Contractor Takes Pride in Ability to Handle Range of Pipe Problems

Gas line repairs don’t represent the bulk of Michael Reed’s work in Buffalo, New York, but they do come up and showcase his versatility

Contractor Takes Pride in Ability to Handle Range of Pipe Problems

Michael Reed

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Ultimately, pipe is pipe. In both commercial and residential settings, pipes of various diameters run through structural walls and floors and carry sewage, water or natural gas. 

Those who think a plumber is called on to repair a water or sewer pipe leak and a gas company employee is called to repair a gas leak are wrong. In some places, plumbers usually get the call for all three. 

“Around here, it is very common for plumbers to fix gas lines,” says Michael Reed, owner of Big Dawg Plumbing & Backflow in Buffalo, New York. “The fact is that when many natural gas techs get the call, they go in and shut down a line with a leak and tell the property owner to call a plumber.”

Still, Reed says such service calls aren’t a common occurrence, perhaps three or four times a year. For one thing, he says, “There are a ton of minor gas leaks that people never even notice.” According to Reed, the usual sequence is for a property owner to detect a gas leak and call the gas company. The company sends a technician to confirm the leak and to stop the flow of gas through the line. Then a plumber is called for the repair. This happens 90% of the time.

But Reed says he prefers a different sequence. He wants property owners to call him before contacting the gas company — unless it’s a large life-threatening or property-threatening leak.

“It’s a lot easier for me to come into a house with the gas still on and find the leak than it is to locate the leak with the gas turned off. I have sniffers,” he says of his gas sensors. “My customers know to call me direct if they smell something and I can find and fix the leak without getting the gas company involved.”

Though the service is provided rarely, Reed still takes pride in his ability to provide it.

“We’re a full-service, from-the-ground-up plumbing company,” he says.

Read more about Big Dawg Plumbing & Backflow in the June 2020 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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