Do Low Flow Toilets Cause Sewer Problems?

Low-flow toilets have become popular in recent years. As the name suggests, these toilets use less water—an important outcome that we encourage and practice ourselves here at Pipe Spy.  However, there are also a few downsides when it comes to the effects low flow toilet fixtures can have on plumbing systems. This is something you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing … Read More

What Are Requirements for Sewer Laterals in Oakland and the East Bay?

In the East Bay region, all residential, commercial and industrial properties are subject to the EBMUD PSL Program. A Quick Refresher: The EBMUD ordinance is a local program with the aim of improving the Bay Area water environment. It is a response to the community’s old, cracked sewer pipes causing rain infiltration that overwhelms our cities’ wastewater facilities: when too much water … Read More

Homeowner’s Insurance and Sewer Line Repair

When we find ourselves dealing with the challenges surrounding an unforeseen home repair, one of the first questions we typically have is, “How much is this going to cost?” That question is usually followed by another: “Will my homeowner’s insurance cover any of this?” Below, we offer some of the knowledge we have gained in our 20+ years of experience providing … Read More

Commercial Plumbing Tips

In providing commercial plumbing services throughout Oakland, Berkeley and surrounding communities in the East Bay, our team has grown accustomed to solving many unique plumbing challenges associated with commercial properties. This includes complying with regulations, recognizing when unexpected regulations may come into effect, and providing guidance to customers dealing with confusing jargon. Today we would like to share the following … Read More

Random Smoke Testing – What Homeowners Need to Know

In the past few weeks, we’ve had a surge of customers in Oakland and Berkeley who have experienced “random city smoke testing” requiring them to have their sewer lines tested for compliance. This has caused considerable angst and confusion amongst homeowners. Here’s everything you need to know about smoke tests, and what you should do if you have a random … Read More

Sustainable Plumbing: Groundwater, Rainwater, Drinking Water & Beyond

In order to invest in sustainability, communities, households, and individuals must have reliable plumbing systems that save water and energy. Sustainable Plumbing Awareness Efficient plumbing layouts, hot water circulation, wastewater collection, and other sewage related strategies can have a sizeable impact on sustainability goals. For this reason, we want to recognize and share some of the many upcoming recognition days … Read More

Sinkholes: When Sewer Repair Goes Wrong

Many homeowners eventually find themselves dealing with an unexpected and growing problem on their property: Sinkholes. Sinkholes are often a man-made problem caused by things like collapsed or broken sewage pipes and drainpipes, broken septic tanks and buried trash, or soil that wasn’t properly compacted after excavation work. A sinkhole may indicate an area where the underground sewer piping has been … Read More

How Plumbing Efficiency Saves Money and Supports Water Conservation Efforts

Many of us are more concerned than ever with conserving natural resources and reducing our carbon footprint. As a plumbing and sewer contractor, water conservation is an especially important issue to our team, as it is for most Californians—and in particular, Bay Areans. We have dealt with countless water and draught-related issues over the years, so conserving water has become … Read More

Sewer Lateral Compliance Guide for HOAs and Condo Owners

An update post about this topic is available here. Sewer lateral compliance in the San Francisco Bay Area is a common point of confusion for property owners in our community. Recently, our team has heard from several Homeowner’s Associations and HOA members with questions about how private sewer lateral compliance services should be approached in their unique living situation. Let’s take … Read More

The Pipe Spy Difference

Prospective customers frequently ask us: What is it that makes our team different? What exactly is the Pipe Spy difference? One of our guiding principles is that we want to be the sewer repair company you’ll recommend to your friends and neighbors. This mission has led our team to develop the expertise, depth of experience and knowledge of local sewer … Read More