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

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Sewer Line Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Pipe Spy Marin, Inc. (2012)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a sewer line contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified sewer line company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated sewer line specialist and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Marin County – Sewer Line Contractor CATEGORY

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.

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How to Prevent a Sewer Line Backup

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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

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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

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Kohler

  • Lennox

  • Moen

  • TOTO

  • Daiken

  • Mitsubishi

  • Noritz

  • QuietCool

residential septic lines
industrial septic lines
industrial sewer lines
residential septic lines
residential sewer pipes
commercial sewer lines

sewer line cleaning
sewer drain cleaning
septic line maintenance
sewer line tree roots removal
sewer line repiping
sewer line repair
sewer line replacement
sewer line installation
clogged pipe cleaning
sewer pipe lining
sewer line inspection
trenchless sewer line replacement

Almonte
Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Bolinas
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Dogtown
Fairfax
Forest Knolls
Greenbrae
Ignacio
Inverness
Kent Woodlands
Kentfield
Lagunitas
Larkspur
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Marinwood
Marshall
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Nicasio
Novato
Olema
Point Reyes Station
Ross
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sausalito
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamal
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda
Tiburon
Tomales
Woodacre

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Know What You Want
What Do You Want from Marin County Sewer Line Contractors?

You may not always know right away that you need a sewer line contractor. But if clogs, blocks and backups keep occurring, you will want to call in a professional sewer line company representative to give you a diagnosis.

As you prepare to call in a sewer line contractor in Marin County, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
You will be better prepared if you have a list of questions. That way, you know what questions you have to focus on, and you will feel confident that all of the sewer line companies you’ve talked with can and have addressed the same questions.

The following list of questions might be helpful.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified sewer line replacement company that is rated Highest in Quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Is there a pattern of recurring problems with my sewer line, or is this the first time I’ve experienced problems?
  3. Do I know whether my house has cleanouts or not? And where they are located?
  4. How long has the problem been happening?
  5. Is the problem based around a single fixture, or are multiple fixtures involved? For example, is the toilet backing up into the tub?
  6. Are there external signs of a problem, such as toilet paper in the yard?
  7. Do I use the city sewer system or do I have a septic tank?
  8. Are there trees or bushes growing along the area where the sewer line runs?
  9. Is it important to me to save any trees or shrubs that are affecting my sewer line?
  10. Are my sewer lines isolated or are they close to gas lines or clean water lines?
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What To Ask In Person
Asking Marin County Sewer Line Contractors Questions in Person

Once you’ve made some initial phone calls, you should be able to narrow down your list to three to five sewer line contractors who can meet your sewer line repair needs and offer the customer service you want.

In most cases, you will meet your Marin County sewer line contractor in person when the company comes to write an estimate. All sewer line repair and replacement situations are unique, so the sewer line contractors will almost certainly need to see your property and any landscaping in the work area to get a good idea of potential causes of the problem.

The contractor will probably also want to see the sewer pipe layout and where the city sewer hook-up is in reference to your line.

It makes sense to expect good sewer line contractors to take a look before offering an estimate. When the sewer line contractor comes, you may want to ask some questions so that you get a good idea of how the contractor decided on the recommendations made. Having questions prepared in advance can be helpful in the midst of a stressful situation.
Some questions like the following might make sense.

  1. Do you think you can perform trenchless replacement here? Or will a trench be required?
  2. If we cannot find a cleanout, or I know I don’t have one, what fixture or other option will you use to access the sewer line?
  3. How close is my property to the city sewer hook-up? Will there be extra costs to connect to it?
  4. Can you help me locate a cleanout?
  5. Do you see any problems with the current landscaping and the run of the sewer line? Do I need to consider removing brush or trees?
  6. How long do you think the job will take?
  7. Can you access the site with whatever equipment you need to perform the repair?
  8. How quickly can you start the job?
  9. If you are making a repair, not a replacement, will that area of the pipe be more vulnerable to future damage?
  10. Why are you recommending a replacement – can you just repair the portion of the sewer line that is damaged?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Local Sewer Line Contractors in Marin County and the Greater Bay Area

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified sewer line contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a sewer line contractor in Marin County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company.

    Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified sewer line contractor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your sewer line contractor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the sewer line contractor are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process.

    That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. How long has the sewer line repair or sewer line replacement been installed? Have you noticed any problems after the service visit?
    2. Did your contractor clearly explain why a replacement was required instead of a repair?
    3. What was the issue? How could you tell you needed a sewer line repair or replacement as opposed to removing a one-time block?
    4. Did you have an open trench repair? Or did you use trenchless repair methods?
    5. Did you have problems with tree or brush roots? Did you remove the tree or brush as part of the solution, or are they still in place? If they are in place, are they likely to cause further problems?
    6. For any trenches or openings made on your property – were they properly filled after the job was finished? Were you satisfied with the state your property was left in?
    7. I don’t have a cleanout. Do you? If not, how was your sewer line accessed?
    8. Did the sewer line contractor work with the proper authorities to help you get any required permits?
    9. Did the sewer line contractor explain the materials being used, how long they should last, their environmental impact?
    10. Were you satisfied with the sewer line contractor’s work? Why or why not?
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  • Review Your Options
    Verify Your Marin County Sewer Line Contractor’s Performance Against the Estimate and Invoice

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    The written estimate and contract must outline the extent of what will happen to your property. Get the estimate and contract written in as much significant detail as possible. For example: “open two holes, insert PVC liner, steam liner into place, remove bladder after liner is cured,” is better than:” install trenchless replacement.”

    The additional details ensure you know what is covered and what is not. You are then in a better position to check off what has been completed and what has not been. Don’t be timid about examining the work, if you want to.

    Cameras should allow you to see into the pipes to be sure that they are no longer blocked, or that the new liner runs the complete length of the pipes.

    Always make sure the written contract covers how your property is to be restored after the repair – for example, all holes refilled and leveled. Make sure that your property is in the state you expected it to left in before you pay your final invoice.

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  • How To Work With
    Before Deciding to Hire a Marin County Sewer Line Contractor

    When you are thinking about which Marin County sewer line contractor to hire, be sure to do a little preparation. Ask two or more contractors for written estimates. Don’t work with a contractor who won’t provide you with a written estimate.

    Look for sewer line contractors in your area who show expertise and experience in working with sewer lines and situations like yours. Be sure the sewer line contractor is licensed. You can verify that the license is current and that there are no complaints against it by going to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website.

    Find out a physical address for the company and verify that it is real. It’s best to have several ways to contact a firm, and a brick and mortar presence can always be your last resort. If a contractor is only available by mobile phone, carefully consider how legitimate the company is.

    Once You’ve Decided on Your Marin County Sewer Line Contractor
    You and your Marin County sewer line contractor need to be on the same page. Be sure you ask about how the problem was diagnosed. A camera will most often be used to pinpoint the exact problem. Don’t accept “guesstimates.” A proper contractor will take the time to locate the specific problem. If the sewer line contractor suggests several steps – such as jet cleaning the pipe before the camera is used – always ask whether there are additional charges.

    Ask your Marin County sewer line contractor if a trench is required or if you can use less invasive methods. If you want trenchless techniques, ask about them. If a trench is required, be sure your sewer line contractor clearly explains why a trench is the only method that will work.

    Be sure to agree with your sewer line contractor about the expected state of your property after the repair. Do you want holes and trenches filled and level, for example. Make sure you understand what part of replacing the landscaping, if any, the sewer line contractor will perform. They most likely will only be responsible for filling the trenches, but make sure you understand what they will and won’t do.

    Do you have trees or shrubs close to your sewer line? Do you want to save the trees or shrubs? Can the sewer line contractor remove roots that are causing the problem, for example, without killing the tree? Do the trees or brush have to be removed completely to prevent further recurrences of the problem?

    Be clear about whether you want to save a tree or whether you are fine with it being removed. In some cases, you may have no option but to remove the tree. Again, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your Marin County sewer line contractor, whether you live in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Novato, Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Marin, Woodacre, Corte Madera, or Sausalito.

