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How to Make the Most of Your Kitchen Appliances

No supermom is an island. You rely not only on people in your life – your partner, your friends and family, your babysitter – but on the gadgets around you. Maybe you have a robot vacuum that assists with floor care; maybe you have a smart home speaker to help you find things online and control other smart devices in your space. However, the most important tools to any supermom are kitchen appliances – so you need to be sure yours are working their hardest to help you each and every day.

If your appliances don’t seem to be performing as you expect, there are a few things you can do to try to improve them. If that doesn’t work, we also have a few ways to get yourself some brand-new appliances – for cheap.

Test the Seals

Your fridge, your oven and any other appliance that maintains a different internal temperature than the rest of your home has seals around its doors, and those seals can go bad. When that happens, your appliances are less efficiently because heat or cold air is seeping out into your kitchen. You can test your seals by taking a sheet of printer paper and closing the appliance door, so half of the paper is inside the appliance and half is outside, where you can hold it. Then, try to slide the paper up and down. If the paper moves easily, it is time to replace the seals – and you should be able to buy brand-new ones for cheap online or at your local hardware store.

Dust the Coils

Your kitchen appliances aren’t magic; they rely on complex machinery to heat, cool, clean and whatever else. Thus, when that machinery gets dirty, your appliances aren’t as good at doing their jobs. One of the easiest appliance maintenance tasks – and one that makes a world of difference in terms of efficiency – is dusting off your fridge’s condenser coils. Found at the base or behind the unit behind a kickplate, you’ll find coils that are likely covered in crud. Using a dusting tool and your vacuum’s hose attachment, you should suck all that stuff up at least once a year, or more often if you have pets.

Clean the Vents

The hood above your range sucks up steam and smoke from your kitchen – but it also sucks up dust, dander, aerosolized cooking oils and more. The same is true of the vents in your bathrooms and those for your HVAC system. You should spend some time every quarter cleaning the vents of that gunk, so air can move more freely up and out.

Change the Filters

The filters in your vents likely need to be tossed and replaced every few months. This is especially important for your HVAC vents, which run almost year-round and suck up all sorts of gross debris that you don’t want to be breathing in. If you don’t like the waste of throwing old filters in the trash, you can pay a bit more for reusable filters, which need to be hosed off and dried before they can be reinstalled.

Inspect the Hoses

The hoses connected to your fridge, dishwasher and washer-dryer set aren’t indestructible; inf act, they are perhaps the weakest link in the whole machine. At least twice per year, you should check the hoses for leaks, cracks or weak spots that might burst in the coming months. Any signs of deformity should tell you that it’s time to replace the hose – before you endure a flood.

Fix the Rust Spots

Rust can manifest anywhere that metal is exposed directly to air and moisture. Most often, rust blossoms in your dishwasher and water heater, but you can also find it around your stove and oven, in your refrigerator and around your HVAC system. You should search out signs of rust and repair those sections with sealant or new materials.

Invest in a Home Warranty

Home warranties aren’t superfluous when you have homeowner’s insurance; in fact, they provide critical, complementary coverage to protect parts of your home that insurance ignores, like your appliances. When you have home appliance insurance through a home warranty, you can call your warranty provider whenever covered appliances stop working – for any reason. Then, your provider will pay for a repair service or, even better, assist you in buying a brand-new appliance. Having this protection is especially important when your appliances are old because they are more likely to break down and cost you cash; in this instance, the low monthly payment of a home warranty is well worthwhile.

Shop the Right Sales

November and December are easily the best time to shop for large kitchen appliances. While other sales throughout the year can offer discounts, end-of-year closeout sales are the best because retailers are desperate to rid their floors of last-years makes and models. Thus, you can usually find great deals on basically top-of-the-line units, saving hundreds of dollars in the process.

You rely heavily on your kitchen appliances – but they rely on you, too. As long as you treat them well, giving them proper maintenance, they will give you their best performance for years to come.