Homeowners can significantly extend the life of major household appliances by observing preventive maintenance. This helps keep devices running as smoothly and as long as possible. Repairs cost money but replacing a major appliance can really dent one’s budget.
Save thousands of pesos with these preventive maintenance tips shared by Orland Rivera and Rodel Villamor of Western Marketing, Festival Mall Alabang branch and main office, respectively; Joel Tiu of Ansons Makati: and Robert Rosete of eShop Computers in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
A word of caution: always remember to disconnect plugs from the power source before you start cleaning.
Washing machine – Make sure this is set up on an even flat surface. Unbalanced machines cause uneven distribution of wash loads and may cause the appliance to “walk” or move little by little, which can eventually damage the barrel.
Don’t load your wash to above the maximum capacity (i.e., stick to 5.5 kg or less if your machine says 5.5 kg!). Every six months, check the hose for leaks and kinks, and replace promptly if needed as cracked hoses waste water. Periodically clean the lint screen by turning it inside out and washing it with soap and warm water to eliminate buildups. Check the hose vent for clogs.
Refrigerator – After delivery of a new ref, wait at least eight to 10 hours before plugging in. Let the Freon settle down first. If you live in areas where electricity fluctuates, protect your ref with an auto-voltage regulator (AVR).
Don’t load too many food items inside the ref; this makes the blower work harder. Twice a year, clean the condenser coils located either at the back (for older models) or the front (newer models have grills that cover the coils near the bottom) of your ref.
When defrosting freezers, never scrape ice from the walls to avoid damaging the appliance. Merely turn off the ref and remove all the food. Clean the ref’s interior while you’re at it. To check the gasket, close the door on a piece of paper and pull. If it easily slides out, it’s time to replace the seal.
Air conditioner – Always follow the rule of starting the aircon in fan setting for a minimum of three minutes before turning it up to high-cool to avoid overworking the compressor. Sustain airflow by cleaning the filter monthly with soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth and remove all debris from the central air unit to maximize air current.
Electric fan – Once a week, remove and clean the blade and grills. If you are adept at dismantling things, you can remove the shaft and apply industrial grease/oil to postpone wear and tear of the bushing parts. Let the grease dry for about three hours before using the unit again so the oil won’t enter the motor.
Television and DVD player – Avoid placing the TV near a window where splashes of rain could damage the circuits. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth. Clean DVD players using a commercial disk cleaner once a month and remember to wipe CDs thoroughly with a soft, non-abrasive cloth before playing. Take good care of the remote controls as well.
Microwave – Never put any metals inside (and that includes aluminum foil!) and don’t let splattered food stay inside for long. Use only microwavable dishes for heating. Before cleaning, heat a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda in a bowl for three minutes. This makes it easy to wipe off all sticky food particles with a sponge or soft cloth right after. Don’t forget to clean the door gasket too.
Rice cooker – Dry the bottom of the pot before putting it over the hot plate every time you cook rice. Position the cooker on a flat, even surface. Clean up any overflow on the sides right after cooking.
Electric air pot – Always boil water at the correct water level. Avert or remove hard water deposits by pouring pure white vinegar just above the water stain. Boil in one cycle, leave overnight, then clean as usual. Remind members of the family to gently press on the controls so as not to damage the pads.
Avoid abusing and misusing your appliances so that they last longer. By finding time to make preventive maintenance a habit, you not only get the most out of your home appliances, you also save money in the process. In this case, the old maxim “an ounce of prevention” is certainly “better than a pound of cure.”
(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit http://www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)