Home Appliances Tips

Replacing a refrigerator or oven range can take a bite out of your budget, as can buying a new washer or dryer. To make sure your appliances stand the test of time and continue to perform, follow these home appliances tips:

Keep your fridge and freezer clean

In general, appliances operate best when spick-and-span.

Besides regularly cleaning up leftovers in the fridge, keep condenser coils clean. Do so by using a condenser coil brush.

To clean the freezer, unplug it, remove all food, wipe it down with a baking-soda solution, use water to rinse it, and then dry the freezer with a towel before plugging it back in.

Defrost your freezer

Many freezers today are frost-free. However, if you have a manual defrost freezer, plan to defrost it at least once every year, before frost gets to about a half-inch thick. Use a plastic or wooden scrape — no knives or other sharp instruments — to remove the frost layer.

Scrub your oven and range, too

Clean inside your oven often and never let food debris stick around on burners, even if it requires a bit of elbow grease to remove.

Don’t spray cleaning fluid directly on control panels though, which could cause them to short circuit. Instead, apply a little onto a rag to clean that surface.

Don’t foil your oven

Experts debate whether you should use the self-cleaning feature if your oven comes with one, but they agree you shouldn’t use aluminum foil under the baking element.

Replace filters

Whether it’s a charcoal filter in an oven, a filter in some dishwashers or refrigerators or the one in your furnace, follow manufacturer guidelines to clean and/or replace them as directed.

Don’t use dish soap in the dishwasher

This can hamper the machine’s performance with gunky buildup. Use only dish detergent.

Scrape off plates

Food debris can clog dishwasher pumps. It’s going to stop up the spray arms and, in the case of emptying the water out, it’s possibly going to make the pump … fail prematurely.

Don’t overload your clothes washing machine

Doing so adds strain on the motor, tub bearings and other parts, besides not getting your clothes clean if water and detergent can’t swish between them. You shorten the life of the machine.

Instead, follow the owner manual instructions on how much to load. Hint: If your machine is banging around under the weight of all of your laundry, you’ve gone overboard.

Improve your dryer’s circulation

Often forgotten, the lint screen needs to be cleaned regularly. Failing to do or allowing your dryer vent to become clogged will force your dryer to work overtime (read: retire sooner) and can present a serious fire hazard.

Plan to have your dryer’s exhaust system cleaned annually.

Watch where you apply stain removers

Spraying it on top of washers or dryers can corrode painted or plastic parts.

How to clean the washing machine

The washing machine cleans the clothes and washes all the dust on the fabrics, but who cleans it? All dust, dirt particles of all kind must settle somewhere, right? Find out how clean the washing machine so that your laundry to stay clean and free of dangerous germs.

Disinfect the washing machine

If you want to get rid of bacteria that can accumulate inside the washing machine and the pipes through  were the water flows, use  vinegar.

Turn the machine on a program of hot water, but instead of detergent use two cups of vinegar. Leave the car wash  empty and  the entire system will be cleaned with this natural disinfectant solution.

Wash and clean the old soap

The washing detergent , either liquid or solid, leaves traces in the detergent and softener holder and also on the rubber drum (for front-loading washing machines), etc.

Use a solution  made of baking soda, vinegar and warm water and scrub with a sponge or toothbrush every such piece of the washing machine.
Rinse the full support for detergents in water mixed with vinegar, if it is removable.

Rinse with hot water all the components

If you’ve finished cleaning each  removable pieces you need to rinse everything well. Turn on the washing machine and run a program for cotton on maximum temperature without detergent without vinegar or laundry in it. The hot water will rinse the remaining soap traces and bacteria from pipes.

Help Your Appliances Last Longer

Do your appliances die before their time? Here are ways to keep them humming longer. Is it just me or does it seem that appliances don’t last as long as they’re supposed to?

Our dryer died after 11 years (two years before a typical dryer’s lifespan is up), and we repaired our refrigerator three times before it reached its 12th birthday (it’s supposed to live for 13 years).

