The Appliance Abyss

Most of us use major household appliances on a daily basis. You know the ones I'm talking about - the stove, oven, refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal...the list goes on. If you stop and think about it, we use major appliances so often that we hardly - if ever - consider what to do if one of them breaks down. And chances are a break down will transpire at entirely the wrong moment, usually just as you're about to use that said appliance!

There has to be a solution, right? I mean, we live in the age of technology. We're toting around equipment that ten years ago was the stuff of science fiction television. So just what can we do to ensure our appliances don't plunge into the abyss of the Twilight Zone, ripping our daily routine right along with them?

Precaution 1: Save the Manual

When I was in college, I took a cultural diversity class that delved into the depths of stereotypes. One of the class favorites was the so-called "typical man" who refused to follow directions to assemble new future and/or install appliances. To be honest, I never put much stock in it until I saw all of my friends' husbands trashing instruction pamphlets, junking appliance manuals, and ending up in a right bind later on.

Then, I met my husband. This man doesn't throw anything away. The drawer stuffed with manuals from our major appliances drove me crazy, until the day the washing machine - full of I-need-it-now baby bedding - just stopped working. In that moment, I had never been so happy to have a product manual in all my life! We had the washer up and running in 15 minutes flat, all thanks to that one booklet.

Most appliance manuals contain untold treasures from troubleshooting steps to warranty and support information. Not to mention, they're invaluable when you need to replace parts because all of the pertinent info, like model numbers, are right there in one localized space.

Think twice before meeting the stereotype of the homeowner who hates manuals. Those little booklets can pull a major appliance back from the abyss!

Precaution 2: Maintenance Matters

You wouldn't haphazardly skip the regular oil change for your car, would you? I doubt it. That vehicle has to get you from point A to point B, not to mention to work. You'll take care in ensuring it receives proper maintenance because you need it to keep running. The same applies to household appliances.

Believe it or not, just about every major appliance needs some form of maintenance. For example, your refrigeration unit probably has filters that require regular changing. Cleaning lint out of the dryer is maintenance. Your stove and oven always benefit from a good scrub.

Yes, cleaning is maintenance. In fact, it's a lot like that oil change. It's simple, but it can dramatically improve performance and longevity. Your appliances' manuals will likely include general maintenance suggestions. Be sure to review this information and implement a regular maintenance routine.

Precaution 3: Watch for Warning Signs

If the check engine light lit up on your car's dashboard as you drove into work, chances are a stop at the mechanic would be forthcoming. Dare I say it would be on your "high priority" list? In any case, that light is a warning. Appliances have warning signs, too.

The warning signs on your major household appliances can vary. You'll want to refer to that handy product manual to determine if a particular light or display will alert you to a probable issue. But you can be alert to warning signs just by using your senses. Odd odors and sounds can indicate a problem. If efficiency drops and you find yourself doing more just to tackle household chores with an appliance, chances are something is amiss.

Regular Maintenance and Repair

Appliance maintenance and repair is a vital topic for every homeowner. If you haven't put much time into pinpointing ways to maintain your major appliances, start today. You'll be thankful when preventative measures stop that must have appliance from suddenly falling into the abyss of non-operation.

As a final precaution, be proactive and have a professional on standby in the event of a major appliance break down. It's always a good idea to have the contact information for a reputable repair company handy. It's an even better idea to track down a company or contractor who comes highly recommended. By wading through reviews, references, and general information now, you can be confident in who you call in your hour of need.

Don't Forget...

...we offer a fantastic service called Ask the Pros. If your appliance is acting up, you can post your questions in our discussion forum for rapid responses from local professionals, all willing and available to share their knowledge.




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