Easy Ways to Extend the Lives of Your Home Appliances
Murphy’s Law predicts that as soon as you’re preparing that long-awaited family dinner party or putting that birthday ice cream cake in the freezer, your old, worn fridge or oven will decide to break down, making you wish you had taken care of your appliances sooner. The key to avoid these frustrating scenarios is to perform regular upkeep on your home appliances, which not only increases their lifespan but also saves on operating and maintenance costs.
In many cases, appliances are easy to maintain and repair through simple DIY solutions. For major repairs, however, a professional may be needed.
tips to help make your home appliances last longer
OVEN SCRUBBING: BETTER THAN A VISIT TO THE DENTIST
As with most things in life, the secret to a longer lasting oven is a little TLC. And that starts with a good old-fashioned scrubbing. We know… deep cleaning your oven is only slightly more fun than a visit to the dentist, but with diligent care and periodic cleaning, your oven’s life can be extended by up to 15 years. This estimate is based on daily cooking for a family of four, which will certainly add more wear and tear than the occasional heating up of a frozen pizza.
- Clean your oven by removing the racks and washing them with soap and warm water over the sink or in the dishwasher (Pro tip: Prevent clogs by removing all hardened grease before placing it in the dishwasher).
- Avoid using the self-cleaning feature of the oven, as easy and convenient as it might seem. Why? The intense heat used to incinerate build-up can also prematurely wear out your oven, causing fuses to pop and control panels to burn out.
How often should you clean your oven? It depends on how frequently you use it. But if you notice a lot of grease build-up and unpleasant cooking odors, it’s a good bet that a cleaning is in order. To be safe, store-bought all-purpose cleaner and sturdy paper towels or sponges work perfectly well, but a pair of rubber gloves and a mixture of baking soda, water and vinegar make a great homemade solution.
REFRIGERATOR CLEANING: SAVE MONEY & ENERGY
As one of the most used appliances in your home, refrigerators consume a lot of energy since they are constantly running. With extra care, you can save money and conserve energy along with putting off the expense of a new appliance. Here are some simple ways to preserve your fridge:
- Replace the rubber door seals annually, as gaskets can wear out quickly and release cold air.
- Vacuum the condenser coils to ensure dust and debris are removed.
- Declutter your refrigerator at least weekly, as even airflow and temperature distribution require ample space. Don’t cram too much into your fridge. Place fruits and vegetables in the crisper bins. Avoid placing large bags on shelves – especially the top one – to prevent interference with your fridge’s ability to dissipate heat.
- Replace water filters every six months to avoid bacteria in your drinking water.
- To optimize your freezer’s efficiency, keep it away from sources of heat, like direct sunlight or your stove or dishwasher.
DISHWASHER DILIGENCE: A CLEAN MACHINE = SPARKLY DISHES
The theme of safe, thorough and frequent cleaning continues with the appliance that helps save time on a chore so many people dislike: washing the dishes. While many improvements have been made to the hand-turned wooden box over the past 170+ years, things can still go wrong with modern dishwashers. Here are a few simple dishwasher cleaning tips to follow:
- Run your dishwasher regularly to avoid excess build-up, which can settle in the bottom basin. This helps reduce the number of times you’ll need to do a thorough cleaning throughout the year.
- Inspect and clean the spinning arrows, which spray water onto the dishes inside. Using a toothpick, a piece of wire or small pliers, you can easily clear out any debris accumulated inside the holes.
- Clean the dishwasher’s exterior door, which can see its fair share of spills. These stains can be the cause of foul smells coming from the dishwasher.
- Unclog any drains to improve your dishwasher’s efficiency and ensure that your dishes are sparkling clean every single time.
WASHING MACHINE WISDOM: REMEMBER THE POCKETS!
When properly taken care of, washing machines can last up to 14 years – which equates to about 5,100 loads of laundry (yay!). However, if you’re washing heavier loads frequently compared to a series of lighter loads, that will also impact its lifespan. For a longer lasting machine, consider these tips:
- Check hot and cold water hoses every few months for cracks and bulges. Ensure that fittings are tight and secure.
- Stay within maximum load limits noted on the machine’s care instructions label to avoid damaging the motor. It’s typically recommended to wash multiple small loads than trying to fit too many heavy items into one load.
- Believe it or not, the more detergent you use, the less clean your soiled clothing will actually get! Don’t use too much detergent, as this can act as a lubricant and prevent clothes from properly rubbing against each other, thereby taking longer for dirt to be removed your clothes.
- Check your pockets! (Who hasn’t forgotten to do this?!) Coins, chewing gum, lip balm and other items in your pockets can harm or damage your washing machine – not to mention your clothes.
With proper and regular care, your home appliances won’t let you down when you need them the most. Protect your investments from other unforeseen disasters with the right home insurance policy. Equipment Breakdown coverage can protect you from covering out of pocket repairs or replacements of this critical equipment.
Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent to make sure you’re safely protected.