If the cost of appliances and their impact on the environment concern you, these home appliance maintenance tips are just what you need! When my husband and I moved into this house 10 years ago we had to buy all new appliances. The people buying OUR house wanted to keep them all so we had some serious shopping to do. It put a serious dent in our budget but you can’t live without appliances, right?
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Home Appliance Maintenance Tips
Of course, since we bought all of the appliances at the exact same time, logic suggests that they would probably die at the same time, too, right? Well, unfortunately for our budget, they all decided to die last month. The dryer stopped heating and the refrigerator and dishwasher started leaking. I did what everyone would do and called out an appliance repair guy. And then I called a second appliance repair guy because I didn’t like what the first guy said. Too bad for me the second guy said the same thing. I think its an appliance conspiracy, personally.
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What Do You Mean You Can’t Fix It?
The dryer had one TINY little circuit that was fried. Just one measly little electrical glitch. But because the front digital panel is considered ONE piece in terms of repairs, it was going to cost $300 to fix. Not worth it for a dryer that I can buy new for not much more than that. Same goes for the dishwasher. Can’t just fix the tiny leak…have to replace the entire front door. For hundreds of dollars.
Honestly, why can’t appliance manufacturers look towards long term maintenance of their products? Why can’t they create an appliance that can be repaired simply and quickly by a skilled professional? You know why? Because then they wouldn’t make as much money! It’s better for them financially to make a machine that will DIE after a certain amount of time so you are FORCED to buy a new one. Now, they want it to last long enough that you don’t get mad at them for making a poor quality product but that is as far as they want it to go. All those appliances ending up in the appliance graveyard after 5 to 10 years means more profit in their pocket. Good for them but bad for our wallets and the health of our planet!
Disposable Appliances are Bad for the Environment!
According to statistics from EpoOnline, a whopping 9 million refrigerators are disposed of every single year in this country. That is a truly staggering number! Those refrigerators are made of metal, foam, refrigerants and a ton of plastic. Having those old refrigerators sitting around in landfills is an environmental nightmare. Now, add to that number a whole bunch of stoves, washers, dryers, and dishwashers and you may start to see why we need to overcome the entire concept of disposable appliances.
So, what can we, the general public, do about the disposable appliance attitude that has befallen our country? How do we ensure that we get the most appliance usage for as little money as possible? By caring for our appliances like they were our own precious children, we can extend their lives significantly!
Home Appliance Maintenance Tips
Proper home appliance maintenance will ensure that they last as long as humanly possible to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. I am going to share a few home appliance maintenance tips to help get you started!
Buy quality the first time!
There is a big difference in quality between certain brands. And brand X that may make a great washer and dryer may make a horrible dishwasher. Do some research! Call your local appliance store and/or repair person and ask their opinions. Some manufacturers also have ‘off brand’ appliances that have the same interior workings but a different name on the machine. It’s the motors and gears that are important…not what the machine looks like. Don’t think that skimping on appliance costs will save you money. In the end, a cheap appliance will need repairs more often. All the home appliance maintenance in the world isn’t going to fix a poorly made appliance.
Do all required home appliance maintenance regularly!
If you are supposed to clean it regularly, make sure you do that according to manufacturer’s instructions. Clean lint traps and don’t put dishes in dishwashers that are full of food. The more you pamper your machine, the longer it will last. Vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator and ask your appliance repair technician the best way to care for each machine.
Only run when full!
For dishwashers and washers/dryers you should make sure you only run them when they are completely full. Not only will this cut down on electricity usage but it will extend the life of your machine significantly.
When appliances stop working, get more than one opinion on repair.
I have found that some appliance repair people who also SELL appliances really just want to make as much money as possible. Repairing your old machine might not be worth as much to them as selling you a new one. Ask around for recommendations on appliance repair people and get a second opinion.
Change Filters Regularly:
This should be part of your regular maintenance. Many appliances have air or water filters. Those will need to be changed regularly. Leaving a dirty filter in place just reduces air/water flow and increases the chance of the appliance failing. Read the packaging material that comes with your new purchase for all recommended appliance maintenance tips.
What to do with old appliances:
Despite your dedication to following these home appliance maintenance tips, eventually, something will die completely. So, you have no choice but to replace your appliances occasionally. What do you do with old appliances? Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t throw away working appliances. If you are just upgrading due to a remodel or you just need a larger unit, make sure you don’t throw away perfectly usable appliances. Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army, as well as many other groups, will accept your used appliances to donate to a needy family.
- Make sure you dispose of the old appliances properly: Leaving it on the side of the road is not a guarantee that it is going to get recycled properly. Those appliances are made with a lot of recyclable metal and possibly some nasty things we don’t want in our ground water. If you buy a new appliance at a major retailer, many of them will haul away your old machine for free and recycle it. If you are installing the new one yourself, make sure you investigate how to recycle your old appliance to reduce your carbon footprint. Learn how to recycle large appliances at Earth911.
Our society has a disposable attitude for a lot of things….we throw away socks instead of mending them. We throw away perfectly good food when there are people in this country starving. And we toss too many things into the trash that COULD be repaired. If only we could find someone willing to do it at a decent price.
But, then again…throwing those appliances in the landfill might cost us a lot more in the long run.
Have any other appliance maintenance tips to share?
Want to reduce your carbon footprint even more?
Check out these electronics recycling tips!
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.