Early spring is the perfect time to perform some simple, routine maintenance on your household appliances. Repair the wear-and-tear incurred during the winter months to ensure peak performance for the coming season.
As you begin your spring cleaning, consider these 10 appliance maintenance tasks you can do in under 10 minutes:
- Verify your oven door has a tight seal. Without a proper seal, more than 20 percent of your oven’s heat can escape, causing food to take longer to cook or cook unevenly. To check the seal’s condition, open the oven door and locate the rubber gasket around the perimeter of the door. Feel for any broken, torn or deformed areas, and close the door to see if you can find any leaks. If you find any deformations, replace the seal.
- Clean or replace dirty vent filters. Wash metal-mesh grease filters by hand in soapy water, or run them through the dishwasher. Charcoal or paper filters should not be washed. Instead, replace them.
- Clean stovetop drip bowls. Remove drip bowls from underneath your burner elements, and pre-soak them in a cleaning solution for five minutes. Then wash and replace. Remember to clean drip bowls immediately after spills. If spills burn into the bowls, you might need to replace them.
- Clean coils in your refrigerator. Dirt, dust, and pet hair can clog up refrigerator coils, restricting air flow and causing the refrigerator to work harder to keep cool. Once or twice a year, use a handheld vacuum to clean the coils and suck up any loose particles. The location of refrigerator coils varies by model, but most can be found either behind the kick plate (the front panel near the floor) or at the rear of the fridge.
- Change refrigerator water filter. Filters that don’t efficiently remove contaminants and impurities could expose you to harmful water. Instructions for changing the filter vary by model, but most are as easy as turning the filter one quarter inch and popping it out or locking it in place. Perform this simple task every three to six months, depending on water usage.
- Fix rusty dish rack tines. Rust on the tines of your dishwasher racks can adhere to and ruin your dishes and silverware. To solve this issue, purchase a tine repair kit, and use a sealant to adhere the replacement tips over any rusty or chipped tines. Let dry for at least 24 hours before running the dishwasher.
- Clean and deodorize garbage disposal. Turn the disposal off and look down the drain for any large, stuck items. Use tongs or another tool—not your hands—to remove blockages. Pour a mixture of ice cubes and salt, or vinegar down the drain. Run cold water over it for 10 seconds, and turn on the unit. To remove odors, place a handful of citrus peels in the disposal, run cold water, and turn it on.
- Clean dryer exhaust. Lint in the dryer exhaust not only reduces appliance efficiency, it is a fire hazard. To clean, loosen the clamp and pull the exhaust off the back of the dryer. Remove large clumps of lint from the tubing and the hole in the back with your hands, or if you can’t reach, a coat hanger. Vacuum and reattach.
- Inspect washing machine hoses. Most washing machine floods are caused by leaks in the house. Check the hoses that connect to the back panel on your washing machine for any cracks, leaks, or weak spots on the hoses. If you find any deformities, replace the hose. And at minimum, replace the hoses every five years.
- Clean air conditioner filter. Clogged or dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing energy efficiency as well as the appliance’s lifespan. To clean the filter, remove the front panel of the unit. If a reusable filter is in place, vacuum it to remove as much dirt as possible. Or throw out and replace disposable filters. Perform this maintenance every two to four weeks.
Although you might be hesitant to add more chores to your spring cleaning list, you really should show your appliances a little TLC. These quick and easy maintenance tasks will keep your appliances running efficiently, saving you money, extending their lifespan, and sparing you future hassle and expenses.
Steve Ash is Service Director for PartSelect.com, the largest resource for do-it-yourself appliance and consumer electronic repair.
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