Are you unknowingly neglecting your appliances? Even the most advanced high efficiency appliances require occasional upkeep. The exterior of your appliances may be sparkling clean, but what’s lurking inside? Buildup comes in many forms: ice in a freezer, mold in a washing machine, or lint in a dryer lint trap or hose. The opportunities for substances to build up and wreak havoc on your appliances are endless. These issues build slowly and quietly over time, until you are forced to face moldy, mildewed, or broken appliances.
Wash Your Washing Machine
Cleaning a machine that is designed to wash clothing sounds . . . unnecessary, but trust us, you don’t want to skip this step. Front load washing machines in particular require weekly upkeep and occasional deep cleaning. To prevent mold and mildew, Consumer Reports recommends homeowners to “Wipe the door gasket and glass dry once you’re done. Clean the detergent dispenser and any attachments once or twice a month. And, keep the washer door ajar between loads to allow air to circulate.”
Clean the Lint Filter
Your dryer will probably start dropping hints when it’s being neglected and clogging up with lint. If your clothing is taking longer and longer to dry and the exterior of the dryer keeps getting increasingly hotter, there is a problem! Make sure the lint trap is cleaned after every use and that the dryer vent is cleared of lint regularly. Smell something burning? Turn off the dryer and seek assistance from a professional immediately! Lint buildup is extremely flammable and could be a sign that your clogged vents are in need of repair.
Refrigerator and Freezer Upkeep
On the less dangerous end of the spectrum is freezer ice buildup. Freezer buildup is not particularly hazardous but it is certainly annoying. To ensure maximum efficiency, defrost your freezer when the ice becomes thicker than a quarter-inch. GE recommends, “Using a vacuum hose or a long-handled duster, clean underneath the refrigerator.” Newer models of refrigerators often have the condenser coils located in the compressor housing unit instead of behind or underneath the refrigerator, so you don’t have to worry about dust collections that can affect the refrigerator’s ability to keep things cool. If you have an older model, be sure to keep these coils clean and free of dust and pet hair.
Finally, we cannot stress enough how important it is to read the instructions that come with your appliances. Sure, our tips are a good place to start, but depending on the make, model, and appliance manufacturer, specific care instructions for your appliances may vary greatly. It’s challenging keeping up with ever changing models and features, so never discard those little sheets of paper. They may be worth your weight in gold, or at least the price of a service call, or worse, replacement. It may not be the current best seller, but it is well worth your time to read through the entire manual.