Your home appliances are not only expensive investments, but they’re also the ones that can cause the greatest inconvenience when they stop working. Many appliances fail because they are overused or misused by the consumer.
Whether you pay for an extended parts and labour warranty from your contractor or you stick with the basic limited manufacturer’s warranty, regular maintenance is still required. After all, no matter how high-end your heating and cooling system is, it’s a machine and requires maintenance and periodic repairs to remain in good working condition for years to come.
The best way to keep your appliances running smoothly is to practice preventive maintenance. Always read the operational manuals that come with appliances and follow instructions for proper use and maintenance. No one can guarantee the performance of neglected equipment, and most warranty plans will not cover repairs rendered necessary by its neglect.
Fridge and Freezer
Clean is key when it comes to keeping the fridge in top shape. First, make sure you’re cleaning under and behind the refrigerator regularly, including the grill, to improve airflow. While you’re at it, give the coils a thorough vacuuming so they can cool more effectively and help the refrigerator live a longer life.
Sticky door seals around the fridge and freezer should be wiped down with warm, soapy water to ensure proper closure. If your freezer is not frost-free, periodically defrosting whenever the buildup exceeds a quarter inch will be necessary. This is also a good time to remove all the ice from the dispenser and give it a good cleaning for fresh-tasting ice. Lastly, the water filter in your fridge should be replaced every six months or so – consider doing this whenever you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Seems odd to have to clean a machine that does the cleaning, but it’s a necessary job. First, if your dishwasher is equipped with a filter to trap bits of food, make sure you’re cleaning that out frequently. Spray arms can become clogged with food and mineral deposits, and a toothpick is a simple way to keep them clear and avoid dishwasher repairs down the road. Hard water deposits can be removed by running an empty cycle and using a commercially available dishwasher cleaner.
Oven and Stove
The exterior of your stove and oven should be wiped down frequently to remove food buildup. Be sure to include the knobs! Burners and grates should be soaked in hot, soapy water before scrubbing away debris. If you have a self-cleaning oven, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If not, scrub down the inside of the oven with soapy water or a degreasing agent. This chore should be done at least once every three months. Lastly, remove the hood fan filters, and soak them in hot water with soap or a degreasing agent and rinse thoroughly.
Make sure not to overload your washing machine or it could prematurely wear out. Set the water level to an appropriate setting based on the amount of clothes in the washer – failure to do so can stress the motor out unnecessarily. Don’t forget to check all pockets before placing clothes in the washer. Many problems are caused when foreign objects become lodged within the washer.
Most everyone knows to clean out the lint filter every time you use the dryer, but you also need to wash it every few months to clear any residue left by dryer sheets (seriously, run some water over the filter and you’ll be shocked at how long it takes to filter through). You should also make sure you clean the exhaust vent at the back of the dryer to keep everything running smoothly and help prevent fires.