Five Ways To Extend The Life Of Five Major Household Appliances

Five Ways To Extend The Life Of Five Major Household Appliances

You rely on your fridge, dishwasher, oven and laundry to work, and work well when you need them. The last thing you want is for them to fail, or cost you a ton of money to repair or replace. Here are five simple tips from US News Money to keep those appliances in good, working order for the long haul. Photo by James Rhodes.

Some of these assume you have at least a semi-practised hand at household DIY, but most of them are simple maintenance techniques anyone can do. Here’s a quick rundown of a much longer and more detailed list over at US News Money, assembled with the help of Chris Granger, the Chicago-based vice president and general manager of Sears Home Services, linked below:

  • Fridge: Clean your refrigerator coils regularly. They can get caked and clogged with dust, which can kill the efficiency of your fridge and can contribute to failure. This is especially important if you have pets.
  • Oven and Range: Be careful how you clean your oven and range, and what you use to clean it. Overly harsh chemical cleaners can clog range burners, especially gas ones, and spraying directly onto control knobs on the front of your oven or stove can get liquid in the electrical components behind those knobs, leading to a short and an expensive repair. Always use soft cloths, light cleaners and if you need to use something harsh, apply it to the cloth before the surface.
  • Dishwasher: Don’t pre-wash your dishes so much. This is a hot topic, but pre-washing your dishes too much will inevitably mean they’re still wet, and even a little soapy, before they go into the dishwasher, where they will be washed again. This can cause your dishwasher to overflow, oversud and leak all over your kitchen floor.
  • Washing Machine: Don’t overload your washing machine. Every washing machine warns you not to stuff too many clothes into it, and for good reason. Overloading your washing machine adds wear and tear to the motor and can cause damage and leaks. It’s all around bad news, and leads to expensive repairs or replacements.
  • Dryer: You probably already know to clean the lint trap, but make sure you also give it a deep clean to get any lint in the ducts or around the exit vents, where dust winds up collecting. Similarly, clean that moisture sensor while you’re at it, since residue from dryer sheets and dust can clog it up and make your dryer work harder to dry your clothes.

There’s more in the full piece, including some quotes from Granger and the kinds of maintenance requests that he and his team see on a regular basis. Bottom line, some good preventative maintenance will keep your most often-used, and expensive, household appliances happy for a long time, whether you own them outright or you’re renting them from a landlord.

How to Extend the Life of 5 Major Appliances [US News Money]


  • Switch appliances off at the wall to avoid power supplies prematurely dying (a very common failure, whether they are inbuilt or not). Some appliances even have switches that you think isolate the circuit (and would protect the power supply), but don’t. If in doubt, just switch off at the wall (TV, microwave, etc).
    Clear dust out of vents (aircon, projector, etc).
    Don’t leave laptops charging as it will kill the battery.
    Disconnect any batteries if you aren’t intending to use the appliance for the next few weeks.
    Graphite powder in locks.
    Grease hinges and points with friction.

  • What about turning off your hot water and dumping all the water once a year? Isn’t that supposed to double the life of your hot water service?

    • If you mean by using the pressure release value, then don’t as you just wear out the value itself.
      Not sure where you would be able to drain a hot water tank without removing the outlet pipe.

    • I use a similar method, I turn the sun off every year as it extends the life of my solar hot water system.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!