Here's how to keep your home appliances running smoothly

A little maintenance goes a long way, but what exactly needs to be done?

ORLANDO, Fla. – You probably replace your refrigerator about as often as you replace your car.

And while you take your car in for regular oil changes and maintenance, your refrigerator and other major appliances around the house probably don’t get the same amount of TLC.

Appliances are expensive to buy and even pricier to replace. But there are a few tips and tricks that you can do right now to keep them running, keep your repair bills low and, hopefully, extend the life of your big-ticket items.

Home improvement expert Adam Helfman took us for a tour of a typical home and gave us some tips on how to take care of your appliances.

 Starting with the laundry room: “If you want to extend the life of your washer and dryer, one of the things you want to do is make sure the seal is always kept clean,” Helfman said. “And when you’re done with the wash, leave it open. Let the air dry it because you don’t want any kind of mold.”

 Helfman also that after each use of your dryer, clean the lint filter.

 “If you don’t, what could happen is the heat from the dryer will ignite,” Helfman said. “Flames will travel up the exhaust and that’s where you’ll have a fire.”

 In the kitchen, a refrigerator repair can be expensive and a replacement can cost anywhere between $750 and $2,500. Like the dryer, the most important tip here is to keep it clean.

 “In a refrigerator you want to clean the coil,” said Helfman. On most refrigerators, coils are located at the bottom of the unit. Some, especially custom built-in models, have their coils at the top. Regardless, a quick cleaning with a vacuum and inspection will help with airflow.

 Another pro-tip: clean the magnetic seal on your fridge and freezer doors. A little soap and water does the trick. The cleaner the magnets, the tighter the seal. Tight seals save energy as well as keep the motor from working harder than it has to.

 Moving on to the stovetop: “Everybody has a cast iron pan today,” Helfman told us. “One of the things you want to do is you want to make sure that when the pan is on the grille, you do not scrape it across because it’ll wear it out.”

 The last stop on our home tour: your furnace. Helfman says to remember to change your filter regularly so that it runs efficiently.

 And his last tip: “Make sure that you monitor the temperature, because you have a lot of moving parts in a furnace. And if it does break down, you’ll lose that energy really quick.”

 One last tip, especially for Floridians, it’s a good idea to have your A/C unit inspected at least once a year to spot little problems before they become a big problem. And the best time of the year to do it: late winter/early spring before temperatures rise and the A/C folks get busy.

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