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Household appliances cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you’re bound to be spending even more on repairs or replacements if you don’t take care of them properly. Fortunately, it’s rather easy to keep your appliances in good working order. Here are some helpful tips.

The Refrigerator and Freezer

The inside of your refrigerator takes quite a beating, especially if you’re fond of cooking and therefore store a lot of ingredients. If that is the case, you may need to clean your fridge monthly or at least every two months. Take out all the shelves, drawers, and other removable fixtures and wash them with warm, soapy water. Dish soap is good enough to use. Dry these fixtures thoroughly using a microfiber towel to get every last bit of moisture. Remember to wipe up any spills right away before they dry up. You don’t want to wait until the next cleaning to do it, as it will become a more challenging task; it will also stink up your fridge. Simply use a microfiber cloth to wipe such spills.

Freezers should be defrosted when the ice is about a quarter-inch thick; use an ice scraper to prevent damaging the walls and floors. Moreover, it’s not good to fill your freezer to maximum capacity. Make sure to leave enough space for proper airflow and that the vents are not blocked.

On the outside, make sure to wipe down the doors to remove gunk and grime that may lead to rust; simply use a microfiber cloth to do this in a pinch. You should also clean the grooves of the gasket since these are hotspots for dirt and grime, and remember to check if it still has an adequate seal to keep the warm air out. If you find any cracks in the rubber, it’s time to replace them.

Finally, you should also keep the condenser coils as clean as possible, since these are what helps your refrigerator remove the warm air inside. The dirtier the condenser is, the harder your fridge has to work to keep your food cool. You can use a vacuum cleaner for this task; use the brush attachment to dislodge any stubborn dust and dirt.

The Washing Machine and Dryer

The number one tip for keeping your clothes washer in good shape is to never overload it to prevent straining the motor. You should also be mindful about the amount of laundry detergent you use. Not only will it be more difficult to wash off the suds, the excess detergent can also leave a film that can lead to the growth of molds and mildew. Speaking of molds and mildew, you should also give your washing machine a thorough cleaning at least once a month or every two months, depending on how often and how much you wash, to remove traces of detergent and fabric softeners that can harbor these harmful organisms. Finally, you should also make it a habit to check the hoses for wear and tear, and repair or replace them as needed.

If you have a dryer, make sure to clean the lint filter after every use, since a clogged filter may lead to longer drying times or ineffective or incomplete drying. Like your washer, the dryer should also be deep-cleaned regularly depending on the amount of work you put it through. You may also want to check other parts where lint can gather, such as the exhaust duct, and clean it out as necessary.

The Stove and Oven

There’s not much maintenance you have to do for your stoves and ovens. Just keep them clean by wiping them down regularly using a soft cleaning cloth. If you want, you can spray it with a non-alcohol-based disinfectant. For gas stoves, make sure that there aren’t any blockages in the burners. For electric stoves, always inspect the coils and remove stray particles like food debris, which could burn up and lead to unpleasant smells and may even damage the coil

For ovens, it’s as simple as sweeping off burnt debris and wiping spills like oils and sauces. Take care to wipe or scrub thoroughly between the wires of the racks. You may have to take two or three passes to remove everything completely. Remember to use a fresh cloth for the final wipe-down so you don’t re-transfer the grime you’ve already removed.

The Water Heater

There are three parts of your water heater that need regular inspections. First is the pressure valve. Open it twice or thrice a year to prevent the build-up of minerals, which may affect how much pressure the valve is able to release. At best, the valve may leak; at worst, the valve could burst.

The other thing that you have to check religiously is the dip tube, which is the part responsible for pushing the cold water to the bottom of the tank so it can be warmed up. Dip tubes can corrode and break over time, which leaves cold water at the top and near the hot water faucet. If you’ve already check your heating elements and still don’t get hot water, check the dip tube and replace it as needed.

The last part to check is the tank itself. Drain it every two or three months or so to get rid of the sediments at the bottom. This is to ensure that the hot water doesn’t get displaced, and that the sediments don’t clog the valves and filters, which can affect the heating efficiency and water quality, or even cause your heater to break down.

Remember these simple to help maintain your appliances and keep them running smoothly for years to come.