Before you tear into a repair job, start by checking for the simplest cause instead of assuming the worst. For example, before replacing fuses or breakers, first check for burned-out bulbs. If a faucet is working poorly, check for debris lodged in the faucet's aerator before tearing the faucet apart. Likewise, first make sure equipment and appliances are plugged in. By checking for the simple causes when a problem occurs you can save yourself from wasting time, effort and money in making unnecessary repairs.
Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.
Position your refrigerator away from sunny windows, hot water heaters, warm air from heating ducts, radiators, stoves and other heat sources. The heat makes cooling harder for your refrigerator.
If a freezer or refrigerator is prone to condinsation on the outside, protect the outer surface by rubbing it with silicone polish applied with a soft cloth.
When comparing warranties, check the length of the warranty, whether or not it's pro-rated, and if it covers the labor for replacement of a defective item.
If you need to purchase a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves gas – typically 41% in the oven and 53% on the top burners – because a pilot light is not burning continuously.
If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. New refrigerators today use half the energy of 10-year-old refrigerators and Energy Star labeled refrigerators are even more efficient. Some use 15% less energy than required by federal guidelines.
After defrosting a freezer, wipe the interior with glycerin. Next time you defrost it, the ice will be easier to remove, eliminating he need for scraping.
When purchasing new appliances, consider the purchase price, the cost to run, and the life expectancy of the appliance. The operating cost can be found on the appliance’s black and yellow EnergyGuide label. This label shows the average annual cost to run the appliance, and how it compares to other models in kWh used per year. A retailer can tell you the appliance’s life expectancy. Then do the math: Consider a refrigerator for $549 that costs an estimated $70 per year to run. Over 15 years the homeowner will spend $1050 in energy costs. A more efficient refrigerator selling for $749 might cost $50 per year to run. The homeowner will pay just $750 in energy costs over 15 years, a $300 savings and an energy-conscious purchase to boot. With energy costs on the rise, those savings could be even greater in the long run.
In gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed.