We don’t always give a lot of thought to our appliances. We use them day-in and day-out hardly paying them any attention until something breaks down and we have to grab our phones to do a frantic voice search for “appliance stores near me!”
A rather simple alternative, however, is to do some cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis to keep everything functioning as it should. It’s not terribly hard, and it could end up saving you time, energy, and most importantly, money.
Keeping Your Cool
Possibly the unsung hero of your appliances, your refrigerator, never really gets a break. Unlike most other appliances it runs non-stop day and night, keeping your drinks cold and your food fresh. Having your fridge fail can be a significant issue, especially during hot summer months.
One simple way to monitor your fridge is simply to listen to it. Like all other appliances, if you hear buzzing, squeaking, or rattling, that may be your appliance telling you that it is struggling and in need of a service call.
In order to maintain a cool temperature, your fridge relies on the gaskets-- the seals all around the door. Tears and cracks can cause air leaks that reduce the efficiency of your fridge. You can check them by inserting a dollar bill between the fridge and door, pulling it out slowly. Repeat this in multiple locations, watching for areas of little resistance.
Wipe the gaskets down regularly, inspecting for any damage. You may also want to apply a seal conditioner or a layer of petroleum jelly to keep them in good shape.
Another important thing to do with your fridge is to vacuum the evaporator coils once a
month. This is often overlooked because we can't see them, but these coils play an important role in the refrigerator producing cold air. If the coils are covered in dust and hair, the refrigerator is prone to breaking down. If your refrigerator is 10 years or newer, the coils are more likely on the bottom front of the fridge behind a toe panel. If it’s older, they may be behind the refrigerator.
Keep Clean and Carry on
While perhaps not quite as integral to your life as the refrigerator, your dishwasher is probably something that you make good use of, and mechanically has a lot going on, so it’s important to keep an eye on the following:
Similar to the refrigerator, your dishwasher will have gaskets around the door that need to be inspected. But while the fridge door only needs to keep cool air in, your dishwasher door is responsible for keeping your kitchen floor from being flooded.
As such, it’s worth inspecting regularly for any tears and cracks. Also, make sure that the door is properly aligned with the frame.
Most dishwashers, in particular, Whirlpool, Kitchenaid, and Jennair will have filters which generally need maintenance once in a while, you will need to inspect the filter and wash it out in your sink, as well as the spray arm. The detergent cup should also be checked to ensure it is working correctly. One sign it might not be, is if your soap does not release from the detergent cup.
A cheap, easy way to help clear out buildup in your dishwasher is to run a wash cycle with a Affresh dishwasher cleaner, Ben’s Appliances carries this cleaner in store, and it can be used every 3 months to give your dishwasher a nice clean fragrance and look. It works much better than vinegar which is corrosive in nature.
If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get your Butt out of the Kitchen
When you need a hot meal after a long day at work, your range has you covered, but like everything else, it needs a bit of TLC to work its best.
Your cooktop should be checked regularly for any spills or stains. If you have a glass or ceramic top, try to wipe up any food spills before they have the chance to burn in. In the event that something does get burnt, you may use a cooktop cleaner kit found at Ben’s, which includes a razor blade scraper. After many, many years of their clients trying to find the right cleaning kit for their cooktops, Ben’s found an old school no BS simple cleaner, which they have now sold successfully for years.
Your oven may require a bit more effort depending on if it’s non self clean, self clean or uses aqualift technology (an energy efficient self clean system). We recommend using Affresh appliance cleaner prior to a self clean or without a self clean. It’s safe to use in the oven cavity and helps with stubborn burnt on stains. If you have an aqualift self clean system we recommend performing a self clean immediately after a spill or a messy recipe ie; roasts, yorkshire puddings, etc. Because of the low temperature from this style of self cleaning, it’s important to perform the self clean right away.
While these tips can’t prevent a service call 100%, they’re easy steps you can take to hopefully prolong the life of your kitchen appliances.