How to Maintain These 8 Household Appliances (and Make Them Last)

major appliance maintenance tipsOur many household appliances work hard every day to make our lives easier. These unsung heroes of the home help us clean our clothes, cook our food, preserve fresh ingredients, and keep us comfortable throughout the four seasons. We should strive to take the best care of them, especially if we want to keep them around for the long haul. Here are the 8 major appliances you need to pay attention to – and what you need to do to maintain them.


This behemoth of an appliance requires minimal care. You don’t have to worry about replacing the refrigerant, but you do need to keep the coils on the back of the fridge clean. Break out the vacuum and suck up the dust every now and again with a brush attachment. Clean coils will help remove the heat from inside the fridge, keeping your food nice and cold (That’s right – fridges don’t actually produce cold air on their own!).

Oh, and if you’re moving or getting a new fridge, let it sit for several hours before plugging it in. Doing so will allow the compressor oil to settle and not fill the refrigerant lines.

Stove and Oven

What would we do without our ovens and stoves? It would be very difficult to bake meals (or delicious pies) if they weren’t around. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much to keep them functioning well, especially if you have a self-cleaning oven. Just remember to use the self-cleaning feature once in a while, and that’s it! As for the stove, keep it clean and ensure that the gas burners aren’t blocked. Easy!

Clothes Dryer

Not too much can mess up your dryer, thankfully – these devices aren’t terribly involved. The best thing you can do to extend your dryer’s life is to clean out the lint trap after every single cycle. These machines produce quite a bit of lint, and it builds up pretty quickly (and not just in the trap), which could easily cause a fire if you’re not careful. Aside from cleaning the trap, make sure the dryer vents get cleaned every year!

Washing Machine

Like its counterpart, the washing machine also doesn’t need much maintenance. Just take care not to use too much laundry detergent whenever you wash your clothes, especially if you own a high-efficiency machine. Also, don’t overfill it since it can harm the motor, transmissions, and balances. Other than that, consider pulling the washer away from the wall and checking the hoses for any wear and tear – you don’t want any leaks!


Not every house has a dishwasher, but if you do have one, make sure you’re treating it right! Like the washing machine, refrain from overloading the dishwasher with too many dishes, otherwise you may wind up running the load again to get everything clean. You can also clean out the filter, which catches large food particles. It can usually be found underneath the bottom sprayer. Do this periodically to discourage any clogs!

Air Conditioner

If your A/C unit could tell you one thing, it would be this: don’t be ashamed of it. Many homeowners try hiding the large box (that is, the condenser) behind bushes, fences, or latticework, but if you want your unit to function properly, it needs to be free. Clear out any obstructions that could get in your air conditioner’s way. Inside the home, you can inspect the evaporator coils, which sit above the furnace. Remove the cover panel and vacuum out any dirt build-up. Should you see ice, you’ll want to call a professional to help you out!


Your furnace doesn’t need too much attention. Just replace the air filter every 3 to 4 months so it continues working at maximum efficiency. You can also inspect the flames inside the furnace. If they’re a steady blue, everything should be okay. If you see more orange than blue, call a professional to fix the issue – it means the burner isn’t receiving enough air to work properly (or simply needs to be cleaned).

Water Heater

Want to keep your water heater happy and efficient? Drain it completely every once in a while. This will help get rid of any nasty sediment that might have collected inside, which can harm the water heater. Make sure you turn it off first, though, especially if you have an electric water heater – you don’t want to burn out the heating elements!

Remember, if you’re selling your home and planning on leaving your appliances, this could be a real bonus for the potential buyer! It can also indicate how you care for the rest of your home, so take the time to maintain your machines! When it comes time to sell your home, remember to call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298.

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