Top Ten Appliance Tips

Everyone hates it when an appliance breaks down and you have to spend many of your hard earned dollars to replace it. This newsletter will cover some maintenance tips on how to make your appliances last longer.
Clean the refrigerator coils
The refrigerator works by removing the heat inside and dumping it outside through the coils. The coils can be located on either the back or the bottom of the refrigerator. If they are covered with dust and lint, the refrigerator has to work harder to keep the refrigerator cold which can shorten the life of the compressor and condenser fan. You should vacuum the coils every year as proper maintenance.

Do not block the air vents in the freezer
The air vents in the freezer are what provides the cold air for  the refrigerator. If you block the vents, you cut off part of the cooling and that makes the compressor work harder. Do not overload the freezer compartment with frozen food.

Clean the refrigerator door gaskets
Check the door gaskets to verify they are not torn or damaged. A damaged gasket will allow heat to enter which makes the refrigerator run longer, causing additional wear on the compressor. Keep the gaskets clean to reduce the friction which may cause damage.
Clean the dryer lint filter and vent pipe
You should clean the dryer lint filter every time you dry clothes. A clogged filter makes the dryer work harder and takes more time to dry your clothes. If you ignore the filter, the dryer can overheat and eventually blow the thermal fuse. The dryer will still run, it just will not heat.

It is also very important to clean the lint out of the dryer vent. As the lint builds up, it will restrict the air flow and also increase the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes. Excessive amount of lint can create a fire. Go online and search for methods to clean the vent duct.
Do not overload your washing machine.
We have a tendency to wash one large load, rather than two small loads. This will save you time and a little money, but may not be good for your washer. The extra strain on the motor will make the washer wear out faster. The rule of thumb is to only fill the washer two thirds full.
Do not spray appliance switches and controls
Most of us clean everything with spray cleaners because they are so convenient. Have you ever stopped to think what the chemical could do to the controls? They can work their way inside and cause corrosion or electrical shorts. It is better to spray onto a towel and wipe around the switches and controls.

Clean dishwasher screens
Some dishwashers have screens on the inside under the spray arm to trap food particles. Some of the food degrades into slime that can block water flow and reduces cleaning performance. Some powder detergents do not dissolve completely and can build up on the internal parts. To remove soap buildup, use a product like Dishwasher Magic to remove lime, rust, grease, and other build-up that affects your dishwasher’s cleaning effectiveness over time.

Exhaust fan screens
All kitchen exhaust fans come with screens to catch grease and oils. Most can easily be cleaned in your dishwasher. Check the maintenance section of your owner’s guide for the proper cleaning instructions.

Change or clean your furnace filter
Go around your house and look at the return air grills. Do they have dust or dirt on them? If so, you are not changing or cleaning your filter enough. A dirty filter can make your furnace work harder which costs you in higher utility bills in the long run. Dirty filters can also restrict air flow which can heat up the heat exchanger to a point that a safety switch shuts down the furnace prematurely. When the system cools down, it will fire again. If this happens enough, the safely switch can break, shutting the furnace off for good.
Knowing when to change or clean your filter is different in every home. If you have difficulty in knowing when to do this chore, you can purchase an air filter gauge that will tell you. (General G-99 Air Filter Guage Kit: $18.00 at

Clean your air conditioner condenser coils
Condenser coils dump the heat from your house to the outdoors during the summer. If the coils are dirty, the condenser has to work harder which burns more electricity. Cleaning the coils is a very easy project. You can purchase air conditioner coil cleaners for home centers. Just spray it on the coils and wash off with a pressure washer or garden hose.

If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can email your questions to us at We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

* Thought For The Month *
“Do You Have A Date Night Each Week?”

Tip Of The Hat To:


Deb Johnson
Realty Associates of Atlanta
3350 Northlake Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30345




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