6 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Major Appliances
For most people, major appliances don’t get a whole lot of thought. That is, as long as they are working as they should. When one fails, however, you start wondering if you could have done anything to take better care of it. After all, finding a repair professional that can come out quickly can be a challenge, and replacing an appliance gets expensive fast. The good news is there are simple steps you can take that help your appliances work more efficiently and smoothly, and most will help them last longer.
1. Avoid Overloading the Washer
Washing machines are designed to handle a certain amount of material. If you have a standard size machine, it cannot accommodate a king-sized comforter -even if you can actually stuff it inside the drum. Doing that can quickly cause damage to belts and motors. Check the load size limits in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have the original paperwork, go ahead and do a quick web search to find it online.
2. Change Out Filters
Filters are in many different types of appliances, and they all need to be cleaned or changed regularly. Refrigerators with icemakers or water dispensers will almost always have a filter built-in. If your house does not have a water softener, you will have to keep an extra-close eye on this. Many HVAC systems, air conditioners and dehumidifiers may also have a filter that needs to be changed every month or so.
3. Give Your Dryer an Assist
Every time you toss a load of wet laundry into the dryer, it works diligently to tumble out the moisture and leave them dry and wrinkle-free. This is largely done by adding heated air over the material. But that air has to come and go freely from your dryer, which is where the vents come into the picture. A dryer draws air in and passes it over a filter screen. It is heated and blown over the clothes. It then leaves, taking the warm, moist air through the exhaust vent and out of your home.
A clogged filter screen or vent hose will cause the dryer to run less efficiently. Your clothes will take longer to dry and the machine will have to work twice as hard. All of that can lead to a shorter lifespan. Take a minute before you put wet laundry in to clean out the in-unit filter screen. It should be easy to find and access. Change out or clean the exhaust vent every year or so to ensure it stays free of lint and clogs.
4. Defrost the Freezer
Most freezers today are frost-free, which means they regularly go through a mild defrost cycle to keep ice from accumulating inside. Older units and some newer deep-freeze units, however, will need to be manually defrosted. It is a fairly simple and straightforward process as long as your freezer isn’t loaded down with food. In addition to helping it run more efficiently, removing the ice buildup will give you back precious space for food.
5. Vacuum Exposed Coils
While you are looking at your freezer, check for exposed coils. If you have them, take a minute to clean the dust and grime off of them. A quick pass over with a vacuum hose or soft rag should be sufficient. Refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners will have coins, too. A few minutes of preventative maintenance a couple trim a year can really cut down on appliance wear.
6. Keep Them Clean
You feel better when you come out of the shower all fresh and clean, and so do your appliances. Grime and grease on important parts make them work much harder than otherwise necessary, which shortens their useful life. Wipe them down after use and remove any heavy buildup with a deeper cleaning. Cleaning cycles on ovens, washers and dishwashers make deeper cleaning as easy as pressing a button.
Appliances are a major investment and you want them to last as long as possible. Keep them clean, change out filters, and perform routine maintenance to give them a hand.