Keeping your appliances in good working order is the goal of most homeowners, but cold weather can bring special challenges. Make sure you know how to keep your appliances up and running through the long winter months.
Preparing for winter before the temperatures drop and the snows come is ideal for appliances inside the house, and especially those that vent outdoors or are in cold garages.
These four tips can guide you when scheduling maintenance designed to keep your appliances working even when subzero weather hits.
Clean Your Dryer’s Connections
A house fire is terrifying, but it’s a possibility if you let lint build up in your dryer. Laundry machines were to blame in over 16,000 fires in 2010, and clothes dryers were pinpointed as the cause for 92 percent of them. It’s vital that you clean out your dryer’s vents and connections on a regular basis, but especially before the dry winter weather arrives.
You should always clean the lint trap after every machine use, but once every few weeks you should take out the insert and vacuum the lingering dust particles in the slot. Disconnect the venting on either end — both the side that connects to the dryer and the side that connects to the outdoor vent — and use the flexible, extendable hose on your vacuum to clear out all the lint.
Check All Outgoing Vents
Your dryer definitely vents outdoors, and your range hood might too. Any outgoing vents should be inspected from both the interior and exterior. Make sure nothing is blocking the system that could cause a backup of fumes or odors into your home.
Also, it is wise to be proactive and place vent guards in front of each opening on the outside of your home. This will prevent small creatures from trying to take shelter from the cold, blocking your vents in the process.
Ensure Garage Appliances Have Insulation
Many homeowners keep a refrigerator in the garage as a backup or as a secondary source of storage. This is normally fine in all seasons, but when the temperatures drop and your garage is not quite as insulated as it should be, the water lines in your refrigerator or freezer could freeze and cause leaks and other damage.
If you plan on keeping appliances in your garage all winter, make sure the weather stripping seal around the garage door is secure. If the door is old and lets in cold drafts, consider unplugging the appliance for the winter to prevent damage or replacing the door as needed to hold in as much heat as possible.
Conduct In-Depth Cleaning of Kitchen Appliances
Since winter usually means you are stuck indoors and no outdoor home projects are competing for attention — besides shoveling snow, of course — it’s time to address the dust and lint buildup behind your kitchen appliances.
Plan to disconnect and move your refrigerator so you can clear away all the cobwebs and lint. Do the same for your dishwasher and stove, if possible. Clean all water lines and make sure your filters are working properly.
Use your time indoors for appliance upkeep and it will pay off — they will last longer, work more efficiently and save you money over the long term.
Call Peter’s Appliance if you have any questions about how to keep your appliances working — our team can help.