6 Ways to avoid appliance disasters
6 ways to avoid appliance disaster
Doing routine maintenance oh your appliances is a good way to save money and the your appliances.
By doing small maintenance on your machines your machines, you can add years to their lives.
In some cases you help prevent larger problems , which can lead to potential insurance claims.
Always read and use the owners manuals! If you don't have them or can't find them, many (if not all manufacturers) offer them online or by snailmail
Here are some tips on giving longer life to your appliances and your money:
1. Clothes dryer
You should clean your dryers filter trap after each load,but even this not enough! You would be amazed at how much lint gets through the filter and clogs the the vent line.
This has the potential to cause a fire in the venting.
It also slows the drying process and costs more to run the dryer.
Improper ducting made of light foil or plastic can also ignite more readily and should be replaced by semi-rigid or rigid aluminum, or galvanized steel ducting. Never use PVC or plastic pipe!
* Once a month use a shop vac and small nozzle to suction the lint slot.
* Once a year carefully unplug the dryer, pull it from the wall ,disconnect the vent tube and vacuum it out.
* If your dryer doesn't vent directly outside, consider hiring a professional duct cleaner.
In 30 years of doing appliance repair , I have never seen a vent or dryer fire. Im not saying it doesn't happen, just that I have never seen it.
2. Washing machine
The new front load high efficiency washing machines are mechanical marvels. Very complicated with electronic boards and controllers. The cost of repairs can run as high as $600 for certain repairs.
The biggest problem with all washing machines are the hoses.If one of these hoses should break, it can flood your house. (once again big insurance woes). You should check your hoses every few months. Look for cracks, leaks, discoloration, or bubbles (making the hose look "pregnant"). At any sign of these , replace your hoses asap.Regular black hoses work fine. Manufacturers recommend replacing the hoses every 3 to 5 years anyway.
The new front load machines have a tendency to have mold issues inside . The manufacturers are now recommending leaving the door open between loads and using a product such as Affresh ( a washing machine cleaning product made by Whirlpool)
* To keep your Hi-efficiency machines spinning for years, ALWAYS use HE detergent. The older sudsing soaps create too many bubbles and will cause sensors to "see" a blockage and shut the machine off.
* Always leave the door open between loads
* Once a month, run a dose of Affresh as recommended..
* Make sure you machine is level and does not shake rattle or roll! If your machine rocks in any cycle it is out of balance and can damage the drum and bearings! Check to make sure the unit does not shift or rock when empty by pushing a little.
3. Sump pumps
Sump pumps protect your basement from flooding, but they can fail unexpectedly. Sump pumps vibrate when they run, so the float can get stuck.
The float must be able to rise up when the water level rises. And down as the water recedes from pumping.If it can't, the pump won't come on."
Because sump pumps drain ground water which may contain sediment, clogged intake screens and discharge pipes also contribute to their failure.
* Once a year, pour a gallon of distilled white vinegar into the basin to break down calcium deposits on the expeller and pump.
* Unplug the pump and remove any material clogging the intake screen.
* Check the float switch operation: Pour enough water to turn the pump on and make sure it drains. "If you hear a grinding noise, the pump may be on its last legs,"
4. Water heater
Do not forget that you have a water heater! The big problems with water heaters are no hot water and OhNo water on the floor.An old or corroded water heater can cause substantial damage. "Don't forget you have a water heater,"
Water heaters are sold with 6 8 or 12 year warranties, In reality you should be looking to replace them every ten years or so. Look at the first four digits on the heater's serial number to find the month and year of manufacture.
* Because natural gas, water and electrical components are involved, be sure to take necessary safety precautions in maintaining your hot water heater.
* Keep the floor around the heater clean. Dust can shut down some of the newer water heaters and you do NOT want to keep any combustibles or chemicals near the heater.
* Once a year check your water pressure. If the pressure gets close to 80 PSI , you need a regulator or to have your regulator checked by a plumber.
* Test the temperature/pressure relief valve by pulling up on the handle. at your own risk! Most times they close right back up, but many times I have seen them not seal tight again.
I don't recommend the flushing normally, as the shutoff valve will get clogged" and will not shut off then
5. Air conditioning
HVAC can be a major expense to replace , or even repair. I recommend getting your AC system checked at least every other spring by a professional .
Your gas heat every other fall as well
Oil heat should be checked and cleaned every year ( I do recommend a service policy with any oil system, heat pump or boiler system
* Replace your filter monthly! Even the pleated long life filters. No exceptions.
* Outside , make sure your condenser is kept clear of bushes, debris , fences, toys and the like.
Make sure your door seals are kept clean and the coils kept clean. These two things alone can save you plenty of repair calls!
A full refrigerator is more efficient than an empty one.
To make the doors self shutting you want to have a slight tilt to the back.
It is imortant that the unit is level side to side ,This helps the doors seal properly and keeps the unit from twisting .
Built in water filters can clog and stop the ice maker from working.If you are on public water , you can go 1 to 2 years on the same filter. If you are on a well, (without a softener) you my go 8 to 18 months.
* Once a year pull out your refrigerator, unplug it and vacuum the coils located either in the front or back, more often if you have shedding pets.
* Make sure to check for level after maintenance.
* Clean the door gaskets with soap and warm water and check the seal.
* Manufacturers recommend that you replace the water filter every six months, (more often if you have hard water) or when the indicator light comes on. (pure bullshit!)