    Making the Job Easier for a Marin County Sewer Line Contractor
    Steps you take can make the job go more easily for your Marin County sewer line contractor. If possible, locate your cleanout or cleanouts. If you can, discover where the gas pipes and clean water lines are so that you are sure they are not placed near your sewer line.

    If the sewer line contractor will be working from a cleanout in the house, clear the path to it. If there are weeds obstructing an outdoor cleanout, try to remove them before the job begins.

    Make sure your expectations are outlined in the written estimate and contract. For example, if you expect trees to be saved, get it in writing. Get as much as you can in writing before the job starts – don’t come up with new issues in the middle of the project. Be available to answer your sewer line contractor’s questions.

    If unexpected things crop up, the sewer line contractor will need to be able to get in touch with you to make decisions.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Sewer Line Contractor Customer?

    It’s the sewer line contractor’s responsibility put in quality sewer lines using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your sewer line contractor, too.

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County sewer line contractor.
    Be clear and upfront with the sewer line contractor. Let them know what you want from your sewer line contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.

    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a sewer line contractor in Marin County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the sewer line contractor’s representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local sewer line contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your sewer line contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re working on the sewer line. The work will move along more smoothly if your sewer line contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the sewer line contractor on schedule.
    • Pay for the sewer line contractor’s work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Sewer line contractors in Marin County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with.

    Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

    Read moreRead less
Check The Work
How Can You Be a Good Sewer Line Contractor Customer?

It’s the sewer line contractor’s responsibility put in quality sewer lines using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your sewer line contractor, too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County sewer line contractor.
Be clear and upfront with the sewer line contractor. Let them know what you want from your sewer line contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.

It’s the sewer line contractor’s responsibility put in quality sewer lines using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your sewer line contractor, too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County sewer line contractor.
Be clear and upfront with the sewer line contractor. Let them know what you want from your sewer line contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.

  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
  • Before you hire a sewer line contractor in Marin County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the sewer line contractor’s representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local sewer line contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Ask your sewer line contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
  • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re working on the sewer line. The work will move along more smoothly if your sewer line contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
  • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the sewer line contractor on schedule.
  • Pay for the sewer line contractor’s work promptly.

Why would you want to be a good customer? Sewer line contractors in Marin County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with.

Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

Read moreRead less
Written Warranties
Top Service Requests Asked of Marin County Sewer Line Contractors

You often call your sewer line contractors when you are at your most frantic. The best sewer line contractors in Marin County, whether in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, Larkspur, Sausalito, Fairfax, or Belvedere, respond promptly and with expertise.

Many even offer services designed to help prevent emergencies.

Waste in Bathtub
Sometimes, attempting to clear a toilet drain results in waste backing up into the bathtub. This is a sign that you need to have your sewer lines checked.

You often call your sewer line contractors when you are at your most frantic. The best sewer line contractors in Marin County, whether in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, Larkspur, Sausalito, Fairfax, or Belvedere, respond promptly and with expertise.

Many even offer services designed to help prevent emergencies.

Waste in Bathtub
Sometimes, attempting to clear a toilet drain results in waste backing up into the bathtub. This is a sign that you need to have your sewer lines checked.

Hydro-Jetting
Hydro-jetting is a technique used to clear pipelines of grease or other debris that can build up over time. Some contractors recommend that hydro-jetting be an annual process so that the pipes remain clear, especially on rentals and commercial properties.

Sewage Smell Abatement
Unfortunately, one of the indicators of a broken sewer line can be a smell of sewage. Sewer line contractors and plumbers should come and assess the smell and the pipes before drawing up a contract to address the problem.

Toilet Flush Properly
When the toilet will not flush properly, it can be a sign of greater problems. Of course, sometimes a simple plunger can remove a temporary blockage. But if your toilet continues to backup frequently or you cannot plunge the matter away, you may need a sewer line repair or replacement.

