This year, resolve to get the most out of your appliances. Here are 12 appliance maintenance resolutions you can really stick to.
Forget the new gym membership, the commitment to daily meditation or the promise to give up sugar. This year, why not make some New Year’s resolutions you can actually stick to? We’re talking about maintaining some of the biggest expenses in your home: your appliances. With very little effort, you can help extend their lifespan and possibly reduce your energy bills — all with just one easy task per month. Here’s how.January
I resolve to dust the condenser coils on my refrigerator.
It’s not typically on people’s list of household chores, but cleaning refrigerator coils is simple to do, and it can really help extend the life of your fridge and make it operate more efficiently. The coils are either on the bottom or the back, and all you need to do is give them a good dusting! Making it even easier, Sears PartsDirect sells a coil brush designed for just this task.
I resolve to clean my microwave.
Not only does the splatter from the chili you heated up last fall look yucky, it can actually cause sparks and damage the appliance. Scrubbing away those nuked-on particles is a snap with this trick: Heat a bowl of water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid on high for one minute. Then just wipe the inside of the microwave with a paper towel or sponge — and voilà, clean as a whistle.
I resolve to clean or replace my dryer vent.
Are your clothes taking forever to dry? It could be lint buildup in your exterior dryer vent. It’s one of the biggest reasons why dryers fail. Cleaning a dryer vent can be easy. First unplug the dryer from gas and electric hookups, and turn off the gas if necessary. Then disconnect the pipe and run a dryer vent brush through it (or even use your vacuum hose) to banish that lint. After this, head outside and make sure some critter hasn’t taken up residence in the nice, warm pipe. While you’re cleaning the vent, check its color. If it’s white, you need to replace it with aluminum. The white vents can catch fire.
I resolve to clean the filter and condenser coils in my air conditioner.
Whether you’ve got a big central air unit or a small window-based model, you should be cleaning the filter and condenser coils often to maximize efficiency and help keep the unit humming steadily all summer long. Just brush off the coils or use a blower.
I resolve to actually use the self-cleaning feature on my oven.
If you haven’t cleaned your oven since last Thanksgiving’s stuffing disaster, now’s the time. All of that baked-on food can catch fire. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, it’s time for some elbow grease and Easy-Off®.
I resolve to change the water filter in my fridge.
If the water pressure is down to a trickle or your ice smells funny, the culprit is likely a full, clogged filter — which, when you think about it, defeats the whole purpose of having a filter in the first place. It’s very simple to replace a fridge water filter, and Sears makes it even easier by sending you the right filter for your particular fridge through our water filter subscription program.
I resolve to check the hoses on my washing machine.
They generally should be replaced every three to five years. So if it has been longer than that, or if you’ve never done it at all, you could be looking at a flooded laundry room in your future. Eyeball the hoses to make sure they’re not kinked, cracked or blistered — and if they are, replace them right away.
I resolve to clean out my refrigerator.
It’s time to part with the leftovers from dinner three weeks ago, and do we even have to talk about that ball of fuzz that used to be a cucumber? Not only will cleaning out the fridge make you feel good, but it will make your fridge feel good, too. If it’s packed too full, there’s not enough room for airflow and it won’t cool your food properly. The loss of efficiency means extra work for your fridge, which can translate to extra dollars on your energy bill.
I resolve to clean the door gaskets on my dishwasher.
These can fill with food particles and other gunk, loosening the door’s seal. If it gets too bad, you may have to replace the entire dishwasher. Just the swipe of a damp cloth should do the trick.
I resolve to clean my garbage disposal. And not with my hands.
That colony of fruit flies above your sink is telling you something. It’s time for a garbage disposal cleaning. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water and let it drain through the disposal. Then, cut up a lemon and run it through.
I resolve to stop ignoring the buildup of frost in my freezer.
Many freezers auto-defrost, but if yours doesn’t, just bite the bullet and defrost it. Take all the food out, unplug the fridge and let that arctic tundra thaw out. Once all the ice has melted — it can take up to four hours — clean the inside. Now’s a good time to check the seal to ensure it closes securely.
I resolve to repeat these resolutions.
All of these maintenance projects should be done once a year, if not more. But hey, they’re so easy, why not resolve to do the most to extend the life of your appliances?
If your appliances need more care beyond basic maintenance, try this: