CINCINNATI — Supply chain problems mean it can take months to get a new washing machine or dishwasher these days, so keeping your appliances running as long as possible is more important than ever.
Reece Dorsey, manager of The Appliance Loft in Cincinnati’s Oakley neighborhood said the last thing many people need right now is an appliance breakdown because it’s so hard to get a new one.
“Some appliances are out 8, 10, 12 months,” he said. “Some areas are getting better, some are actually getting worse.”
If so, you could end up frustrated like Carolyn Neremberg, who told us a few weeks ago about her struggle to get her refrigerator fixed, with parts on backorder, and no replacement available.
“It’s just been a nightmare after a nightmare,” she said.
It really doesn’t matter if you are talking about a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, or wall oven. A little bit of maintenance can mean the difference between an appliance lasting 5 years or 15 years.
Things you can do at home
Repair expert Todd Lahey of Cincinnati’s A1 Appliance Service says so many homeowners never maintain their appliances, so he gave us a rundown of nine quick things you should do.
1. Refrigerator coils: Vacuum the coils underneath or in the back once a year. Otherwise, Lahey said “It will work harder than it used to, it will shorten the life of the compressor.”
2. Dryer filter: Clean the lint filter every load.
3. Dryer vent: Clean the outdoor vent at least once a year.
“Most people ignore it until there is a problem, but that can lead to problems with heating elements, thermostats things like that,” said Lahey.
In addition, a clogged dryer vent can start a house fire. Vacuum it out, or better yet replace it for $10 to $20 if it is a foil vent.
4. Dishwasher drain: Unscrew and clean the drain filter at the bottom, which many people don’t know even exists.
“You have the bottom part, which gets buildup on it,” Lahey said, which can then clog the water flow.
5. Dishwasher interior: He also suggests running the dishwasher occasionally with a bowl of vinegar sitting in the racks. the vinegar will clean the white scale buildup that is common in dishwashers.
6. Rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
7. Avoid self-cleaning on oven. It gets very, very hot, and in some cases can damage the electronics.
8. Never clean the oven a day before a big holiday, when you need to use it, in case you damage something.
9. Run washing machine cleaner (from Tide or a similar brand) in an empty load occasionally.
Finally, keep everything clean. That way your appliances last longer, you don’t have to wait months for a repair like Neremberg, and you don’t waste your money.
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