Protect your appliances — and your budget
Is your washer leaking, dryer broken and refrigerator over-heating? Hear a strange noise coming from your dishwasher? Well, before you start to panic, here’s some good news: just because your appliance is broken, doesn’t mean you have to break the bank with the cost of repair or replacement for your home appliances.
How do you avoid high repair costs for your appliances? Start with an ounce of prevention
First, let’s take a step back and do a quick overview of how to set appliances up for success in the first place. With a little know how, you can probably help your appliances stay healthy longer. Here are some tips for keeping a few common appliances in ship-shape:
The Dehumidifier: Demystified
Dehumidifiers regulate humidity levels by removing moisture from the air in any given enclosed environment. This, in turn, can make your home more comfortable for you and less hospitable to allergens like dust mites, mold, and mildew.
Follow this step-by-step to efficient dehumidifier maintenance: 1. Save and review the owner’s manual
2. Set the humidistat at around 35% RH (relative humidity)
3. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels
4. Clean the water bucket
5. Replace or clean the air filter once per year
6. Inspect the cooling coils for frost or ice buildup
7. Wait 10 minutes before powering it back on if you’ve turned it off
Related: 5 Ways a Dehumidifer Can Help Your House
Perform dryer maintenance to reduce annual repair costs
First, a round of applause for this appliance that has streamlined the laundry process by leaps and bounds. Here’s how to pay it back with some tender loving kindness.
• Replace white vinyl dryer vent tubing with aluminum tubing
• Remove lint from the lint filter after every cycle
• Clear the dryer venting tube
• Check the area around the dryer’s vent cap outside
• Clean the dryer’s interior
• Pay attention to drying time
Regularly deep-clean your refrigerator for a safer and more efficient appliance
Your refrigerator is not only the most used appliance in your house, but is also probably the largest consumer of energy. Here are some ways to keep it up and running as efficiently as possible:
• Clean off the condenser coils twice per year• Clean and replace the gasket as needed• Defrost• Clean the interior• Deodorize• Replace the ice maker or water dispenser water filterRelated: 5 Quick Tips for Refrigerator Maintenance
So now that you know a bit about looking after a few of the tried-and-true appliances in your house, here are some ways to take control — and potentially save money — by planning ahead.
• Be organized. Like with most things, the more orderly you keep the information, the better. When you get a new appliance, especially one with a warranty, be sure to keep the receipt and warranty information in one easily accessible place (i.e. a binder or file). It’s hard to imagine needing those things when something is new, but that information may be a lifesaver (or at least a sanity saver) at some point.
• That said, figure out if your appliance is under warranty. Most have a manufacturer’s sticker with the model number and name. Just call or go online and run the model number to see if the warranty still applies.
• Figure out if fixing your appliance can be done safely and somewhat simply without a professional. Sometimes the fix is an easy one that just takes a little research, such as replacing a light bulb or filter. But for most of us, this can be daunting and is best left to the professionals.
• Gather information. Is the appliance powering on at all? If it’s not, take a peek at your electric circuit breaker and see if one of them has tripped. If not, see if your appliance is the only one that’s on the fritz or if others on the same wall are, too. If so, that’s most likely an electrical problem as opposed to an issue with your device.
Put these appliance-repair rules to work for you
Whether it’s a large appliance like a washing machine, or a smaller device like a mixer, there are 3 very important guidelines to follow, to make sure you don’t make the situation worse — or hurt yourself trying to fix it.
1. Triple check that the appliance’s electric power and/or gas supply is disconnected before you try to diagnose the problem or attempt repairing it. If you need to turn the power on for any reason to observe whether it’s fixed or not, make sure you do just that: observe with your eyes and don’t touch with your hands.
2. Here’s a rule of thumb that’s bound to come in handy: if the appliance is held together with screws, bolts, plugs, and other take-apart fasteners, you can probably fix it yourself. If there are rivets or welds, do yourself a favor: call a professional service person.
3. In many situations, broken parts can be replaced more efficiently than they can be repaired by a professional or by you. (Here’s more proof that it’s always a good idea to hold onto the manufacturer’s instructions.)
Protect yourself (and your stuff) with an AHS® Home Warranty Plan
Now that you’ve got some insight into how to make sense of the wonderful world of appliances, it’s time to turn your attention to the concept of an AHS® Home Warranty Plan. This affordable coverage that helps protect your budget from the costs of inevitable breakdowns and mishaps that come with owning a home and the appliances that inhabit it. An AHS Home Warranty helps cover expenses to repair or the replacement of these systems and appliances when they break down due to normal wear and tear. This, in turn, saves you money and hassle: two valuable assets, to say the least.
Here’s how a home warranty plan from American Home Shield works:
1. Call or request service online (links to “request service” landing page).
2. AHS assigns a local repair professional.
3. For each visit, you pay a small, predetermined service fee (ranges from $75 to $125).
4. Your covered item is repaired or replaced!
Related: How Home Warranties Can Make Life Less Stressful
Whether you want to know every nook and cranny of your appliances, or just want a phone number to call when something isn’t quite right, you’re always in a better position to save when you know as much as you can about your options. Next > 3 Best Light Bulbs for Your Household Appliances