being in construction for several years, I suddenly found myself out of work,” he remembers. “I heard that plumbers made pretty good money, so I applied for a job. After I got started, I found that I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the fact that I got to help people every day. I also enjoyed the problem-solving aspect. It wasn’t all leaky faucets—I really had to use my brain!”

Not long after starting in the industry, Steve got hired at Allstar Plumbing, where he continues to work 20 years later as a manager. After more than two decades as a plumbing professional, Steve says his favorite part of his job is still the opportunity to help people. “I enjoy being able to come out and ‘save the day’ for our customers. It’s always rewarding to bail someone out of a tough situation, and that’s what we get to do every day.”

A resident of Willow Glen, Steve expresses his appreciation for the positive attributes of his locale. “The weather is beautiful here and it’s a really diverse area. Being a suburb of San Jose, it’s not quite the city and not quite the country, so it’s a nice mixture. Plus, there’s a lot of old plumbing to fix, so there’s job security.”

Outside of work, Steve engages in a variety of hobbies and pastimes. “I like watching movies, playing guitar and hanging out with my dog, Zoey,” he says. “I also enjoy fishing and getting out and exploring the Bay Area—there’s certainly a lot to see.” Additionally, Steve likes to stay in touch with his daughter, Tyler, who resides in Washington.

In his life and career, Steve says his passion for helping others goes beyond being on the clock. “Besides helping people in our work, some of the other Allstar employees and I are involved with charitable causes like Sacred Heart’s Pack a Back program and Operation ELF. We also hold fundraising events for various charity organizations—things like barbecues, car washes and poker tournaments. That way, we’re able to both help people with their plumbing problems and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate in our community.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Henry’s World Famous Hi-Life in San Jose.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: I like them both—it just depends on what mood I’m in.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Movies.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “Tombstone.”

Q: What do you like on your pizza?
A: Pepperoni and extra cheese.

Read more

Caveats for Trenchless Sewer Replacement

Shares

SAN JOSE — Trenchless technology has made the process of sewer line replacement much quicker and simpler than it once was. This is especially true of instances where a sewer line runs underneath a driveway or lawn, as the trenchless method spares… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Trenchless Sewer Replacement Caveats

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Trenchless sewer replacement can be a great option if you have certain plumbing issues, but it’s not always a feasible solution. Today… Read more

Myles O’Dwyer is president of Pipe Spy Marin, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 890-6856 or by email.

Myles O'Dwyer

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Myles O’Dwyer: Pipe Guru

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LARKSPUR – It might come as a surprise to learn that Myles O’Dwyer’s turn as president of a plumbing service company was preceded by an extensive career in commercial finance. On the other hand, it explains a lot about the thriving success of his business. As Myles tells it, his newfound venture came as the result of a failed business merger. “I was in the process of negotiating a merger between a plumbing parts supplier and a service company, with a plan to combine them into a national franchise. When the parts supplier backed out, I went to work for the service company with an aim to improve its financial performance.” Benefitting from his business acumen, Pipe Spy expanded its operations to Marin in 2007, where Myles continues to run things today.

Originally from the Bay Area, Myles’ career in finance took him all over the United States, from Chicago to Connecticut to Los Angeles, before an opportunity arose for him to return to his native environment. Having spent several winters on the East Coast, Myles attests to a renewed appreciation for the temperate North Bay climate. “We still have our seasons, but it’s nothing like back east,” he affirms. “When I lived in Connecticut, the trees would lose all their leaves and just look like dead sticks for five months. It was depressing.”

While his career keeps him busy, Myles finds time to enjoy a variety of hobbies outside of work, from weekly basketball games to renovating classic cars and motorcycles, including his father’s 1934 Ford pickup. He also likes to keep up with his four daughters, all of whom are variously situated along the West Coast. “My oldest daughter is a kindergarten teacher in Seattle, Washington, my second-oldest is a chef in San Francisco, and I have a set of twins who are in college,” he proudly says. Myles also enjoys going out to support the football team of his Berkeley alma mater, the Cal Bears.

When asked what his future retirement might look like, the ever-ambitious Myles intimates that it’ll likely be the start of another enterprise altogether. “One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is get my PhD, so I’ll probably do that after I retire,” he says. “I haven’t decided whether to focus on business ethics or political science—I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: I remember the best double feature I ever went to: “Patton” and “MASH.”

Q: What kind of books do you like to read?
A: I like mysteries that have some kind of historical element to them, like The Da Vinci Code.

Q: Beatles or Rolling Stones?
A: Beatles—but actually, the Beach Boys are the best!

Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: Richard Pryor, Steve Martin and Robin Williams.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Oatmeal cookies.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: Every year I wore the same costume: the classic bed sheet ghost. It was very effective.

Read more

How to Prevent a Sewer Line Backup

Shares

LARKSPUR — Homeowners often don’t know they have an issue with their sewer line until it backs up inside their home. Fortunately, there are a couple of proactive measures you can take to prevent this from happening. One way to avoid… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Solutions to Sewer Line Backup

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

LARKSPUR — Host, Sarah Rutan: Preventing sewer line backup in your home is important. So today we’re in Larkspur with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Myles O’Dwyer… Read more

Ricardo Lopez is president of Superior Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (925) 331-0363 or by email.

