When it comes to protecting your investment in household appliances, it’s wise to spend some time now on a little preventative maintenance in order to keep them in top working condition – or spend what could be a significant amount of money later, repairing or replacing them.
“Today's appliances have more electronics and control boards than appliances of the past,” said Erik Schneider, President of Hometown Appliance & Electronics in St. John. “We suggest putting a surge protector on as many appliances as you can. We sell single outlet surge protectors to a lot of our customers when they are purchasing especially a new refrigerator or washer and dryer. With the severe weather we have been having even the littlest power surge can cause major repairs for today's appliances.”
Beyond surge protection, the efficiency and length of service of these appliances can be improved by following the simple advice Schneider shares with all his customers.
“Even though refrigerators breathe out of the bottom, instead of from the back like they used to, coils still exist that need to be cleaned to keep your fridge running smoothly during these hot summer months,” he said. “Removing the kick plate on the bottom allows easy access to the bottom where you can check drip pans for excessive moisture, coils for dirt and debris, and overall cleanliness of the fridge.”
In addition, washer and dryer maintenance, which often gets overlooked, can also help prevent floods or fires.
“In your washer, remove any and all debris from the drum so that it does not work its way into the pump. If you own a front load washer, keeping the washer door open during down times will allow the machine to breathe and eliminate that musty smell that some people complain about. Check your washer water lines for any bubbling or deterioration in the lines. Regularly checking them will be easier to deal with than a burst line that floods the surrounding area,” Schneider said. “Everyone has heard the horror stories about dryer vent fires yet most people forget to check the vent run for excessive lint build-up. Lint brushes can be purchased in stores or you can hire a professional to come out and do it for you. This leads to a better air flow for the dryer and peace of mind if you leave the dryer running when you leave the house - like most of us do.”
On another topic, Schneider has a time-saving tip that his customers with stainless steel appliances genuinely appreciate.
“It appears that the stainless steel craze is here to stay. As more manufacturers come up with new ways to integrate it into appliance packages the task of cleaning it will remain,” he said. “We have a lot of stainless to keep clean here on our sales floor and have found that using the orange clean pledge (orange label, yellow cap) and a microfiber cloth is the easiest way to keep our showroom looking fantastic. Always spray the cleaner on the cloth and try and follow the grain of the stainless. It is not exactly a wood grain but each manufacturer polishes the stainless different and keeping with the grain eliminates streaks and patches.”
For those who like the look of stainless, but want to reduce the amount of cleaning required, Schneider typically recommends a couple of different options.
“Whirlpool now offers two color combinations called white and black ice. The overall color of the appliance is black or white but with stainless accents like trim pieces, knobs and handles. It gives you an elegant look without all of that stainless to clean,” he said. “The Frigidaire Gallery and Professional series has a smudge-proof stainless steel that gives you stainless steel without all of the worrying. It is real stainless steel with a protective coating that reduces fingerprints and smudges making it easier to clean.”