Broken-down household appliances are a dreaded, and potentially expensive, experience for homeowners and renters alike. Whether you’re living in your first apartment, condo, or home, it’s important to check your appliances regularly. While performing routine maintenance and keeping tabs on your appliances won’t keep them running forever, it can drastically improve the lifespan of your home appliances. It can also help catch health and safety issues before they become life-threatening problems.
Learn more about the risks and benefits of checking your appliances below:
Safety is the first and foremost reason you should check your appliances regularly. As some appliances begin to fail, they can pose a risk of fire and electrocution as wires and internal components become exposed that would otherwise remain safely tucked away.
“It is essential to check your home appliances regularly for a few reasons. One reason is that if you don't, you might not realize that one of your appliances is faulty and causing electrical outlets to trip”, said Rebecca, Founder of RestyledHomes.blog. “This can be dangerous, as it could lead to an electrical fire."
Other appliances on the fritz generate excessive carbon dioxide, a notorious and silent killer. While homes should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector to help catch this problem before it causes harm, routine appliance checks will help identify any leaks in your furnace, dryer, stove, oven and more.
"Appliances are the motors of the home. It's crucial to maintain their efficiency to max out their lifespans”, said Justin Havre, leader of Justin Havre & Associates. “Energy efficiency saves you money as does maxing out their lifespan. But more important than saving money is safety. Not checking your appliances can lead to catastrophic results as electrical appliances can result in electrocution and gas appliances can have gas leaks, with possibly explosive results. Regular inspection of appliances provides peace of mind that all motors are operating as they should, keeping your house running clean."
Sanitation, particularly in kitchen-based appliances, is a common problem when appliances begin to fail. Plastics and rubbers often wear thin over time. This allows for mold and bacteria to creep into crevices where water and food waste build-up. Over time, they can fester unadulterated. Left unchecked, bacteria and mold can contaminate food and lead to major health problems, whether you’re using a microwave, rice cooker, dishwasher or another kitchen appliance.
A clean, maintained appliance generally runs well and tends to be more efficient than its older, unchecked counterpart. Efficiencies not only help your appliances run smoothly but they can also save you money on your energy bill. Fans don’t need to run longer to maintain temperatures. Clean pipes allow for smooth, easy flow of water, waste and other materials and clean pipes are easier on the pumps and hoses that feed these systems.
Dryers and central air units with clear intake and output areas will operate more smoothly than those obstructed by lint, bird nests or fall leaves. Whether you’re reviewing your water heater, central air unit, furnace or another home appliance, consider how you can foster these efficiencies and perhaps consider seeking out AC services if unable to fix yourself.
Periodically reviewing your appliances and making adjustments based on your learnings can improve the durability of these appliances. A prime example of this is a refrigerator. Not only can you improve the durability of your refrigerator by keeping the ice from building up in the freezer portion of the unit, but keeping pet hair, dust and debris from building up in the vents underneath your refrigerator will prevent fans from running excessively and overheating.
Protection for your investments
While carbon monoxide can pose a threat to physical safety, as described above, some appliances can pose a threat to your home and belongings. Appliances reliant on hoses and water are particularly finicky. Periodic monitoring of these appliances is a necessity.
“Appliances are the lifeblood of many rooms today, not just the kitchen, so checking them for safety and function every 6 months or so can not only save money but save anxiety later if you discover problems before they become issues,” said Jane Lockhart, principal of Jane Lockhart Design.
For example, the hoses that connect to a washing machine can be prone to failure over time. Performing periodic checks on these hoses is important. If the hose fails, the washing machine may overflow and fill your basement or living area with water. This can lead to damage in walls, hardwood, carpet and more. Not only will you need to work with your homeowner's insurance to address the damage, but you may be exposed to the dangerous mold which forms in dark, damp places.
Avoid costly repairs with regular maintenance
Routine maintenance may be par the course for some appliances, or they will burn out and break down earlier. This can lead to costly repairs or replacements. For example, if you have central air installed, you’ll need to switch out the air filters once a month to keep the system running at its best. You’ll also want to engage a professional once a year to review coils, check refrigerant levels, and clean your ductwork to ensure your ducts are free of leaks and debris.
Home appliances are vast to count, and anything can go wrong without you checking them regularly,” said Jon Rowland, blogger at Greenhousecenter.net. For example, there might be a gas leak, deteriorated electrical appliances, or mold in air vents. These can be unsafe and hazardous to children or old people, and diminish grown-ups' living quality. Checking those appliances should be a kind of routine, monthly or quarterly, if not annually. All I want is safety and the comfort of living for my family.”
Another common maintenance check is for water heaters. Once or twice a year, draining water from the unit will help free it of sediment. This sediment clogs pipes and causes your water heater to work harder, putting more strain on the system and upping your energy bill in the process.