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Simple appliance maintenance you can do on your own can keep your oven from breaking right before a large meal or your washing machine from breaking mid-cycle. We've compiled a list of easy do-it-yourself appliance maintenance tips you can quickly complete on your own in 10 minutes, even if you have zero prior experience.
Make Sure Your Oven Door Has a Tight Seal
Without a proper seal, your oven can lose more than 20% of its heat. This can result in food taking longer to cook, or that food gets cooked unevenly. To check the seal's condition, open the oven door and locate the rubber or fiberglass gasket around the door's perimeter. Feel for any broken, torn, or deformed areas, and close the door to see if you can find any leaks. If you do, replace the seal.
Clean or Replace Dirty Range Hood or Downdraft Vent Filters
Wash metal-mesh grease filters by hand in warm, soapy water, or run them through the dishwasher. Replace charcoal or paper filters.
Clean the Stovetop Drip Pans
Remove the drip pans from underneath your burner elements and pre-soak them in a cleaning solution for five minutes. Then hand wash and replace. If you do not clean the drip bowls immediately after a spill, you may frequently need to replace your drip trays.
Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
Dirt, dust, and pet hair can clog up refrigerator coils, which restricts airflow and causes the refrigerator to work harder to keep cool. Make it a habit to clean these coils once or twice a year. Use a handheld vacuum to clean the coils and suck up any loose particles to clean your refrigerator coils. The location of refrigerator coils varies by model, but most can be found either behind the kick plate (the front panel near the floor) or at the rear of the fridge. Check your manufacturer's manual for their location on your specific model.
Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter
Water filters that don't remove contaminants efficiently could expose you to unsafe water. Changing the water filter varies based on the model but is usually as simple as turning the filter a quarter inch and popping it out or locking it in place. Refer to your manufacturer's manual for instructions and filter size for your specific model. This task should be completed every three to six months, depending on water usage.
Fix Rusty Dishwasher Rack Tines
Rust on the tines of your dishwasher racks can adhere to and ruin your dishes and silverware. To solve this issue, purchase a dishwasher tine repair kit, and use a sealant to adhere the replacement tips over any rusty or chipped tines. Let dry for at least 24 hours before running the dishwasher.
Clean and Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal
Turn the disposal off and look down the drain for any large, stuck items. Use tongs or another tool to remove these blockages. Never stick your hands down a garbage disposal! Pour a mixture of ice cubes and salt or vinegar down the drain. Run cold water over it for 10 seconds, and turn on the unit. To remove any lingering odors from your disposal, place a handful of citrus peels in the disposal, run cold water, and turn it on.
Clean Your Dryer Exhaust
Lint in the dryer exhaust not only reduces your dryer's efficiency but it's also a fire hazard. To clean your dryer exhaust, loosen the clamp and pull the exhaust off the back of the dryer. Remove large clumps of lint from the tubing and the hole in the back with your hands. Gently scrape with a straightened coat hanger if you can't reach them. Vacuum the exhaust and reattach.
Inspect Your Washing Machine Hoses
Leaks in the hose cause most washing machine floods. Check the hoses that connect to the back panel on your washing machine for any cracks, leaks, or weak spots on the hoses. If you find any deformities, replace the hose. At a minimum, replace the hoses every five years.
Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter
Clogged or dirty filters restrict airflow, reducing energy efficiency and the air conditioner's lifespan. Filters should be cleaned every two to four weeks. To clean the filter, remove the front panel of the unit. If a reusable filter is in place, vacuum it to remove as much dirt as possible. Disposable filters can be replaced.