How to (Properly) Care for Your Appliances

dishwasher

Source: iStock

While appliances make our lives much easier, they also pose significant risks if not maintained properly. Appliance maintenance is an absolute necessity if you plan on getting the longest life possible from you purchases. Proper appliance care is also able, in certain cases, to keep performance up to par and ensure that your units are running as efficiently as possible. Use this guide to take a quick inventory of the health and safety of the appliances in your home:

Kitchen Appliance Care

Kitchen appliance maintenance is probably going to make the most difference in your home overall, as the machines here are generally used quite often. Though a broken kitchen appliance should usually be handled by an appliance professional, keeping them clean and using them properly is something that homeowners should pay attention to if they are to function well over their lifetimes.

If a gas appliance stops working, check to see if the pilot light has gone out. If you have the manufacturer’s instructions handy, they may show you how to safely relight the pilot yourself. Wait until you have a full load of dishes before running the dishwasher; this will not only save you money on energy and water bills, but can also extend the life of your appliance, too. A freezer that contains too much frost cannot function at its best; whenever frost gets to be 1/4-inch thick in your freezer, it’s time to defrost. Has a burner on your electric stove stopped working? They are generally inexpensive and easily replaced. Yellow flames in a gas stove are an indication of a problem. Flames should always be blue, so seeing other colors means that you’re not running at full efficiency; you may want to call a service professional.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Laundry Room Appliance Maintenance

Washing machines and dryers are making an appearance in more and more American homes. Just like kitchen appliances, maintenance, and proper care will be a factor in the efficiency and performance of your laundry machines. If the hoses in your washing machine are old, consider replacing them with the tougher metal hoses available at hardware stores. If your washing machine rattles when it runs, it may need leveling. For most items, lowering the water temperature to warm wash and cold rinse will get your clothes clean and reduce your energy bills. Clean the lint trap before you use your dryer; this will prevent a fire hazard, save you energy, and make your clothes dry faster. Regardless of what kind of exhaust tubing you have, invest in cleaning the outside vent once a year and make sure it opens when the dryer is on and closes properly when the dryer is off. And remember, don’t let lint and debris accumulate under a dryer or it can become a fire hazard.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Electricity and Appliance Maintenance

Sometimes, caring for an appliance doesn’t involve the unit at all, but instead deals with that appliance’s power source. Larger appliances shouldn’t be powered by an extension cord if at all avoidable. If it is a necessity, make sure that extension cord connections are secure and that the extension cord is the appropriate size for your needs. If an appliance stops working, test the outlet with a lamp or radio. With gas appliances, it is important to remember that older models often contain a flame that’s constantly burning. Never store paints, solvents, and other chemicals anywhere near an appliance with a pilot light.

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