Sewer Line Repair
Not every problem is going to require a replacement of the entire sewer line. Sometimes a pipe is cracked or broken in such a way that only a small portion of the pipe needs to be replaced. A sewer line repair is warranted in such cases.

Sewer Line Replacement
Sometimes the damage to the sewer line is so comprehensive that the whole line must be replaced. If you have old, clay-based piping, it will be replaced, not repaired, since the clay piping does not meet the current standards. When evaluating repair vs. replacement, keep in mind that having to place multiple patches on the pipe over time can add up.

Replace Septic System
If you have a septic tank, you are responsible for emptying it. Some prefer to not have that burden. In cases where the municipal system is available, you can have your septic tank replaced with a sewer line that connects you to the municipal sewer system and frees you from one burden.

Slow Draining Toilet or Tub
If the water drains slowly from your toilet or tub, there may be a blockage or damage to the sewer line. Of course, the first step is to try to remove any blockage. If that does not solve the problem, check for breaks and breaches in the sewer line.

Tree Roots
Trees seek out water and are attracted to your sewer pipe. On occasion, tree roots can penetrate the pipes. The root balls can create blockages that must be removed. The pipes must then be repaired or replaced.

Video Inspection
Cameras exist that allow your plumber or contractor to look down your sewer line for breaks obstructions. If other measures are failing, you might want to have someone examine your pipes with a camera so that you can identify the problem.

Read moreRead less
Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests Asked of Marin County Sewer Line Contractors

You often call your sewer line contractors when you are at your most frantic. The best sewer line contractors in Marin County, whether in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, Larkspur, Sausalito, Fairfax, or Belvedere, respond promptly and with expertise.

Many even offer services designed to help prevent emergencies.

Waste in Bathtub
Sometimes, attempting to clear a toilet drain results in waste backing up into the bathtub. This is a sign that you need to have your sewer lines checked.

Hydro-Jetting
Hydro-jetting is a technique used to clear pipelines of grease or other debris that can build up over time. Some contractors recommend that hydro-jetting be an annual process so that the pipes remain clear, especially on rentals and commercial properties.

Sewage Smell Abatement
Unfortunately, one of the indicators of a broken sewer line can be a smell of sewage. Sewer line contractors and plumbers should come and assess the smell and the pipes before drawing up a contract to address the problem.

Toilet Flush Properly
When the toilet will not flush properly, it can be a sign of greater problems. Of course, sometimes a simple plunger can remove a temporary blockage. But if your toilet continues to backup frequently or you cannot plunge the matter away, you may need a sewer line repair or replacement.

Sewer Line Repair
Not every problem is going to require a replacement of the entire sewer line. Sometimes a pipe is cracked or broken in such a way that only a small portion of the pipe needs to be replaced. A sewer line repair is warranted in such cases.

Sewer Line Replacement
Sometimes the damage to the sewer line is so comprehensive that the whole line must be replaced. If you have old, clay-based piping, it will be replaced, not repaired, since the clay piping does not meet the current standards. When evaluating repair vs. replacement, keep in mind that having to place multiple patches on the pipe over time can add up.

Replace Septic System
If you have a septic tank, you are responsible for emptying it. Some prefer to not have that burden. In cases where the municipal system is available, you can have your septic tank replaced with a sewer line that connects you to the municipal sewer system and frees you from one burden.

Slow Draining Toilet or Tub
If the water drains slowly from your toilet or tub, there may be a blockage or damage to the sewer line. Of course, the first step is to try to remove any blockage. If that does not solve the problem, check for breaks and breaches in the sewer line.

Tree Roots
Trees seek out water and are attracted to your sewer pipe. On occasion, tree roots can penetrate the pipes. The root balls can create blockages that must be removed. The pipes must then be repaired or replaced.

Video Inspection
Cameras exist that allow your plumber or contractor to look down your sewer line for breaks obstructions. If other measures are failing, you might want to have someone examine your pipes with a camera so that you can identify the problem.

Read moreRead less
Glossary Of Terms
FAQ For Sewer Line Repair and Replacement Companies

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Sewer Line Contractor?

