TrenchLess Repiping Pro’s and Con’s

Trenchless Sewer Repair
GAC Plumbing Company
Free Estimates

Lateral pipe bursting process

A clogged sewer line can be a emergency situation. It is not recommended that you put off this repair. Any blockage or break will cause drains to back up, foundations to flood, and sewer contamination of a home in the worst-case scenario. A trenchless sewer repair allows you to repair or replace lines which require maintenance quickly.

Traditional pipes age through cracking and blockages, which causes them to disintegrate over time. Tree roots and loss of Slope or grade create impacts on the system which cause a need for repairs too. Modern trenchless sewer repair changes the dynamic for a fix because you no longer dig a trench along the pipe to access the damaged area. Now only a couple of small holes need to be run to complete the task, with micro-video allowing for remote work to create the necessary repairs.

There are several advantages to consider with trenchless sewer repair, but a few disadvantages that sometimes creep up too. That’s why a complete look at these trenchless sewer repair pros and cons is necessary before considering this technique.

List of the Pros of Trenchless Sewer Repair:

1. It saves time when compared to the traditional access methods.
Technicians using the trench technique would spend several hours digging out around the damaged sewer line. Then several more hours to fill the trench back in were required before the repair was complete. That doesn’t include the time necessary to complete the fix in the first place. Not only does the trenchless sewer repair technique take much less time, but it also requires fewer workers to be involved with the project. Companies providing this service get a lot more done with less labor.

2. It reduces consumer inconvenience during the repair process.
When a sewer line is compromised for homeowners, they no longer can use their home’s water system until technicians complete the repair. That means the occupants of the property must either haul all their water supplies in manually, then remove them the same way, or relocate to a different property until the project is finished. Before trenchless sewer repair, that could mean 7-14 days away from home. Now many repairs happen in 24-48 hours because there is such a substantial reduction in prep time.

3. It saves the landscaping of the homeowner.
Sewer line repairs require underground access, which means the landscaping along the pipe must be removed for the work to be done. That could cost homeowners thousands of dollars, depending on what was in the way of the repair technicians. Although a couple of holes must still be dug to access the line when performing trenchless sewer repair, there is much less damage to repair to the lawn, landscaping, or garden after the work is complete. The customer’s property gets back to normal faster and with fewer disruptions.

4. It saves money for the consumer.
The trenchless sewer repair option becomes less expensive than a traditional repair because there are no structural modifications required to complete the task. No digging equipment must be brought in to complete the repair work. Only two small holes are dug, which means the clean-up costs are much lower with this technique compared to other methods. Customers save money because there is less manual labor involved, the sewer line repair goes back in service faster.

Traditional trenching jobs could cost more than $20,000 to finish, depending on the amount of construction involved with the project. Homeowners save at least 30% on the final cost, with some saving upward of 50%, depending on their situation.

5. It reduces damage to the environment and urban infrastructure.
When you’re repairing either the upper or lower connections to the main sewer line, there is a good chance that the structure runs underneath your driveway, yard, or even your street. Because of the trenchless repair technique, technicians can access areas of the sewer line pipes without causing as much damage to the environment or the infrastructure as before. That means there are fewer street repair issues or ecological concerns because the repairs happen through the two access points instead.


6. It produces a higher-quality repair.
Trenchless sewer repair uses a polyethylene pipe for the connection. Polyethylene pipe is a better material to use than the older sewer pipes that were installed in most cities. The new products provide lines which are free of joints, reducing the impact of tree root invasions. There are fewer cracks and off-set pipes when compared to older work too.

When you live in a wet climate, like those in the Sonoma County, the trenchless sewer repair materials offer more resistance to corrosion than traditional systems.

7. It offers a system which functions better over a longer time.
Trenchless pipe repairs or replacements use seamless technology that can improve the function of the property’s connection to the main sewer line. These products last longer than traditional systems, with most requiring fewer future repairs, which reduces the long-term cost profile for the average homeowner.Trenchless is even known to improve flow capacity and can increase the size of the system, or add additional capacity to smaller homes.

Most trenchless systems come with a 20-year guarantee, even when used for a septic system instead of as a connection to a sewer line. The traditional methods are often guaranteed for 15 years or less.

