Most of the time you use your home appliances without thinking. They do their jobs well — until they don’t. The last thing you want is to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a new dryer, oven, or washer because yours broke suddenly. Fortunately, there are ways you can maintain your appliances to ensure that they keep functioning regardless of what you throw at them. Here are three steps to make sure your home appliances keep living for years to come.
The best way to increase the life of your oven is to keep it clean. Make sure food doesn’t stick to your burners, and take regular steps to remove debris that pools in the bottom. Often homeowners wait until there’s considerable buildup on their oven before they clean, turning a regular chore into an afternoon project.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of effort required to remove fallen food. Invest in a food trap on your oven shelves. This is a better alternative to placing aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven (which can affect the coils) while still collecting the bulk of food and spills that come with cooking. Every few weeks, all you have to do is pull it out and run it through the dishwasher instead of scraping months’ worth of food off of the bottom.
Every washer manufacturer (and your mom) warns about overloading washing machines. You might be tempted to stuff as much in there instead of doing two loads, but you’re actually putting undue stress on the motor and potentially causing leaks or overflows. You might find that your washer stops midway because it can’t handle the full load. No one wants soggy clothes and a broken washer, so take the extra time to split up loads, allowing your washer to perform at maximum capacity.
There’s a heated debate over how much effort goes into loading a dishwasher. Some people place a dish straight from the table into the appliance, whereas others prewash it with a sponge. The ideal amount falls somewhere in between. You don’t need to prewash your dishes — that’s what the dishwasher is for — but you do want to scrape off as much food as possible. This includes noodles or macaroni that stick to the plate or bits of chicken in the sauce. Particles that are too big can clog hoses and make the appliance work harder, increasing the risk of potential problems.
There’s no guarantee that your appliances will function long after you’ve moved away, but these steps can reduce wear and tear while keeping their internal parts functioning at top shape. If you’re worried about the life of your appliances, consider investing in a home warranty. Even the best-maintained appliances break sometimes, and it helps to have a backup plan if you need a new dryer or dishwasher immediately.