Simple maintenance tips to make your appliances last longer

Expensive appliances always seem to die at the worst possible moment. You've just emptied your bank account to pay your bills, the laundry is piling up and you'd really love to be able to wear clean underwear today, but your washing machine isn't cooperating. Suddenly you find yourself shelling out $800 for those clean undies, in the form of a new washing machine. D'oh!

It happens to all of us, and no appliance will live forever, but you can prolong the life of your current appliances with a few simple home maintenance techniques that you might not be doing already.

For instance, keep that washing machine alive and well by clearing the grit from the screens where the hoses attach to the water supply, and never overload it with too many clothes. For your dryer, clear the lint trap after each use, and clean the exhaust duct once a year to avoid fire risks.

In the kitchen, you should clean the dust from the compressor coils on your fridge every few months. It's gross down there, but keeping the dust under control will improve your refrigerator's performance. For the range, don't cover your drip pans with foil. Everybody does it, but it can actually short-circuit the burner. Keeping the reflector bowls clean and shiny will help them reflect heat efficiently and evenly.

It all sounds like tedious cleaning, but a little extra time every few months will keep your appliances performing their best for you, so you can eat hot food out of clean dishes while wearing clean underpants whenever you want. For more household maintenance tips, check out this list by Consumer Reports.

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