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How to make your home appliances last longer

Avoid new appliance shortages, high repair costs
There's a reason so many appliances are currently on backorder
Posted at 4:00 AM, Apr 25, 2022

Supply chain problems mean it can take months to get a new washing machine or dishwasher these days. So keeping your appliances running as long as possible is more important than ever.

Reece Dorsey, manager of a store called The Appliance Loft, says the last thing you need right now is an appliance breakdown because it is so hard to get a new one.

"Some appliances are out 8, 10, 12 months," he said. "Some areas are getting better, some are actually getting worse."

If so, you could end up frustrated like Carolyn Neremberg, who told us a few weeks ago about her struggle to get her refrigerator fixed, with parts on backorder, and no replacement available.

"It's just been a nightmare after a nightmare."

It really doesn't matter if you are talking about a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, or wall oven. A little bit of maintenance can mean the difference between an appliance lasting 5 years or 15 years.

Things you can do at home

Repair expert Todd Lahey ofA1 Appliance Service says so many homeowners never maintain their appliances. So he gave us a rundown of some quick things you should do.

Refrigerator: Vacuum the coils underneath or in the back, once a year. Otherwise, Lahey says, "It will work harder than it used to, it will shorten the life of the compressor."

Dryer: Clean the lint filter every load, and the vent outdoors at least once a year.

"Most people ignore it until there is a problem, but that can lead to problems with heating elements, thermostats things like that."

In addition, a clogged dryer vent can start a house fire.

Dishwasher: Unscrew and clean the drain filter at the bottom, which many people don't know even exists.

"You have the bottom part, which gets buildup on it," Lahey said, which can then clog the water flow.

He also suggests running the dishwasher occasionally with a bowl of vinegar sitting in the racks. the vinegar will clean the white scale buildup that is common in dishwashers.

His other tips, for getting more years out of your appliances:

  • Rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Avoid self-cleaning an oven: It gets very, very hot, and in some cases can damage the electronics.
  • Never clean the oven a day before a big holiday, when you need to use it, in case you damage something.
  • Run a load of washing machine cleaner occasionally.

Finally, keep everything clean. That way your appliances last longer, you don't have to wait months for a repair like Neremberg, and you don't waste your money.

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