Household appliances are the workhorses of our homes. They're used constantly to perform important tasks that make our daily chores easier to handle. Keeping them running smoothly reduces waste and saves you money. Keep reading for tips on how to maintain these essential machines.
In the Kitchen
It’s important not to obstruct the ventilation ducts inside the fridge, otherwise the appliance will have to work harder to bring the temperature down and circulate cool air. Before opening the fridge, think about what you want, as the longer the door is open, the more humid air enters and more cool air is lost.
Maintenance: The condenser coils on most newer refrigerators are located on the bottom rather than the back, like on older models. It’s recommended to clean the floor area of all dust and debris, and vacuum the grill element at least once a year. If you own a pet, do this cleaning routine every four months, as animal hair is attracted to the appliance’s ventilation system. It’s also a good idea to clean the rubber around the doors with soapy water and a soft cloth.
The proper installation of your dishwasher is extremely important. The drain hose must be in the proper position to prevent backflow or improper drainage. And remember, this appliance is not a garbage bin—clean off all excess food before placing dishes on the rack, even if the unit features a grinder. If not, the debris can clog the pump.
Maintenance: If you use your dishwasher daily, run a monthly cleaning cycle with a commercial cleaning solution or a cup of white vinegar. Once the cycle is finished, leave the door open so that everything can dry and bacteria doesn’t form, notably on the waterproof door seal. This area can be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth.
The Range Hood
The effectiveness and durability of this device largely depends on how it was installed. The closer the hood’s ductwork is located to an exit point, the less likely it is to lose its suction power or that any deposits will form in its pipes. If the filter is greasy, its ability to filter harmful pollutants in the air is decreased.
Maintenance: If your range hood’s filter is washable and you cook a lot, clean and rinse it once a week using a degreaser and hot water, or run it through the dishwasher and let it dry completely.
Glass stovetop: Ceramic or glass-topped surfaces are bound to get scuffed and scratched. To reduce that chance, make sure you clean spills as soon as possible (when stovetop cools) using water and a cleaning product designed for the surface, which will prevent any stubborn stains. Also be careful that these products don’t get into the control panel as they can damage the underlying electronics.
Coil stovetop: The elements on your electric coil cooktop should be easily removable. Wash and dry them, wipe out the area underneath where they sit on the stove, and simply reconnect them once they’ve dried.
Gas stovetop: If what you’re cooking over-flows onto the burners, wipe up the excess liquid and clean the element using a non-abrasive scrub pad or toothbrush so that nothing clogs the flow of gas.
Most modern ovens have a self-cleaning option, which we recommend you use from time to time to rid the interior of residue. There’s the typical high- heat cleaning cycle, which slowly burns debris, but newer oven models also offer a steam-cleaning function. Both require little to no elbow grease. Hooray!
In the Laundry Room
Just like the dishwasher, the washing machine’s water hose needs to be at the right height. It is imperative to follow the installation instruction manual. A common complaint about this appliance is an unpleasant odour, which could be due to poor drainage. Another cause of bad odours: Overloading the machine, which makes it run less efficiently and keeps detergent from dissolving properly. The drum should not be filled to more than three quarters of its total capacity. For washing larger items (sheets, towels), clean them in several loads to ensure they don’t form a ball and prevent the soap from being distributed evenly. The quantity of soap recommended by the detergent brand is enough to do the job: too much can damage the machine and cause mould to grow.
Maintenance: If the filter is accessible, clean it every three months and clean the soap compartments as indicated in the instruction manual. Each season, clean the watertight gasket with hot soapy water and dry with a soft cloth. Be sure to leave the door open after each load so that it can properly dry out.
Here, once again, the proper installation helps the dryer work better. The tube that leads to the outside needs to be the least flexible possible as to not restrict airflow. Also, don’t overload the device—the same goes for the washing machine. Never put hand washed items in the dryer as too much water will lengthen the drying time and risks damaging certain parts of the machine that are not meant to get wet.
Maintenance: Once a year, clean the dryer vent ducts with the help of a long handled brush or a vacuum to eliminate any excess dust or lint. Ideally, this should be done by a professional. Empty the dryer filter after each load and thoroughly clean it seasonally to rid it of fibres that could obstruct air circulation.
Instead of tossing instruction manuals in a junk drawer never to be seen again, read them carefully and store them somewhere within easy reach.
Newer appliance models with computerized components can require additional tech support as well as simple mechanical repairs. For these concerns, don't hesitate to call in a professional.