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Table of Contents

The Importance of Regular Appliance Maintenance

1. Clean the Refrigerator Condenser Coils

2. Clean the Dishwasher Filter

3. Clear Out the Clothes Washer Drain Pump Filter

4. Replace the AC or Furnace Air Filter

5. Clean the Oven

6. Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent Duct System

7. Replace the Refrigerator Water Filter

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Top 7 DIY Appliance Maintenance Tasks for Homeowners

12 min readUpdated Mar. 19, 2024Terry MehilosKitchen Appliances
7 DIY Appliance Maintenance Tasks That You Shouldn’t Neglect

At Sears Home Services, we're your go-to resource for expert advice on appliance maintenance. In this article, we'll explore 7 essential DIY tasks that every homeowner should regularly perform to keep their appliances in top shape. Regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your appliances, enhance their performance, and save you from costly repairs down the line. We'll cover everything from cleaning your fridge's coils to changing out your AC or furnace filters, and even provide some handy oven cleaning tips. So, let's delve in and find out why appliance upkeep is so important.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Proper maintenance is essential to ensure that your home appliances work efficiently and have a long lifespan.
  • Neglecting maintenance can lead to unexpected breakdowns, reduced performance, and higher energy bills.
  • Here are the 7 most important appliance maintenance tasks that you should never neglect.

The Importance of Regular Appliance Maintenance

Regular upkeep of your appliances is essential for several reasons. It ensures your appliances run smoothly, but it also offers several benefits that can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.

One of the key advantages of routine appliance maintenance is that it can help prevent costly repairs. By performing regular maintenance tasks, you can identify and fix minor issues before they turn into major problems. This preventative approach can significantly reduce the risk of sudden breakdowns and the need for expensive repairs.

On the other hand, neglecting appliance maintenance can lead to high repair costs. When appliances are not well-maintained, they're more prone to wear and tear, which can result in breakdowns and malfunctions. These unexpected issues can not only interrupt your daily routine but also necessitate professional intervention, leading to unforeseen expenses.

Moreover, regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your appliances. Like any other machinery, appliances undergo wear and tear over time. However, with proper upkeep, you can keep them running at peak performance for a longer period. By cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting your appliances regularly, you can prevent premature aging and ensure they continue to function efficiently.

1. Clean the Refrigerator Condenser Coils

The condenser coils at the bottom of the refrigerator collect dust during normal use. When dust coats the condenser coils, the coils can't release heat into the surrounding air, so the refrigerator has to work harder to stay cold. The result is decreased efficiency and poor cooling performance in the refrigerator. Don’t neglect this important maintenance task. Clean the coils at least twice a year—more often if you have pets that shed.

Follow these DIY steps to clean the condenser coils in your fridge.

  1. Unplug the refrigerator or shut off its house circuit breaker to disconnect electrical power.
  2. To access the condenser coils, remove the bottom front toe grill. On many refrigerator models, you can pull the grill straight out and off of the refrigerator. Check your owner's manual for instructions for removing the front toe grill on your refrigerator. If the coils are under the refrigerator, remove the toe grill to access the coils. Some refrigerators have the coils on the back instead of below. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall to reach the coils on the back.
  3. Carefully push a coil brush into the condenser coils under the refrigerator. The coil brush knocks the dust off of the condenser coils. Vacuum the area to pick up the dust. After knocking the dust from the coils with a coil brush, vacuum the dust. After vacuuming the condenser coil area, move the refrigerator and vacuum the area under the fridge to remove all dust and debris.
  4. Reassemble the fridge and plug it back in or reset the house circuit breaker to restore electrical power.
  5. Move the refrigerator back into place.

Here’s a DIY YouTube video that shows more details on cleaning the condenser coils in common refrigerators.

