Your household appliances represent a significant investment, usually totaling thousands of dollars in money spent for the appliances you need. Appliances don’t just cost money to buy, either – it also takes big bucks to use them day after day to wash clothes, cook food and keep your home comfortably warm or cool.
With five home appliance maintenance tips, you can keep your appliances in tip-top condition and make sure they serve you well for a number of years.
Your household appliances represent a significant investment, usually totaling thousands of dollars in money spent for the appliances you need.
One of the most basic aspects of appliance maintenance involves keeping the unit clean. Perform regular cleaning to remove dirt, dust and grime from surfaces. For example, if you allow the shelves and interior of a refrigerator to become soiled with food and debris, these areas may become permanently stained. If you don’t keep the gasket of the refrigerator clean, the seal may stop performing correctly to keep cool air inside the refrigerator. Similarly, if you allow the interior of a washing machine to become soiled and dirty, you may notice that your clothing does not emerge from the washing machine as clean as it should.
Appliances that operate with electricity need regular maintenance to ensure that they operate safely. Check cords for frayed or visible wires. Look at the prongs carefully – if you see evidence of fraying, melting or burning, don’t plug in the appliance because it could be a fire hazard. You must either fix the appliance or dispose of it to avoid the risk of fire.
If an appliance has a filter design, change it as often as recommended by the manufacturer. Appliances such as air conditioners, furnaces, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and dishwashers usually have filters designed to trap and hold contaminants and debris to prevent them from moving through the appliance system. If these filters become too full of debris, the appliance won’t work effectively anymore. This can reduce the power or effectiveness of your appliance or it could even lead to damage because of improper filtering.
Appliances with hoses, such as washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners and refrigerators, need regular examination to make sure the hoses are in good condition. Over time, hoses may crack, bulge or become clogged. If your appliances suffers a hose malfunction, the results can be devastating – usually involving a significant mess of water where you don’t want it. Generally, plan to replace appliance hoses every five years for optimal performance and to avoid problems.
Some appliances need a little more in-depth maintenance than what the average homeowner can give. For example, your air conditioner should have the Freon level tested and charged to keep it running at peak efficiency. This requires a licensed professional with the proper training to work with these chemicals. It’s also a good idea to check belts, filters, motors, airflow and lubrication of the system to make sure that everything is running properly. While you may be able to perform some of this maintenance – filters, for example – you probably don’t have the training or expertise to service your system completely.
Protect your appliance investment and get the most out of the units you choose for your home. With the right care and attention, many appliances should last for years. A refrigerator or freezer could last up to 20 years and a washing machine could last for about 15 years with the right care.