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Maintenance Tips for Long-Lasting Appliances

By Jessica Ackerman

Nothing can throw a big kink into your budget like the breakdown of a major appliance, like your furnace, refrigerator, stove, or washer.  But the truth is that appliances can’t last forever. From the moment you plug in that new appliance, the clock is slowing ticking down to the day that you will have to replace it.  Proper maintenance of your major appliances, however, can be the key to their longevity.  The tips that follow will help you to get the most out of your appliances so that you don’t have to replace them as often, including your:

  • Dishwasher.  Two cups of vinegar run through your dishwasher each month will help to rid it of soap and mineral build up.  Wash the strainer with soapy water to remove any matter or debris that has built up in there. 

  • HVAC system.  Your central air unit can last for many years if you maintain it properly by replacing the filter once each month during the cooling season.  Clean the exterior of your unit with soapy water.  Never operate your central air unit when the weather outside is cool, as this will cause the coils inside the unit to “freeze up”, and eventually lead to damage.  Hose off the unit from time-to-time to keep debris and dirt from building inside. Change the filter in your furnace once each month during the heating season.  This will help to increase the flow of air and allow your furnace to work more efficiently.  Have your HVAC system serviced and cleaned once each year by a HVAC professional. 

  • Refrigerator.  Refrigerators are super expensive. Make yours last longer by keeping the condenser coils clean.  To clean them, use a long-armed soft brush to brush off any dust and dirt.  You will find the coils behind your refrigerator, for most models, although some will be located beneath a grill that simply pops on and off.  You should also defrost the freezer section of the refrigerator at least twice each year.  Clean the gasket on both doors of the refrigerator, and look for any snags or tears that could let cold air out and cause your appliance to work less than efficiently. 

  • Stove.  For safety’s sake, keep your stove burner pans clean.  Don’t line the pans with aluminum foil, since it will cover the vents in the stove and may end up causing them to short-circuit.  Use degreaser or water to clean the stove, and be sure to take advantage of your stove’s self-cleaning function if it has one.  Otherwise, oven cleaner left overnight should do the trick to keep the oven functioning like it should. 

  • Washer and dryer.  Your washer and dryer are arguably the hardest working appliances in your home.  Maintain them and you will save a bundle on replacing them later rather than sooner.  Keep the lint screen cleaned out in the dryer, and wash it occasionally with soapy water. This will keep the screen from getting caked with built-up dryer lint that can cause your dryer to not dry as effectively or efficiently.  Clean out the dryer’s vent hose every couple of months to remove any debris that may be accumulating in there.  Your washer needs less maintenance.  Make sure that unbalanced loads are corrected right away so that you don’t damage the washer’s internal mechanisms and barrel.  The washing machine should be installed on a flat surface. 

Jessica Ackerman of, is an interior designer who illustrates how simple it can be to use wooden wall decorations and big wall art.

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