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Website owner: 
Dave Harnish
CEO: Sadie
Dave's Repair Service
1911 Heath Hill Rd
New Albany, PA 18833

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The DRS News
April 2003

In this issue:

1) Beware Those Screened Dryer Vent Hoods!
2) Loose Circuit Breaker Connections and Your Safety
3) Miscellaneous Dept: More Really Cool Resources!

1) I found yet another one of the newer screened vent hoods clogged this week, and with Starlings, Wrens, and other amorous critters trying to nest in any available cavity in or around your humble abode this time of year, thought I’d better warn you about this.

The short version: never, never put any type of screen over your dryer vent! I’m seeing more screened hoods on the market than ever before, and manufacturers need to be informed that this is a big mistake.

Even though I still see it occasionally, most everyone realizes that attaching pantyhose to a dryer vent is a fire, or at least dryer service call, waiting to happen. It seems incredible that a 3/8 inch mesh screen can possibly clog with dryer lint, but I'm seeing it happen on a regular basis. Common symptoms include poor drying and long dry times, and a dryer that burns out its thermal fuses and/or elements regularly.

As you readers that have endured reading the DRSN for a while already know, if your dryer exhibits any of these symptoms, the first thing you do is turn it on, empty, and check the airflow outside. As we’ve discussed before, airflow is much more important than heat in the drying process. Note: there's finally a simple inexpensive tool to test this in Whirlpool-built dryers!

The screens snap right off most of these hoods, and I highly recommend you go yank it off ASAP. (Go ahead, I’ll wait…)

Better still, replace it with a louvered type hood like that pictured below, and get better airflow, better sealing, and fewer critters in the bargain. These louvered hoods don’t appear to attract cavity-nesters at all.

2) A big DRSN Thank You to Reg D. this month, for reminding me of another fairly common but easily overlooked cause of beeping smoke alarms.

(First a ‘disclaimer’: Reg D. is a retired electrical engineer and is confident doing this himself, but if you’re not comfortable working around electricity, turn the house main breaker off first or call an electrician to do this for you.)

It’s a good idea to pop the cover off your house electrical supply breaker box every year or two and have a look at the wire coming off each breaker. We often notice wire insulation that’s wrinkled and sometimes charred, starting at the breaker connection and extending a few inches out the wire. This indicates an overheating wire, and is nearly always caused by a loose breaker screw under which the wire’s clamped.

You’ll usually find this on higher current-carrying lines that supply an electric dryer, range, or water heater, but it can happen at any of the breakers. It’s surprising how loose these screws can become in just a year or two.  Just ‘snugging’ them every once in a while will prevent any surprises.

If any of the wires do show signs of overheating, take a good look at the appearance of the copper that clamps under the screw. If it’s not bright and shiny, but dark and charred looking, you’ll want to either scrape it bright, or, better still, cut the wire back until you find ‘fresh’ copper. Sometimes this will mean wire-nutting a piece of new wire ‘tail’ onto the original lead, but it’s necessary because heat-stressed copper can’t be trusted to make a good connection.

Note this applies to new houses too.  I see this problem nearly as often in new construction as old. If the installer doesn’t tighten these screws down securely, the same problems occur.

Caution: These screws are ‘hot’ if the breaker is on. Use common sense, an insulated screwdriver, and work slowly, paying attention to where the metal screwdriver shank is wandering.

3) Miscellaneous Dept:

* I’ll soon be releasing the back issues index to this little project; it’s hard to believe a year has gone by already! (You’ve endured approx. 40 articles to date - I’m proud of you all! <grin>)

* I’m really flattered by all the positive feedback you great folks have given us! Thanks! It’s encouraged us to start working on a website and compiling these 30 years worth of tips and tricks into one ‘ebook’. I hope to have both up and running soon, including an archive of DRSN back issues. Stay tuned.

* A kind fellow, Rick Meyers, has come up with some of the best, most intuitive Bible study software I’ve seen yet! This has freed up about 10 feet of shelf space at our house! And it’s all available for download to your computer - FREE!

Check it out:  E-Sword Software

* Here’s the list of appliance recalls from US Consumer Protection, 1973-present:

And for Whirlpools:

God bless you all,
Dave Harnish

Only one thing on earth's not affected by entropy:
‘The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the
word of our God shall stand forever.’ - Isa 40:8




"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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