How to Avoid Common Appliance Problems

Have your appliances decided to take a summer vacation and stop working?  Here are four quick and easy ways to avoid common problems with your finicky machines:


Check your cords. The most common cause of appliance breakdown is worn-out wiring.  Experts suggest examining exposed household electric cords at least once a year for signs of wear and tear.  An old extension cord will not only cause your appliances to malfunction, it can potentially lead to a serious accident.  Be vigilant and check and replace them regularly.  Don’t forget to unplug them first!

Check your outlets.  Now that you have brand new cords for all your appliances, check to make sure you haven’t overwhelmed the outlets with too many of them.  A single household outlet is not designed to support a multitude of different appliances at the same time.  Experts suggest limiting each outlet to a maximum of three machines at any given time to avoid overloading your home’s circuits, or damaging your appliances’ motors.

Keep everything clean. Just like everything else in your home, appliances are exposed to dust.  The difference is that while you can see the dust off your coffee table, you can’t easily see the dirt that accumulates behind your refrigerator, or in the vents of your dryer.  Be sure to always keep those hidden parts of your appliances clean.  Check the coils on your refrigerator (usually located in the back or at the bottom, behind a screen) using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of all the dust. Your dryer vents can also be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, and this applies to both the lint screen and the exhaust vent that pumps the hot air outside.  Keep in mind that those outside vents are perfect places for birds’ nests as well as dust and if they are not cleaned regularly, they can cause fires!

Replace filters. Your heating and air conditioning unit, refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher all have filters.  Make sure you check and replace them regularly.  The filter is an important component to the appliance since it traps dust and debris and keeps them from getting to the essential parts (like the motor) of the machine. Read the instruction manuals for all of your appliances to check on their recommended filter maintenance schedule, and don’t hesitate to contact a professional to help you if the job is bigger than you expected.

For more useful tips, and to make sure your appliances are serviced regularly, take advantage of the many home warranty policies we have to offer.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.