8. It uses the current infrastructure to create a better system.
The system installation is a straightforward process with a trenchless sewer repair. A cable gets pulled through the pipe first. Then it connects to a bursting head. You attach the head to the new pipe, which splits the existing pipe, pushing it out of the way when the new pipe is pulled through. The new one is the same inside diameter as the old one, though some installations can increase the diameter of the pipe involved. Little damage occurs to the new pipe, often just scratches, and the work can often be completed in a day.

List of the Cons of Trenchless Sewer Repair:

1. It may not be covered by homeowners’ insurance.
The property damage caused by a broken or clogged sewer line is not usually covered by the standard homeowners’ policy. Repairs required because of tree root penetration are not usually covered either. If you haven’t needed to worry about a sewer line repair yet, then check your policy to see if special insurance requirements, or a rider to your policy, is required for this cost to be covered. Nothing is worse than having an expensive repair to fund straight from your own pocket.

2. It may require work on clogs outside of the property line.
The typical urban sewage system connects the house to the public sewer main through the use of two pipes: the upper lateral and the lower lateral. The lower portion of this connection often falls outside of the property line. Should a clog occur there, many communities require the property owner to maintain and repair the connection. The city would only work on the public sewer main when issues occur there.

You must review all the paperwork included with your mortgage and housing contract with the city to understand who is responsible for what repairs outside of the property line, but still benefits your home. The cost of repairing a lower lateral issue can be upward of $50,000 using traditional repair methods.

3. It can sometimes be more expensive to use a trenchless repair technique.
The trenchless sewer repair technique does not work well when you have a lateral pipe that doesn’t sit below your driveway or expensive landscaping. You might find that older pipes with joints, or a collapsed pipe, could cause the costs of this repair option to be much higher than the traditional service. There is only one way to determine which option is best for your specific situation: through calling GAC Plumbing Company for a evaluation of your problem.

4. Trenchless requires expertise that GAC Plumbing can provide.
Our skilled professionals using the Best Equipment Hammer Head Trenchless System  for the work required. You’re not going to solve this issue with a DIY approach. You must have the branch lines located for your drainage system, then have them exposed and reconnected as part of the process. There are times when a line must be cut, then relocated, to complete some issues. Different soils and pipes carry unique risks which technicians will identify when they come to evaluate your issue.

Image result for trenchless sewer line replacement hammerhead

5. It is not a miracle solution.
There are several problems which a trenchless sewer repair technique handles well, but it cannot solve every potential problem that some homeowners face. There are times when the older sewer pipes were not installed at the proper pitch. The only way to correct that issue is through trenching. Obstructions sometimes must be removed before work is completed. If your pipe burst, there could be damage to other utilities which requires trenching too. Although this technique solves a lot of issues, there are some that still require the traditional method.

If there are issues with this type of installation if water pools in a low spot in the line, especially with an upper lateral pipe with an incomplete pitch. Issues with sag, belly, and deflection pose significant concerns. Sand tends to be more forgiving than shale, but it all depends on local conditions.

6. It requires special permits and property or building codes.
Even though technicians dig just a couple of holes on your property to complete a trenchless sewer repair, there are still construction permits required before the work can start. Your local building codes still apply to the work as well. That means any work under the street or sidewalk requires a municipal inspection before the job is considered complete.

These trenchless sewer repairs pros and cons can help you save a bundle on this unexpected repair. Check your homeowners’ insurance today to see if this issue is covered by your policy. Update it as necessary to protect your finances. If you’re concerned about flooding in your home, then consider a separate flood insurance policy too if needed. With those supports in place, you’ll be able to choose a repair option which isn’t as disruptive to your lifestyle, and you can maintain the savings you’ve built up over time too.

Water Heater Pilot Light (Old Style)

older style water heaters.

Safety First
Stand beside your water heater. Do you smell gas? Now kneel down next to the gas/control valve. If you don’t smell gas your ready to light your pilot light.If you smell gas call GAC Plumbing Company.


older style gas water heater

This is an older style gas
water heater.

Adjust temperature control on gas valve

Turn the temperature control
knob to the lowest setting.

Turn control knob to off setting

Turn the on/off control
knob to the the pilot setting.

