Whether it’s a gas appliance or an electric appliance, our household appliances make our everyday lives so much easier. Not to mention, some of them even keep us safe. Therefore, as homeowners, it’s our responsibility to keep our home appliances in working order and ensure they last as long as possible with proper maintenance. Not only does this maintenance keep our lives convenient and healthy, but it also saves us a fortune by avoiding frequent appliance repairs.
However, appliances aren’t meant to last forever, and they will experience breakdowns and failures from time to time. So, what do we do when these breakdowns happen? For many homeowners, the answer is to dip into their hard-earned emergency fund to pay for expensive repairs.
Although, there are several ways to limit breakdowns and appliance failures. As we mentioned, proper maintenance and care are your first line of defense. However, a home warranty plan is an excellent backup to protect many of your appliances. Finally, knowing what appliance failures to watch out for is another intelligent way to protect these handy machines.
Today, we’ll cover some of the top major appliance failures you should be watching out for and how to prevent them.
The clothes dryer is one of the most common major appliances that break down in any home. Many factors can contribute to a dryer malfunction, whether it’s a gas or an electric clothes dryer. One of the most frequent mistakes homeowners make is overloading the unit. Your clothes dryer, like any other appliance, should have come with an owner’s manual. This owner’s manual outlines everything you need to know about your dryer, including its weight limit. Ignoring the clothes dryer’s weight limit will lead to malfunctions, including broken door latches, damaged drum bearings, and overheating issues.
However, overloading the clothes dryer isn’t the only thing that can lead to problems. Neglecting to clean out the lint screen after each load and cleaning the dryer vent once a year can also cause severe issues. Forgetting to clean out lint will cause this major appliance to overheat and fail much faster than average. In addition, as electric clothes dryers operate at high temperatures anyway, ignoring this simple task can also increase your risk of a fire. So, remember not to overload your unit and to clean out those lint traps to ensure your gas or electric clothes dryer lasts as long as possible.
Washers seem to break down more often than many other household appliances. However, this is most often just due to the hard work they perform. Many washing machine parts are in frequent contact with water, and the spin cycle can be brutal on its various components. Therefore, it’s crucial to look out for unnaturally loud noises and water leaks to ensure your washer is functioning correctly. Even the most minor leak in your laundry room can lead to expensive repairs.
Despite some of these unavoidable malfunctions that come with time, there are plenty of failures that you can prevent. Much like your clothes dryer, your washing machine also has a weight limit. Exceeding your washer’s weight limit will cause many of the same problems. Regularly cleaning your washing machine’s drum is also critical to its longevity, especially if you have a front-load washer. Many front-loading washers have a rubber seal around the door that should be cleaned roughly every other week. Not cleaning your washer’s seal and drum can lead to leaks and other issues. Don’t exceed the weight limit, inspect your unit for leaks around the base and hoses, and keep the drum clean to reduce the likelihood of failure.
Refrigerator failures can be some of the most expensive issues of any appliance. When your washer fails, you may have to change up your outfits. However, when it comes to the refrigerator, you’ll end up with hundreds of dollars of spoiled food in addition to the cost of repairs. So, it’s essential to keep this machine running correctly.
The most frequent refrigerator failure is a result of the condenser coils. These coils are typically on the backside or underside of the unit. Primarily because of where they’re located, these coils accumulate dust and dirt reasonably quickly. If the dust and debris aren’t cleaned off at least every six months, it can lead to some costly problems. When the refrigerator’s coils are coated in dust, they can’t release heat efficiently, resulting in the refrigerator overheating. Overheating can cause several issues that lead to total failure, which can be costly to fix. Many homeowners use their vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust that settles on these coils.
Another common problem with refrigerators is the door gasket tearing and losing the ability to form a proper seal. These gaskets can tear as a result of poor cleaning. As food waste accumulates on the door from accidental spills or other causes, they become sticky. As homeowners close and open the door, this stickiness pulls at the door gasket until it eventually tears. Once the refrigerator’s gasket tears and cannot seal, the refrigerator can no longer regulate its temperature, leading to spoiled food and improper function. So, keeping your coils and door gasket clean is a great way to avoid these appliance failures.
Many of the issues you may run into with a stove or range are typically easy to fix. For example, if you find one of your electric stove’s elements is not heating correctly, you likely just need a new heating element, which is relatively affordable. In the case of gas stoves, if a burner won’t ignite, it may need to be cleaned as debris is likely clogging the gas stove’s burner. However, if you can’t hear the burner clicking in an attempt to ignite, a component of the ignition system may be broken. Broken ignitions are usually due to older gas stoves instead of poor maintenance.
