This Will Keep Your Appliances Running

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You spent a pretty penny on your home appliances. So, you’ll want them to work well for years to come — not for them to break down far too soon, forcing you to fork over more money for urgent replacements.

What will help you keep your appliances running properly? One thing that you can do is clean the filters.

Why Cleaning Appliance Filters Is Important

Most of your appliances come with filters that will collect dust, grime and other types of debris. These filters will need to be cleaned out in order for the appliances to run properly. When you ignore clogged filters, the appliance will need to use up more energy than necessary to perform properly. Over time, this can make the appliance overheat and break down.

Hopefully, an overheated appliance will only require some professional maintenance and repairs — not a full-blown replacement. To cover the costs of maintenance and repairs, you could turn to your home warranty plan for help (if you’ve signed up for one). Home warranty plans are designed to respond to issues with appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators and AC units. So, in the case of a breakdown, contact your provider to see how your plan can help you. You will still need to pay for a deductible (often called a service fee) out of pocket.

If you don’t have a home warranty plan, you may need to use an emergency fund to cover the costs of appliance maintenance and repairs. An emergency fund is an essential safety net that every household should have set aside in a savings account. If your emergency fund is small — or worse, it doesn’t exist yet — you should look into these household budget management tips to help you collect emergency savings quickly. Soon enough you should have an emergency fund that you can rely on.

Without a home warranty or emergency fund on hand, you’ll have a harder time handling appliance problems out of the blue. You could turn to borrowing solutions like a credit card or personal line of credit to cover the repairs quickly and then make repayments afterward. These can be effective backup plans, but they should never be treated as your primary safety nets.

What Appliance Filters Should You Clean?

Furnace Filter

Furnace filters should be cleaned every three months or so. In the winter, you’ll want to increase the frequency, cleaning out the filter every single month. This is because you’re spending more time indoors, creating more dust and debris, and you’re going to be using the furnace more often to stay comfortably warm while the outdoor temperatures plummet.

It’s possible that your furnace doesn’t have a built-in filter that you can remove and clean. It may have a disposable filter. In that case, you will need to remove the clogged filter and replace it with a brand-new one, which you can purchase at your nearest home hardware store.

Dryer Lint Trap

You should clear the lint trap every time that you finish using the dryer. If you’ve been ignoring this basic task while doing your laundry, go to your dryer and pull out the lint trap. Gently scrape off the lint buildup from the filter. Use a vacuum with an extension wand attachment to suck up any remaining lint in the slot. Then, soak the lint trap in soapy water — this should help remove any stubborn residue from detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Rinse the filter and let it dry. Then place it back in the slot.

Dishwasher Filter

Your dishwasher will have a filter at the bottom of the machine. If you haven’t cleaned that filter, it will be full of food scraps. Check the owner’s manual to see how to safely remove the filter from the machine. Empty it out and give it a thorough rinse before placing it back into the slot.

Refrigerator Filters

Your refrigerator will have several filters that need attention. It’ll have an air filter that can clear the interior air and prevent odors. It may also have a water filter connected to features like ice dispensers and water dispensers. You will need to replace these filters when your refrigerator warning lights go on, or when the owner’s manual instructs you to do so.

You should also remove dust that has collected around your refrigerator’s condenser coils. Clogged condenser coils will make it harder for your fridge to keep its contents cool and release heat. So, take some time to clean them up.  

Range Hood Filters

The range hood filter in your kitchen will collect grease and grime over time because of your stovetop cooking. You will need to remove the filter and soak it in hot, soapy water to loosen the grease. Then, you will need to scrub it clean, rinse it and let it dry before putting it back.

Paying attention to your appliance filters could save you a lot of money and grief in the long run. Your appliances will run better, which means you won’t need to repair or replace them anytime soon.

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