Your appliances save you time and money and keep your home healthy and clean. Not to mention, the convenience they deliver. You invest handsomely in your appliances, so you want to take a proactive approach to their maintenance and care. While they won’t last forever, these home appliance maintenance tips will help extend their lifecycle.
#1 Read The Manual
We know, the manual is lengthy, but it imparts invaluable operational, cleaning, and maintenance tips. At the very least, head to YouTube and watch a video or two for your exact make and model.
Be sure to fill out the online or by-mail warranty and scan or store your receipt and warranty. If you misplace them, you can find most manuals online.
#2 Update Your Home Maintenance Checklist
Every homeowner or property manager should keep an organized maintenance checklist. Create an electronic spreadsheet and set add alerts and reminders for quarterly and annual cleaning and maintenance.
In terms of your appliances, your checklist should include:
- Date of purchase
- Brand, make, and model
- Serial number
- Next and last cleaning dates
- Next and last preventative maintenance dates
- Any past repairs
#3 Use as Directed
The average appliance lasts 10 years, but this varies greatly by a variety of factors. One of the most common reasons appliances don’t last as long, is that they aren’t utilized properly.
For example, overloading your washer or dryer may lead to premature wear and tear. This can result in everything from damaged parts to burning out the motor several years sooner than expected.
Or understanding how to organize your fridge and freezer so that you don’t block the air vents. Or, a common topic of debate, ensuring that you scrape food off dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. Why? Because food can clog the pumps. Again, another reason to read the owner’s manual.
#4 Clean It
Did you know that you should clean the inside of your refrigerator and freezer every quarter? Unfortunately, general cleaning is one of the most forgotten home appliance maintenance tips.
If your appliance is dirty or the coils, filters, or vents are clogged they won’t work as efficiently. This decreased efficiency can increase your energy usage and shorten the appliance’s overall lifecycle. In some circumstances, these clogs can increase your risk of a fire or electrical hazard.
#5 Check Your Diagnostics
If your appliance is smart, be sure to leverage technology to your advantage. Upload the appliance app and turn on notifications that will automatically alert you to potential problems.
Or add your appliance to your smart home system so that you can access whole-home and individual appliance reports and alerts.
#6 Don’t Ignore Changes
If your appliance is acting differently in any way, don’t ignore it. It is likely a sign that a part is worn or damaged. The longer it goes without repair, the more extensive and costly the damage is likely to be.
Pay attention to any changes in performance including:
- Your refrigerator making a buzzing noise.
- Your dryer taking longer to dry.
- Your washing machine is wobbling during the spin cycle.
- Your range hood not drawing up smoke while cooking.
- Strange microwave noises—cease use and schedule maintenance ASAP.
- Odd odors when you use your range—cease use and schedule maintenance ASAP.
- Any change that is out of the ordinary.
#7 Preventative Maintenance
Even if you follow all of the home appliance maintenance tips above, you still need to schedule annual preventative maintenance.
The average appliance shouldn’t need a repair for the first few years of ownership, but it should have annual maintenance. This will identify most wear, tear, and damages before they become more costly. Also, to extend the lifecycle of your appliances.
Your appliances are likely purchased at different times, so keep things simple by having a technician come out and inspect them all at the same time each year.
Appliance-Specific Cleaning and Maintenance
Now, let’s dive into a few quick tips for maintaining specific appliances. These are general instructions, so be sure to read your owner’s manual.
Refrigerator and freezer:
Every 2 to 3 months you should deep clean by:
- Unplug it
- Place your food in a cooler
- Slide it out from the wall
- Remove the shelves
- Wipe the interior and exterior
- Sanitize the interior and exterior
- Disinfect the water lines and ice maker
- Defrost the freezer at ½ an inch of ice or more
- Wipe or vacuum the condenser coils
- Clean as directed by your manual
Oven and Range
Spills are inevitable while cooking, so wipe down your burners daily or weekly while cool. Ensure you use an appliance-safe cleaner and a non-abrasive sponge or scraper.
Build-up of food in your oven can increase your fire risk. So, deep clean your oven after any major spill or at least every 3 months. Most modern ovens have a self-cleaning feature. Use as directed. If self-cleaning isn’t enough, clean the remaining build-up by hand.
Pro Tip—not all age-old home appliance maintenance tips are safe. In this case, lining your oven with aluminum foil can be dangerous. It can cause uneven heating and can increase your fire risk. You can use oven liners instead but be sure to use them as directed.
Minimize the inevitable food particle splatters by utilizing a microwave-safe food cover. Unplug and wipe down after any major spill, when you see excessive build-up, or at least every 2 to 3 months.
Simplify the wipe down by adding 1 cup of water and a splash of vinegar to a microwave-safe cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes and let steam for up to 5 minutes. This will loosen most of the food particles for fast and easy wipe down.
Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth.
Washer and Dryer
Pull them out once per quarter to clean the exterior, and clean and vacuum behind and underneath. This is also the ideal time to run a self-clean cycle as directed by your make and model. Keep the washing machine door cracked open between loads to minimize the growth of mold and mildew. Clean the washing machine filter once or twice per year.
We can’t underestimate the importance of cleaning your dryer lint trap. Clean it after every single load to minimize vent clogs. Also, visually or manually check to ensure that the dryer vent is actively venting while your dryer is on. Any vent clogs can increase your fire risk.
Looking For Personalized Home Appliance Maintenance Tips?
Another reason to schedule your annual appliance maintenance is for personalized tips. If you live in or around Santa Barbara, Superior Appliance Repair has you covered. We serve both commercial and residential clients and are available for preventative maintenance, as needed, and emergency repairs. Book now!