Home appliances are essential for making our lives easier and more comfortable. They help us with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and more. However, appliances are not cheap, and they can break down over time if we don’t take good care of them. That’s why it’s important to maintain your appliances regularly and use them properly to extend their lifespan and save money on repairs or replacements. Here are some tips on how to do that for some of the most common appliances in your home.
Refrigerator and Freezer
Your refrigerator and freezer are constantly working to keep your food fresh and safe. To make sure they run efficiently and last longer, you should:
- Clean the inside and outside of your refrigerator and freezer every two or three months. Wipe down the walls, shelves, drawers, and door seals with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. Rinse with water and let them dry before putting your food back in. This will prevent bacteria, mold, and odors from building up in your appliance.
- Clean the condenser coils at least once a year. The condenser coils are located on the back or bottom of your refrigerator, and they help release the heat that is generated by the compressor. If they get dirty or dusty, they can reduce the cooling efficiency of your appliance and cause it to use more energy. To clean them, unplug your refrigerator, pull it away from the wall, and use a vacuum cleaner or a coil brush to remove the dust and debris from the coils.
- Defrost your freezer if it is not frost-free. Frost can accumulate on the walls of your freezer and reduce its storage space and cooling performance. If you have an older model that does not have a self-defrosting feature, you should defrost it manually at least once a year or whenever the frost layer reaches half an inch thick. To do this, unplug your freezer, empty it of food, place a large pan or tray under it to catch the melting ice, and let it thaw naturally or use a hairdryer to speed up the process. Do not use sharp tools or hot water to scrape off the frost, as this can damage your appliance.
Oven and Range
Your oven and range are essential for cooking delicious meals for yourself and your family. To keep them in good shape and prevent fire hazards, you should:
- Clean your oven and range every three months or more often if you use them frequently. You can use the self-cleaning feature of your oven if it has one, but only for light to moderate messes. For heavy spills or grease buildup, you should use a sponge and a cleaning solution to scrub them off manually. You can make your own solution by mixing baking soda, vinegar, and water, or you can buy a commercial oven cleaner from the store. Be sure to wear gloves and follow the instructions on the label carefully.
- Clean the burners on your range regularly. The burners can get clogged with food particles or grease over time, which can affect their flame quality and efficiency. To clean them, remove them from the stove (if possible), soak them in hot water and dish soap for 15 minutes, then scrub them with a brush or a sponge. Rinse them well and let them dry completely before putting them back on.
- Calibrate your oven temperature setting if it seems off. If you notice that your oven is cooking too fast or too slow, or that your baked goods are not turning out as expected, it may be because your oven temperature is not accurate. You can check this by using an oven thermometer to measure the actual temperature inside your oven when you set it to a certain degree. If there is a discrepancy between the two readings, you can adjust your oven temperature setting according to the instructions in your owner’s manual.
Washer and Dryer
Your washer and dryer are indispensable for keeping your clothes clean and fresh. To prolong their life and prevent malfunctions, you should:
- Replace rubber washing machine hoses with braided stainless steel hoses every five years. Rubber hoses can crack or burst over time, causing water leaks or floods in your laundry room. Braided stainless steel hoses are more durable and resistant to high water pressure.
- Avoid overloading your washer or dryer with too many clothes at once. This can strain their motors, belts, and other moving parts, leading to premature wear and tear or breakdowns. Follow the recommended load size for each cycle in your owner’s manual or on the appliance itself.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load. Lint can accumulate in the filter and reduce the airflow in your dryer, making it less efficient and increasing the risk of fire. To clean it, simply pull it out of its slot and remove the lint by hand or with a soft brush.
- Clean the vent hose in your dryer at least once a year. The vent hose is the tube that connects your dryer to the outside wall, and it can also get clogged with lint over time. This can cause your dryer to overheat or malfunction, and it can also pose a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect it from both ends, use a vacuum cleaner or a vent brush to remove the lint from inside, and reattach it securely.
Your dishwasher is a convenient and efficient way to wash your dishes, but it also needs some TLC to keep it running smoothly and sanitarily. To maintain your dishwasher, you should:
- Use the right kind of soap for your dishwasher. Not all dish soaps are suitable for dishwashers, as some can create too much foam or leave behind residue on your dishes or appliance. You should use a detergent that is specifically designed for dishwashers, and follow the recommended amount on the package.
- Clean the filter in your dishwasher regularly. The filter is located at the bottom of your dishwasher, and it traps food particles and debris from your dishes. If it gets clogged, it can affect the water flow and cleaning performance of your appliance. To clean it, remove it from its slot, rinse it under running water, and use a soft brush to dislodge any stubborn bits. Replace it securely when done.
- Clean the spray arms in your dishwasher occasionally. The spray arms are the spinning devices that spray water on your dishes during the wash cycle. They can get blocked by mineral deposits or food particles over time, reducing their effectiveness. To clean them, remove them from their sockets, soak them in vinegar or a descaling solution for 15 minutes, then use a toothpick or a needle to poke out any holes that are clogged. Rinse them well and put them back in place.
By following these tips, you can keep your appliances in good working order and extend their lifespan. This will save you money on repairs or replacements, and also help you enjoy the benefits of your appliances for longer.