You don't need to buy a new dryer, repair it. I got a very high estimate on repair of the drum of our 30+ year old Kenmore dryer. ($235). The part was $33, a belt. The new dryers we looked at were too wide to get through our doors. So, using a plain ole' flathead screwdriver and the instructions on Ehow, I began to dismantle our Kenmore dryer.
Use a strong lighting source, and buy the belt at an appliance parts store. Shop around - I did not buy the $33 one, but found one for $20 in a closer location. After exposing the innards, I realized it was no more difficult than replacing a vacuum cleaner belt. Just more time-consuming. In the end, I was very pressed for time and phoned a repair person. (no, not Sears!) Their estimate was 1/3 of the estimate from the first place. The time spent on my job was less because I'd already dismantled the dryer.
So I combined DIY and an good repairperson. I learned something, too: older dryers, like our 30 year old dryer, have metal parts that don't wear out easily. Newer dryers have plastic parts that wear out in 5 years, requiring a service call. So, look on Craigslist or other swapping sites (freecycle, etc) for old dryers that are free. I learned that dryers, despite all the bells and whistles, well there is not a whole lot of difference, but a new dryer can cost over $1K!
By Mary from Kensington, Maryland
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