Remove water heater access panal

Remove both the outer
and inner access panels.

press pilot control button

Press and hold the water heater pilot button down.

Your gas valve/thermostat may look different from the one
in the picture but they all work the same.

Some models don’t have a pilot button. The on/off control knob itself is pressed down when it is set on pilot.

Light the pilot while holding the control button down

The smaller silver tube coming out of the bottom of the gas control valve is the pilot supply tube.

Follow it to the end with a match and light the pilot.

Continue to hold the pilot button down for 20 to 30 seconds after the pilot is lit.

Slowly release the button. The pilot should stay lit. If it goes out re-light it and hold the button down a little longer.

If your gas has been turned off or if you have ran out of gas you will need to hold the pilot button down until all the air is out of the line.

If after lighting your hot water heater pilot light it goes out again or if it won’t stay lit, you may need to check your water heater thermocouple.

Pilot lit, hold button down for 30 seconds

Ok got your water heater pilot lit? Great!

Don’t fire up your burner yet.

A lot of people have been burned
(usually in the face and eyes)
because of blowback/rollout
from the burner.

This is usually caused by rust falling off of the bottom of the tank and clogging the burner and/or the orifice. Gas will build up in the burner chamber before it reaches the pilot . The results is flame rolling out of the access opening when the burner is fired.

Never fire your burner with the access panels off.

Replace both the inner and outer access panels.

Turn the on/off control knob to the on position.

Turn the temperature control knob to the desired setting.

You should hear your burner fire up.

Lighting a Water Heater Pilot Light (New Style)

Safety First
Never try to light your pilot if you smell gas. Stand near your water heater. Can you smell gas? Kneel down near the bottom of your water heater. If you smell gas call GAC Plumbing Company.


New style gas water heater

Newer style gas
water heater.

Water heater gas control valve

Step One

Set the temperature control
to its lowest setting or small Diamond.

Gas pilot control button

Step Two

Set the on-off control
to the pilot setting.

press and hold button to light pilot

Step Three

Press the hot water heater
pilot button down and
hold it.

Press light button

Step Four

While looking through the sight glass slowly press the spark generator.

You should see a sparkfrom the generator and the pilot light should light.Pilot lit, hold button down for 30 seconds

Hold the pilot button down 20 to 30 seconds after the pilot is lit.

If the pilot didn’t light you may have air in the line. While holding the pilot button down, press the generator button every 10 seconds until the pilot lights.

Don’t forget to hold the pilot button down after the pilot is lit.The thermocouple must have time to get hot before the button is released.

water heater burner

Set the on/off knob to the on position.

Turn the temperature control to the desired

You should hear the burner fire up and be
able to see the flame through the site glass.

Air vents on these water heaters must be clean in order for the hot water heater pilot light and burner to operate properly.

Most brands have fresh air vents under the burner and/or around the sides at the bottom of the tank. Some have washable filters.

The burner assembly will have to be removed to clean the vent located in the bottom of the tank.
Check your owners manual for instructions. Most companies have downloadable manuals on their website.

If these water heaters shut down because of a lack of air/oxygen,there is a possibility that the gas control valve will have to be replaced along with the safety shut off switch. So its a good idea to keep the air vents clean.

Clearing a Drain

How to Clear a Drain

There are a number of plumbing repairs that require immediate attention. Among these is a clogged drain. Everyone knows the inconvenience and mess that accompany a sluggish drain. Even so, many people wait until the drain stops completely before they take corrective action. Sometimes a clog can be cleared with a simple homemade remedy.

There are two different type of treatments that should be used:

  1. Standard Clog

If you have a moderately clogged drain, try this homemade drain cleaner from Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Be careful. The two ingredients interact with foaming and fumes, so replace the drain cover loosely. Let the concoction set for about three hours before running warm water.

2. Grease Clog

If you know the slow drain is from grease, try this treatment: Pour in 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a teakettle of boiling water. Allow to sit overnight.

Routine Maintenance can save time and money if you follow the following tips:

You can keep your drains clog-free and odorless by using the following homemade noncorrosive drain cleaner weekly. Combine 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup table salt, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Stir ingredients together thoroughly and pour into a clean, covered jar. Pour 1/4 cup of mixture into drain, and immediately add 1 cup boiling water. Wait 10 seconds, then flush with cold water. Flushing weekly with a generous amount of boiling water also works well.

