How to extend lifespan of major appliances

How to extend lifespan of major appliances

Major appliances cost a lot of money and nobody can argue that. Because of that, our main goal is to keep them running efficiently as long as possible. Don’t trust those who make you believe that the lifespan of an appliance matches the time of warranty. Well maintained and serviced appliances can last for 10 to 15 years and even more if we are talking about high quality brands. Things like refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers are built to last. Indeed, along  measures that include being careful while using the product, you have to pay attention to some of the common signs of minor damage and act accordingly. In this article we will cover some general tips that apply to all appliances but we will also cover some specific tips for each of major appliances.

General tips

Every new appliance comes with a manual, read it carefully.  Find out the advice of the manufacturer for the proper care, maintenance and cleaning. Follow their suggestions to get the most of life and use of your appliance. Be mindful that some warranties may be voided if you do not follow the manufacturer’s advice for care and operation. The second most important thing is to keep your appliances clean and to use them regularly. Beware that appliances that aren’t regularly used tend to malfunction more frequently than those regularly used and that they generally don’t last that long.

Don’t overuse and over-abuse your appliances, they are made with delicate components, fuses and other electrical parts. Most of the time, appliances can only take on so much. Pay attention to the signs of damage and wear and tear. It is also critical to pay attention to the signals that your appliances give off when they are distressed. Many home appliances conk out before their time because we continue to use them after they make strange noises, emit odd smells or work inefficiently. Paying for the little repairs when they arise will prevent you from having to purchase a brand new unit. Always replace basic parts like filters or gaskets when the time comes. Some appliances may need parts replaced once and a while and you can find information about that in your user manual. Properly clean your appliances. Most of our home appliances are used on a daily to weekly basis. This can cause dirt and debris to build up. In the end, the cleaner your appliances are, the more efficiently they will operate.

Refrigerator

The refrigerator’s gaskets (the plastic strip that forms a seal between the fridge and doors) help keep cool air inside the fridge, conserving energy. To help the gaskets stay elastic and form a better seal, periodically wipe them clean, removing all residue and coat them with a thin film of Vaseline. Dirty or dusty refrigerator coils can restrict airflow through the appliance, causing it to overheat and potentially break down. Remove your fridge’s kick plate (the front panel near the floor) or reach around the back of the fridge and clean the coils with a handheld vacuum or Refrigerator coil brush. If you want to learn how to diagnose and repair most common problems with your refrigerator, check out our article on How to repair a refrigerator. On the other hand, if you not sure what refrigerator to buy, check out our article Best french door refrigerators.





Dishwasher

If your machine has a removable filter, rinse out any food particles or other goop lodged in it because the dishwasher will redeposit food particles on clean dishes if the filter is clogged .  Use a dishwasher rack repair kit (found at most hardware stores or on manufacturer’s website) to touch up rusty or cracked prongs on the dishwasher racks because exposed rack prongs scratch dishes and glassware. Wipe down goopy door gaskets and door frames to prevent leaks. If you want to learn how to fix dishwasher that drains poorly, read our article on How to repair a dishwasher.

Washing machine

First advice is the simplest one, don’t overload the washing machine!  Clothes need to be able to move freely during a wash cycle and if the machine is jammed full of clothes, it will need more energy to move them around. This means added strain on the washer’s motor, transmission, belts, and other parts. It’s also very important to not under-load the machine also because small loads can lead to off-balance cycles, which put a strain on the drive components. Plus, small loads waste water and energy, since there is very little difference in the amount of energy and water used for a full load and small load. Regularly wipe out the detergent dispenser drawer with a damp rag, or pour water through it to rinse it out. Keeping the detergent drawer clean ensures that the product flows out as intended during the proper portion of the wash cycle. If you have a direct drive washing machine and it has stopped spinning, be sure to read our article on How to repair washing machine. Also, we know that buying a washing machine can be a complicated task, so be sure to check out our Washing machine guide.

Clothes dryer

Similar as the washing machine, it’s important not to overload the clothes dryer. A large load places increased strain on the appliance as it struggles to effectively dry the clothing. Also be aware of your dry time. Thirty-five minutes is typically plenty of time to dry your clothes, compared to the 60 minutes dryers are usually set for. Reducing dry time saves energy and decreases the strain put on your dryer, as well as your clothes. If your dryer has an auto-dry setting, use it because auto-dry heats only as much air as necessary and will reduce energy use. It’s also important to regularly monitor the dryer’s external vent cap, which is located outside your home, for a buildup of lint and dust. Debris prevents the cap from operating normally and reduces airflow, potentially causing premature failure of the motor and thermostats.

Thank you for sharing, Handyman tips team!
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1 comment

  1. Elden Gatley

    I agree that gaskets for refrigerators need to stay lubricated. I feel like this would not only provide good maintenance, but it would also make it much easier to replace the gaskets when that time comes. I’m sure this is probably one of the most forgotten things when it comes to fridge maintenance, but it is important nonetheless.

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