When your appliances are brand-new, they shine and glisten. The cook tops haven’t yet crusted over with dried tomato sauce, and the dryer runs so hot that you marvel at how quickly your clothes are ready to be folded.
Over time, however, cook tops lose their gleam and dryers lose their ability to awe. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With proper maintenance, your new appliance can perform like new for years to come.
Proper installation is the first step to ensuring reliability. “If the appliance is put into a square opening and the floor is level, walls are level and everything is square, it’s going to make servicing and maintenance that much easier,” says Gerry Reda, senior vice president of sales at Marvel Industries in Rock Island, Ill. “The appliance itself is going to work a lot better if it is in that kind of environment.”
GE Profile Refrigerator
Once the unit is installed, take a few minutes to read the owner’s manual. You’ll learn the dos and don’ts of your new appliance as well as maintenance tips that can help prevent annoying and costly repairs. Knowing how to operate your appliance will also help you get the most out of all its bells and whistles. “You buy this super-efficient refrigerator but then don’t read the manual and don’t know you need to clean the condenser coils,” says Andrew Sullivan, technical advisor with Liebherr Refrigeration, a worldwide leader in refrigerator. “That’s going to affect performance.” Also, take a minute to fill out the warranty card. This way you’ll be alerted of any recalls and will have your data on file if you need service during the warranty period.
Here are some tips to keep those appliances running optimally.
Refrigerator: Clean those Coils Cleaning the condenser coils underneath your refrigerator is going to improve efficiency and keep the unit running strong, says Sullivan. “I’ve walked into homes where people say, ‘Condenser? What is that?’ The fridge is eight years old and they’ve never cleaned it,’” says Joe Gagnon, host of the “Appliance Doctor” on 1600 WAAM Radio in Ann Arbor, Mich. “I will reach under there and will pull out a garbage bag full of dirt and dust and dog and cat hair.”
The condenser has the crucial job of cooling the refrigerator. A dirty condenser can add up to $120 extra to your utility bill each year, Gagnon says, and can cause the unit to burn out prematurely.
To clean, use a specially designed condenser brush to pull out any debris from under your refrigerator and around the coils. Then, using your vacuum’s longest and skinniest attachment, suck up any remaining dust. Do this at least twice a year, especially if you have cats that like to nap right in front of the fridge door.
Also, take care when cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, Sullivan cautions. Avoid any ammonia-based cleaners which can break down internal plastic components. Use gentle dish soap instead. Your oven needs the same care. The self-clean function always leaves a few spots that need to be hand washed. But don’t use abrasive cleaners or sponges as they can harm the interior’s special coating. Instead, Gagnon recommends using vinegar and a soft cloth—not only will it clean your refrigerator, but it’s safer for the environment, as well.