Whether you’re trying to sell your home and are hoping your appliances will up the price a bit or you’re simply a homeowner who wants to avoid paying for appliance repairs or replacements, we all need to follow these tips to make our appliances work longer and better! Basically these tips are just the do’s and don’t’s. But if you don’t take away anything else from this article, remember this: DO follow the usage guidelines as set out by the manufacturer. If you no longer remember where the paperwork is that came with your appliance, you can always look it up online. Also, DO practice preventative maintenance. The extra time it takes to clean and take good care of your appliances will be well worth it in the long run—you will save loads of money.
- Clean the condenser coils. These are usually located on the bottom or in the back of the refrigerator.
- Clean them first with a brush. Then vacuum them out. According to Paul Hleovas with Reliable Appliance in Colorado Springs, this is the No. 1 preventative/preservative measure you can take for your refrigerator. According to Paul, “If those coils get clogged and that refrigerator can’t breathe, it overheats the compressor; it overheats the refrigeration and it eventually will lead to failure.”
- Change the filter of water dispensers and icemakers per the manufacturer’s recommendations. According to James Smith, senior tech with 123 Appliance Repair in Pineville, N.C., “If you don’t change your water filter, it can make the ice smaller, which can break the icemaker.”
- Avoid running the self-cleaning feature on ovens – more problematic than helpful, usually.
- ESPECIALLY do not use the self-cleaning feature before a holiday celebration or other scheduled party. According to James Smith, using the self-cleaning feature often knocks out components or causes the oven to stop working – a major disaster when you’re trying to prepare food for a group of people and the phone lines for repair are backed up (holidays).
- Check the fill hoses on the back every once in a while to make sure they’re in good shape.
- Avoid overloading a washing machine; consistent large loads will cause a machine to wear out faster.
- Clean your vent – especially if you notice the dryer is taking longer than it used to for a standard-sized load.
- Clean out the lint screen after EVERY load – but this alone is not sufficient to have a clean vent.
- Ensure the duct leading out of the dryer is made of metal, not plastic. According to Hleovas, “A four inch duct out of the back of your dryer is made to blow out a certain amount of cubic-feet-per-minute of air. If that is restricted, even in the slightest bit, you will burn out the dryer.”
- Avoid leaving a dishwasher running when no one’s home.
- If the automatic shutoff valve fails, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in water damage, regardless of the damage to your dishwasher.
- Never put dish soap in the dishwasher… unless you want to fill your kitchen with mountains of bubbles.
- Again, use the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
- Take the extra time to clean appliances every couple of months or so.
- Call a reputable repair company before you just decide to replace an appliance. A new appliance can cost thousands of dollars, but a good repair call may only cost around $100 – well worth it.
- Good rule of thumb for replacements: If the repair will cost more than half of the new price, and the appliance is over halfway through its life expectancy (about 6-7 years old), it’s probably better to go ahead and replace it.
Living Smart: Appliance Maintenance
By Angie Hicks