Good Luck

GAC Plumbing Company

Septic Tank Information Asked by our Customers

How does a conventional septic system work?

Conventional septic systems are the most common type of septic system (the others are innovative/alternative (I/A) systems and cesspools). A conventional system includes a septic tank, distribution box, and soil absorption system (SAS). The septic tank separates the solid and liquid wastes and the SAS provides additional treatment before distributing the wastewater to the ground.

Why are failing septic systems harmful?

Inadequately treated wastewater can transfer diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever to animals and humans. Failing systems also leak excessive nutrients and bacteria to rivers, lakes, and the ocean, destroying plant and animal habitat, closing beaches, and hurting the fishing industry and causing breakouts of agile in lakes and ponds.

How do I know if my system is having problems?

Some clues:

  • Muddy soil or pools of wastewater around your septic tank or soil absorption system.
  • Sewage smells around your system or inside your house.
  • Backups when you do laundry, take showers, or flush the toilet.

Call GAC Company (707) 538-8000 if you notice any of these symptoms.

Do I really save money by maintaining my system?

Yes. Pumping your system costs between $150 and $650, and an inspection could cost $200-$800. Replacing a system could cost up to $45,000.

What are the most important things to do to take care of my system?

Pump your system at least every 3 years (annually if you have a garbage disposal). Conserve water. Don’t dump non-biodegradable s or trash down your toilet or sink. See our list of do’s and dont’s .

How often should I pump?

Every 2 to 5  years, and annually if you have a garbage disposal.

Will additives help my system?

There isn’t one on the market that can make a failing system pass inspection. To ensure the additives will not harm your system we recommend using natural preventive maintenance.

What are the regulations governing the disposal of paint and paint wastes into a septic system?

Only sanitary sewage is allowed to be discharged to septic systems. Paint and paint wastes should not be put into any septic system because they can adversely affect their operation and may cause groundwater contamination.

How Do I as a System Owner Properly Care for my Septic System? (Do’s & Don’ts)

Conventional septic systems can function very well with minimal care. In fact, most septic tanks will only require an inspection and pumping out by a professional every three to five years if they are used properly. This does not pertain to I/A systems, which need more frequent oversight.

DO …

Do have the system inspected and pumped every 3 to 5 years. If the tank fills up with an excess of solids, the wastewater will not have enough time to settle in the tank. These excess solids will then pass on to the leach field, where they will clog the drain lines and soil.

Do know the location of the septic system and drain field, and keep a record of all inspections, pumpings, repairs, contract or engineering work for future references. Keep a sketch of it handy for service visits.

Do grow grass or small plants (not trees or shrubs) above the septic system to hold the drain field in place. Water conservation through creative landscaping is a great way to control excess runoff.

Do install water-conserving devices in faucets, showerheads and toilets to reduce the volume of water running into the septic system. Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets, run washing machines and dishwashers only when full, and avoid long showers.

Do divert roof drains and surface water from driveways and hillsides away from the septic system. Keep sump pumps and house footing drains away from the system as well.

Do use only additives that have been allowed for usage in California.   Additives that are allowed for use in California  have been determined not to produce a harmful effect to the individual system or its components or to the environment at large.

Do take leftover hazardous chemicals to your approved hazardous waste collection center for disposal. Use bleach, disinfectants, and drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product labels.


Do not use your toilet or sink as a trash can by dumping non-biodegradables (cigarette butts, diapers, feminine products, etc.) or grease down your sink or toilet. Non-biodegradables can clog the pipes, while grease can thicken and clog the pipes. Store cooking oils, fats, and grease in a can for disposal in the garbage.

Do not put paint thinner, polyurethane, anti-freeze, pesticides, some dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, and other strong chemicals into the system. These can cause major upsets in the septic tank by killing the biological part of your septic system and polluting the groundwater. Small amounts of standard household cleaners, drain cleansers, detergents, etc. will be diluted in the tank and should cause no damage to the system.