Full disclosure: I wouldn’t give myself an A in appliance care. But in the future, I vow to keep up on regular maintenance that’ll keep my new dryer running longer than my last one.

Rob Carpenter, owner of a Mr. Handyman franchise in Maryland, shares some insider tips about how to extend the life of home appliances.

Refrigerators That Last

Refrigerators break down when doors don’t close tightly, forcing motors to work overtime to keep food cold. To test your door seal, close the door on a dollar bill: If the bill slips, you’ve got a problem that requires refrigerator maintenance.

Magnetic strips embedded in gaskets around refrigerator doors make doors close snugly, but they routinely wear out and should be replaced or re-magnetized every couple of years. If you’re handy, re-magnetizing is a DIY job — just run a powerful magnet along each side of the gasket, in the same direction, about 50 times.

If messing around with the refrigerator door is beyond your pay grade, call a professional. Pros typically charge around $242 to repair door problems.

Washing Machine Endurance

Loose change banging around your washer drum can cause dents, chipped paint, and rust, so make sure to empty pockets before washing clothes.

Also, maintain your washing machine by regularly cleaning or replacing filters that trap water sediment before it enters your machine. Filters, which look like thimbles, are located in the back where supply hoses attach to the machine. Remove hoses and either poke out debris with a tip of a flathead screwdriver, then remove and wash the filter, or replace it.

Dryers That Keep on Drying

In addition to regularly cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap and exhaust hose, inspect the exterior vent — hot air must escape your house unimpeded.

Make sure the hinged exterior vent pops open when the dryer runs. If it doesn’t, open the cover and scrape out lint with the end of a hanger or dryer vent brush ($13). If your vent is louvered, clean slats with an old toothbrush.

When my dryer recently lost its heat, we called a repair guy who discovered a family of sparrows living in the vent. He sucked the birds out (poor birdies), and then we covered the vent opening with a wire mesh.

Dishwasher Extenders

Here are ways to keep your dishwasher stress-free and long-lasting:

  • Prime your dishwasher by running the hot water in your sink before you begin the cycle. This will clean your dishes with hot water from the very start of the cycle.
  • Once a week, run your dishwasher empty except for a cup of vinegar, which will keep it shining and smelling fresh.
  • Clean out food traps regularly.
  • Wipe clean the seals around dishwasher doors.

Read more:

10 Appliance Maintenance Tips You Can Do

Many people think of cleaning as a chore, but periodic maintenance of your household appliances can potentially save you from a list of repairs. Regular upkeep, such as replacing worn appliance parts, will improve the appliance’s efficiency while also keeping more money in your wallet. Take 10 minutes out of your schedule to try one of these 10 quick and easy maintenance tips.

Verify Oven Door Has Tight Seal:

Over 20% of your oven’s heat can escape if the door is not sealed properly.

  • Open the oven door and locate the rubber gasket around the perimeter of the door.
  • Feel for any broken, torn or deformed areas on your seal. Close the door and see if you can find any leaks.
  • Replace the gasket if necessary.


Clean or Replace Dirty Vent Filters:

  • Metal-mesh grease filters can be washed by hand in soapy water or you can put them in your dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.
  • Don’t attempt to wash charcoal or paper filters; they need to be replaced.


Clean Stovetop Drip Bowls:

  • Remove drip bowls from underneath your burner elements.
  • Presoak the drip bowls in a cleaning solution for 5 minutes. Then wash, clean and replace.
  • Remember to clean drip bowls immediately after spills. If spills burn into the bowls you may need to replace them.


Clean Coils In Your Refrigerator:

  • Depending on your model, the coils are either behind the kickplate or at the rear of the fridge.
  • Use a shop or handheld vacuum to suck up any loose particles.
  • Vacuum every 6-12 months.


