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Maintaining appliances improves their life, performance

AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln maintaining appliancesOur household appliances help us prepare our food and keep our homes clean and safe. In return, homeowners should check their appliances once or twice a year to make sure they’re clean and running properly.

AmeriSpec’s home inspectors have some tips for maintaining the appliances in your home.

1. Clean your appliances regularly.

Wipe off the seals around your refrigerator and freezer doors to retain the cold air and keep your food safe. Wipe down the shelves to prevent bacteria and mold growth.

Your washing machine and dishwasher need to be cleaned, too. Run a cycle with hot water and vinegar in your washer to remove detergent buildup. If you have a front-loading machine, use bleach to clean the gasket. (Do NOT use bleach and vinegar together!)

Vinegar and baking soda also can help clean out your dishwasher to remove buildup from hard water and dishwasher soap. Professionals also recommend Tang, the powdered breakfast drink, for cleaning.

2. Check your electrical connections.

Over time, electrical cords can fray or crack, exposing wires and creating a hazard. Prongs can bend, burn or melt. If you find signs of wear and tear or visible wiring, replace the cord.

3. Unblock filters

Air conditioners and furnaces run more efficiently and the quality of your air will be better if the filters are checked and changed regularly. Experts recommend changing 1-inch filters monthly, and 3-inch filters every three months.

Check your washer, dryer and dishwasher to see if there are filters that need to be cleaned. Also check the exhaust hose for your dryer, and clean out lint that has built up.

4. Examine hoses.

Debris and particles can build up in hoses, slowing drainage or even clogging an appliance. They also can bend or crack, which may lead to a leak. Check your hoses to make sure they’re flexible, and that water is flowing through them freely.

5. Call for professional maintenance

Some appliances such as furnaces or air conditioners may require routine attention from professionals. If this is the case, have these units checked annually to confirm that the appliance or machine is operating under normal conditions.