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Use this page to share home repair stories: DIY, home improvements, excellent contractors, cautionary tales. Send your story via email by clicking here and putting "maintenance" in the subject field.
Note: we will not publish complaints against contractors or service people.

Be Safe: Call 811 Before You Dig
It's the law: contractors and homeowners must call PA One Call's 811 number before beginning work. PA One Call will notify PECO and other utilities. Call 811 three business days before you dig. PECO will locate and mark the position of any underground electric and natural gas lines and easements to help you avoid digging that will damage lines or cause injury or death. The service is free for residential customers.

Sidewalk Maintenance: It's Up to Us
By law, sidewalks are to be maintained by residents whose houses are adjacent to them. This means both snow and ice removal as well as repair of damaged concrete. All this is spelled out—in excruciating detail—in the official file you can download here.

Have You Checked Your Dryer Vent Lately?
Our clothes dryer stopped working. It was overheating and burned out the element. The repairman thought that the vent was blocked, and blocked it was! I climbed into the attic, took the vent pipes apart, and one by one cleaned out enough lint to stuff a mattress. The dryer vent had never been cleaned out in more than 20 years—it had become a fire hazard. It was a messy job but looking back we were lucky the dryer broke down prompting an inspection.

I have since read that it is the construction of dryer vents that determines how often they need cleaning. A short, straight vent—one without bends and angles may never need cleaning. It is unlikely you will find such a vent in your house. In our ranch-style townhouse I found over 20' of vent pipe including a right angle. If you have not checked your dryer vent for lint buildup in a few years, maybe now's the time.
Fred Ehmann
Commonwealth Dr.
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Just had a situation with my dryer. Dryer stopped heating up went and bought a new one as it was 10 years old so I thought it went. Here after a week of working had to call Sears. The workman came out and told me it was the vent. Called one vent specialist who could not get the lint out. It was so clogged. Called another vent and chimney specialist who came out and because I am in an Endicott Model the vent does have angles and goes 20' from back of house over the family room ceiling to the dryer. With determination he worked and worked on it and was able to clean it out. Now my new dryer works perfectly, but who knows if I really did need one. The most important things to remember is that this can be a serious fire waiting to happen. My neighbors recently have had their vents cleaned out after my discussions with them. So before you go to buy a dryer call a reputable vent and chimney person.
Helene Dichter
Princess Lane
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After reading the recent postings, and experiencing "less efficient" drying lately, we called "Dryer Vent Wizard"....
They installed an entirely new vent, and our drying time has been reduced significantly. However, although the finished product is fine, we would NOT recommend this particular company. Pricing seems high, and problems with planning and execution of the job. Caution: If you call Dryer Vent Wizard, get a CLEAR written estimate/contract. We wish we had....
Bill Kellaris
46 King Charles Lane