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Tips for adding years to your kitchen appliances

Consumer reporter John Matarese has important tips for adding years to appliances' lifespan.

Many of us have heard horror stories of yearlong waits for kitchen appliances this year.

So wouldn’t it be great if you don’t have to buy a new appliance in the first place?

Appliance showrooms are stocked with shiny dishwashers and refrigerators, but getting one these days can be a nightmare.

"Some appliances are out 8, 10, 12 months,” Reece Dorsey, a store manager, said. “Some areas are getting better, some are actually getting worse."

Dorsey says the last thing you need right now is an appliance breakdown so you don't end up frustrated like Carolyn Neremberg, who told us a few weeks ago about her struggle to get her refrigerator fixed.

"It's just been a nightmare after a nightmare," Neremberg said.

It really doesn't matter if you are talking about a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, or wall oven. A little bit of maintenance can mean the difference between an appliance lasting five years or 15 years.

“We see all the broken ones," repair expert Todd Lahey said.

Lahey says so many homeowners never maintain their appliances. So he gave us a rundown of some quick things you should do:

Refrigerator:

  • Vacuum the coils underneath or in the back, once a year, or else.

“It will work harder than it used to, it will shorten the life of the compressor," he said.

Dryer:

  • Clean the lint filter every load, and the vent outdoors at least once a year.

"Most people ignore it until there is a problem, but that can lead to problems with heating elements, thermostats things like that," he said.

Dishwasher:

  • Unscrew and clean the drain filter at the bottom, which many people don't know even exists.

"You have the bottom part, which gets buildup on it,” he said. “The easier thing to do is to get a bowl or cup and fill it with white vinegar. Then run it through a cycle, and it will splash the vinegar out.”

His other tips:

  • Rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Avoid self-cleaning an oven: it gets very, very hot
  • Run a load of washing machine cleaner occasionally

“Our favorite product is Tide washing machine cleaner.”

Finally, keep everything clean. That way your appliances last longer and you don't waste your money.

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