Americans spend approximately $15 billion every year on new appliances. Just think what else the money you sink into household gadgets could buy your family. Perhaps you could eat out more or take a well-deserved vacation! Your dreams could become reality if you follow these maintenance tips guaranteed to extend the life of your household appliances.
Keep Appliances Clean
Appliances work best when they’re clean. Dust, lint, and built-up grime and foodstuffs can all make your appliances work harder and even cause them to catch fire.
While some appliances, like HVAC systems, require professional cleaning, most don’t require the skills or equipment of experts. In many cases, cleaning brushes, cloths, and vacuum cleaners are all you need. Remember to unplug each appliance before cleaning it for your safety.
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Regular cleaning can really pay off, according to heating and refrigeration lecturer Leroy Richter. He suggests that cleaning the dust from refrigerator condenser coils just once a year can increase your fridge’s life by as much as 20 years. Also pay particular attention to the electric motors of exhaust fans, the vents of your clothes dryer, and your dishwasher’s interior.
Clean or Replace Filters
Many appliances, including ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, and vacuums, come with filters. These filters vary significantly, but they’re all designed to trap unwanted items, like dirt, dust, and allergens, and prevent them passing to your appliance’s motor. The more of these substances your filter collects, the more inefficient your appliance becomes and the greater the risk to its motor. Some filters can be washed, while others must be replaced. Cleaning and replacement schedules vary between appliances and brands, so consult your manufacturer to determine how often this maintenance is required.
Replace Worn Gaskets
Many large appliances, like fridges and dishwashers, have gaskets around their doors. These pieces of rubber create seals, which are essential for your appliances’ efficient operation. When gaskets become worn or fail to seal, your appliances need to work much harder to function, which can decrease their lifespan significantly. Buying a replacement gasket will cost a fraction of the price of a new appliance. Some gaskets can be easily replaced by DIYers while others require the skills of a trained technician. When in doubt, call the professionals.
Heed Professional Maintenance Schedules
When major appliances like HVAC systems and hot water systems are running well, it can be tempting to skip scheduled services. However, the money you save in the short term is bound to catch up with you later. Trained maintenance professionals will make sure your appliances are clean, efficient, and free of damage. They’ll also spot any small problems before they can turn into larger ones. These measures can potentially add years or even decades to your appliances.
Note the recommended maintenance schedules of any appliances you buy. Entering the date of your next service into your phone can help you remember to make a maintenance appointment.
Used and abused, household appliances are bound to burn out before their time. But with proper maintenance you can make them last much longer and reap the financial rewards.