5 Maintenance Tips That Will Extend the Life of Your Appliances

by Jamie Simmerman · 6 comments

Household appliances

Common appliances, like washing machines and refrigerators, have never been cheap. These “essential” appliances make our modern lives easier; we’ve come to rely on them to quickly complete daily chores that used to take hours. To extend the life of these major appliances, a little maintenance can go a long way.

Here are some tips for maintaining your appliances for longer and better performance.

How to Extend the Life of Your Appliances

1. Use a mesh laundry bag when washing small items.

Socks, underwear, and other small laundry items can easily be sucked up into the drainage hose of your washing machine. This can cause blockages that’ll require a visit from the repairman. (In case you’re wondering, this is likely where all those missing socks go, as well.) Using a mesh bag will keep these small items from washing away and keep your drains clear.

2. Clean your washer on a regular basis to help remove soap build up.

An excess of soap residue can leave your clean clothes smelling funky and can interfere with the proper operation of your washing machine. Fill your tub with hot water, add two cups of vinegar, and let soak for two hours. Run the washer through the rest of the wash cycle along with an extra rinse cycle. Wipe down the tub, agitator, and visible surfaces, and inspect for signs of mold or mildew. Always leave the lid open for the washer to air dry in between loads.

If you notice any signs of mold or mildew, fill the tub with hot water, add two cups of bleach, let it sit for two hours, then finish the wash cycle. Always remember that mixing bleach and vinegar can be dangerous, so be sure to run the extra rinse cycle in between treatments to be safe.

3. Every fall and spring, pull your appliances away from the wall and inspect the wiring.

Rodents that come inside to nest during colder months like to chew the insulation from wiring for nesting material. Damaged wiring can lead to fires or permanent damage to your costly appliances.

4. Every three to six months, use a shop vac to remove the dryer lint from deep inside the lint trap.

You should also clean out the dryer vent to prevent buildup, which can lead to a dryer fire.

5. Every three to six months, clean dust and debris from the fan and components of your computer.

Your computer is a large financial investment. Most computer maintenance focuses on keeping the software running smoothly, but the hardware requires regular maintenance, as well. One of the most overlooked maintenance tasks for any computer is cleaning. Your cooling fan draws in air to help cool the machine, but it also draws in dust and dirt at the same time. You can even get mouse nests, spiders, and small objects lodged in the casing! These all have the potential to kill your computer’s fan, which can lead to overheating.

You can purchase compressed air to perform the cleaning yourself. Or, if you’re uncomfortable poking around inside your computer, take it to a certified technician.

What maintenance tips do you have to extend the life of your costly appliances?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 21, 2013 at 5:55 am

Martha Stewart told me to leave my washing machine door open to allow the inside to completely dry. My ten year old top loading washer lid is open all the time and I have never had one of those little rust stains on clothing and the inside is odour free.

I do clean it with vinegar each time the seasons change.

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Damian March 21, 2013 at 6:45 am

A few weeks back we had a major problem with our washing machine and had to get somebody out to fix it. As it turns out there were MANY basic maintenance tasks that we were not doing for the washing machine and the dryer that we should have been. Long story short, read the manual of any appliance you buy when you first get it… that will save a lot of heartache.

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Jon @ MoneySmartGuides March 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

I never thought about having to clean the washing machine, but when I think about it, it makes sense.

I pull the fridge out and clean off the dust from the coils on the back of it every so often so that the air can circulate correctly.

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@pfinMario March 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Now, if you could just convince my tenants to read these, I’d be set :)

A good rule of thumb for extending the life on everything that has them is to clean filters frequently

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Dona Collins March 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Appliances are so incredibly expensive. A little bit of maintenance and prevention can go a long way. Especially when it comes to the dryer. My mom and dad almost had a dryer fire a few months ago. Very scary. Imagine the cost of losing your home due to a poorly maintained appliance!

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zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com June 2, 2013 at 7:42 am

You should actually do top #4 a little more often than that. I would remove the lint trap and vacuum it out about once a month. You can completely remove the risk of a fire ever occurring if you remove the lint build up.

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