Angie’s List: Get your appliances in shape for the holidays

CLEVELAND – Taking proper care of your appliances will help extend its life and also help cut back on repair costs. Angie’s List, the nation’s premier provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated appliance repair companies for tips and advice on checking that your appliances are in shape for the busy holiday season.

The oven:

The cleaner your oven is, the more efficiently it will burn gas or electricity. Don’t allow heavy grease buildup on the interior. Bake in batches when you can, rather than heating it up for one-time use several times over the week. When you can, use the microwave rather than the traditional oven.

Check your oven’s performance by getting a basic cake mix and following the directions exactly. If the cake isn’t perfect in the time frame set out on the box, your oven’s temperature might be off.

Self-cleaning cycles cause the oven to run at extremely high temperatures. If you choose to use the self cleaning feature on your oven, use it about twice a year after the holidays or at least two months before the holidays.

The refrigerator:

Clean the condenser coils at least once a year, more often if you have pets – to keep your fridge running efficiently. If you have a built-in refrigerator, hire a service company for this task.

Before you stock your fridge with holiday leftovers, make sure the seal on the door is tight. This is an easy test, close the door on a thin sheet of paper and if the paper slips, your fridge is wasting energy – replace the seal or adjust the door latch.

The dishwasher:

Clean your dishwasher’s filter at least twice a year to remove particles and debris. The filters location can vary depending on the model so be sure to check your owner’s manual.

Choose the right detergent for your dishwasher. Using less soap is beneficial over the long term. Often, homeowners use too much soap, or the wrong kind, which can lead to problems including locking up the pump. Powdered soap tends to work better than liquid because liquid can clog up the supply lines.

Washer and dryer:

Inspect the hoses on your clothes washer. Look for any cracks or leaks.

Avoid overloading the washing machine. This can damage the tub and cause belts to break.

Clean the lint filter on your dryer before each use and have the dryer vent inspected and cleaned once a year by a professional. In addition to being a fire hazard, a clogged dryer vent requires the dryer to work longer and harder to dry clothes. Energy is also wasted and the heating element and blower in the dryer wear out quicker. A clogged dryer can take two-to-three times longer to dry clothes.

Angie’s List tips for appliance repair:

Maintenance required for your appliance will depend on the manufacturer. Always check with your model’s manual. Whenever you perform extensive maintenance work on your appliances, take the necessary safety precautions. Shut off electrical and gas lines when working on them. Consult an appliance repair professional for major maintenance/repairs.

If you find there is a problem, you need to give the appliance repair company plenty of time to order the appropriate parts from the manufacturer. If you find the repair costs more than you’d like to invest, allow yourself enough time to go out and shop for a new appliance before the holidays.

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