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It's not all about buying: how to extend the life of your appliances

Taking care of your appliances is essential for two reasons: to get better performance from them and by doing so to achieve efficient use of electricity and other resources.

It is not only about taking care of them so as to maintain their efficiency, it is also about extending their lifetime, which is a vital point when you make a significant investment in improved appliances, with more features, and in many cases you opt for models with a better energy rating.

Know what you are buying and how it works

The first big mistake is not knowing what you are buying and how it works. Taking the time to read the instructions and find out the technical specifications is essential for their correct use.

In this way you will know in detail how the appliance operates, its limitations and the requirements for using it, and minimise possible breakdowns due to misuse. You will especially be able to see how to maintain your appliance properly, both by regular cleaning and other aspects of its day-to-day use.

Next, we will give you a series of tips, depending on the appliance, that will extend its useful life and let you enjoy its operation longer and with greater quality.

Washing machine

One of the most important appliances in the home. It is not used all day, but when it starts working it does so intensely, using large amounts of water, heating itself many times to high temperatures and spinning the drum at high speeds.

"It is important to take care of your washing machine from before your start the washing cycle until after it has ended".

Therefore, it is important to take care of your washing machine from before you start the washing cycle until after it has ended:

  • Check the clothes before putting them in the washing machine to make sure there is nothing in the pockets (especially coins and other metal objects) that could damage the washing machine and clog the drain.
  • Do not put any objects on top of the washing machine.
  • Use the right detergent and fabric softener .
  • Do not overload the drum. Although many washing machines take large loads, including more than 9-10 kilos, overloading it affects its operation. So, put in a load that allows you to save on electricity, but without overdoing it.
  • Do not leave the clothes in the drum for a long time after washing them. When they are wet, they weigh more and can damage the machine.
  • Do not overuse high temperature programmes . Use the correct temperature for the condition of the clothes.
  • If you live in an area with very hard water, it is essential to use a quality water softening system.
  • Check the filters regularly and clean the drum with suitable products recommended by the manufacturer.

Dishwasher

Dishwashers are very similar to washing machines in that they use water and heat to high temperatures, but there are differences that are reflected in the advice we give you:

  • Place crockery and cutlery in the machine correctly. Do not try to force in one or two extra items. Most likely, the result of the washing cycle will be much worse and both the dishwasher and the dishes themselves may suffer some damage.
  • Remove the biggest leftover food scraps beforehand from dishes and utensils, by rinsing them and, if necessary, scraping off those that have become encrusted. These can eventually build up and create a blockage.
  • Regularly clean both the seals and the filter of the dishwasher, removing any residue that has accumulated.
  • Use a quality detergent approved by the manufacturer of the appliance.
  • As far as possible, use low temperature programmes.
  • Lastly, do not forget to regularly clean the interior with products specially designed for its maintenance.

Refrigerator

Unlike the washing machine and the dishwasher, we are dealing with a less energy-intensive but constantly operating appliance, which makes it the one that consumes the most electricity. The number of hours it is in operation makes taking care of it even more important:

  • Keep it away from heat sources, such as radiators, other appliances (especially the oven, but it is not a good idea either to put it close to other appliances, such as dishwashers) and windows, if they directly affect the appliance.
  • Although the motors are increasingly efficient, always leave a small space between the wall and the refrigerator.
  • Take care of the seals on the refrigerator. These are the ones where the doors meet the appliance itself, and therefore they are very important for maintaining the temperature and conserving energy. Cleaning them with water and a neutral soap improves the life of the appliance and, should they have any wear and tear due to use, making a small investment will help to extend the life of your refrigerator.
  • Do a general cleaning at least once a year. Unplug the refrigerator and defrost it if your refrigerator is a combi type and do a general clean using only water and a neutral product. Take advantage of the fact that you have moved the appliance to do a complete clean of the outside, including the back.

Ceramic hob and extractor

Although they may seem like simpler appliances, their maintenance is also important.

In the case of ceramic hobs:

  • Use a protective cover to prevent accidental chipping, which is very common on such an exposed appliance.
  • Clean it thoroughly. To do this, in addition to using a suitable cleaning agent, it is essential to use a scraper and never use abrasive products or scourers.
  • For spills or even worse accidents, such as a plastic utensil melting from being left next to an active heat source, act quickly. Try to remove it and clean it as soon as possible. It's much easier, and avoids more serious problems.

Extractor hood

Particles and grease accumulate in hood and extractor filters, making their maintenance focus above all on cleaning:

  • Always with the extractor switched off, clean the interior with hot water and a neutral detergent. Most allow their filters to be removed, making cleaning easier.
  • After this first cleaning, use a brush to remove any traces of dirt and grease that remain there.
  • As for the filters, removing them allows you to clean them thoroughly. Once they are clean, rinse them well and check that there is no residue. Leave them to dry so that no moisture remains that could affect their operation.
"Particles and grease accumulate in hood and extractor filters, making their maintenance focus above all on cleaning".

Small appliances

Microwave oven

A household essential with intensive use:

  • Do not obstruct the vents; it is essential to leave enough space from the wall.
  • Do not put anything on top either - in addition to having ventilation at the top, you could damage the metal case.
  • Do not turn on the microwave empty.
  • Use microwave-safe utensils and crockery.
  • Always keep it clean. It is very common for bits of food or drink to be deposited. To clean them off, use a soft cloth (never a scouring pad) and neutral cleaning products.
  •  Extra trick: Use a plastic lid or similar to cover dishes that could splatter and make the microwave even dirtier.

 

Food mixer

  • Read its specifications carefully. One of the most common mistakes is using a mixer without knowing that it is not intended for some purposes. For example, not all mixers are suitable for use with dry, very hard products like ice; however, we keep on using them like ice picks and this means that they can break and have their effectiveness greatly reduced.
  • Be careful with water, it is the great enemy of the motor. So, to clean this area, use a damp cloth.
  • Do not use it with excessively hot food; wait for it to cool down a bit.
  • Do not use it continuously for a long time; you can overheat the motor.

 

Toaster

  • Like the mixer, its great enemy is water, so keep it as far away as possible.
  • Cleanliness is essential. Always unplug it to remove the breadcrumbs that are deposited every time you use it.
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