What are the most important steps homeowners should take to keep their home appliances in tiptop condition? Paul Winterburn of Paul’s Appliance Repair in central Ontario, says “most modern appliances are maintenance-free, but there are a few precautions everyone can take. For automatic dryers, keep the vent free of lint. For washers, keep them clean and don’t overload them. With fridges and microwaves, it’s also important to keep them clean and not overload them so that the air can circulate. If you’re worried about how much life your appliance has left in it, it’s a good idea, for the cost of a service call, to have an expert give you a critical assessment of how much longer it will last, before you’re faced with an emergency.”
Major household appliances are a big investment. A new washer can cost hundreds of dollars to over $1,000; the cost of a new refrigerator can be more than $2,000. These are not items you can do without, so when an appliance breaks, you either fix it or replace it as soon as possible.
It’s always best to call a qualified local repairman if you need help. If your appliance is under warranty, the warranty contact will help you find help close to home. However, if your warranty has expired and you’re looking for a solution to your appliance problem, you could visit a website like www.appliancepartspro.com. But, beware, new appliances are sophisticated machines and often repairs don’t lend themselves to do-it-yourselfers.
The website is a resource for finding original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts for all major appliances and appliance manufacturers. Keep in mind that once an appliance has run its lifespan, it may be wise to purchase a new model to save energy, money and help the environment. Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol that may appear on the government-sponsored EnerGuide label.
To minimize your chances of having to repair a major appliance, here are a few tips for regular home appliance care:
• Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes.
• Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
• Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting with rigid/corrugated
semi-rigid metal ducting.
• Clean the inside regularly using a scrub and a small amount of mild
soap or baking soda mixed with clean water.
• Don’t try to repair a broken fridge if you don’t know what you’re doing. Tampering with it carelessly might do more harm than good.
• Wipe excess crumbs from the oven’s interior and leave those that stick to the walls. The following steps will take care of them.
• Fill an oven-safe bowl halfway with water. Put it in oven and heat it
up to boiling for 2 to 3 minutes.
• Remove bowl from oven. Remove oven trays. The steam from the boiling water will loosen all food particles, making them easy to wipe off. Wipe the interior using a damp cloth. Wash trays with dish soap dry and slide back into the oven.
• Unplug the machine. Open the door and take out all removable parts.
• Pour a small amount of liquid detergent into a bucket of clean water and mix thoroughly. Wash and rinse.
The lesson learned? Treat your home appliance with some TLC and it will be your BFF for a very long time.
Originally published in OUR HOMES print edition, written by Jim Fox.