If you’ve suddenly found yourself spending significantly more time at home than usual, there have likely been some adjustments to get used to – and not all of them bad (like changing into your daytime pajamas in the morning, and back into your nighttime pajamas in the evening).
While you adapt to a new schedule – and possibly new “coworkers” – your household appliances are actually doing the same. Between the extra dishwashing cycles from meals eaten at home, cooking more than usual, and a refrigerator that may be bursting at the seams (to name just a few), your trusty household helpers are kicking it into gear when they normally would have been enjoying some time off.
It stands to reason that extra use means increased wear and tear, which in turn translates into a shorter lifespan for your appliances –and an added expense is the last thing most people need right now.
That said, there’s lots you can do to keep your appliances running by performing your own DIY appliance maintenance and upkeep.
Keep Your Oven Working Longer
The centerpiece of any kitchen, the oven puts in as much work as any appliance out there – and as hungry folks pop into the most popular room in the house to see what’s cooking, it’s going to get a workout. Here’s what you can do to ensure it keeps on going.
- Give it a little self-care – but not too much. Take advantage of your oven’s self-clean process a few times a year to keep the oven in tip-top shape, but be careful not to overdo it, or you may end up with a blown thermal fuse or heating elements. Used in moderation, the self-clean feature is great for maintaining an oven’s health – but temperatures can rise up to 1000 degrees, which if done too often can actually backfire and cause a part to need replacement.
- Go over it again once it’s cooled. After waiting for your oven to cool down, give the inside a thorough clean with some steel wool and oven cleaning solution. Make sure to unplug your oven first to prevent electric shock or a blown fuse.
- Check your gaskets. If you feel heat coming out of your oven’s door during cooking, examine the seal around it to see if it needs replacing. Escaping heat can cause your oven to work extra hard and can damage the oven’s exterior, as well. Replacing a worn oven door gasket is a small investment that can save you money down the line.
- Plug into a surge protector, if possible. Avoiding a power surge is as logical as it sounds. Simply put, you’ll be glad not to have to replace a fuse if a surge does strike.
- Clean the oven hood filters. If the filters clog, the fan has to work harder to pull the air through all that caked on grease (plus it just sounds gross). Clean the filters often, and thoroughly, to keep your oven fan working for years.
Dishwasher Maintenance Tips
Even if your dishwasher is putting in extra hours, you can keep it young for quite some time.
- Keep it going. Surprisingly, using your dishwasher is a great way to keep buildup from becoming a problem. By running additional cycles, you can keep food and other debris from caking in and becoming a bigger problem later on.
- Clean, and replace, the racks. If the plastic coating on a rack starts to corrode and peel, it’s time to replace it. As the exposed metal rusts, small flecks can fly off and get caught in the pump, resulting in a costly fix. Likewise, replace any tine tips – the plastic caps which cover the vertical rack tines.
- Use vinegar. Vinegar is great for both interior and exterior cleaning. Before wiping down the outside of your dishwasher, simply pour a couple of cups inside and run on low for an easy clean cycle.
- Make sure the seal is clean. Wash around the edge of the dishwasher with a water and vinegar solution, using a soft cloth or brush to clear out any gunk jamming up the area.
Don’t Fear the Repairman
A little help from a professional now can save a lot of money later. Because things such as thermal fuses and gaskets are designed to protect your appliance, if they are in need of replacement, it means that the appliance is at risk. With ovens costing over $1,000 at the low end of the price spectrum, for example, a visit from a technician is a small price to pay to keep your appliance working for years to come.
Tips for Preserving the Life of Your Refrigerator
Believe it or not, that huge shopping run can actually benefit your refrigerator’s health. Here’s why.
- Fill ‘er up. The more stuff you’ve got in your fridge, the more thermal mass it has – which is a fancy way of saying that all the cold items in there work together to quickly cool warm air that enters when you open the fridge door, and also keep the temperature stable even with the door closed. With less work to do, your fridge motor can take a much-needed break. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, that fridge full of food actually works less than an empty one.
- Clean the coils. Your refrigerator’s condenser coils – located either on bottom or in back – help dispel excess heat collected from inside the fridge. When dust and grime get caked up on the outside of the coils, your fridge has to work extra hard and is at risk of overheating. Pull your fridge out once a year, unplug it, and give the coils a solid dusting off with a soft cloth.
- Keep it at the right temperature. Ideally, the fridge section runs between 37 and 40 degrees, while the freezer should be around zero, for the most efficient power use. If your refrigerator doesn’t come with a thermometer, simply pop one in there for a few minutes to see if your fridge is operating efficiently.
- Make your own de-icer spray. If you need to de-ice your freezer, a simple solution of two parts rubbing alcohol (which can range from 70-99% alcohol content), one part water, and a squirt of dish soap, can help clear the ice right out of there. Mix, put into a spray bottle, and spray liberally into the iced-up areas of your freezer. It’ll reduce your work significantly.
Puls Will Keep Your Appliances in Tip-Top Shape
Make sure your appliances are in working order by having a Puls technician come give them a thorough tune-up. Or, if you know what needs fixing, Puls has got you covered. We offer a full array of electric appliance repairs nationwide. We fix washers, dryers, refrigerators, ovens, and more, and, with our easy online booking, you can schedule a time slot in just moments – usually for that very same day. And with our 90-day guarantee on parts and labor, you can be sure the job is done right.
Book your time slot with a certified Puls technician and your appliances will be working again in no time.