In addition to this failure, there are others that are preventable, such as broken knobs or control panels. One of the most frequent causes of this home repair is using too much cleaner. Many homeowners spray cleaner directly on the stove, including the knobs or control panel. However, spraying it directly allows excess cleaning liquid to seep behind these knobs or control panels and shorts them out. As a result, it leaves your stove inoperable. A great way to avoid this costly, inconvenient failure is to use spray cleaner on a clean cloth instead of the stove itself, then wipe it down to get it clean.
Garbage disposals are one of the more durable, longer-lasting household appliances out there. However, even these devices are subject to failure when not used or maintained appropriately. One of the most common issues with these kitchen appliances is homeowners thinking you can toss just about anything down it. Any non-food item should not be placed in a garbage disposal. These items are often too hard for the unit and will damage the blades or overheat the system. Some overly hard food items should also be avoided, such as corn cobs, fruit pits, and bones. These items will have the same effect. If your disposal’s blades are damaged, they can’t operate properly. Not to mention, overheating, like many other appliances, will cause many issues leading to total failure.
In addition, you should clean the disposal’s splash guard roughly once a week to remove any food waste buildup. Most often, this buildup will only make your garbage disposal smell terrible. However, neglecting to keep these kitchen appliances clean can lead to a buildup thick enough to clog the disposal. So, once a week, you should cut the power to the unit and clean the splash guard by lifting the flaps and scrubbing underneath them with a soft-bristle brush and dish soap.
Dishwashers can fail for a number of reasons. One of the most common issues with dishwashers is overflow. Most often, overflowing dishwashers are caused by clogged filters. Your dishwasher’s filter is located on the floor of the inside of your unit. This filter prevents food waste from clogging the hoses or plumbing pipes. However, if they’re not cleaned regularly, the food waste will deteriorate into a slimy consistency and ultimately stop the filter. As a result, water won’t be able to pass through it appropriately and may overflow from the dishwasher into your kitchen. So, clean out your filter at least once a week to prevent this problem.
Dry rot is another common failure among dishwashers. If you don’t use your dishwasher consistently, the seals, gaskets, and hoses may start to dry rot, causing the device to leak when you use it next. The best way to avoid this failure is to use your dishwasher regularly to prevent these components from drying out.
Another home appliance failure that can be just as unsafe as it is expensive is an HVAC system failure. Your HVAC unit is responsible for regulating the temperature in your home. If these devices fail, you could be left in dangerous conditions, such as freezing winter temperatures or blistering summer heat. Therefore, it’s critical to maintain this appliance and watch out for potential failures.
One of the most common reasons for an HVAC failure is neglecting to change your home’s air filters. These filters remove dust, dirt, and other allergens from the air your heating and cooling system circulates throughout your house to reduce indoor air pollution. As these toxins are filtered out, the air filters will become clogged. Leaving a clogged air filter in place will only make your unit work harder, increasing utility bills and overheating this major system. Not to mention, the additional indoor air pollution can increase allergies in your whole family. This overheating will cause the system to wear out faster and fail. You should be changing your air filters roughly every three months. However, homeowners with pets should change their air filters every two months to account for the added pet dander and hair.
Aside from clogged air filters, HVAC units can fail due to poor outside maintenance. These units are outside, meaning they’re constantly exposed to the elements. As a result, the system’s various components are more likely to break. Therefore, you should schedule a maintenance check and tune-up from a licensed HVAC technician at least once a year. These yearly maintenance checks will ensure this major system is in good operating condition and make failures less likely to happen.
Your water heater is responsible for supplying your entire home with hot water on demand. So, water heater failures can be highly inconvenient. Most often, water heaters fail due to rust. As the rust accumulates, it will eat through these essential appliances and cause a leak, meaning you may have more than regular home repairs to worry about. Water heaters have sacrificial anodes that prevent them from corroding. However, they’re consumed instead of the other metals, so they’ll need to be checked from time to time to prevent your unit from rusting.
Another common cause of failure is sediment buildup. As the unit heats water, the minerals and sediment settle onto the bottom of the tank. As this sediment builds up, it encases the heating element at the bottom of the tank, forcing the element to work harder to heat the water. As a result, the heating element may break, or the additional workload can overheat the system and cause it to fail. To avoid these problems, you should flush your water heater at least once a year. You may need to flush it more often if you have exceptionally hard water.
Many home appliance failures are covered under a home warranty plan. For example, suppose you choose a reputable home warranty company like our team at America’s First Choice Home Warranty. In that case, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that a wide range of appliance failures and home repairs are covered under your home warranty policy.
Depending on the home warranty plan you choose, large appliances like those we’ve mentioned will be protected from various malfunctions, saving you from expensive repairs. In addition to proper maintenance and watching out for failures mentioned above, a quality home warranty makes for the perfect backup protection.