The Simple Way to Extend the Life of Your Appliances

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The added expense is only one reason that no one likes having to regularly replace their dishwasher, refrigerator, air-conditioner, and any other appliance. So how do you make your appliances last longer?

The solution is pretty simple, says a NY Times article: Clean ’em. A quick annual cleaning can extend the life of just about any appliance, in the same way that regular oil changes and maintenance will extend the life of your automobile—and save you a whole lot of money in the long run. For instance, the coils of a refrigerator should be free of dust and debris, and the job takes all of five minutes. Here’s how it’s done:

First, unplug the refrigerator, and, on your hands and knees, pull or unscrew the vent plate that protects the coils. Then clean the coils with a vacuum hose, using a brush to wipe off all the dust you can see.

The oven is the one kitchen appliance that people actually do clean regularly, and that’s probably because so many of them are self-cleaning. Unfortunately, it may be unwise to use the self-cleaning feature, which can hurt the oven and cause it to break down sooner than necessary:

As for the oven, [Tom] Fleshman of Fleshman Appliance Repair advises avoiding the self-cleaning feature. “I see a lot of electronic failures after self-cleaning,” he said. “The high temperature is hard on wiring and electronic components.”

Instead, Mr. Fleshman suggests cleaning the oven when it is cool enough to touch, but still warm. “Wipe out the oven with a moist cloth,” he said, and “don’t worry about stains.”

He added: “I always tell my customers, if people are looking in your oven and complaining about it being dirty, you shouldn’t have those people in your home.”