How to Extend The Life of Your Appliances

Real Estate Agent with Chapman Hall Premier Realtors

Few things can spoil a holiday gathering as quickly as a refrigerator or oven breaking down.

Now you’re faced with the major expense of a repair bill – or a new appliance. There’s also the hassle of finding a repair tech or waiting for the store to open because it closed early for the holiday.


And then if your holiday food has spoiled because the refrigerator failed you have to pay to replace what you just bought!

While there are no guarantees, often you can extend the life of your appliances with regular cleaning and maintenance.

The lifespan of your appliances

Major appliances are expected to last, on average, ten to fifteen years, although in some cases they can last even longer.

Often, experts recommend that you start saving for replacement appliances when your current ones reach about nine years of age.

Regular maintenance can favorably impact the lifespan of a major appliance. It can also lead to lower utility bills as your machine will run at maximum efficiency.


To keep your refrigerator running efficiently clean the coils at least twice a year – more if your home tends to get dusty really quickly.

Fortunately, it should take only about fifteen minutes to do this, so mark your calendar to make sure you don’t forget. 

You’ll find your condenser coils either underneath or on the back of your refrigerator. It may be necessary to pull your appliance away from the wall to reach them.

There are specific tools for cleaning your refrigerator coils safely, however, a vacuum with a crevice attachment can retrieve a lot of the built-up dust, hair and other debris.

The refrigerant that flows through the coils on your appliance attracts heat, which is why cleaning your coils is so important. If the coils are unable to release heat, your refrigerator’s compressor will work harder. 

This will mean that in addition to higher utility bills you risk possibly shortening your refrigerator’s life.


While a dishwasher isn’t a mandatory appliance, it is very helpful.

This is true especially during the holidays when there’s a lot more cooking going on in the kitchen – and you have more guests than usual.

You’ll keep your dishwasher in good shape and help it to reach the fullest extent possible of its life cycle, by routinely cleaning it. 

Remove the mineral deposits left behind by hard water and food scraps that can clog components and cause bad odors. Use simple cleaning solutions such as white vinegar and/or baking soda to clean and sanitize your dishwasher.

Note that you may need to remove the racks inside your dishwasher to scrub the walls if they’ve been neglected.

Inspect the door gasket to look for a leak or a break and replace it if necessary. The idea is to find and resolve any potential problems that could impact your dishwasher.

You don’t want to add the cost of a new floor on top of the repair or replacement costs of your dishwasher.

Also, check the filter for buildup which could cause drainage problems and/or odor issues. Look for this at the bottom of the dishwasher where water is drained from the unit. 

Washer and dryer


Pay attention to how much laundry you put in your machines. Don’t overload them and you’ll avoid many of the issues that can arise.

Too much weight puts wear and tear on the various parts of your machines which can cause them to fail sooner than they otherwise would.

Also, packing in too many clothes can prevent them from being cleaned properly which can lead to a waste of time, energy and water.

Wear and tear

Close the lids on your appliances gently to avoid breaking the switch that signals the machine to start. 

Dryer vents

Cleaning your dryer vents will help to:

  • ⬥ Avoid a fire
  • ⬥ Improve your dryer’s efficiency
  • ⬥ Potentially extend its life, and
  • ⬥ Avoid paying higher utility bills

Over time, dryer sheets can put a clear film on the filter, clogging it and keeping air from being able to pass through it.

When you clean your dryer vent hose (see below) take the time to also use a soft-bristle brush with soapy water and gently scrub your lint filter to remove the film.

Vent hose

Once a year clean out the vent hose on your dryer with a vacuum or vent brush. Over time, a clogged vent hose becomes a fire hazard and could lead to the failure of the dryer’s thermal fuse. 

Which of course, means costly repair bills or replacement of your dryer.

While you’re cleaning the vent hose, check the outside dryer exhaust vent for build-up as well. Clean it with a vent brush or vacuum if necessary.


Smooth top ovens are beautiful, but they do require special care.

Gently place heavy pots and pans over the heating element and avoid dragging them from one area of the stovetop to the other.

For gas cooktops, ensure an even flame by keeping food cleaned out from the burner heads. When necessary, use a straight pin or needle to clean out any clogged ports to allow the flame to be evenly distributed across the burner. 

Use the self-cleaning feature (or manually clean) your oven as the manufacturer recommends. To avoid food spilling on the oven floor between cleanings lay heavy-duty aluminum foil across the oven racks.