If you’re apprehensive about cleaning the condenser coils in your fridge, schedule a Sears Appliance Repair Technician to perform Clean & Maintain Service on your fridge. During the Clean & Maintain Service, in addition to cleaning the condenser coils, the Sears Tech will:

  • Check and adjust temperature controls and air dampers. Maintaining the proper temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer compartments helps minimize food spoilage. The technician will measure temperatures inside the refrigerator and freezer compartments and adjust the settings if necessary. The technician also will let you know if the temperature control system isn’t working properly and needs repair.
  • Test the automatic defrost system. If the defrost system isn’t working properly, frost buildup on evaporator fins will block airflow and the refrigerator and freezer won’t cool properly. The technician makes sure that this system works properly to help keep your refrigerator from experiencing cooling problems.
  • Check and clean the defrost drain system. The water that drips off the evaporator fins during the defrost process drains through a tube and into a pan next to the compressor. If the drain tube gets clogged, water will drip inside the refrigerator or freezer compartment. To prevent that from happening, the drain tube will be checked and clogs cleared. The Sears technician also will check the drain pan and clean if needed. It’s possible for pests or rodents to get into the drain pan and cause a stink, so this check helps avoid surprise odors, not to mention saving you from having to remove a dead rodent.
  • Check, clean and adjust door seals. Loose or dirty door seals can allow warm, moist air to leak into the refrigerator and/or freezer section, causing dairy products to spoil quickly in the fridge or frost to form on food in the freezer. The compressor has to run longer to cool the refrigerator and freezer when air leaks through door seals, meaning – you guessed it – higher energy bills. The technician will check, clean and adjust seals as necessary.
  • Level the fridge cabinet. Refrigerator doors won’t close all the way if the cabinet isn’t properly leveled, letting warm air into the fridge and causing cooling problems. A Sears technician will make sure the cabinet is level during the appliance check.
  • Check the water filter date. Refrigerator water filters should be changed every 6 to 12 months. Failing to replace the water filter regularly can expose you and your family to unsafe and poor tasting drinking water and ice. A water filter that’s past its prime also can cause diminished water flow through the water dispenser, leading to smaller ice cubes because water doesn’t fully fill the ice maker tray. Our Sears technician will check your water filter and let you know if it needs changing.
  • Check the ice maker and dispenser system. If your refrigerator has an ice maker and dispenser system, the technician will check for proper ice operation and water flow. Because an ice cube can get stuck in the ice dispenser door (which would cause cooling problems in the freezer), the technician will check the ice chute and ice dispenser door for stuck cubes. Additionally, the tech will test ice maker operation and the ice level detection device for the ice storage bin.

Bundle refrigerator professional maintenance with your other kitchen appliances and your laundry appliances to get all of your home appliances in top shape at the same time. You’ll save lots of money when bundling our Sears Clean & Maintain Services.

2. Clean the Dishwasher Filter

Most dishwashers have debris filters in the bottom of the tub. Failing to clean these filters regularly can cause dingy and unsanitary dishes. You may also notice awful smells coming from your dishwasher when you open the door.

Don’t forget to clean the dishwasher filters at least twice a year – more often if your owner’s manual recommends it. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for your dishwasher to pull out and clean the filters in your model.

3. Clear Out the Clothes Washer Drain Pump Filter

Many front-load washers have a drain pump filter tucked behind a small access door at the bottom, left corner of the front panel. Failing to clean that drain pump filter can prevent your washer from draining properly and foul smells can build up inside the washer.

To clean the drain pump filter, follow these steps:

  1. Open the drain pump filter access panel.
  2. Unclip the drain hose and pull it out. Place the end of the drain hose into a shallow pan or a floor drain. Make sure not to pull the hose out too far, or it may not drain properly.
  3. Remove the plug from the drain hose, and allow the water to drain completely. If there is a large amount of water in the drum, you may have to empty your container several times.
  4. Twist the pump filter counterclockwise to remove. Remove any lint and foreign objects from the pump filter. Insert pump filter back into opening and twist clockwise to secure. Insert the plug in the drain hose and reclip the hose. Be sure to close the drain pump filter access panel.

The image below illustrates the steps for cleaning out the drain pump filter.

