I had the pleasure of servicing all makes of major appliances, (fridges, washers, dryers, ranges, and dishwashers) for almost 6 years of my life, prior to making the change to help people on a much larger scale. I still receive multiple calls from old customers each week enquiring about appliance needs and thought I would put something in writing for all to see.
As appliances are vital to everyone’s daily life and the fact that we, as REALTORS® tend to run into appliance issues after possession quite frequently, I would write a little information on how to preserve and maintain your appliances to have them last as long as possible. Of course no new appliances will last 30 years like the old ones, therefore, any little bit helps!
With modern day fridges there are quite a few ways to get the most out of the product, regardless of brand.
Primarily, for preserving the life of your Compressor, the lifeblood of your whole cooling system, theres a couple easy steps to take. Every 6 months to 1 year, remove the front grill of your fridge and using a crevice tool, vacuum out any dust or pet hair present underneath. Also, pull the fridge out (if easily done), and vacuum the vents of the back cover. Air is circulated in a circular motion around the base of the fridge in order to cool the Compressor as well as Condenser, where the hot coolant circulates through. By keeping up on the cleaning of the above mentioned areas, the lifespan of your fridge can be increased dramatically.
Next on the list, is water filter replacement. Naturally, manufacturers program the filter status lights to show replacement far sooner then necessary (presuming you don’t have extraordinarily hard or unclean water in your area) and the light can be reset at least twice, if not three times before the filter needs replacement.
Thirdly, a lot of fridges nowadays come with a replaceable air filter to trap an unpleasant smells. If your’s doesn’t have one, a simple box of baking soda will help as well. Of course, catching produce before it starts to go bad, is the #1 step for air quality and preventing pollution of other foods. This goes without saying, remove bad food before it gets up and walks away on its own!
With modern day front loading washing machines, the #1 complaint is a musty or moldy smell either on the clothes after washing or coming from within the machine. Unfortunately once this smell (mold and mildew) has set in, there is no way to get rid of it entirely. Preventing this occurrence in the first place, is the way to handle it. Leaving the main door and detergent drawer both open (promoting air flow) after finishing laundry, in conjunction with wiping the rubber seal dry by peeling the lower lip towards you and wiping up all the water with a cloth, will prevent any mold or mildew from setting in.
Next, using the proper type and amounts of soap make a big difference in the function of the machine and how well, or poorly, it washes. With front load machines, HE, High Efficiency soap is mandatory to prolong the life of the machine. Using regular detergent, although it will work for a while, has many consequences in both life span and functionality of the washer. (Yes, this was a daily occurrence, surprisingly) Soap build up will occur inside the machine and drain pump, as a lot of regular soaps have fillers that build up a paste like substance in the outer tub, which is unreachable and may even plug your pump. Secondly, regular soap is high sudsing, and will cause your machine to not wash, rinse, or drain properly and can actually cause the electronics to become confused, locking you out of your machine.
Thirdly, finding a machine that has a serviceable filter, and cleaning it out thoroughly every 6 months or so, will again, help prevent musty smells on your clothes. Also, this helps the machine drain better and in turn spin your clothes out properly, if indeed there are items (we all forget to check pockets here and there) plugging the filter.
Dryers are one of the easiest machines to keep in tip top shape! Cleaning the lint screen after each and every load has many benefits. First of all, the dryer will have less airflow if you allow the lint screen to build up with too many loads worth of lint. This will increase dry time, consuming more electricity, and also will decrease the lifespan of your heating element if constantly forgotten. To top this off, extra lint will build up within the cabinet of the dryer and occasionally can land on the heating element causing your clothes to come out smelling burnt.
Also, once a year or so, if you do use fabric softener, remove and soak your lint screen in warm soapy water and scrub clean. The screen may look clean, however, fabric softener leaves a sticky residue, plugging the mesh of your screen. This again, prevents airflow, effecting dry time and more importantly, the life of your heating element.
Noises. Noises are one of the most overlooked sounds of a dryer. If there are any overly loud scraping, grinding, whirring, or squeaking noises, consider having your machine serviced sooner then later. Noises that are ignored for longer periods of time tend to wear out extra components, that if dealt with before the noise becomes unbearable, or worse, the machine unusable, can save you hundreds of dollars in parts and labor.
Stoves are one of those appliances that most people don’t think they can really misuse. Surprisingly enough, there are a couple tips to help the lifespan as well.
First of all, using the surface burners on no more than medium to medium-high will preserve the life of the elements as well as the switches. When stoves are used on high heat for extended periods of time, the contacts within the switch become weak, and if the switch blows, you suffer the chance of damaging the element along the way.
Also, when using maximum heat, the elements cycle on and off differently, and depending on the brand and style, actually don’t heat up as quickly and evenly (yes very contradictory compared to intended design)
I saved Dishwashers for last, as they were always (in my experience) the most important appliance for people to have in operational state, ranking even above fridges. There are far too many things to discuss here, but I will keep to the most important.
Scrape your plates! This cannot be stressed enough! Your dishwasher is exactly that, a washer of dishes, not a Garburator. When people toss in multiple miscellaneous items and food, although there is a small food chopper of sorts, the internals, spray arms, hoses, pump, etc all get plugged up and will not wash as effectively. On some models it is virtually impossible to access the necessary items to clean out and the unit can be ruined. Pre-rinsing is not necessary but also does help. By making sure the plates are scraped prior to washing, this also prevents sediment from occurring, which can cause mold to grow inside as well as leave dried on spots on dishes.
Using the proper soap is vital to performance as well. Each dishwasher is unique, to some extent, and some brands work better than others. With higher efficiency dishwashers available today, the compressed pucks of soap you have to rip open are the best to use.
Boxes of powder soap have a lot of fillers (glass, sand, wood chips etc) that can etch your cups permanently as well as by using too much, can also cause a large build up inside. Using too much soap can cause too many suds and in turn, cause the dishwasher to leak.
Self-dissolving packs cause build up internally where you can’t reach to clean (the gel packs never seem to dissolve 100%).
Liquid gel soaps cause the worst of buildups and should be avoided at all costs!
Eco-friendly soaps, although good for the environment, unfortunately just do not cut it to wash effectively.
I hope you found, at the very, some value to the tips and tricks to keep your appliances alive and healthy. I am always happy to discuss any of your real estate and appliance needs.