Helpful hints to keep appliances running like new
Maintain Your Appliances and Save
by Tricia Goss
Home Maintenance Schedules
Maintain Today, Save Tomorrow
Will New Energy Efficient Appliances Save Me Money?
Repairing or replacing major appliances can really put a hole in your budget. Preventative maintenance can keep your appliances running as well as possible for as long as possible. Here are helpful hints for ten major appliances to get you started.
- Clean your air conditioner filter once a month with dish soap to sustain airflow. Never operate the A/C when the external temperature falls below 60 degrees. This can cause the coils to freeze up. Hose off your central air unit monthly to remove debris and maximize airflow. This will also help your electric bill stay down.
- Change your furnace filters monthly when in use. Again, this increases airflow and keeps your utility use lower. Most local gas companies will come to your home to inspect your unit at the start of the season. They often carry small, common parts and will replace them as a service to their consumers.
- Make sure your washing machine is on a flat surface with a level. Uneven settings can cause unbalanced loads and "walking," which can damage the barrel over time. If your barrel shows rust, try running a load of hot water and two cups of lemon juice. At least twice a year, check the water supply hose for kinks, bulges, or cracks. Consider replacing damaged rubber hoses with flexible stainless steel connectors, which have a much longer life span.
- Scrub your dryer's lint screen with warm, sudsy water to eliminate buildup of softener and soap. Use a steel vent brush to remove lint clogging the vent hose, being careful to disconnect the power source first.
- Every month, place a bowl with two cups of white vinegar upright in the dishwasher. Run by itself on a normal cycle. This will eradicate mineral and soap accumulation. Periodically remove the strainer and soak in soapy water. Remove the spray arm from the bottom carefully and use a thin, stiff wire to clean the small holes. Remove mineral deposits with white vinegar, then replace. Scour strainer with a plastic scrubber and return to the washer.
- Clean your refrigerator's condenser coils with a special brush found at most hardware stores. Newer models have a grill covering the coils in the bottom front that pops out, while older refrigerators will need to be pulled away from the wall, as the coils are located on the back. Do this every six months. This is also a good time to check your icemaker's inline filter. Clean the ice box's door gasket monthly with a blend of baking soda and warm water. Not only does this cleanse icky food stains, it will also help the gasket stay pliable and hold a better seal. Test the seal by closing the fridge door on a dollar bill and tugging on it. If it slides right out, you need to replace the gasket. To remove ice from a manual defrost freezer, never try to scrape it away as you could puncture a wall and ruin the appliance. Simply remove all food and unplug. Do this every other month to avert buildup and shorten defrosting time.
- Prolong the life of your microwave by keeping it free of spattered food that can burn up inside. Make it easy by placing two cups of water and two teaspoons of baking soda in a microwave-safe bowl and heating it on high power for three minutes. Any gunk will then easily wipe off with a sponge. Wipe the door gasket as well.
- Place lemon wedges into ice trays and cover with water. When frozen, toss a couple of the cubes down the drain and turn on the garbage disposal to freshen the drain and sharpen the disposal's blades.
- Keep your stove burner pans clean by scrubbing with soapy water and a non-abrasive pad. Never line with foil, as it may cover necessary vents or even cause a short circuit. Clean the range vent filter with dish soap and degreaser.
- Drain your water heater twice a year to prevent sediment buildup. As with your washing machine, check your fill line and replace if kinked, cracked, or bulging. Test the relief valve by placing a pail under the copper overflow pipe that is near the floor and carefully pressing the valve at the top. If hot water does not spray out, replace the valve. This is a crucial safety device.
Shop home improvement for great prices at Overstock.com.
Remember the old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Make maintenance a habit to get the most out of your appliances and keep your budget healthy.
Take the Next Step
- Save money with these 7 essential appliances.
- Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Money-Saving Tips for Your Home
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- 4 ways to pay off your mortgage earlier
- Managing home projects to keep costs down
- Buying an insurance friendly car
- Is a bigger home really better?
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?
- Should I refinance my mortgage?
- Compare HELOC rates
- Check for a lower homeowners insurance rate
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?