Monthly Maintenance Reminder: December - Maintaining Your Appliances

Kitchen
Appraisal and Home Inspection
By Mateos Glen Hayes November 22, 2021

We often take for granted just how essential home appliances have become in our everyday lives. It's just a given in our modern world that our ovens will turn on every time we fire them up, that our fridges will keep on ticking for decades, and that our washing machines will keep chugging through thousands of gallons of water each year without a problem. But what if something was to go wrong and one of these appliances breaks down on us at a bad time?

While such breakdowns are generally rare, they aren’t unheard of. At the end of the day, our miraculous appliances are just machines, and they are all vulnerable to the march of time. Put another way, regular appliance maintenance is very useful and necessary to maximize the life of our home gadgets. After all, our home appliances do so much for us, so it's only fair that we do the little things necessary to keep them trouble-free.

You may think that appliance maintenance always requires a certified skilled technician and a hefty maintenance bill, but the good news is that isn’t true. Most of the basic maintenance jobs your kitchen and bathroom machines need are easy DIY tasks that anybody can do.

Stove and Oven Maintenance

Whether you have a top-of-the-line gas range with all the bells and whistles, or just a simple unit with two burners, proper stove and oven maintenance is key. Keeping your stove and oven in good shape will ensure that they produce many tasty meals for the years to come.  This is even more so the case if you have an outdoor kitchen stove to take care of.

Stove

If you use your stove every day you’ll find that it can quickly become coated in many layers of grease and crud. If left uncleaned this grime becomes very difficult to remove and can be a real fire hazard. So head this off by cleaning your stovetop regularly.

You can reduce a lot of the mess by wiping down your stove immediately after using it with a natural cleaning solution. However, it's still advisable to do a deep clean once a month. Most of the time that means cleaning off your stovetop with warm water and some dishwashing soap, though you might have to use a harsher stove cleaner for more stubborn stains.

Wiping Your Stove Right After Using It Would Be Your Smartest Option

Wiping Your Stove Right After Using It Would Be Your Smartest Option

Oven

All oven doors have a seal made of rubber or fiberglass that is designed to keep the heat and flavor from escaping. If your seal is damaged however you could lose as much as 20% of the heat your oven produces to leaking, so it's crucial to make sure your oven seal is in good working order. To do this simply open the oven and check that the seal is in good condition and has none of the defects mentioned above.

If you spot something unusual, check that part of the door when the oven is on and closed. If you can feel heat escaping, it's time to replace the seal. Cleaning is another important task, and you should aim to clean your oven every three months (even if it is self-cleaning) to get rid of any excess grease.

Avoid a Greasy Oven by Cleaning It Once Every Few Months

Avoid a Greasy Oven by Cleaning It Once Every Few Months

Refrigerator Maintenance

Refrigerators become and stay cold by constantly filtering out hot air via a series of coils which are usually on the back of the machine. These coils get hot as a result and so they need good airflow to keep the fridge working efficiently. Because of this, cleaning these coils is an important part of refrigerator maintenance as these coils are real dust magnets. Try to do this at least twice a year so that your fridge doesn’t become a fire hazard.

Even if your fancy refrigerator fridge-freezer is self-cleaning it will still have to be cleaned at least once a year. To do this, simply turn off the fridge-freezer, remove all its contents, and let it thaw. Once it has sat for a few hours, take the time to thoroughly wipe down every shelf. Be sure to have a pot ready to catch any melting ice that falls out of the freezer. Most freezers have a little plastic channel-type device designed to give the water somewhere to go, so place your pot there.

Your Fridge May Not Work Efficiently for Long if Not Often Cleaned

Your Fridge May Not Work Efficiently for Long if Not Often Cleaned

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are pretty cool – and kinda scary. They look like something from the future and sound like something from an airplane bathroom. Either way, they are very useful things to have especially if you do a lot of cooking because they give you a quick and easy way to throw things away.  But all that food waste will eventually leave behind a smelly reminder in your garbage disposal, so you’ll need to clean it regularly to head off any unpleasant odors.