Image of how to clean the washer drain pump filter

You should also check the end of the washer drain hose and clear any debris clogging the end of that hose.

4. Replace the AC or Furnace Air Filter

Forgetting to replace the air filter in your heating & cooling system air handler can be disastrous for your family’s comfort. Lack of air flow through the air handler caused by a clogged air filter will prevent your HVAC system from heating or cooling properly.

Remember to replace the HVAC air filter monthly or as required according to guidelines in your owner’s manual.

5. Clean the Oven

Grease build-up and spills inside the oven cavity can cause awful smells when cooking. The fumes can irritate family members or house guests that have allergies or breathing problems. Oven smoke can also irritate birds and pets in your home.

Clean your oven at least twice a year or when spills begin causing excessive smoke and fumes when you use your oven.

Cleaning your oven is relatively easy when your model has a Self-Clean mode. Just follow the directions in your owner’s manual for preparing the oven and your home for the process. Protect pets and family members with breathing problems before starting the self-cleaning mode because smoke will typically billow out of the oven vent during the oven cleaning session. After running the Self-Clean mode, you’ll simply need to wipe ash from the bottom of the oven and you’re done.

6. Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent Duct System

Neglecting to clean the dryer exhaust vent duct system going to the outside of your home can cause lint and debris clogs. Your dryer will take longer to dry clothes. Additionally, clothes that is tumbling inside the dryer also can overheat when the vent system is clogged.

Clean the dryer exhaust vent duct system at least twice a year or when you notice the dryer overheating and clothes taking a long time to dry.

Follow these steps to clear lint and debris out of the dryer vent duct system:

  1. Check the dryer damper vent on the outside of your home. Clear any obstructions that are blocking the damper from opening properly. Clean the damper vent and make sure that it swings freely on its hinge so that exhaust air flows freely out of your home.
  2. Disconnect the flexible exhaust duct from its wall connection. Vacuum lint and dust from the exhaust duct going to the outside of your home. You can also use a lint brush or leaf blower to help clear lint and debris from the exhaust duct system.
  3. Disconnect the flexible exhaust duct from the dryer and vacuum out the inside of the flexible exhaust duct.
  4. Vacuum lint and debris from the exhaust outlet on the dryer. Reassemble the flexible exhaust duct to restore the air path going to the outside of your home.
  5. Remove the lint screen and wash it with water and soft bristle brush to remove fabric softener and dryer sheet residue that builds up on the lint screen. Let the lint screen dry completely and reinstall it in the dryer.

If cleaning the dryer vent duct system isn’t a task that you can do on your own, schedule Dryer Vent Cleaning by Sears Home Services. We’ll send a professional duct cleaner to your home to clear out your dryer vent.

Image of a fridge with a dispenser that needs regular water filter replacement

7. Replace the Refrigerator Water Filter

Continuing to use an expired water filter for a couple of weeks won’t have any significant effect on water quality or safety. Refrigerator water filters have the capacity to effectively filter water slightly beyond their rated capacity. Reasonable leeway in safe and effective filtering is expected for fridge water filters.

Don’t keep using a refrigerator water filter more than a few weeks past its expiration. Several weeks after its expiration, a refrigerator water filter can begin losing its ability to safely and effectively reduce water contaminants.

Eventually, the filter can get clogged and reduce water flow through the refrigerator.

Replace your water filter every 6 months or as directed by the owner’s manual for your fridge.

Use our handy water filter finder to look up the type of replacement filter that your refrigerator uses.

To help remind yourself to replace the water filter on time, use our part order subscription service to automatically purchase and get a new filter shipped to your home every six months. You get free shipping when using a subscription plan and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that the ice and water coming from your refrigerator is safe.

Stay on top of these important maintenance tasks to help keep your appliances working properly and your home running smoothly. Continue to trust Sears Home Services to help you manage your home so you can continue relax and enjoy your life with no worries.

Schedule kitchen appliance maintenance now!

Regular kitchen appliance maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your appliances. We'll help you keep your refrigerator, dishwasher and range in top shape.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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