Ricardo Lopez

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Ricardo Lopez: A Rewarding Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

RICHMOND — Ricardo Lopez was initially drawn to the plumbing trade by the pay, but it wasn’t long before he discovered the true rewards his career provided. “I was told that plumbers made good money, so I decided to start an apprenticeship with a local company,” he remembers. “The pay was good, but what I really liked about the job was the opportunity to help people, especially elderly customers who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. It felt very rewarding to be able to take care of people and provide an honest service. After five years working in the field, I decided to found my own business in 2002.”

Today, as owner of Superior Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Services, Ricardo says his first priority is providing top-notch customer service. “I personally train each of our employees in the way we present ourselves and serve our customers. To me, the most important thing is making sure every customer is satisfied, both with the work itself and the professionalism of our technicians.”

Originally from El Salvador, Ricardo resides today in Antioch with his wife, Fatima, and their two children. Outside of work, he spends his free time engaged in a variety of active pastimes. “My kids like the water, so we do a lot of swimming and boating at local lakes,” he says. “We also like to play basketball and soccer.” Additionally, Ricardo and his family make a point of traveling two to three times each year. “We regularly vacation at places like Cancun and Belize. Also, since my wife is from Mexico, we go to Guadalajara every January to see her family and take part in the holiday festivities.”

In regard to his professional career, Ricardo espouses the importance of taking care of people. “In addition to taking care of our clients, I believe in taking care of our employees,” he explains. “I try to make sure everyone who works for me is well-compensated and happy in their job. After all, when your employees are happy, they’re more likely to pass that on to customers in the form of good service, so it’s a great investment all in all.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Ricardo says he’d take an extended vacation. “I would take a month-long trip with my family, maybe to Cancun or my home country of El Salvador. It’d be nice to just take some time to relax and recuperate by the beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: CDs and digital music.

Q: What kinds of music do you like?
A: I like all kinds, especially upbeat music because I’m a happy person.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Granola bars.

Read more

A Solution for Water Pressure Issues

Shares

RICHMOND — If your home’s faucets, showerheads, and toilets are constantly dripping and running, it might be time to check your home’s water pressure. The recommended water pressure for residential homes is between 60 and 80 psi, so if yours reads… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Addressing Water Pressure Issues

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

RICHMOND — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your home’s plumbing fixtures are constantly running or dripping, this may be the result of a water pressure issue. To… Read more

Chad Ray is operations manager of Oak Plumbing Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 652-9121 or by email.

Chad Ray

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Chad Ray: Headfirst

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BENICIA — Not knowing whether he’d sink or swim, Chad Ray jumped headfirst into what would ultimately be a successful plumbing career. “While looking for a new job, I decided to answer a craigslist ad for a plumber’s assistant,” he relates. “I had no plumbing experience whatsoever, but I liked working with my hands, so it seemed like something I’d enjoy. On my first day, we did a trenchless sewer replacement. It was basically trial by fire, but I passed and totally fell in love with plumbing in the process.”

After gaining further experience as a laborer, Chad moved up to being a field technician and ultimately went into management. While working as a manager for a local plumbing company, he became friends with a technician named Matt Harris, who had a dream of starting his own company. Not long after, Matt invited Chad to be a part of that dream, and Oak Plumbing Inc. was born.

Today, as operations manager of Oak Plumbing, Chad says his favorite part of his job is equipping his technicians to better serve customers. “My job is to support our technicians and set them up for success in the field. I love seeing the results of the customer service training I do with my technicians. Each time we get a 5-star review from a customer, I know I’ve done my job.”

A resident of Rocklin (where he lives with his fiancé, Jennifer, and stepdaughter, Alyssa), Chad spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I’m an avid bowler and golfer,” he details. “I also enjoy spending time with my family. Most of the time, we do whatever my stepdaughter wants to do, whether it’s eating at John’s Incredible Pizza Company or spending a day at Six Flags.”

In his life and career, Chad espouses the impact of everyday goodwill. “I believe random acts of kindness will change the world, because they have a tendency to spread and grow exponentially,” he explains. “For me, it all comes down to helping others and treating them fairly. In terms of running my business, this means focusing on customers rather than revenue, which I think is the formula for a truly successful company.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chad says he’d head to the nearest golf course. “Since we’re still a young company, work is pretty much my life at the moment, which is fine—I consider it an investment in my future. That said, if I were to retire, the first thing I’d do is play 36 holes of golf, uninterrupted. I’d turn off my phone and leave my headset at home. It would be glorious.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Dallas Cowboys.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Sacramento.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: The country.

Q: If you could talk to anyone living or dead, who would you choose?
A: Nikola Tesla. His ideas were so revolutionary and I think he had a unique understanding of how the world operates.

Read more

The Larger Implications of a Recurrent Line Backup

Shares

BENICIA — If you have a recurrent problem with your sink or toilet backing up, you may have purchased Drano® or a similar product to remedy the situation. However, it’s likely you’re dealing with a much bigger problem than can be resolved… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Two Steps to Maintain Your Water Heater

Shares
Complete Video Transcription:

BENICIA — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to maintaining your water heater, two simple steps can go a long way toward maximizing its operating lifespan. Today we’re… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES