Tips To Keep Your Appliances Running Better For Longer
Take care of your appliances!
If you take care of the little problems that arise with your appliances and have them serviced by a professional technician, it will help lengthen their years of operation. Appliances today can last 16-18 years, even up to 20 years, with proper maintenance. Appliances are a huge investment and by taking care of them, you’ll save money.
A good rule of thumb is to NEVER LEAVE ANY APPLIANCE—INCLUDING YOUR DRYER, WASHER, STOVE OR DISHWASHER—RUNNING WHEN YOU’RE AWAY FROM HOME. Anything can happen at any time. A fire could start, a hose could spring a leak, a washer could overfill or your dishwasher could suddenly start to leak. Most electrical appliances still use electricity even when they are turned off. Examples would be appliances that use LCD panels and clocks.
Change your refrigerator water filter every six months to ensure you’re always drinking safe water. Also watch for signs that it may be time to replace it:
• Your ice maker may have stopped making ice
• You notice a decrease in flow
• Your water may have an unpleasant taste or odor
Vacuum the condenser coil once a year—and twice a year if you have pets. Some refrigerator coils are located on the back and some are located underneath. Dusty, dirty condenser coils cause the appliance to work harder and hotter and will cost you more to operate as they use more electricity. If you are unable to vacuum the coil, call us and one of our technicians will come out to help you.
Clean out the freezer once or twice a year. Wipe down the walls with a damp soapy cloth, rinse and dry. Clean the gasket around the door itself. You also want to make sure you’re not losing cold air around the door. First, make sure the gasket itself has not ripped or deteriorated. You can check to see if you have a tight seal by placing a piece of paper on the door jamb. Close the door and try to move the paper up and down. If the paper moves easily, the gasket is not sealed properly and you are losing cold air. If you feel resistance on the paper, you have a proper seal. Check the gasket around the whole door this way. Do not place the freezer by other heat sources like a stove or dishwasher.
Grind ice in your garbage disposal to keep it odor free and the blades sharp and clean. If your disposal has a really bad odor, you can make vinegar cubes to grind by filling an ice tray with a vinegar and water solution.
Replace the filter, if it came equipped with one, up to twice a year. Refer to your manufacturer’s manual.
The ram, the part that compresses the garbage, should be cleaned once a month. Use a bacteria-fighting cleaner. Refer to your manufacturer’s manual.
Using vinegar is a great way to keep the inside of your dishwasher clean, naturally sanitized and odor free. With your dishwasher empty, set a cup or small bowl right side up on the top rack and fill it with vinegar. Do not add any soap. Run a normal wash cycle. The vinegar will splash out of the cup or bowl during the entire wash cycle, cleaning and sanitizing it. How often you need to clean your dishwasher depends on how often you use it. If your dishwasher gets heavy use, try cleaning it once a month. If your dishwasher only gets light use, try it once every other month.
Also, ALWAYS run the hot water at the tap before starting your dishwasher for the best results. You want to clear the cool water from your lines before starting your dishwasher. Dishwashers have temperature sensors in them and the water entering the dishwasher should be at least 120F. Don’t over pack it—leave room for water to spray between each plate and glass.
Even though some say you do not need to rinse dishes beforehand with new dishwasher models, it’s a good idea to scrape your dishes before loading them. The dishwasher is not a garbage disposal, and this will help to keep the pump clean and free of debris.
Do NOT run the dishwasher when you are away from home or asleep. Some dishwashers have had recalls regarding the possibility of the control panel smoking or starting on fire. This is not limited to just one or two manufacturers. Each manufacturer at one time or another has seen this problem. Another reason not to run the dishwasher –it can leak. This could be caused by a bad door gasket or a door that’s bent out of alignment.
LEAVE THE ELECTRICAL REPAIRS TO US! Even though you have unplugged the microwave, this little oven can store thousands of volts of electricity—more than 30 combined wall outlets! Clean the inside; splatters can also absorb the microwave energy.
Never run your microwave empty. If the microwave energy is not absorbed by food or liquid, the energy bounces around inside and causes the magnetron tube to overheat and fail.
Try to resist using your self-clean feature around the holidays. It’s the most likely time for an oven failure to occur if a part is close to being worn out.
If you have a glass top stove, do not place heavy items in the cabinet above ( like cookbooks or bottles of wine). On more than a few occasions, customers have called to get information or an estimate on replacing the glass top because something heavy fell on it and either cracked or shattered it. These tops are very expensive to replace. Also, you may have caused further damage to the burners and connections underneath—making the repair even more extensive.
All stoves, cook tops and door glass should only be cleaned when they are cool. BE AWARE that some range tops DO NOT lift up for cleaning. If you try to force it, you will break the gas connections or electrical connections.
Take care with cleaning these types of tops also. Read your manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning suggestions.
Do you have really crusty oven racks or burner grates? You can pour ammonia in a garbage bag and place the racks inside overnight. The food and grease will rinse right off. BE CAREFUL USING THIS METHOD. Ammonia has an overwhelming odor and should be used in a well-ventilated space. Keep ammonia away from children and pets.
Clean the inside of your oven up to three times a year. Wipe up any grease as this may cause a fire.
If the grease in oven does start on fire, remember to NEVER POUR WATER ON A GREASE FIRE!
