Can you recommend an electrician, gardener, painter, cleaning service, etc.? : LUSENET : Kentlands : One Thread

Is there room on this board for a place that residents can post recommendations (pro and, maybe, con) for providers of services (e.g., electricians, painters, heating services, cleaning services, etc.) for people we have used? We would have to guard against "bashing" someone, but perhaps if we stick to facts, we can convey accurate messages about the quality of services we receive from vendors servicing our community. I think of this as a public service that could be rendered by this board.

-- David Fetzer (, May 16, 2000


Excellent idea! When we had the hot spell a week or two ago, and most needed the air conditioning in our house, the A/C decided it was "on vacation." We suffered through the 90+ degree weekend before trying to make an appointment for a service call on Monday. I think alot of others in the Gaithersburg area trying to use A/C for the first time this year also found theirs not working, because service appointments from local contractors were booked for ~3 days in advance. I was finally able to find one who had an appointment that same day: W.F. Fowler. It ended up costing $245 to find a freon leak, repair it, vaccuum-check the system, then re-charge with 8 lbs of refrigerant. Was this a fair price? I don't know, but after suffering through the hot weekend, I was certainly willing to pay. I have used General Heating and ARS in the seems like my heating/cooling system needs some kind of repair every year. Each time, they meet my expectations, but they don't exceed my expectations. No sense of loyalty here...

Any other heating/cooling constractor experiences?

-- David Fishback (, May 18, 2000.

Funny you should mention ARS. We've had a service contract with ARS (formerly General Heating) for the five years we've owned our house here in Kentlands. We've had all the summer/winter checkups and a few minor outages repaired very quickly and to our satisfaction. Last week, in the middle of a nasty early May heat wave, our A/C failed. ARS, after an initial run-around, promised to send a technician in seven days. For the privilege of waiting a week for service we pay for an annual maintenance contract?

Like Mr. Fishback, above, we have had annual reasons to service the heating/cooling plant. For that reason, I believe that a service contract saves money, and, according to most providers, is intended to buy you some sort of "preferred" status in the grand pecking order of customers. But not so with ARS. Unless you have some doctor's certification (requiring A/C for health reasons) posted with them in advance, a service contract holder is just like any other service requestor. When I questioned the technician who came to fix our unit, he allowed as to how grossly understaffed ARS is. Gee, isn't that the way all large scale providers of prepaid services (like HMOs) maximize their profits, by denying service to customers?

So when this contract expires in the fall, we will go shopping for a local, small, service provider (maybe W. F. Fowler) who can promise that a maintenance contract holder is given some kind of priority in the service food-chain. ARS will not be renewed.

-- David Fetzer (, May 18, 2000.

Can anyone recommend a decent handyman? I've called three different ones out of the yellow pages and one said he's booked thru June, the others didn't even bother to call me back (even after 2 messages). I just need someone who can perform a variety of fix-it jobs both inside and outside the house.

-- Kim Skimmons (, May 21, 2000.

Does anyone know of a good electrician? We have asked a few neighbors, but everyone "knows this guy who did some work for us once a couple of years ago."

I guess I am looking for someone who has done a consistent job (aren't we all?) Thanks! Mike

-- Michael Heller (, May 22, 2000.

I used a company called Congressional Electric, in Rockville, for both some indoor and outdoor work. I was satisfied with the quality of the work, the response time, and the price.

The source that I used to find the company was the magazine Consumers Checkbook. It's extremely useful for deciding on all sorts of local service companies. I've used it for other services such as rug cleaning and appliance repairs. Any local library should have all the back copies.

Checkbook also has a local phone number, 202 347-7283. You can call them and tell them what kind of service you need information on, and they will give you the date of the magazine issue in which such companies were ranked.

Bob Mauri

-- Bob Mauri (, May 22, 2000.

Does anyone know of a high-school student who might be interested in a regular dog-walking job after school several days a week? We have a 65 pound exuberant and friendly yellow lab who needs all the exercise she can get. Days and times can be flexible and we will pay $10 for an hour's walk or $5 for a half hour. Please give us a call at 301/519-3863.

Dee and Joel Aronson

-- Dee and Joel Aronson (, May 23, 2000.

For electrical work, we have used McCathran Electric - a one person operations (Bob McCatharan) who has done fine work for us. v.: 301-869-6140 f.: 301-963-0317

For painting, for over 10 years -- this house and our last house -- we have used. Robert Smith Painting - I don't have his phone number on me. I'll post it later. He just just finished 3 town houses on our block (Inspiration Lane)

-- Tom Marchessault (, May 27, 2000.

The phone number for Robert Smith Painting is 301-540-2372

-- Tom Marchessault (, May 27, 2000.

I want to put in my big "YES!" on McCathran Electric as well.

Also, tho', I need someone to build a simple, i.e., no levels or hot tub, deck in my very small backyard. Anyone want to guide me towards someone? nj aka Vixen

-- Nancy Millman (, June 03, 2000.

In terms of decks and patios, Jon Winter (Winter Garden Designs 301-854-6930) put a patio in our small backyard and did a phenomenal job. He does a lot of work in the neighborhood, and I would highly recommend him. He is the architect, and also does the work himself. Mike

-- Michael Heller (, June 05, 2000.

I want to thank Michael Heller for turning me onto Jon Winter for my deck. It's currently in progress and they are totally delightful! The name of the company is now SOLAR GARDENS INC, Creators of Fine Environments. The card reads Landscape Design and Contracting Landscape Maintenance Landscape Construction Residential Remodeling 301/236-0822

I'm gonna give them a two thumbs up! LEAST!

-- Nancy Millman (, October 02, 2000.

I had a small pond installed by "Second Nature" and I can fully recommend them as well. Click here for pix of their work and info.

I haven't landscaped mine yet, but you are welcome to come see it in the front of 100 Kent Oaks Way.

-- Nancy Millman (, October 11, 2000.

I have another request. Does anyone have someone they use for gas work? I have a gas fireplace, and it needs repair. Thanks in advance! Mike

-- Michael Heller (, November 06, 2000.

Hello all -

Might anyone have a recommendation for a chimney sweep? Thanks very much.

-- Robin Caldwell (, November 07, 2000.

I can highly recommend The Fireplace Shop on Shady Grove Road. Call there and they'll hook ya up with whatever you need. 301/948-7695

-- Nancy Millman (, November 27, 2000.

I found this site accidently, it is really great. We just bought a house, our first home. Are there tips and suggestions that the experienced home owners can give us? Like needing an annual electrician contract was new information. We are immediately looking for a plumber, a mason, and someone to work with the pond that we inherited - all for small jobs. Thank you Daksha

-- Dr. Daksha Arora (, April 05, 2002.

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