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How to make your household appliances last longer

Your major household appliances can be some of the more expensive items you’ll buy in your lifetime. Protect your investment by keeping on top of the necessary cleaning and maintenance. Not only will this help you make your appliances last longer, but when operating efficiently, you’ll also save money on your electricity, water and gas bills!


Every 3-6 months, keep the compressor coils clean by removing the dust from underneath and behind your fridge. The dust causes the refrigerator to overheat and work harder.

Door gaskets should be cleaned with dish soap as they get covered in crumbs and spills. The gasket should connect flush with the fridge. You can test this by closing the door on a piece of paper if the paper can easily slide out you may need to replace the gasket.


If you have a regular stove element, keep the drip pans clean and doesn’t cover them with tin foil as it can cause a short circuit.

For a smooth top stove, carefully set pots and pans on it to reduce the chance of breaking the glass.

Keep the oven clean, especially the heating elements. Like the fridge, ensure the gaskets are making a seal between the oven and door.


If your model has a filter that needs manual cleaning, be sure to do it as often as required.

Don’t place dishes in the way of the spray arms as a collision will loosen them. Check spray arms for any clogged holes that may need cleaning out.

Washing machine

Make sure your washer is leveled and don’t overload it with more clothes than it’s designed to take. This will ensure that it runs evenly and won’t cause extra wear to the machine.


Clean the lint filter between every load, allowing the air to flow and no overwork the dryer.

You should also clean the duct that comes from the dryer at least once a year.


Your furnace should be cleaned and serviced once a year to keep it in top condition.

During the winter, replace your furnace filter once a month to keep the air flowing. You won’t need to replace the filter during the summer if the furnace fan is never running.

Water heater

Drain your water heater to remove any sediment from the bottom. How often this should be done may depend on the quality of water in your city or town.


  1. 2 Cents

    Wow. I had no idea about some of this stuff.

    I can vouch for the dryer duct thing. We recently bought a new washer & dryer, and in disconnecting the old dryer, there was quite a lot of fuzz in the duct – even though my husband is very anal about maintaining everything. I’m pretty sure he had cleaned out that duct less than 6 months ago.

    Anyhow, I know there are some tips here that even Mr. Maintenance didn’t know about. I’ll be sure to let him know. Thanks!

  2. Craig

    Sounds like a little maintenance can go a long way.

  3. Kevin@OutOfYourRut

    These are good tips on what we can think of as stealth expenses, because appliances can gradually wear out from lack of simple maintenance, then we get wacked with a big “unexpected” expense in needing to replace it.

    I’m not at all mechanically inclined, but was able to replace the fan in our freezer unit, for the cost of the part, which was only $50. Had we called in a repairman (if one can even be found) it would have been $250 minimum. Replacing the refrig/freezer? $1000 plus!

  4. Len Penzo

    Hey, Tom. Good tips all. I was told by a reader that he faithfully drained only 5 gallons from his water heater every three months (the trick is to remove the lime deposits that settle at the bottom and rust out the tank). His heater is still working perfectly – and it is almost 30 years old!


    Len Penzo dot Com

  5. Griff

    Good tips! Thanks for the research you put into this article. I will probably use a bit of your wisdom and share it with my members at It’s fun helping others to save money, especially right now. I appreciate your writing. Keep up the good work!

  6. Hannah @Cooking Manager

    To help your washing machine last longer, use less detergent. Reduce gradually until the clothes are clean, but don’t smell of soap. Extra detergent clogs up your machine.

  7. Micah

    Good tips. I especially know how much electricity a refrigerator can use – ours went out a few months back and we had turned it off. Our bill went down noticeably. I’ll have to try some of these other tips out too.

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