A turkey is roasting in the oven. Every element on the stove is on. Your fridge is overflowing with desserts. The dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer are running constantly. The family is in a battle over the temperature of the furnace. Does this sound like your home during the holidays? As we head into the holidays, our appliances are in overdrive – make sure your appliances are prepared. After all, no family can afford the time or price that an appliance breakdown will cost you. Follow our tips and instructions for maintaining your appliances to avoid disasters over the holidays.
How often do you clean the condenser of your refrigerator? It’s an often overlooked step in kitchen appliance maintenance. But, it’s important because dust and lint build up there and prevent the fridge from releasing heat. The result is a fridge that uses more energy than necessary, or a burned-out condenser.
In most fridges, the condenser is located below or inside the kick plate on the bottom front of the unit. Pop off the plate, (or unscrew it if necessary), and clean the condenser with a soft-tipped vacuum or condenser brush.
If your refrigerator has a water dispenser, you need to change the filter regularly. Bacteria can grow here and pollute any part of the appliance the water flows through, including the ice maker and spigot.
Remove the filter by turning it counter-clockwise. Replace the old filter with a new one, then run about 4 litres of water through the dispenser to force out any air bubbles.
Keep your stove top spotless and working well by cleaning up spills as they happen. Regularly clean the loose food particles and whatever falls under the burners. If you have a gas stove, make sure the pilot lights work on all burners and that stains or food particles are not blocking any of the gas jets.
For self-cleaning ovens, you don’t want to schedule a cleaning right before you need to cook a big meal. Not only does it superheat your oven, but the whole process can take up to six hours. The smell of the cleaning isn’t pleasant, so you’ll want to plan your kitchen maintenance and clean your oven ahead of time.
Get your dishwasher ready to clean piles of dishes. You can buy products specifically for dishwasher maintenance. They work best when you run a full dishwasher cycle at the hottest temperature. Cleaning your dishwasher like this will help remove calcium buildup and dissolve stuck-on soap and food, all of which block the flow of water.
Another way to deep clean your dishwasher is to run the dishwasher for a full cycle with nothing in it except a cup of vinegar in the top rack. You can scrub your dishwasher drain rim and gasket with white vinegar and a sponge.
If your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, follow the directions in the manual to disassemble and clean the filter.
Washer & Dryer
As for the washer and dryer, there are also specific products available to help you maintain them. For front-loading machines, always keep the door open after a wash to let the tub dry and prevent the buildup of mildew.
Always empty the lint trap after every load of laundry you dry. This will keep the air flowing freely and prevent potential fire hazards. It’s good to have the ductwork and vent cleaned professionally every so often to prevent blockages.
For optimal furnace performance, replace the air filter every month. Also, it’s a myth that closing vents will save you money on your heating bill. In fact, it could do the opposite. Closing vents could also choke your furnace and prevent proper air flow.
If your house isn’t getting warm enough, there could be an issue with the furnace. Before you call an HVAC provider, ensure that:
- All vents are open
- The air filter is new
- There are no blockages
- The thermostat is on and set to HEAT
- The breaker hasn’t been tripped
It’s a good practice to schedule annual preventative maintenance for your furnace in the fall so it’s ready for winter. You don’t want a heating emergency in the middle of winter or just as you’re sitting down to enjoy your holiday meal.
Live Smarter with the Smarter Living Plan
Do your part and stay on top of maintaining your appliances so you don’t have to deal with disasters during the holidays. But that won’t stop life from happening, so give yourself the added comfort and protection that a Smarter Living Plan provides. That way, when life inevitably happens, you’ll be covered.