Extending the life of your appliances
Regular maintenance on everything from your car to the appliances around your home can add up to big savings. And there's plenty you can do to keep your refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and washing machine running longer.
Polly Bijur wants to keep her five-year-old refrigerator as long as possible.
"I'm hoping it lasts like 15 years," she said. "My old refrigerator, I had to buy a new one after about seven. So I'm really hoping this one lasts longer."
Bijur turned to Consumer Reports appliance expert, Jim Nanni, for some advice.
"Most newer refrigerators have a fan and coil underneath that can collect dirt during operation," he says.
One of the important steps is to remove this dirt and debris to maintain peak performance.
Make sure to check the gaskets around the door to make sure you've got a good seal. To do that, close a dollar bill in the door. If it falls out, your gaskets need replacing.
As for your vacuum, simple maintenance can keep it going longer, too. The belt often breaks, but it's cheap and easy to replace yourself. And don't let the bag get jam-packed. Changing it before it's overstuffed will reduce the stress on the motor.
That's something Brent Hawkins of Dunbar Vacuums sees too often. He says the result of not doing that simple maintenance is an expensive repair.
"If you don't change your bag on a regular interval -- say when the bag is three quarters full -- the machine will over heat because it can't pass enough air through the bag to the motor system to keep the motor cool and the motor will eventually burn out."
Paper bag machines should be done when they are three quarters full. Bagless machines are emptied after every use to maintain them to keep the suction flowing in the canisters on in the upright machines.
Hawkins says if you don't "the suction is decreased by 50 per cent."
And eventually the motor overheats and burns out.
A washing machine that shakes a lot on the spin cycle can get damaged. You want to be sure its level.
"The washing machine itself typically has adjustable legs that will allow you to make sure it doesn't rock," Nanni said.
Also, check the water hoses for wear and tear.
"Anything that you can do to maintain your appliances would help to extend their life and cost you less in the long run," Nanni said.
Check your owner's manual for more tips on how to maintain your appliances and make them operate more efficiently too.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen