How To Extend The Life Of Appliances
When it comes time to replace those worn out appliances, we all know how taxing it can be on our pocket. Making sure you get the most out of your home appliances will help reduce the frequency of replacements and save you money. Check out these handy tips to extend the life of some commonly used appliances around your home.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Not only do appliances continue to use small amounts of electricity when plugged in but not in use (called residual current draw), you’re unknowingly reducing the life of that appliance as well. This is eespecially true for smaller appliances such as toasters, kettles, mixers, hair dryers, pedestal fans, etc. These appliances are used infrequently, and so have no need to be connected to an electricity source 24/7. When you’ve finished using them, disconnect them from the wall and store them away. Your appliances will be safe from electrical current spikes and will be protected in storage until they’re needed for your next Masterchef attempt.
Use Distilled Water in Steam Irons
Depending on your location, your local water supply will contain various levels of trace minerals that can upset the function of electrical appliances – steam irons in particular. Calcium and magnesium minerals present in water form a hard scale when exposed to heat. This scale can damage your steam iron and may block the steam holes, reducing functionality. Make sure you use distilled, purified water that has been through a filter or sourced from a hardware store. Boiling water and cooling it to use in your iron also helps reduce the trace minerals that end up in your iron.
Only Run Appliances When Necessary
If you have a habit of leaving the TV on for “background noise”, then you may want to reconsider using a radio instead. The unnecessary use of appliances will clock up hours, and reduce their usable lifespan. Prime candidates for unintentional use include your TV, fan, alarm clock, and lights of any type. Making sure you turn these items off when you’re not using them will reduce the number of visits to your local electrical store substantially.
Clean Your Oven, Cooktop, and Range
We know that leaving bird droppings sitting on your car will damage the paint. Similarly, grease and food debris will damage the coating of your oven, cooktop and range. Some newer ovens are self-cleaning, so be sure to perform a self-clean cycle as regularly as the manufacturer recommends. In all other cases, clean inside your oven often – even a quick wipe after every use – to ensure that nothing gets baked to the inside. When using your cooktop, never let food debris stick near or on burners, as the longer it stays near heat, the harder it will be to remove. Clean up after each use using soapy dishwater. Apply it with a damp cloth to ensure you don’t damage any electrical components with excess water. Clean the filters in your range at least twice a year washing them in hot, soapy water to bring new life back to them, and to assist in removing nasty grease smoke from your kitchen.
Don’t Leave Spills to Mellow in Your Fridge
If left to sit for long periods, spills in your refrigerator can turn nasty. Depending on the fluid, a spill may damage the internals of your fridge, leave stains and worst of all leave wicked smells that you may not be able to remove. It sounds simple, and it is: clean up spills as they occur. Use paper towel or a soapy sponge. It’s a good idea to perform a full clean of your refrigerator once a year using a specialised cleaning product to make sure bacterial growth is removed and your food stays fresher, longer.
Wait for a Full Load Before Doing Laundry
Using your washing machine more often than necessary will lead to increased wear of components like the drive motor, bearings and water pump. Cut down on the number of times you use your machine each week by batching your laundry loads. Be sure you collect enough clothing to fill the machine to a safe capacity before use. Don’t overload it though. Follow the manufacturer’s’ recommendation as to maximum load capacity, and be sure not to exceed it and cause the reverse effect!
Fill the Dishwasher Before Using
Similar to the washing machine, your dishwasher (and the environment) will benefit from more limited and well-planned use. Wait until your dishwasher is completely full before you do a load of dishes, and be sure to follow the recommendations as to the amount of soap required.
Scrape Off Dirty Dishes First
Dirty water inside a dishwasher clogs filters and causes excess wear on the water pump. Although the job of a dishwasher is to do your dirty dishes for you, extend its life by rinsing your dishes before they get stacked. Minor stains and sauces are fine – it’s the uneaten scraps, fish bones and soggy potatoes that are of most concern.
Clean Out Your Lint Filter and Dryer Exhaust
It’s important to clean the inputs and outputs of your dryer with every use to ensure efficiency and safety. A build-up of lint inside the dryer, or in the dryer exhaust, has the potential to start a fire if conditions are favourable. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, be sure to clean the lint filter after every load of washing, and check the dryer exhaust vent monthly for lit build up.
Replace Filters in Air Conditioning and Heaters Regularly
Your home air conditioner and heating system are well used and little noticed appliances that have the potential to leave a nasty dent in your budget should they fail unexpectedly. Have them inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified technician, and be sure to know the location of the filters so you can check them monthly for yourself. Take the filters outside and give them a gentle tap to dislodge surface dust, and leave them in direct sunshine to kill any bacteria.
Extending the life of your home appliances is indeed possible, and the simple tips above can help you save time on replacement, and most importantly, keep more money in your pocket. Take the little steps necessary each and every day so you can sit back and relax, knowing that an appliance disaster isn’t lurking around the kitchen counter…