Change Refrigerator Water Filter:

Filters that don’t efficiently remove contaminants and impurities may expose you to harmful water.

  • Follow water filter instructions, as all water filters are different depending on model. However, most are as easy as turning the filter one quarter inch and popping it out or locking it in place.
  • Change the filter every 3-6 months depending on water condition and usage.


Fix Rusty Dishrack Tines:

If your tines are rusty, the rust can adhere to and ruin your dishes and silverware.

  • Purchase a tine repair kit.
  • Use a sealant to adhere the tips over any rusty or chipped tines.
  • Let dry for at least 24 hours before running your dishwasher.


Clean and Deodorize Garbage Disposal:

  • Make sure the unit has been turned off.
  • Look down the drain for any large, stuck items. Don’t stick your hands in the disposal. Use tongs or another tool to fish items out.
  • Prepare a mixture of ice cubes and salt (or vinegar) and pour it down the drain. Run cold water over it for 10 seconds and then turn the unit on.
  • To deodorize, place a handful of citrus peels in the disposal, run cold water and turn it on.


Clean Dryer Exhaust:

Lint in your dryer exhaust is a fire hazard; clean the exhaust annually.

  • Loosen the clamp and pull the exhaust off the back of the dryer.
  • Remove clumps of lint from the tubing and the hole in the back of the dryer. Use a coat hanger to carefully remove any large clumps that you can’t reach with your hands.
  • Vacuum all the small lint.
  • Reattach exhaust.


Inspect Washing Machine Hoses:

Most washing machine floods are caused by leaks in the hose.

  • Remove the panel on your washing machine.
  • Search for any cracks, leaks or weak spots on your hoses.
  • Replace the hose if needed.


Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter:

  • Pop off the front panel of your unit.
  • Replace disposable filter or vacuum re-usable filter to remove as much dirt as possible.
  • Clean your filter every 2-4 weeks.

A washing machine that can fit in a micro-condo and uses no electricity has won a national award

A washing machine that can fit in a micro-condo and uses no electricity has won a national award for its Toronto designer.

The Drumi clothes washer is about the size of a water cooler bottle, weighs less than seven kilograms, and is powered with a foot pedal. It’s designed to be suitable for use in the tiny apartments in crowded urban areas and in remote areas of the developing world, without good access to electricity.

It has won a $3,600 national award from the James Dyson Foundation for its inventor, Yi Jiang, a recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. He and four runners-up go on to the international competition for a chance to win a $54,000 grand prize, plus $9,000 for their university, in November.

Jiang, who invented the Drumi as his industrial design thesis project, said he was inspired by his own experience living in a Toronto high-rise apartment. He found it a pain to drag his full laundry basket down many floors to the common laundry room, find a machine, find the right change, then return to pick it up 45 minutes later.

“One day, I saw someone wash some nasty shoes in the full-size washer,” he recalled.

That motivated him to come up with an alternative laundry solution.

The Drumi can wash about a quarter load of laundry or two kilograms at a time — about three T-shirts, three pairs of socks, and three pairs of underwear at once, or a single pair of jeans. It can’t wash towels or bedsheets, so it can’t completely replace a regular washing machine.

Rather, says, Megan Savage, who handles media and communications for Yirego, it’s designed to reduce the number of trips you need to make to the laundromat.

Laundry and detergent is loaded in the top, and pumping on the pedal (the way you would pump up a ball with an foot-powered air pump) with your foot turns the drum.

Not a ‘huge workout’

“It’s not too difficult,” Savage said. “It’s not like it’s a huge workout or anything like that.”

You need to pump for two minutes for the wash cycle, then another two minutes for the rinse.

After graduating in 2013, Jiang launched a company called Yirego to commercialize Drumi, winning several awards along the way.

He has just returned from a trip to China to meet with potential manufacturers. (He is also working with some Canadian manufacturers). He received an email about the Dyson award after returning to his hotel at 1 or 2 a.m.