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Sewer Line Contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a sewer line contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only sewer line contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified sewer line contractor.

Q: Do I have to dig up my entire yard to fix my sewer line?
A: There are techniques available today that will help you get a sewer line replacement or sewer line repair without digging up your yard. You can get your pipes relined, which creates a new pipe within the existing pipe. The new pipe lining is pulled through the existing pipe, then heated so that it creates a solid, resistant pipe. Another option is to use pipe bursting in which a bursting head breaks up the existing pipe in the ground and pulls a new pipe along behind itself.

Q: How much of the sewer line am I responsible for?
A: The homeowner is generally responsible for the sewer line that runs from the house to the edge of the sidewalk closest to house. Once the line reaches city property, like the sidewalk, it becomes the city’s responsibility, in most cases. You should check with your locality about the specifics of where the municipal responsibility picks up. Anytime your sewer line repair or replacement looks like it is hitting the sidewalk, you should call the municipal government to be sure where your responsibility stops.

Q: What makes a sewer line need repair?
A: Sewer lines get blocked and broken because of many reasons. If you drop things down the drain, they can form the basis of a clog that will not allow water and waste to pass. In addition, pipes can crack, especially old fashioned clay pipes, so clay pipes are no longer allowed. Tree or brush roots may get into the pipe and form the basis of the blockage. Or settlement of the land over time, or swelling or contracting of the pipes due to freezing or thawing may weaken the pipes and cause them to sag or crack.

Q: Should I trust someone who says he or she has “a good idea” of where a problem is occurring?
A: Plumbers and sewer line contractors today have very sophisticated technology, including cameras that can be used to view the inside of the pipes. Your sewer line contractor should use the camera to determine exactly where the problem is before starting to dig or repair the issue.

Q: Do I need a licensed contractor?
A: Yes, in California, you should get a licensed sewer line contractor to perform work on your sewer line. When you look for your contractor, you will see firms advertising as either sewer line contractors or as plumbers. Just make sure the firm has experience in working with sewer lines, and that they are licensed by the state of California – the license number should appear in their advertising – and that they are bonded and have worker’s compensation insurance for their employees.

Q: Do I need a permit for my sewer line repair or sewer line replacement?
A: In most cases, yes, you will need a permit for your sewer line repair or replacement. Your contractor should be able to help you get this permit. Be sure to ask about whether or not the firm helps with obtaining the permit.

Q: When do I need to do more than clear a block?
A: You can start to resolve wastewater problems by trying to clear a drain. Often, homeowners or plumbers will begin by trying to snake a pipe, or use other methods to clear it. If you cannot clear the blockage and get the fixture running again, or if the blockage recurs frequently, it may be time to check the sewer line. If you have sewage showing up outside, a bad sewage smell, or other obvious signs, it may be time to replace the sewer line.

Q: What’s the different between a sewage line and a septic tank?
A: A sewage line connects the individual house to a municipal wastewater system. The wastewater is carried through pipes to facilities that can process the wastewater. With a septic tank, the waste is piped from the house into a tank on the property and stored. Once the tank is full, it must be pumped dry before more can be added. If the municipality’s sewage system reaches the house with a septic tank, the house can be converted from a septic tank to the sewage system. Some sewer line contractors and plumbers specialize in these conversions.

Q: What is the environmental impact of using pipe relining?
A: The material used to reline pipes is epoxy-based and safe for the environment.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Sewer Line Contractor Associations and Professional Organizations

American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) (www.abpa.org/)
American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) (www.aspe.org/)
American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) (www.asse-plumbing.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov)…

American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) (www.abpa.org/)
American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) (www.aspe.org/)
American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) (www.asse-plumbing.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov)

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officers (IAPMO) (www.iapmo.org/)
NSF International (NSF) (www.nsf.org/)
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (PHCC) (www.caphcc.org/)
Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) (www.pmihome.org/)
South Bay Piping Industry (www.sbaypipe.org/)
United Association (UA) (www.ua.org/)

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