How to Maintain Appliances – On the House

How to Maintain Appliances

By on August 29, 2015

Did you know that the average American homeowner depends on at least seven appliances to accomplish day to day routines? I bet we can easily name over a dozen that you are intimately familiar with: refrigerator, freezer, range, range hood, dishwasher, disposal, compactor, clothes washer, dryer, blender, mixer, bread maker, popcorn popper, toaster, toaster oven and how about a vacuum cleaner! Bet you can name at least five more.

Every appliance contains either a heating element or moving parts or both. A combination that always ends up equaling the need for maintenance in one form or another. Here are a few tips we think you will enjoy putting to use in your home:

Everyone knows about cleaning the lint filter in the dryer. Too much lint, air won’t pass, the machine works harder, your energy bill goes up and clothes take twice as long (or longer) to dry. So what’s new? Plenty! There are other wise decisions you can make to get the most for your hard-earned laundry dollar. A well maintained laundry set can last 12 years or more. You take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

  • Don’t ever overload any appliance – especially your washer and dryer. Overloaded appliances aren’t as efficient. You may think that you are saving money by doing more per load, but it isn’t so. Things can backfire. An overloaded washer won’t clean as well and the clothes won’t ring out as thoroughly. The heavier “wet” load can and will wear the washer out faster. Putting wet clothes into the dryer will make it work harder and clothes may have to be dried twice as long or even longer. All of this overuse is certain to wear out both machines long before their time.
  • By the way, if you live in a cold climate don’t use the cold water setting during winter. When the temperature of the water in the washer drops below 70 degrees the water isn’t warm enough to dissolve detergent. Yep, that includes liquid detergents too. When detergent doesn’t dissolve clothes don’t get clean.
  • Never, never use too much detergent. With detergent more is not better. When too much detergent is used a residue can build up on the outside of the tub. Ultimately, the built-up will break away from the tub and stain clothing.
  • The big moving part in the dryer is the drum. A rubber belt drives it. Rubber can wear out and when it does the belt slips. When the belt slips the motor still turns at the same speed but the dryer doesn’t. When this happens clothes don’t dry as quickly and as the belt slips it wears faster.
  • Check your dryer vent regularly. To be fire safe it should be clean and unobstructed. Also, when air flows freely through the exhaust duct the dryer works more efficiently. The dryer should exhaust through your roof or out through a wall. Never into the basement or crawl space or attic. Warm air in the attic or crawl space can cause excessive condensation and ultimately mildew and rot.

Experts say that the big energy hog in a home is the refrigerator. Where you may use your laundry once or twice a week, a refrigerator runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Here, regular maintenance is a must. You can lower your energy bill and your fridge will last 15 years or more – no problem.

  • A refrigerator that is 10 years old or older should be defrosted at least once every three months. An older refrigerator is more likely to break down. When a refrigerator shuts down it defrosts. When a refrigerator defrosts it can flood the room and cause a great deal of damage. A refrigerator that is regularly defrosted does not create more water than can be held in the evaporator tray.
  • The cooling coils should be kept clean and dust free. These coils are on the back of some fridges and on the underside of others. Heat is dissipated through these coils. A buildup of gunky pet hair, sticky lint and other common household debris can cause the compressor to work harder and eventually can lead to premature wear-out. It might interest you to know that the compressor is the most expensive part to replace. Do you have $400 (or more) to waste on a compressor replacement because you aren’t worried about lint and pet hair?
  • You will feel better about your refrigerator if it smells fresh and clean. Deodorize with cat litter or baking soda. Both work wonders at absorbing odor. Clean your refrigerator on a regular basis. Here’s a tip: use a bottlebrush or a toothbrush soaked in bleach to clean behind the door gasket. You won’t believe the yucky gunk that builds up in that tiny crevice.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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