Keep Appliances Running Longer

August 25, 2009 7:55:54 PM PDT
From your car to your home appliances -- everybody is trying to stretch their money. Polly Bijur wants to keep her five-year-old refrigerator as long as possible.Bijur said, "I'm hoping it lasts like 15 years. My old refrigerator, I had to buy a new one after about seven. So I'm really hoping this one lasts longer."

So she turned to Consumer Reports' appliance expert, Jim Nanni, for some advice.

Nanni said, "Most newer refrigerators have a fan and coil underneath that can collect dirt during operation. So one of the important steps is to remove this dirt and debris to maintain peak performance."

And check the gaskets around the door to make sure you've got a good seal. To do that, close a dollar bill in the door. If it falls out, your gaskets need replacing.

As for your vacuum, simple maintenance can keep it going longer, too. The belt often breaks, but it's cheap and easy to replace yourself. And don't let the bag get jam-packed. Changing it before it's overstuffed will reduce the stress on the motor.

A washing machine that shakes a lot on the spin cycle can get damaged. You want to be sure it's level.

"The washing machine itself typically has adjustable legs that will allow you to make sure it doesn't rock," said Nanni.

Also check the water hoses for wear and tear.

Nanni said, "Anything that you can do to maintain your appliances would help to extend their life and cost you less in the long run."

Consumer Reports says it's a good idea to check your owner's manual for more tips on how to maintain your appliances. You'll find specific recommendations for cleaning your refrigerator coils and replacing the belt on your vacuum.

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