Nov 22 - Help the Environment, Take Care of Your Old Appliances


We live in a world where we're constantly receiving the message that it makes more sense to dispose of rather than restore our old appliance. Our society is so throw-away and fast-paced that we believe it is far too complicated and costly to repair something old.

Manufacturers lead us to believe that at the first sign of a problem we need to dump the old and shell out on a brand new appliance. However, using good preventative-maintenance and repairing your older model appliance is a great way to save money and protect the environment. (Of course, if your appliance is really old, you should factor in if replacing it would significantly reduce energy costs and water.)

To start off, make sure you understand the warranty and calculate how long you have owned your product for. You might be able to get the repair done for free. Also, skip any repair that costs more than half the price of a new product. However, some of the most common appliance problems can be fixed by replacing a part.

Regular cleaning and proper maintenance is key to keeping your appliances in working order. This includes seasonal items such as the AC and gardening tools. Don't just let them sit in the back of the garage for a year gathering dust and cobwebs and expect them to work like new. Be aware of any issues that arise and fix them before they become more serious. With the cost of appliances on the rise, give new life to your older appliances and get them back in working order.

Here are some tips:

  • As far as your oven and range go, clean the burners by hand. Don't line them with aluminum foil as this can lead to discoloration, as well as trap food and dirt underneath. Make sure none of the vents are blocked and clean under the hood and grease filters in order to prevent fires.
  • When maintaining your dishwasher, run it at least once a week in order to prevent seals from drying and cracking, and keep an eye out for rust, discoloration, and trouble closing the door.
  • Dryers are another appliance that tends to give people trouble. Particles of dust and dirt can make their way past the lint filter and accumulate over time in the ventilation system. This leads to restricted airflow, which in turn causes the dryer to work harder and malfunction. It is also a fire hazard. To prevent this, replace your old vinyl tubing with new aluminum tubing, and clean out your lint filter on a regular basis.
  • Keep your garbage disposal in working order by not overloading it and make sure that it is never run without a steady stream of cold water. Do not place fibrous materials such as corn husks down the drain. Signs that a part might need to be fixed are water leaks, rust, and frequently tripping circuitry.
  • As for your refrigerator, nasty smells can lead us to believe that we need to splurge on a new one. Although you should check your model's manual for specifics, simple solutions like baking soda, lemon juice, activated charcoal and coffee grounds can usually take care of the problem.

If you are set on replacing your appliance, make sure that you dispose of the old one in a responsible manner. Older appliances create non-biodegradable waste and release harmful materials into the environment, so don't just dump them in the landfill. Many communities have hazardous waste recycling centers, as well as programs where they will come and haul your heavy appliances off for you. You can also give your old device a second life by donating to charities, selling at flea markets or advertising on Freecycle or Craiglist.

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