Do not use a garbage grinder or disposal, which feeds into the septic tank. If you do have one in the house, severely limit its use. Adding food wastes or other solids reduces your system’s capacity and increases the need to pump the septic tank. If you use a grinder, the system must be pumped more often.

Do not plant trees within 30 feet of your system or park/drive over any part of the system. Tree roots will clog your pipes, and heavy vehicles may cause your drainfield to collapse.

Do not allow anyone to repair or pump your system without first checking that they are licensed system professionals.

Do not perform excessive laundry loads with your washing machine. Doing load after load does not allow your septic tank time to adequately treat wastes and overwhelms the entire system with excess wastewater. You could therefore be flooding your drain field without allowing sufficient recovery time. You should consult your tank professional to determine the gallon capacity and number of loads per day that can safely go into the system.

Do not use chemical solvents to clean the plumbing or septic system. “Miracle” chemicals will kill microorganisms that consume harmful wastes. These products can also cause groundwater contamination.

Sizing an Tankless Water heater

Sizing a Tankless Water Heater

US Groundwater Temperature

Incoming water temperature is an important part of the equation used to calculate required heater sizing. In many applications, you can just use the default groundwater temperature for that value.

Find your local US groundwater temperature on the map below:

Groundwater temperaturesGround water temperatures greatly affect the heated flow rate capacity of a tankless water heater.

Tankless water heaters are great appliances but are often oversold in terms of their capabilities. Like many great ideas, the marketing hype can often get ahead of the technology and sales people over-commit the capabilities of the product to the consumer. The result is an unsatisfied customer, wasted money and a poorly performing appliance.Take a look at any tankless water heater ad and you’ll probably see a promoted feature like “Provides up to 4GPM.” Well, that rating is likely the BEST CASE situation for that product and may not be to the level of performance you are expectin.

Why? Because sizing a tankless water heater is based on 3 things:

  • Temperature of water entering the unit (ground water temp),
  • Desired temperature of water exiting the unit (together these 2 items determine the temperature rise required of the tankless water heater) and;
  • The required hot water flow rate (based on shower heads and faucets).


Let’s look at an example using a colder climate like Boston, MA. Ground water temperature in Boston is about 47 degrees F. If your want a normal 105 degree shower, that means you have a 58 degree temperature rise (105-47=58). As a result, you need to look at the tankless water heater’s GPM flow rating based on a 58 degree temperature rise. Let’s continue our example with a popular product, the Bosch 1600P-NG tankless water heater. This unit advertises a flow rate of about 4 gallons per minute (GPM). But if you’re still using an older style shower head the older shower head’s flow rate can exceed the capacity of that tankless water heater. An older style shower head (pre 1992) can demand from 6 to 8 gallons per minute (GPM) of flow rate. A newer shower head (after 1992) usually uses 2.2 GPM.But let’s assume that the Bosch 1600P-NG tankless water heater is being used only as a supplemental water heater. What about it’s 4 GPM claim? Well, this unit only provides 105 degree hot water at a 45 degree F temperature rise as found in warm southern climates. At a 58 degree rise required in Boston, MA the unit is rated at about 3.3 GPM. The only way this Bosch unit will work as a tankless water heater is if it only provides hot water to the shower or the bathroom where the shower is located in, and a low flow 2.2 GPM shower head (post 1992) is being used.

Also, if this unit is being used as your home’s main water heater and is expected to provide hot water to more than the one bathroom, it will be undersized and cannot work as a whole house tankless water heater with only a 3 or 4 GPM rating. A whole house application requires a larger unit or ganged multiple units depending on your home’s size and location.

GAC Plumbing Company


How to Replace a Toilet Flapper

How To replace your toilet flapper

A toilet flapper is the rubber plug inside the tank that lifts when you flush, allowing water to flow in to rinse and then fill the bowl. Over time, the flapper gets old, cracks and allows the toilet to run by failing to fully seal against the valve seat.

A properly functioning flapper cuts down water bills and loud noises from constant filling. You can replace this roughly $18 part in five easy steps:

Tools & Materials Required:
Phillips or flat-head screwdriver (required for some models)
Needle-nose pliers
Shut off the toilet water valve

locate the shutoff valve on the wall near the toilet and turn it off. Next, take the cover off the tank, so you can see inside. Flush the toilet to empty the tank. If the tank starts to fill again, you haven’t turned the shutoff completely off.

