NISKAYUNA – Waiting for his broken wrist to heal has given a Niskayuna resident time to think about what to do when he gets back to work.
He quit his job as a wine wholesaler and went into business for himself, eliminating crises and waste in laundry rooms.
Jordan Catino “Within less time, boredom set in. I’ve always wanted my own business.” “I decided to go with the owner-operator model.”
On April 1, Catino launched a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise covering southeast Saratoga and northeast Schenectady counties. He is a sole employee, but plans to add employees as his business grows.
Dryer Vent Wizard is one of more than ten brands in the Neighborhood franchise family, all of which focus on home and commercial repair, maintenance and remodeling jobs that are necessary or desirable but make short work of a major operation.
Cleaning a dryer vent isn’t rocket science, Catino said, and it’s not particularly difficult to run against an exterior wall for a short period of time. Long and hard-to-reach pipes are difficult to clean well.
“Why hire a professional is because the equipment needed to do it can be very expensive,” he said.
The quality of materials is also important, Catino said. He explained that the plastic and wire tubes he found attached to some dryers are better for toilet fans.
Replace them with a thick-walled tube that can withstand three minutes under a steam torch.
Along with fire safety and aesthetics, there are economics. Closed ventilation slows the drying process, which extends the life of the equipment, which is already one of the most expensive to build at home.
Catino demonstrates its ability to identify problems such as an incorrectly installed or unsafely unloaded dryer and a washing machine that is about to explode.
He went to a house where the ventilator simply went into the attic. A gallon or two, or even more, of water in every load of wet laundry will put a lot of moisture in the attic, creating a breeding ground for mold.
“This can be very expensive for homeowners,” Catino said.
Another homeowner complained about constantly having to vacuum the cover. It turned out that her dryer was installed incorrectly and was not venting at all. So there was a lot of flammable explosives stored in the dryer cabinet along with the carpet on her floor.
The U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, reports that there are about 2,900 home dryer fires per year, a relatively small percentage of all U.S. home fires. But many are preventable – inadequate cleaning or no cleaning at all is the leading cause of dryer fires, responsible for 34% of accidents.
The National Fire Protection Association reports a much higher rate of dryer fires – about 14,000 per year – but blames exactly the same percentage on dryer cleaning failure: 32%.
Neither gas nor electric dryers seem to have an edge in safety, according to the NFPA: 79% of clothes dryers in American homes are heated by electricity, and 78% of dryer fires involve electric models.
Catino, 36, grew up in Rotterdam as the son, grandson and nephew of a local basketball legend.
Basketball never caught up with Jones as a kid, but some of his athletic endeavors were painful. He had a skiing accident, then a bicycle accident last year near his home that put him in the hospital with a broken wrist.
Catino remembers passing out after hitting the pavement.
“I was worried about my head but when I looked up at my hand I was facing the wrong way,” he said.
One titanium plate, nine screws and 12 months of physical therapy later, Catino was ready to go with the Dryer Vent Wizard in March 2022… and came down with the covid.
So it started in April.
It takes some hand strength and dexterity to maneuver brushes, blowers, and vacuums through the dryer’s guts and vents. He credits Dr. Laura Scordino and the team at Ellis Hospital for putting his wrist back together and getting physical therapist Tom Hauthalen back to work.
It still hurts a little, the bone is still numb where it broke through the skin, but it gets the job done.
“Doing the job was really therapeutic for me,” Catino said. “He’s definitely gotten stronger as he’s done his job consistently.”
There’s also a bit of mental stimulation with some of the calls he makes in his new job.
Catino remembers digging out a burnt lump from a dryer and knowing he could prevent a future disaster in that client’s home.
“You’re going to catch fire right there,” he said.
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