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6 Ways to avoid appliance disasters

BikerEric 1,607 September 21, 2009 at 08:50 AM
red comments are my opinions


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!


Top tips:

* 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)


Top tips:

* 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.
Top tips:

* 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.

Top tips:

* 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


Top tips:

* 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.

6. Refrigerator
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.


Top tips:

* 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!)
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15 Comments

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L10: Grand Master
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#2
Thanks for the tips, BE.

Related/unrelated question - What are your thoughts on washable filters for the AC systems?
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Ponderer of imponderables
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#3
Quote from Pig View Post :
Thanks for the tips, BE.

Related/unrelated question - What are your thoughts on washable filters for the AC systems?
they are fine
they do wear out after about 3 years if they are the green /blue "grass" material
Helpful Comment? 0 0
#4
Some good tips here. I think I need to get a gallon of vinegar for my sump pump, I'd hate for that to fail.
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#5
Quote from XL_Jockey View Post :
Some good tips here. I think I need to get a gallon of vinegar for my sump pump, I'd hate for that to fail.
Iagree .... how do plants react to vinegar? Sump pump eventually goes through landscaping.
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#6
Thanks for the tips. I had no idea my heating and air conditioning should be inspected yearly. When it talks about filers, does your air conditioner have a separate filter from your furnace? I have a lot to learn.
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My # is bigger than yours
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#7
Where on the clothesline do I find the vent? I don't want my backyard burnin down.
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Ponderer of imponderables
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#8
Quote from someone28624 View Post :
Thanks for the tips. I had no idea my heating and air conditioning should be inspected yearly. When it talks about filers, does your air conditioner have a separate filter from your furnace? I have a lot to learn.
if your heat and ac are both forced air (vents as opposed to radiators) they should have common air filters
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#9
Quote from Ray Nagin View Post :
Where on the clothesline do I find the vent? I don't want my backyard burnin down.
Like your fence has done such a good job ...
Helpful Comment? 0 0
#10
as someone who grew up in the P/HVAC world and was working in the industry at the age of 14 and still does today, I can agree with most fo what BE says.

for clothes dryers, i actually see more problems with people installing those idiotic "additional" lint traps in the lines or simply crushing the flexible connecting hose.

for water heaters, i agree. if you start doing a yearly flush, all you'll end up with is a water heater that leaks at the drain valve. Especially if it is a plastic drain valve.

for HVAC units, the single best thing you can do is have the burners set correctly for the heating side and clear the area around the condensing unit for the a/c side.
most a/c units also utilize a coil which will become fouled over time. a simple cleaning of the coil and outside condensing unit will save you hundreds of dollars per year.

i also refuse to recommend auto shutoff washer boxes.
instead, simply install a washerbox that has the ability to shut off the water with something other than the 12 cent valves most come with.
also i recommend braided hoses since they are less likely to suffer a catastrophic failure.
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Benevolent Dictator
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Super Moderator
#11
Washerbox? Dontknow
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L10: Grand Master
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#12
Quote from R1Budha View Post :
as someone who grew up in the P/HVAC world and was working in the industry at the age of 14 and still does today, I can agree with most fo what BE says.

for clothes dryers, i actually see more problems with people installing those idiotic "additional" lint traps in the lines or simply crushing the flexible connecting hose.

for water heaters, i agree. if you start doing a yearly flush, all you'll end up with is a water heater that leaks at the drain valve. Especially if it is a plastic drain valve.

for HVAC units, the single best thing you can do is have the burners set correctly for the heating side and clear the area around the condensing unit for the a/c side.
most a/c units also utilize a coil which will become fouled over time. a simple cleaning of the coil and outside condensing unit will save you hundreds of dollars per year.

i also refuse to recommend auto shutoff washer boxes.
instead, simply install a washerbox that has the ability to shut off the water with something other than the 12 cent valves most come with.
also i recommend braided hoses since they are less likely to suffer a catastrophic failure.
I've personally had a close call with the typical washer hoses - I came home one day and one had a blister on it the size of my thumb from where the inner hose broke and the water was coming through the braiding.

Also one night I came home and could hear an obvious water-flowing noise nearby. As we live in a townhouse, it seemed like the water was nearby and I knew there was a vacant unit a couple units down so I poked my head in the door and lo and behold upon walking to the cellar stairs I could see that a washer hose had broken and the basement had about 12" of water in it! A call to the FD fixed that but it's good that the place was vacant!

Quote from The Raddish View Post :
Washerbox? Dontknow
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Benevolent Dictator
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#13
Ah, I guess I just didn't know the technical name for it. Thumbup
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L10: Grand Master
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#14
Quote from The Raddish View Post :
Ah, I guess I just didn't know the technical name for it. Thumbup
Neither did I - just assumed that's what he was talking about with "braided hoses" and such.
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#15
Thanks BE! I can't remember the last time I changed my refrigerator water filter. Scratchhead Mostly because the stupid thing never changes color. Sometimes It will change to orange, but if you open the door enough times it goes back to green. Confused3

Quote from XL_Jockey View Post :
Some good tips here. I think I need to get a gallon of vinegar for my sump pump, I'd hate for that to fail.
Mine failed once. Never want that to happen again. Nono
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