How to Maintain Your Major Appliances

how to maintain your major appliances

When it comes to maintaining our homes, one of the most untimely and stressful things to deal with is a faulty home appliance. These items are the workhorses of our homes and when they don’t function properly (or at all) needless to say the results can be quite challenging to deal with. And given their hefty cost, if you can postpone a purchase of a major appliance through proper maintenance that would be the way to go.

So how do you get ahead of these unforeseen issues? Read on and we’ll reveal some helpful and easy ways you can be proactive when taking care of your major appliances.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

In the scheme of appliances typically found in a home, your washer is likely the unsung hero. With an average life expectancy of 10 – 14 years, you definitely want to avoid getting lulled into a sense of false security, especially since not many of us can go without a washing machine for more than a few days.

They really don’t need much upkeep other than making sure to check hoses every so often for leaks. While not very common, this can cause a big mess if it occurs.

Another area to keep track of to make sure your machine runs properly is the amount of detergent you use. Always follow manufacturer instructions for the proper water to detergent ratio.

Lastly, don’t overload the capacity of the washer as it will cause the motor to work too hard and possibly cause a burnout.

High and Dry

Washers and dryers are often talked about in the same breath because of how well they can work together to deal with dirty clothes, linens, and just about anything else.

If your dryer hasn’t been doing a great job lately of heating and drying your clothes, you may want to investigate the lint filter. Even if it appears clean, give it a good scrub with a stiff brush dipped in hot water. Dryer sheets have a tendency to leave an invisible film on the filter which can reduce airflow, in turn forcing the thermostat in the unit to shut off before your clothes are fully dry. You can test this theory by running some water through the filter. If it holds any water, then it’s time to clean it.

You should also check the outside dryer vent regularly for any lint buildup. With an average life expectancy of 10 – 13 years, you want to make sure you get your money’s worth out of this helpful appliance.

How about your HVAC system?

Most HVAC maintenance should be done by a professional. Be sure to schedule a service appointment at the start of both the spring and fall seasons to ensure your comfort.

However, there are some steps you can take yourself to ensure you get the most out of your system. The biggest of which is changing out the filter. The dirtier that filter gets the harder it is for your system to work. You should always keep an eye on your system, looking for things like frozen coils, water leaks, or dirty evaporator and condenser coils. That way you can ensure your HVAC system runs well into its average life expectancy of 15 – 20 years.

Keeping your Refrigerator Cold & Effective

In the pantheon of kitchen appliances, there’s no denying how sharp a stainless steel refrigerator looks in your kitchen. However, looks won’t matter if the machine isn’t functioning properly.

Just like your air conditioner, your refrigerator tends to work hardest in the warmer months or climates. If yours decides to stop working on a hot day, it’s a good idea to check the coils first! You can access the coils on most fridges by removing the front grill. If your coils are in the back of the fridge, you will most likely need to pull out your refrigerator to get back there.

Take a coil cleaning brush (available at most hardware stores) and push back and forth into the coils. Remove the brush and stick a thin vacuum hose in there to clean out any loose debris.

The clean coils will not only keep your fridge cooler, but also save you money on your utility bill. And with a life expectancy of 17 years, that’s a lot of potential savings.

Water Heater Tips

Over time water heaters accumulate sediment and debris in their tank, so we advise you drain the tank a few times per year. It’s easy!

First, turn off the power or gas to the unit. Then, turn off the cold-water supply and hook up a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Run the hose outside or to a utility sink for draining. Open the drain valve and the pressure relief valve on top of the tank and allow the tank to drain.

Once drained, close the drain valve, remove the hose, and turn on the cold-water supply. The tank will begin to fill. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn the electricity back on to the tank. This can also make the unit operate more quietly. Your water heater should last you anywhere from 8 – 12 years.


Is your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes the way it used to? Or maybe it has a strange smell every time you open the door. A dishwasher should last you up to 13 years, so you’ll definitely want to address this issue. A filter clogged with food is usually the culprit. If that filter is stopped up, water can’t make its way to the spray arms to clean the dishes on the top rack. Not to mention that old food will start to smell (if it hasn’t already).

You can fix this by pulling out the bottom rack and removing the filter cover, usually located inside the washer at the bottom (check your manual if you don’t see it). Give that filter a good clean with some warm water and a gentle scrub brush. Pop it back in and watch those dishes sparkle.

What’s in the Oven?

Did you know you can re-calibrate the temperature setting for your oven? If you’ve noticed the temperature has been a little off lately, you can do something about it.

Find your owner’s manual and a good quality oven thermometer. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the thermometer on the center rack for about 30-40 minutes. Follow the outline in your manual to match the temperature setting to the thermometer reading. Over the lifetime of your oven (which should be about 15 years), you should repeat this test to make sure your meals are cooked the way you like them