GUELPH – Clogged or improperly installed dryer vents can reduce the efficiency of your machine. They can drive up your electrical bills, and, according to the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, they are a leading cause of house fires.
"The fire marshal reports one house fire caused by dryers every two days in Ontario," said Patrick Stradiotto. "I never knew about any of this stuff until I started doing this."
Stradiotto is the owner of Golden Triangle Dryer Vent Wizard, a dryer-vent inspection, repair and maintenance business that recently started up in Guelph.
"I see a lot of crazy, scary stuff when I go into homes," he said. "If your home is 15 to 20 years old I guarantee you have the wrong piping because at that time it was acceptable to use a lot of that plastic piping, the accordion flex pipe or foil. The foil looks like tin foil and it still has that accordion on the inside and both of them are highly flammable."
Fire codes require dryers to be vented with the same type of piping used for your heating vent but even with the right pipe you could have problems if it is not routed properly.
"Every time you add a 90 degree angle you are adding three to five linear feet," Stradiotto said. "Dryers are designed to push up to the 20 foot mark of exhaust. If it is a 10-foot run with three elbows, it is in theory a 19 to 25 foot run."
Signs of a blocked dryer vent are easy to identify.
"Go outside and look at your exterior vent," he said. "If you can visually see lint, there is lint in your line. If your dryer cycle takes longer than one cycle to dry your clothes then you have something clogged up somewhere."
He said educating people about the related building and fire codes has been a big part of his job since he launched the business in November.
Stadiotto was born in Guelph, in 1969, and grew up here with his parents Placido and Carolyn, his three brothers Adriano, Enrico and Renaldo and sister Chiara.
He and his wife Mariella, of 21 years, have two children Mikayla,18 and Matteo,16.
Stradiotto attended elementary school at Mary Phelan Catholic School, junior high at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and finished high school at Bishop Macdonell Catholic Secondary School.
He then went on to earn a bachelor of commerce degree in marketing at the University of Guelph.
"When I got out of university I started in sales with Future Shop," he said. "I worked my way up through the ranks to store manager."
Shortly after Best Buy acquired Future Shop in 2002 Stradiotto became a district training manager. In 2005 he took a position as a national training manager for Best Buy and the family moved to Vancouver.
"We were out there for seven years and then we made a family decision," he said. "Vancouver is beautiful but Ontario was always home. Our family and friends are here."
The move back to Guelph meant a job change for Stradiotto
"I was a regional support manager overseeing Best Buy Mobile, which is the cellular division and Geek Squad for two districts here. That was crazy. I had a massive territory. I had a store at Bay and Dundas downtown (Toronto), Brampton and everything east of Kingston including Ottawa and Sudbury."
The demands of the job and the amount of hours he spent each day on the road were taking a toll on Stradiotto and he began considering a career change. Before he could make that decision it was made for him.
"I was in the role for two years and in April of this year they terminated the Future Shop brand," he said. "They basically needed half of their leadership and that is what happened with me. There was a transition there."
He considered the loss of his job an opportunity to fulfill a life-long wish.
"I always had this itch to run my own business and do my own thing," he said. "My dad has his own masonry business. My father in law had his own business as a carpenter.
Even my grandfather Henry Holman had Holman Construction."
He looked at a number of franchises and did a lot of research and consultation before picking Dryer Vent Wizard.
"I hadn't even heard of it before and didn't know you needed your dryer serviced," he said.
He picked the name Golden Triangle to reflect his service area that covers Georgetown, Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo and Orangeville as well as smaller communities such as Elmira, Elora, Fergus and Arthur.
Stadiotto said he is enjoying the independence of running his own business.
"I feel good because I know I can earn a living and I can grow a business but at the same time I know that when I walk out of a client's home they have a machine that is going to run efficiently and there isn't a fire hazard because it is done right."
By Troy Bridgeman
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