“It’s really exciting,” said Jiang, who couldn’t sleep after getting the news.

He plans to use the money to develop the product further with manufacturers to make mass production feasible.

At the moment, the Drumi is available on Yirego’s website to pre-order for $169. Jiang estimates delivery will take place next summer, and plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign before then.

The Canadian runners up this year include:

– CEE light, a power storage device designed by electrical engineering students at the University of Saskatchewan, with add-ons that can be used for lighting or water sterilization. It’s based on an electronic device called a capacitor that can be recharged over 500,000 times without losing power, unlike a battery, and is designed to help replace kerosene and candles in places with limited access to electricity. It’s expected to cost about $10.

– Grasp, a keyless bicycle smart lock invented by mechatronics engineering students at the University of Waterloo. Instead of a key, it relies on biometrics, allowing you to use your fingerprint. It includes an app that lets you monitor it from your phone.

– Screw cutter project, a device designed by biomedical engineering students at the University of British Columbia, that helps surgeons in the developing world create custom surgical screws for mending broken bones.

– Voltera V-One, designed by mechatronics engineering students at the University of Waterloo that allows anyone — including hobbyists — to print custom circuit boards.

The James Dyson Award, run annually in 20 countries, is open to students and recent graduates in product design, industrial design or engineering who design “something that solves a problem.”

It’s funded by the James Dyson Foundation, a charity that supports design, technology and engineering education. The charity was started by James Dyson, a British engineer and founder of the Dyson vacuum cleaner company.


Belt Replacement

Look around the top rim of the drum to see if there’s a piece of fabric wedged in between the basket and the drum. Pull it out.

A piece of clothing stuck between the inner and the outer tub on your washing machine or a load that’s too large can stop the drum, which causes the drive belt to slip on the pulley and burn. So if your washing machine is running and you smell burning rubber, first shut off the washer and unplug it. Clothing tends to get stuck more often in Maytag washers, so that’s what we’re showing here. Check along the rim of the drum to see if there’s something stuck there (Photo 1). After removing the item, you should replace the damaged belt. Remove the two screws located on the bottom of the front panel and swing the bottom of the panel out to unhook it from the top. Then prop the front of the washer up on paint cans so you can reach the belts. Remove the belts by starting the edge over the pulley and spinning them off. The motor is spring-loaded, so the belts will come off easily. Take the damaged belt with you to the appliance parts store to get a replacement. Reinstall the belts in the reverse order.

Getting Lint Out

Every year, nearly 25,000 dryer fires cause millions of dollars in damage and hundreds of injuries, some fatal. Dryer fires start when built-up lint near the motor, gas burners or heating elements catches on fire. This fire can then spread to ignite lint in the vent pipe.

The best precautions are to empty the lint trap after every load, vacuum behind the machine regularly, keep flammables away from the dryer, and annually clean lint from inside the dryer cabinet and vent duct.

We show how to “de-lint” a gas dryer with a front access panel. Electric dryers have a heating element instead of a gas burner. If you have an electric dryer, or your dryer differs from the one shown, consult your manual for instructions on accessing the heating element or cabinet interior.

The most important step in cleaning the dryer is to remove any lint buildup around the motor and gas burner or heating element. Then clean out the vent duct with a 4-in. dryer vent cleaning brush (sold at appliance repair stores, or online).

If your dryer has a plastic vent ducting, replace it with a metal one. The plastic ducting itself can catch on fire and set the house ablaze.

Finding the Lint Traps
  1. Unplug the machine and turn off the gas valve. Pry the access panel loose with a big flat-blade screwdriver. Vacuum the inside of the cabinet, especially around the gas burner and motor. If you have a brush attachment for your vacuum, use it to loosen built-up lint.
  2. Disconnect the vent from the dryer and push a vent cleaning brush through the exterior vent hood. Otherwise, disassemble the vent and clean it by hand.


Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your washing machine!

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