Your refrigerator doesn't have to die young. Neither does your dishwasher.
"A lot of people don't realize that they're engineered to last about 15 years," said Felix Menendez of Famous Tate Appliances.
So why do they so often fail so early in their life? Menendez says improper care is the death nail.
However, he said a little tender loving care can go a long way toward ensuring your appliances survive the test of time.
"It's an investment you're making in your house," he said, noting that the replacement cost for an appliance averages around $500.
Menendez said we'd find most of his most of his techniques for extending the life his household appliances in the owner's manual -- if only we'd read it.
"We just don't," he said. "We'd love to sell you something [new]… but the bottom line is you should be able to take care of this thing for 10 or 12 years."
Here are some simple suggestions for getting extra years out of your appliances:
-Keep the doors closed. The longer they're open, the harder it works and the shorter its life will be.
-Clean the door gaskets. A good seal is imperative to ensuring the compressor wear out.
-Vacuum the coils. If you can reach them, remove the dust that degrades efficiency.
-Stock the freezer relatively full, even if it's just water. Empty space kicks it on and off too often.
-Lighter loads. Overstuffing the washer puts unnecessary wear and tear on the belts and motor.
-Easy on the soap. Today's detergent is concentrated. Too much of it is appliance cholesterol.
-Wash the washer. A special cleanser will clear out the system, from tub to drain.
-Clean the lint filter. Wipe it clean before (or after) each load.
-Clean the rear vent. Lint build-up on the backside restricts airflow, which causes overheating.
-Replace rear vent tube after 5 years. Many house fires are caused by excess lint in this dryer/wall connector.
-Run water while it's on. Water decrease friction and keeps the fast moving parts cool.
-Toss some citrus down the drain. Citric acid helps to stop grimy build-up.
-Empty filter. Newer dishwashers have a filter that must be removed and cleaned regularly
-Add a spoonful of citrus juice to each load. Citric acid breaks down calcium deposits in hard water, which is common in Florida.
-Replace the filter monthly.
-Run a program on the thermostat to decrease the unit's "on" time.
-Clear weeds and grass from around the outside unit. Good airflow is required for maximum efficiency and system longevity.
-Use a timer. If no one's using hot water all day, why make it run all day?
-Consider a water softener. These appliances might help save your others, as Consumer Reports says hard water can corrode the insides of any appliance that uses water.