Cleaning, dusting, and washing can take a portion of your time, but they would use a hefty chunk of it if you had to do it all manually. Also, let’s not forget appliances that help us enjoy all the commodities of modern life, like ice cream, cold soda, and cool temperatures in the hot summers. Well-maintained tech can save you money for repairs and power, not to mention it can improve your health.
While you can’t stop their ultimate demise, these maintenance tips will significantly expand the lifespan of home appliances.
Read appliances manufacturer’s instructions
Before you plug in your appliance, it’s crucial to read the manufacturer’s instructions with dos and don’ts. During and after production, manufacturers perform quality control and give recommendations on how to use and clean the appliance. If you don’t follow these guidelines, you may damage the appliance or shorten its lifespan.
Instructions may differ between brands and models, so always treat your appliance as unique and as though you never used it before. Keep the manufacturer’s instructions safe and consult the recommendations there when you are unsure what to do or have a problem with the device.
Handle appliances as recommended
Certain rules will keep your appliance in top shape. The first is to not allow children to handle the appliance since they may break it by sitting or standing on it. Improper handling, like overloading or misuse, can put too much strain on certain device parts and break them.
Products you use, like detergents and softeners, can also affect the lifespan of your device. It’s more affordable to spend a little less on quality products than pay for repairs. Lastly, do not perform repairs by yourself since that may do more harm to appliances than good.
Use appliances only when needed
The lifespan of some appliances depends on how much you use them. Because of this, use these appliances only when necessary and unplug them until the next time you need them. For example, don’t open the refrigerator as much and use the shorter program on the dishwasher.
Moreover, in case of a power surge, plugged-in appliances can get damaged even if they are not in use at that moment. Furthermore, plugged-in appliances may still use energy, so unplugging them is not only good for your budget but also for the environment.
Turn maintenance of appliances into a joint task
It’s great that you are all in, but other members of your household should participate in the maintenance of home appliances. After all, everyone who uses an appliance should do it properly or it may not stay functional for long.
Make sure that everyone reads the manufacturer’s instructions and knows where to find it in case they need to refresh their memory. If possible, put the numbers of repairmen in a place where everyone can see it or get it, even the children.
Give appliances special care
Every appliance uses a different technology and each requires special care to stay in the best possible shape. While the maintenance tasks may be the same, the technique can vary from appliance to appliance. Here are some maintenance tips for the most common home appliances to expand their lifespan:
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
It’s recommended to have professional maintenance of your HVAC at least twice a year if you keep it in good shape regularly. Clean or replace the air filters based on how much you use your HVAC, but it’s best to do it once a month or more.
Check your outdoor unit for debris and remove it from the compressor if possible. A damp cloth will be enough to clean the dust and dirt on the indoor unit, but sometimes you may have to vacuum the ducts well. Turn off your HVAC when the room is at the desired temperature or when the weather outside is not extreme, to minimize the gas emissions, energy use, and wear and tear of the appliance.
Refrigerator maintenance is one of the easiest and you can do it in five minutes. Start with wiping the gaskets on the doors so they close properly and keep the air inside cool. After wiping them down, apply a thin coat of Vaseline on them to create a better seal.
The coils on the back of your fridge also need cleaning, because accumulated dirt can cause them to overheat. Use a vacuum to clean the coils, but do it gently to avoid damaging anything on the back of this appliance. A deep clean with turning it off and wiping the inside of your refrigerator is recommended for 3–6 months, depending on its state.
Never put too many clothes in the washing machine! Overloading it will cause the motor, belts, and other parts to use more power and force to wash the laundry. But under loading is not a solution either since it can disturb the washer’s balance. The optimum amount of laundry is the one where clothes have space to move around.
Another thing to worry about is the accumulation of soap, softener, and limescale on the heaters, ducts, and drum. Pouring white vinegar and baking soda inside the drum and setting the program to the high-heat cycle will take care of this problem. Don’t forget to clean the filter once or twice a year since any debris there can lead to leaks and flooding of your floors.
A poorly maintained dryer can lead to serious issues, the most dangerous being causing a fire. During the drying cycle, the clothes shed fibers creating lint that stays in the filters and ducts. The accumulated lint can catch fire due to high temperatures the dryer uses, or cause motor failure. To prevent this, clean the exhaust vents every two years, and filter after every use.
Dryer malfunction may also happen if you overload the dryer and set the program to more time than necessary. Most clothes need shorter cycles which can reduce the consumption of energy and the strain on your appliance.
An oven is one of those appliances that get dirty pretty quickly and cleaning it is not fun. Grease, burnt leftovers, and bad smell can make you avoid doing this chore, which in turn can lead to diminished performance and oven repairs.
To clean it, use store-bought products specifically created for ovens, but prepare yourself for potential allergies and toxic vapors. For an eco-friendly solution, you can make your own cleaning paste with water, vinegar, and baking soda. This is an excellent way to remove persistent buildup, but you have to leave it to work for 10–12 hours.
When it comes to the water heater, it’s built to last. A decade may pass before you need to buy a new one, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it. Once a year, you can perform simple maintenance that will improve its efficiency and safety.
If you know how — test the pressure valve, and if you don’t, call a handyman to do it for you. A faulty valve can cause the tank to explode by building pressure inside the heater. Draining 2–3 gallons of water from the tank will remove the sediments that tend to gather on the bottom. Let the water run until it’s clear and without sediments.
A vacuum cleaner is one of the most used appliances in the household so keeping it in good shape can significantly expand its lifespan. Start by checking the temperature of the motor during operation. It usually takes 30 minutes of continuous use to overheat the motor.
Dustbags and containers should be emptied regularly because when overfull they put a strain on the vacuum and can also cause overheating. If your vacuum has air filters, rinse them or replace them since piled-up dust can reduce suction.
The dishwasher also has a gasket on the doors like the refrigerator. If it has dirt build-up, tears, or any other issue that prevents it to close firmly, your dishwasher may leak. A simple soap and water solution on a cloth will clean the gasket in a matter of seconds.
White vinegar and baking soda in the empty dishwasher will have the same effect as for the clothes washer. The leftover food on dishes can clog the drain, so it’s best to rinse them before loading your dishwasher. The way you load it can also determine how long this appliance will last since the racks get damaged easily from rough use and are costly to replace.
The bottom line
Appliances have an expiration date, but it’s better to come later than sooner. These maintenance tips are simple and almost anyone can do them. Not only they will significantly expand the lifespan of home appliances, but also need less power and so lead to lower energy bills. For a surprisingly little time every few months, you can give your appliances a chance to serve you for years to come.