Unfortunately, some things might get stuck in your disposal and can start stinking up the place, so it's recommended you fish around in the disposal with some tongs (when it's off, of course) so you can remove any debris. You might be tempted to do this with your hands but we advise against that since 1) it will be pretty gross down there and 2) we're talking about cleaning something that has a bunch of fast-spinning metal blades in it.

Once this is done, pour a mixture of ice cubes, vinegar, and salt into the drain and run cold water over it for ten seconds with the disposal on. Top it off with some citrus peels to get rid of the smell, and your garbage disposal should smell fresh.

Take Adequate Measures to Ensure the Freshness of Your Garbage Disposal

Take Adequate Measures to Ensure the Freshness of Your Garbage Disposal

Washer and Dryer  

As with most plumbing maintenance jobs, leaks are one of the main things you’ll have to look out for when inspecting your washing machine. 

Washing Machine Maintenance

 Wear and tear to your washing machine’s hoses can cause leaks and flooding if left unattended. If you find any damage, it's time to call some appliance repair specialists. Because your washing machine is often warm and wet, it's a perfect breeding ground for mildew which can be harmful to your health. To check for it, look in the rubber flaps of your washing machine for any discoloration. Mildew will also produce a strong musty smell which will show up in your clothes.

To get rid of mildew, run your washing machine empty on a standard cycle with some bleach where you would put the detergent. To prevent mildew from reappearing, keep your washing machine door and detergent drawer open after each wash cycle so that the washer can air out.

Avoid Flooding by Properly Maintaining Your Washing Machine

Avoid Flooding by Properly Maintaining Your Washing Machine

Dryer Maintenance

The main thing to look out for when it comes to dryer maintenance is lint. Of course, you should remove lint from the dryer filter after every cycle, but you’ll also have to remove it from your dryer exhaust. Lint will accumulate there as well and is a real fire hazard especially when your dryer heats up. It is recommended that you clean your dryer’s exhaust once a year. To do this, simply unhook it from the back of the dryer and remove any lint clumps you see. Use a straightened coat hanger for any lint you can’t reach.

Make Sure You Remove the Dryer Lint After Every Cycle

Make Sure You Remove the Dryer Lint After Every Cycle

HVAC maintenance 

Your HVAC system is one of the most maintenance-intensive parts of your house, and it's no wonder. Keeping an HVAC system in good condition is crucial for maintaining good air quality, especially since we now spend more time indoors. Some jobs, such as cleaning your ducts or fixing your compressor will need to be done by a certified HVAC contractor. However, you can still do some maintenance on your own.

For instance, replacing your HVAC filters is quite easy, and can be done in a few minutes. If you are so inclined, you can even upgrade your existing filters to high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters for even better HVAC performance. If you have a dirty reusable filter, all you have to do is vacuum it and it will be as good as new.  You can also easily improve your home’s interior airflow by installing window-mounted and ceiling-mounted fans which will help draw in the fresh air and remove stale air.

Maximize Your HVAC Efficiency by Getting HEPA Filters

Maximize Your HVAC Efficiency by Getting HEPA Filters

Dishwasher Maintenance

Your dishwasher deals with a lot of cruds. Sometimes, it also needs to be washed as part of regular dishwasher maintenance. To do this all you have to do is run the dishwasher empty on a normal cycle with a soap packet on the top shelf. If you have some stubborn stains you can also put a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf to help break down any gunk. You can also help the dishwasher by scrubbing away any stains the dishwasher softened up.

If you have an old dishwasher, you may find that its metal shelves (also called tines) are starting to rust. This can become a problem because rust can go on your silverware and plates and mess them up. Fortunately, there are repair kits available in any big box hardware store which are designed to seal rust spots. Once the sealant is applied all you have to do is let it sit for 24 hours and your dishwasher is good to go. If your dishwasher is leaking, be sure to check the door seals. A worn door seal will allow water to sneak out and will have to be replaced.

Run the Dishwasher on an Empty Cycle to Clear It up of Unpleasant Odors

Run the Dishwasher on an Empty Cycle to Clear It up of Unpleasant Odors

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes