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HolidayBuyer's Guide

How to make large appliances last longer

Make it a habit to clean the filters

Let air circulate

Wipe it up

Appliances aren’t extra storage areas

Prep before you use

Dust the coils

Clean those gaskets

Replace gaskets, too

Don’t stuff

Two’s a crowd

Close the door

Deep clean your washer and dryer

Large appliances cost a lot of money, so you want to make sure they last as long as possible. If you're replacing your large appliances every few years, though, you may need to revise how you care for your fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher and stove. These tips will help your appliances last longer and work better.

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Washers, dryers and dishwashers have filters that prevent hoses from getting clogged. If they aren't cleaned out, dishwashers can overflow, washers can stop draining properly and dryers may catch fire. Plus, clean filters put less stress on the parts of an appliance, making them last longer. Be sure to locate the filters on your units and clean them out on every load.

Here's a guide to deep-cleaning your dryer.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford/CNET

Refrigerators need plenty of room for air to circulate, in the front and in the back. An overly full fridge can't circulate air to properly cool foods inside of the fridge. Also, scooting your fridge too close to the wall can also inhibit air circulation. If your fridge has a black grid of coils (called condenser coils) on the back, then move your fridge a few inches away from the wall.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

As soon as you spill something on your appliances, clean it up. Leaving sugary substances, on flat ranges can eat through the surface. Food debris can also clog burner ports and destroy burner coils. Spills in the fridge can stain or weaken the plastics used the shelving and drawers.

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Everyone has cereal boxes on top of the fridge, but you shouldn't. Refrigerators need air flow all the way around the unit. This also means that putting fridges in custom cabinets is a no-no, too, unless they are specifically built for in-cabinet installation.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford/CNET

A little clothing prep can go a long way toward the longevity of your washer and dryer. Before you use your washer and dryer, clean out pockets and turn clothing inside out so that buttons and rivets don't clang around. Hard items can damage the inside of washers and dryers, scratching off paint and leaving dings. Loose items can clog up hoses and filters.

Here's a guide to washing your clothes -- without damaging your wardrobe or the washing machine.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford/CNET

Always dust the condenser coils on a refrigerator every six months to 18 months. If they aren't on the back of your fridge, they can be found underneath by taking off the panel below the door. Unplug the appliance and give the coils a good dusting using a crevice attachment and a vacuum.

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The rubber gaskets that seal the doors of your appliances can limit lifespan and efficiency if they aren't cleaned on a regular basis. A little warm, sudsy water and a sponge is all you need to get them squeaky clean.

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Every 12 months or so, check to see if your refrigerator gaskets need replaced. Make sure they are clean and dry, then put a piece of paper between the door and the fridge. If the paper slips out easily, it's time to replace the gaskets because they are not sealing well enough.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford/CNET

Stuffing your washer and dryer can overwork them, making parts wear out more quickly. Plus, your clothing will be cleaner if you give them a little space to oscillate in the washer and dryer's drums. As a rule of thumb, don't fill the drum more than two-thirds full or above the agitator, if your washer has one.

Here's a guide to washing your clothes -- without damaging your wardrobe or the washing machine.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Make sure that your appliances aren't crowded together. All appliances generate heat while they are in use and need room for the heat to dissipate. Too many plugs in one outlet can also lead to blown fuses and fires. To be sure that you are giving each unit enough room, use the one-to-one rule: plug only one large appliance into each outlet.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

When you're using your large appliances, keep the doors closed as much as possible. Opening an oven door can release around 25 degrees' worth of heat, according to the California Energy Commission. So, your oven has to work harder to heat back up again. The fluctuation of heat can also prevent baked goods from rising.

Keep the door closed on the fridge, too. Leaving a fridge door open can overheat the compressor, making cooling less efficient and may burn out the compressor completely.

Caption by / Photo by Brigham Young University

A deep cleaning is necessary to keep your washer and dryer in peak condition. This article gives tips on cleaning dryers and preventing fires and this article will give you detailed tips on cleaning a front-loading washer.

Caption by / Photo by Alina Bradford/CNET
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