Turn off the stove and leave the oven door closed. By keeping the door closed, you’re starving the fire of oxygen which will cause it to snuff out. Only open the door if you are sure the fire is completely out. Open your windows for fresh air. Call for service.
NEVER TRY TO REMOVE THE POT OR PAN TO THE OUTDOORS OR SINK. THE POTENTIAL FOR SPREADING THE FIRE AND/OR BURNING YOURSELF IS VERY HIGH. NEVER POUR WATER ON THE POT OR PAN.
If a fire should start in a pan or pot, make sure you have a lid so you can cover it to extinguish the flames. If any damage was done to the stove, call for service before using it again.
Replace the filter per suggested manufacturer’s requirements. Filters collect grease and moisture and are exposed to heat and smoke. If not changed, the hood will not work at its optimum efficiency. It also becomes a host of bacteria and foul smells.
Vented outside? Check the vent for grease buildup which could catch fire. Contact a vent cleaning contractor or a heating and cooling professional to clean it properly.
Pay attention to the fan motor and motor speed and performance. Grease, moisture and heat can affect them and their performance.
Placement is important. Front ventilation units can be placed in a cabinet. If your wine cooler doesn’t have front ventilation, you’ll want to refrain from putting the unit in a cabinet or confined space.
Clean it occasionally to make sure there is no moisture or frost building up where you may not be able to see it.
If it came with a filtration system, some manufacturers advise changing the filter every 3-6 months so any odors in the unit do not get absorbed by the corks.
If you find your washer, front or top load, bath towels, kitchen towels or even your clothes beginning to smell musty or moldy, it’s due to your using too much soap. We suggest using two tablespoons of soap per load. We do! This is half the amount that is recommended by the soap manufacturers. This soap builds up and stays embedded in your towels and clothes—eventually causing them start to smell. You can test if you are using too much soap by washing clean towels. Do not add any soap to the washer. During the wash cycle, open the door or lid. If you find soapy suds inside, you have been using too much detergent. You can get rid of this excess detergent by washing your items in ammonia. Only add ammonia to the wash load; do not add anymore soap! It may take a couple of times to get this buildup out of your clothes and/or towels. Once dried, your clothing will not smell like ammonia.
Cut back and you should notice a difference in the smell of your washer, towels and clothes, and you’ll double the amount of loads you get out of your detergent bottles or boxes!
For front-load machines, only use H.E. Detergent (H.E. = High Efficiency). Be aware some top-load washers use H.E. Detergent also.
Do not use stainless steel cleaners or certain types of chemicals on your front-load washer door seal. The door seal can severely deteriorate and wrinkle if it comes in contact with chemicals like baby oil and acetone. This will ultimately cause a leak around the door glass and front panel. In addition, if using stainless steel cleaners, do not let them contact the door seal. Door seals that exhibit this type of damage are not covered under the product warranty (if it’s still in warranty).
Check your dryer and vent for lint buildup. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers. Dryers build up lint and other debris, which reduces airflow, backs up exhaust gases and can create a fire hazard.
Some signs that your dryer or vent may be clogged up:
- Your dryer stops drying your clothes in one cycle
- There is a musty order in the clothing after the drying cycle
- Clothes are unusually hot to the touch
- The outside vent flap is not opening properly during operation
- Debris within the outside opening of the vent
- Very little amount of lint accumulated in the lint trap during operation
During the fall and winter, outside critters are trying to finding warm places to stay. Look for signs of nests built by chipmunks, squirrels and mice.
It’s important to have a professional service technician complete the cleaning as we have the proper tools. We are equipped to handle short runs—10 feet and under. But if your venting is quite long, we can refer you to a service company who can handle those much lengthier runs. It’s also important to know whether your dryer vent meets proper specifications. If it doesn’t, we have the supplies to update your vent on our trucks.
You should only have flexible aluminum, solid aluminum or steel venting. NEVER use plastic as this could help spread and fuel the lint fire to the home should one start. AND NEVER LEAVE THE DRYER RUNNING WHEN YOU’RE AWAY FROM HOME.
Properly maintaining the unit can improve efficiency and energy use.
- Clean the filter once a month.
- Check for animal and insect nests.
- At the start of the season have the condenser coils cleaned.
- Clean the water pan to prevent mold or mildew from forming.
- If you need to leave the unit in the window or sleeve during the cold months, make sure to place the outside cover on it to protect it from animals and insects.
Brands we service: Admiral, Amana, Bosch, Caloric, Coldspot, Dacor, Estate, Frigidaire, GE, Gibson, Hardwick, Hotpoint, Jenn-Air, JC Penney, Kelvinator, KitchenAid, LG, Magic Chef, Maytag, Norge, RCA, Roper, Samsung, Sears/Kenmore, Speed Queen, Sub-Zero, Tappan, U-Line, Westinghouse & Whirlpool. We are also an in-warranty Authorized Speed Queen Servicer, residential and commercial.
Warranties: Make sure you read your warranty policy and/or extended warranty (from whichever company you choose) and make sure you understand what is and what is not covered under the policy. Warranty coverage is limited to failures which are the result of a defect in material or workmanship.
Not covered by warranties are damages caused by abuse, misuse, transportation damage, improper servicing, inadequate or improper installation, exposure to the elements, consequential or incidental damages, vandalism or chemical damages.
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