How to Maximize the Life of Your Appliances

Oh how exciting it is when a new appliance arrives, and after the packaging has been removed and the unit is plugged in, fully set up and running, you get a feeling that is close to the wonder and awe experienced by young wide-eyed children at Christmastime. Everyone likes to get new stuff, but there is something about brand new shiny appliances that delights beyond the norm.

Buying the Best Possible Anything is a Widespread Condition in the U.S.

Broadly speaking, most everyone buys the nicest, most fully functional, technologically advanced appliances they can afford. This being said, there are a whole lot of consumers who end up buying appliances that are actually beyond the range of affordability for their particular budgets, but that’s another story to be covered under another title. And while everyone likes having nice things, it’s Americans who most often value new, expensive and shiny over all else. This is most obviously evidenced in the breakneck way we are always tearing down even not so old buildings to replace them with squeaky new ones, without giving it a second thought. And unfortunately for us, all things technological–especially appliances seem to be gaining in functionality all the time. This finds the typical consumer in a real bind, as the most well thought out and executed process of intentionally procuring the nicest, most advanced type of fill in the blank here is guaranteed to be one-upped, most likely within the week or month by a newer model, featuring an improved design or even more functionality.

Even if You Could, Why Bother?

It is feasible that a person of vast means could dedicate an abundance of their time to always buying the newest improved technology in appliances, while losing money all the time. Having made their newest purchase they each time could subsequently sell their “less new” one through Craigslist or another similar venue, in order to make sure they always had the newest, most modern appliance available. Most well-adjusted adults just have too many other issues that require their time and attention to become so involved in rotating their appliances. And while it remains a possibility that there are fanatics out there who actually ascribe to such a practice, there is no public record of such activity to be found. So at some point, everyone must either decide on an acceptable level of appliance performance and functionality and just  go with it, or be forced into making a timely purchase due to the outright failure of their existing fill in the blank.

How to Be Happy With What You Have for the Long Haul

Want to know how to be happy and continue to stay happy with the appliances you have? If you do, you might not be surprised to discover that you fall into a group of human beings that comprise somewhere around 99.99999% of all known appliance owners and users. The exceptions might be found at some random fraternity houses, but that’s the full unincluded extent. There are measures you can take that will help you to maintain and protect all your appliances for a very long time. What tends to make a significant difference is the timely and regular efforts you make to keep your appliances in tip-top shape, which contrasts the not infrequent choice of ignoring or postponing some very basic maintenance efforts that really do not require much time at all.

Refrigerators: The performance of annual maintenance on your modern refrigerator can extend its lifespan way beyond the time of the typical five year warranty to upwards around fifteen to twenty years. Do the following and it will help you to avoid frustration and save money in the long run.


– Keep the Condenser Coil Clean: The modern refrigerators are designed with a condenser coil at the bottom of the fridge, where they are likely to collect the most dirt and dust. While this looks better, it is certainly not the best placement for it, and the condenser coil is responsible for how the compressor can function–the most expensive and important component of your fridge.

Once a year, take some time to clean all dust that has accumulated off the coil–and extend your fridge’s lifespan by many more years. You can buy a special tool for this process, or you can use a small stiff brush and a vacuum cleaner hose for the job. Unplug the fridge before you attempt this, and make sure to clean off the fan blades while you are down there.

– Check the Gasket: If you can take a crisp, new dollar bill and close the fridge door on it, and if you can freely slide the dollar bill around where the gasket touches the refrigerator, it’s time to replace the gasket.

– Defrost the Freezer: This only applies to older, manual defrost fridges. Defrost according to manufacturer’s directions or at least using safe methods that do not involve any efforts to speed up the process, such as ice picks or sharp tools. A small puncture could result in a freon leak–a very expensive fix.

Dishwashers: Dishwashers tend to be one of the most ignored appliances. A little focus will extend the life of your dishwasher many years, and save you money, too.

– Loading: Always load according to manufacturer’s guidelines.

– Use it: Believe it or not, running your dishwasher every day helps to clear buildup from debris and keeps the drainage line clear.

– Avoid Using the Food Disposer of the Dishwasher: Before you load dishes and cooking devices into the dishwasher, scrape off food by hand.

– Occasionally Run Empty. Use either commercial dishwasher cleaner or white vinegar to run your dishwasher while empty to remove buildup.

– Inspect the Arms: Use a toothpick or similarly sized device to ensure that there is no debris clogging any of the holes.

– Flush the Garbage Disposal: Not on every dishwasher, but if yours has one, make sure to run it prior to beginning a wash cycle. This saves your dishwasher’s pump and helps prevent the drain tube from clogging.

Ovens: Believe it or not, there are things you can do to keep your oven working longer than you might think. Proper cleaning is at the top of the list.

– Cleaning: Closely follow manufacturer’s instructions for using self-cleaning and continuous-clean ovens. Avoid harsh abrasives and chemical cleaners that are not made for these ovens.


– Self-Clean Your Oven: Perform this function at least two weeks in advance of cooking any large meal or many items, as the drain that this places on your oven is so great that if it’s going to stop working, it will do so during this process.

– Drip Pans Under Stovetop Burners: These should never be covered with aluminum foil, but rather replaced when necessary.

– Broken Parts: Replace any broken parts as soon as they occur.

Washing Machine: Today’s washing machines are designed to last. There are some things you can do to either lengthen or shorten the life of yours.

– Load Size: Never, ever overfill or stuff items into  your washer so that they will fit.

– Cleaning: Occasionally, run a hot water cleaning into which you have added two cups of vinegar. This breaks down film buildup and clears the drainage lines.

Dryer: The most important thing you can do to insure your dryer’s ability to last is to clean out that dryer filter after each load has been dried.

– Occasionally, check the entire length of tubing that runs from the dryer all the way out to the vent on the outside of your house. If there is any blockage, get rid of it immediately. It’s not difficult to do, and   could save you from having to buy a new dryer anytime soon.

Article submitted By Community writer

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