Need your garage door repaired? Odds are, once you account for materials, labor and unforeseen hiccups, you’ll be writing a check for a grand. Your sump pump died? A new one could cost you around $600 for parts and labor, which doesn’t seem so bad considering the alternative is a flooded basement. But then the plumber might discover that the pipe carrying the water from the house to the street is clogged with years’ of debris and needs to be flushed out. And maybe there’s a blockage somewhere. There you have it: $1,000.
How to DIY it: You should already be emptying the lint trap before every load of laundry. To do a thorough cleaning of the dryer and its vent duct system, unplug the machine (and turn off the gas valve if it has one). Pry off the access panel on the front (try a putty knife covered with duct tape to prevent scratching) and vacuum around the motor and heating element (above). Then carefully disconnect the vent duct tubing from the back of the dryer and use a dryer vent brush (about $10 at home centers; look for one that also cleans refrigerator coils) to pull out any accumulated lint. Aim to do this at least once a year.
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.