Perhaps you’ve heard this adage: “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” One of the best ways to save money is to take good care of your appliances so that they last longer. The truth is that when one of your appliances fails spectacularly, there really isn’t much you can do to “make it do” — and many of us can’t “do without” the appliances we’ve come to depend on (although you might be surprised what you can live without when you have to). Your next best option is to make sure that your appliances last as long as possible.
The longer your appliances last, the more cost efficient your household is. If your appliances can last a while, and you can avoid costly repairs, you will save in the long run, since you won’t have to replace them.
General Rules for Helping Your Appliances Last Longer
No matter the appliance, you can help it last longer by following common sense rules related to the care of your appliances. First of all, take the time to read the owner’s manual for instructions on proper care. If you properly care for, and maintain, your appliances, they will be more likely to last longer. Additionally, do your best to keep your appliances clean. Clean appliances run more efficiently, using less power, and will last much longer than dirty appliances.
Tips for Specific Appliances
Here are some appliance-specific tips for helping your appliances last longer:
- Washing Machine: Empty your pockets so that objects in them don’t damage the drum. Double check the fill hoses for your washer for cracks in the rubber. Avoid overloading your washing machine.
- Dryer: Vacuum the ventilation hoses and the inside of your dryer regularly to get rid of lint build up. And, again, don’t overload.
- Dishwasher: Avoid loading your dishwasher so the arms hit dishes; this can loosen the arms. Clear food out of the nozzles in the arms, and out of the trap at the back.
- Garbage disposal: Run the disposal as soon as you send food down; you don’t want it to sit. Run the water after you turn the disposal off. Try to use cold water, instead of hot water. You can put a little ice in the disposal on occasion to help clean it.
- Refrigerator: Make sure you clean the condenser coil regularly. This is the funny looking thing on the back of your refrigerator. Simply unplug the fridge and vacuum the coil. Check the doors to make sure you are getting a good seal.
- Stove: As you might imagine, you should keep your stove and oven regularly cleaned. Double check gaskets for a good seal. If you have a “regular” element, don’t line the drip pans with foil; this can actually cause a short.
- Water Heater: Periodically drain your water heater to and clear out the sediment on the bottom.
- Water Softener: Check the resin for insoluble matter build up. You might need to clean the brine tank, but this is usually not something that needs to be done too often.
- Furnace: Replace filters once a month during the winter. Have your furnace cleaned and serviced yearly.
- Air Conditioner: If you have central air, you’ll need to keep changing the filter each month. You should keep your air condition in a shady area, and keep growth away from it. Have it serviced regularly.
(Photo: Neil T )