Household appliances help you keep a clean and productive home, but they’re also investments, and, like anything with moving parts, sometimes they need a little maintenance. Here are a few common problems and some easy tips on how to fix them.

In the warm months of summer, your fridge is often working on double duty to keep your food cool or frozen against intense temperatures. So, try these three tricks to keep things running as energy-friendly as possible.

  • Reseal the gasket: the rubber seal around the refrigerator or freezer door creates a tight seal that keeps everything cool inside. If you’ve noticed lots of frost or ice crystals on the food or wall of your freezer, or condensation or liquid building up in your fridge, you probably don’t have a tight seal. It might need replaced, but before you start tearing things apart, try rubbing a thin, even layer of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) over all the matting surfaces. This re-moistens the plastic or rubber seal, expanding it to fill it the spaces.
  • Clean the coils: if your fridge appears to be leaking, the drain or condensation coil is likely clogged or dirty. Pull out the refrigerator and vacuum or wipe up any dust under and behind the fridge. Then, use a wooden skewer or pipe cleaner to clear out the tube. You can also blow air through the tube to clean it out. Lastly, rinse with rubbing alcohol to prevent new clogs and build-up.
Garbage Disposal

If your sink isn’t operating as usual, try cleaning your drain and resetting the disposal.

  • With the power off (you can switch it off at the breaker, if desired), use tongs or your hands to remove any solid materials in the drain. Physically turn the blades to get things moving.
  • If it still won’t turn, go under the sink and press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal. The reset will be the only button on the whole unit, so there’s no need to guess. You may need to use an Allen wrench to turn the disposal blades and get things moving. The socket is on the bottom.
  • Lastly, finish up by making a science class-style volcano in the drain to clear the residue and any undesirable smells. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup of baking soda in the disposal; then pour in some white vinegar. Turn on the disposal, and run a few cups of water down the drain to clear everything out.

Washing Machine and Dryer

  • If your washer is filling but not going into the wash cycle, your machine might be reading the lid as open. Use a screwdriver to tighten the hardware and lid switch on the inside lip of the washer lid.
  • If your dryer motor runs, but the drum doesn’t rotate, you likely need a new belt. Simply locate the motor, remove the belt and find a replacement at your appliance, hardware, or even an auto parts store.

Oven and Range

  • If you electric burner doesn’t seem to be getting as hot as usual, unplug the burners and cleaning the terminals, plug and connections. Then, wiggle in the burner again to create a strong connection with plenty of points of contact.
  • If your gas range doesn’t want to light or burn consistently, clean off the igniter and the gas line with a brush or scrub pad.