Remove the old flapper

The flapper sits on the very bottom of the tank. First, detach the chain from the metal or plastic tank lever arm connected to the handle. Next, reach in and twist the flapper from side to side until it comes loose. If a ring around the fill valve holds the flapper in place, then slide it all the way up and off.
Don’t throw the old flapper away just yet. Take it to the hardware store to ensure you get the right replacement.

Purchase the replacement Flapper

Toilet flappers come in three common types: rubber, seat disk and tank ball. Newer toilets normally have rubber flappers, while older toilets have seat disc flappers that you screw on or snap into place. A tank ball, also found on older toilets and attached via a lift wire, looks exactly like you would expect.
You should be able to find the right flapper at your local hardware store based on the approximate age and brand of your toilet. Compare the replacement to the old flapper. If you’re unsure, ask an employee who is trained on plumbing products.

Install the replacement

Depending on the type of flapper, either snap, drop, screw or slide the new one into place. If the new flapper comes with a ring on the end, but small hinges connected the old one, you should cut the ring off first and attach it the same way.
Make sure the chain is long enough to allow the flapper to seal. It should have some slack, but not enough that it catches underneath the flapper. If necessary, remove a few links before attaching it to the tank lever arm.

Test it out

With the new flapper installed, turn the shutoff valve on. When the tank is full, flush it to make sure that the flapper seals when it starts to fill again.
If it runs a little bit, empty the tank again. Make sure the flapper is properly seated on the bottom of the tank and the chain is not too long. Turn the water on and try again.
When you’re certain the flapper seals, install the cover and that’s it.


If the toilet continues running or you discover that the entire toilet — not just the flapper — needs replaced, call GAC Plumbing Company at 707-538-8000

How to Repair a Leaking Faucet

Leaking Faucet

Leaking Faucet

If your outdoor faucet leaks around the handle when you turn it on, you either have a loose packing nut or a bad packing washer. First try tightening the nut with a wrench or pliers. (The size and type of nut varies a bit with faucet styles.) If the nut is tight but the leak persists, shut off the water to the faucet inside the house, remove the faucet handle from the outside faucet and unscrew the nut. You should be able to pull off the old packing washer and take it to a hardware store to find an exact replacement.

Older faucets may have a wad of string, called valve packing, instead of a packing washer. If so, pick up new packing (graphite-coated string) at the hardware store, unwind the old packing and wind on the new clockwise. The packing nut should compress it tightly. You may have to wind on one layer, tighten the nut and then repeat the process to fill the space around the stem completely with packing string.

Saving Water Tips

Water conservation is extremely important. Here are some ways you can do your part:

Water Conservation Tips

    • Don’t use excessive amounts of detergents, bleach or chemicals that may kill the natural bacteria in your septic system.
    • Use biodegradable soaps and detergents.
    • To prevent excessive watering of your lawn in the summertime, purchase an inexpensive spring-loaded timer which attaches directly to your outside faucet. This will prevent overwatering in case you forget to shut off the sprinkler.
    • Water pressure in your home above 60 pounds per square inch is harmful to your plumbing system and will cause excessive water usage. Contact your local water authority to find out what the water pressure is on your street. If it exceeds 60 pounds, consider installing a pressure reducing valve that will limit the water pressure within your home.
    • Check your water meter during a period of time when no water is being used. Make a note of the meter reading and check it 8 to 10 hours later. If the meter has moved, there is an indication that you may have an undetected water leak, which should be corrected.
Leaky Toilet
  • Leaky toilets consume more than 40% of your total water usage. Installation of a new toilet flapper and fill valve will keep your toilet running efficiently.
Water Heater Temperature
  • Conserve energy by checking the temperature setting on your water heater. It should not be above 120°F or medium setting on older models.
Shower Head
  • Replacing an old shower head can save up to 7.5 gallons of water per minute without sacrificing full spray action at low or high water pressures.
Leaky Faucet
  • A leaky faucet that drips once per second can waste more than 8 gallons a day. That’s 3,000 gallons per year!