There’s nothing worse than starting a sink or toilet repair only to find that the shutoff valve won’t shut off. Some shutoff valves are easy to replace. For those that aren’t, turn off the main water valve, remove the packing nut, and then unscrew the stem and take it to the hardware store to find a replacement washer. Clean any grit out of the valve body and pop on the new washer. The valve will work like new.

The average single-family homeowner spends around $2,000 a year on maintenance, according to Bankrate.com. That is considerably less than the monthly fees for most condos or co-ops. But even though the monthly outlay for those homeowners might be lower than that of condo or co-op owners, house owners generally are not squirreling away those savings for a rainy day. Nearly half of them have less than $1,000 saved, and a third have nothing saved, according to Liberty Mutual Insurance. So when that sump pump suddenly fails, odds are, we’re scrambling to pay the plumber for a new one.

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity offers a Home Repair Program that performs repair services to help low-income homeowners impacted by age, disability and family circumstances reclaim their homes with pride and dignity. Volunteer teams work to improve the condition of homes by painting, landscaping, and performing minor repairs at minimal costs to homeowners who would otherwise be unable to complete home repairs on their own.  In addition, SCHFH now offers home repair and renovation services on a larger scale that aim to alleviate critical health, life and safely issues.  Able-bodied homeowners are asked to work alongside the volunteers in a cooperative effort.

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