Gephardt: How a little maintenance can save you big on appliance repairs or replacements

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Gephardt: How a little maintenance can save you big on appliance repairs or replacements


Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

OREM — Appliances do not come cheap — and if your refrigerator or stove suddenly stops working it could put your wallet in a tough bind. A few weeks back, the KSL Investigators exposed something you probably have felt in your heart: stuff just is not made the way it used to be. When it comes to our expensive appliances breaking, there is another option besides repair or replace: maintenance.

Over at the Mending Shed in Orem, they will fix most any kind of appliance or at least get you the right part.

“We’ve gotten to be such a throwaway society that like people don’t know where to look for the parts,” said operations manager Colleen Jerman.

Finding the right parts is not always easy. As we reported last month, there are few rules forcing manufacturers to make replacement parts available. And studies show appliances are, indeed, failing more quickly than they used to.

Jerman saw that report and contacted the KSL Investigators to say there is a solution: Do not let your stuff break in the first place. Most broken appliances, she says, are not properly maintained. And maintenance does not require any great expertise.

“It lasts so much longer,” said Jerman about what a little maintenance can do for an appliance. “It’s easy stuff to do.”

The dishwasher for one: Take out the filter from the bottom and clean it monthly. If the filter never gets cleaned, the dishwasher cannot do its job effectively. Use a cleaning agent once a month to clean out the buildup in the entire dishwasher. A bowl of white vinegar also works.

You can help keep the fridge’s compressor running longer by vacuuming and brushing off its coils every six months to a year. Do not let it stay empty and do not overcrowd it. It needs proper air circulation.

“Make sure you’re not blocking any of those vents and your fridge will last,” said Jerman.

Clear out the dryer’s lint trap with every load. And at least once a year, clean the exhaust vent from the dryer to where it leaves the house.

“That’ll save your dryer and fuses and make it so your dryer doesn’t get as hot which can cause problems for control boards and stuff like that as well,” Jerman explained. It can also save your house from catching fire.

And speaking of control boards, do not use the oven’s self-clean. It gets very, very hot. too hot

“Most of the control boards we see bad with ovens, and wiring and stuff, is just by people using self-clean on their ovens,” Jerman said. “It melts everything and destroys it, the control boards are only rated to handle that cycle twice in its life.”

Her other tips include rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Clean the microwave regularly. Leftover food absorbs energy and could lead to damage. And run a load of washing machine cleaner every month.

“Here in Utah, hard water wreaks havoc on everything,” Jerman said. “So just cleaning stuff makes a huge difference.”

And a little maintenance, she said, can make the difference between a machine lasting five years or 15.

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Matt Gephardt

Matt Gephardt has worked in television news for more than 20 years, and as a reporter since 2010. He is now a consumer investigative reporter for KSL TV. You can find Matt on Twitter at @KSLmatt or email him at matt@ksl.com.

Sloan Schrage

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2022-06-08 16:10:49

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