Along with all the responsibilities of daily life – family, work, finances, school – it’s easy to forget the chores that need to be done to preserve and maintain the possessions we’ve worked so hard to acquire. Care of our appliances is certainly one of them that should not be overlooked.
For optimum performance, proper maintenance is critical, however, some require it on a regular basis, whereas a couple of times a year will suffice for others. I suggest that you avoid future headaches or a massive clean-up of everything at once and recommend that you add a maintenance schedule to your regular calendar. Below are some suggestions on what you should do for each appliance.
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Remove the range knobs to clean them and make sure to use a non-abrasive cleaner as you don’t want to remove the stenciling. If you have any knobs that are broken or cracked, now is a good time to replace them.
For those that still have a coil electric range, it is a good time to clean the drip pans or you can replace them if needed. Hint: Do not use aluminum foil to cover the drip pans, as there is a strong possibility the aluminum will short circuit the burner. Also, the foil will cover the oven vent, which is found within one of the burners.
Check to make sure the oven interior light hasn’t burnt out.
If you have a self-clean oven, remove the oven racks and the light bulb before turning on the self-clean mode. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions; make sure the room is well-ventilated and pull the oven slightly away from the wall.
If your oven does not have a self-clean feature, you will find on the Internet lots of homemade oven cleaner recipes that use baking soda as an ingredient such as this one found on thekitchn.com.
Suggested frequency: 4 times a year or before a big holiday.
If you have a manual-defrost refrigerator, it is important to check for any frost that has built-up in the freezer. If there is indeed frost that has accumulated, it is time for a meltdown. Remove all the food, turn off the appliance and this will melt the frost that has built up. An important tip is not to use any sharp tools to scrape off the frost, as you do not want to puncture the sides and ruin the refrigerator.
If you have a frost-free refrigerator make sure you clean the drain pan that collects water. If it is not accessible, don’t worry. It will eventually evaporate.
To ensure the integrity of the refrigerator and that it is cooling properly, check the door seals and gaskets to be sure that they are sealing properly. This is also a good time to clean the gaskets with warm soapy water.
Suggested frequency: 4 times a year or before each main holiday.
Ice Maker Maintenance
For a refrigerator that has a built-in ice and water dispenser, the rule of thumb is to replace the filter every six months. If you find your ice and water have an odd taste or smell funny, replace the filter immediately. Fortunately, many refrigerators today have a replacement filter sensor for those that need a friendly reminder.
Suggested frequency: Every 6 months.
Over time the spray arms can become clogged from material such as paper, glass or pieces of plastic. Clean out the holes so that water flows freely for an optimum clean.
The dishwasher filter should also be changed regularly. It’s located at the bottom of the tub just adjacent to the lower spray arm. Replace immediately if damaged.
And while you’re at it, now is a perfect opportunity to give your dishwasher a full tub cleaning. For a thorough cleansing, use Affresh® to remove residues and eliminate odours.
Suggested frequency: Every 6 months for the spray arms and every 2 weeks for the filter (why not add some rinse aid at the same time?)
Cleaning the inside of your microwave is a very important task that shouldn’t be done only once a year, but on a frequent basis as food particles and splatters will absorb some of the microwave energy and affect performance. This may cause burns and other damage to the microwave, so be sure to use a microwave oven cleaner.
Suggested frequency: Once every week.
Lint build-up is the leading cause of dryer failures and can also lead to a fire. The lint filter should be cleaned after each load, but also check the dryer vent, as lint can collect there as well. Use a dryer vent brush to remove any lint build up and prevent a blockage, and in the winter, be sure to remove any snow around the vent hole as well.
Suggested frequency: Twice a year.
Washing Machine Maintenance
The start of a new year is a perfect time to check the hoses for cracks and leaks or for any rusted fittings, as these are tell-tale signs of wear. As a rule of thumb, change the water fill hoses every three to five years, regardless of whether there are any visible defects.
Check to make sure that your washer is level on the floor too. One sure sign it isn’t is if your washer has moved from its original location. The floor itself must be solid and stable.
If your front-load or top-load washer does not have an agitator, I would recommend you use the integrated cleaning cycle at least once a month to prevent any mold build up.
If you have a standard washing machine, you should thoroughly clean the tub as well as the detergent and fabric softener dispensers once to three times per year. A simple recipe consists of mixing ½ liter of white vinegar with 5 ml of lavender and one tablespoon baking soda. Run the regular cleaning cycle using hot water followed by a cold water rinsing cycle. This should remove hard water deposits as well as any dirt and bad odours.
If you want more details on how to clean and maintain your washer and dryer, you can read our previous blog Helpful Hints on Cleaning and Maintaining Your Washer and Dryer.
Suggested frequency: all washers should be inspected once a year. Cleaning: front-load or top-load washers without agitator - once a month; top load washer with an agitator – once to 3 times a year.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
Before the hot summer months arrive, this is a good time to check on your air-conditioner and make sure the unit is clean from dirt, lint, dust or any other airborne particles.
Make sure to oil the motor for a smooth operation because you don’t want to be without air-conditioning in July and August.
If your air conditioner has a filter, this is a perfect time to change it. Depending on the air quality, this may need to be done monthly during the summer season.
Suggested frequency: Once a year.
The New Year is also the perfect time to inspect your humidifier too. Proper maintenance will require that you change the humidifier filter, wick and possibly the pad. Calcium, lime or other deposits greatly reduce effectiveness.
Suggested frequency: Once a year.
Before the hot weather arrives, it is important to get your dehumidifier ready. Check to see that the humidistat is set correctly, because if it is set too high, the unit may run continuously.
Clean your dehumidifier water container, as you may have calcium and lime build up that needs to be removed and replace your dehumidifier filter.
Suggested frequency: Once a year
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Isabelle, Your Appliance Expert