In 2021 it feels like there are appliances for basically every possible chore that needs to be done in your house. And you definitely won’t find me complaining about that, it does make life around the house a lot easier.
If you go into your kitchen right now, you’ll probably see like five or six different major appliances, and then there’s no doubt another couple which are stuffed into cupboards until you need them.
As useful as they are, they do tend to be pretty expensive. And here’s the thing, most of the more important appliances such as your dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine and tumble dryer should last for the better part of a decade.
If they aren’t lasting that long, then there are probably a few things you’re doing wrong. So there are two things that you really should think about doing. The first of which is that you should consider investing in a home warranty.
Americans on average spend about $5,000 on home improvements and repairs and these stats don’t include home appliances. Having a warranty covers both repairs and appliances so it’s worth it.
The second thing is to be more careful with your appliances to try and ensure that they do last for as long as possible. Doing both of these will end up saving you an awful lot of money down the line.
Here’s a few tips on how to ensure your appliances last:
- Avoid Overuse
This is a relatively straightforward tip but it’s one that you should definitely keep in mind. Obviously in the case of your fridge and your oven, they are both designed to be used constantly so this isn’t as big of a deal, but the same can’t be said for all your appliances.
A microwave isn’t built to run so many times in a single day, so try not to have all of your meals require the use of the microwave. This will be healthier for you too, microwaveable meals do tend to be less nourishing.
Instead of using the dishwasher every day, maybe just use it every two days and manually wash your dishes some of the time. This is a workload that you can split between everyone who lives in the house.
- Keep Everything Clean
Every appliance can withstand a little bit of dirt, but completely neglecting them over long periods of time can cause them to wear down. In terms of electrical equipment, if dust, limescale or grime starts to build up inside it will clog up the electronics and slow them down.
You should vacuum the condenser coils on the back of your fridge to prevent them from overheating, and you should use a descaler on your kettle and regularly wipe down the inside of the microwave.
- Check Your Dishwasher for Clogging
Dishwashers are usually pretty effective machines when it comes to breaking down food residue on your dishes. And in fact, it can actually be somewhat counter-productive to rinse off the plates before putting them in the machine as many people suggest you should.
This can actually lead to the chemicals which are supposed to work on the food residue actually having a deteriorative effect on your dishes. But clogging can still happen every once in a while and it can be catastrophic.
A clogged dishwasher might not drain, and if that happens then it can overflow and flood your kitchen. You will notice a gurgling sound from inside or excess amounts of water even after the process is finished.
If this happens, you should check the filter at the bottom of the machine and also the plumbing connection points for clogging. It shouldn’t be too difficult to clean out with an abrasive cloth.
- Don’t Overfill Your Fridge
The more food that you have in your fridge, the more work that it’s going to have to do to maintain a proper temperature. You might be blocking ventilation, you might be overtaxing the condenser or restricting the flow of cold air.
The reality is that you probably don’t need quite as much food as you’ve got in your fridge most of the time. Don’t buy more food than you need, and always check to see if there is anything that you should throw out.
- Be Gentle With the Microwave Door
Aside from overuse or neglecting cleaning, microwaves are not really very prone to a significant amount of damage. But if something happens to the door, then the machine becomes pretty much useless.
And microwave doors are pretty easy things to break. All it takes is a bit too much pressure in one direction and you could break the hinges or damage the clasps and then you won’t be able to close it.
The only real solution to this is to be gentle with the thing. Don’t get complacent with the machine and just assume you’re not going to do any damage, think every time you open or close it and make sure you are careful.
- Empty Your Tumble Dryer’s Filter
Tumble dryers are notoriously expensive machines which are also well known for sucking up a lot of energy and putting a strain on your electricity bill. And as such, a lot of people choose to just hang their clothes outside instead of investing in one.
And as a result of that, I think that the consequences of not cleaning out the filter are less well-known than they should be. The filter is designed to gather up any lint left behind from the drying process, and if it builds up too much it can catch fire while the machine is on.
It builds up far too quickly for this to be a problem that you can ignore. There are two important things to do. Firstly, clean off the lint after every single use, it only takes a second. And then replace the filters every six months or so.
- Hire a Professional if Necessary
The reasons why we are even discussing appliances and longevity right now is to save you money, so it might seem strange that we are suggesting you hire professional repairmen, but there are some cases in which it’s necessary.
You can always try and do some DIY on an appliance that has stopped working, but the likelihood is that you could make the problem worse. Weigh up the options and see if it would be cheaper to hire a repairman than to just replace the appliance.
If you want to save yourself some money and some hassle down the line, then the best course of action is to make sure that you maximise the lifespan of your kitchen appliances. And you can achieve this with a little bit of extra care and preparation.