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Angie’s List: Are Your Appliances Ready For The Holidays?

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Will you be hosting a big dinner this year? Well you might be ready, but are your appliances?

In this week’s Angie’s List, Jim Donovan shows you what you should be doing now in order to make sure your appliances are ready to handle the busy holiday rush.

If you want your holiday feasts to go off without a hitch do yourself a favor and check out your appliances ahead of time. First up, your refrigerator.

“Your refrigerator does require some very simple maintenance. It’s basically cleaning. What people realize are the refrigerator coils can collect a lot of dust and dirt, especially if you have pets. Vacuum those weekly or even monthly to make sure your refrigerator runs efficiently,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

Check on your dishwasher too. The filter should be cleaned twice a year to remove particles and debris.

As for your oven, it’s a good idea to check the temperature.

“To do that, go out and buy a simple boxed cake mix and cook it to the specifications. If the cake comes out too dry or undercooked then you likely have a problem with the temperature and you want to have that checked out,” said Hicks.

And while a clean oven is more efficient you should probably avoid running the self clean cycle before the holidays. Experts say the excessive heat can cause your oven’s electronic control panels to short.

“The last thing you want to do is put your oven through a self clean cycle because that is when they will break and then you have to find someone to come out and hopefully have the part you know two days before thanksgiving,” said appliance repair company owner, John Mathew.

More from Angie:

The oven:

· The cleaner your oven is, the more efficiently it will burn gas or electricity. Don’t allow heavy grease buildup on the interior. Bake in batches when you can, rather than heating it up for one-time use several times over the week. When you can, use the microwave rather than the traditional oven.

· Check your oven’s performance by getting a basic cake mix and following the directions exactly. If the cake isn’t perfect in the time frame set out on the box, your oven’s temperature might be off.

· Self cleaning cycles cause the oven to run at extremely high temperatures. If you choose to use the self cleaning feature on your oven, use it about twice a year after the holidays or at least two months before the holidays.

The refrigerator:

· Clean the condenser coils at least once a year, more often if you have pets – to keep your fridge running efficiently. If you have a built-in refrigerator, hire a service company for this task.

· Before you stock your fridge with holiday leftovers, make sure the seal on the door is tight. This is an easy test, close the door on a thin sheet of paper and if the paper slips, your fridge is wasting energy – replace the seal or adjust the door latch.

The dishwasher:

· Clean your dishwasher’s filter at least twice a year to remove particles and debris. The filters location can vary depending on the model so be sure to check your owner’s manual.

· Choose the right detergent for your dishwasher. Using less soap is beneficial over the long term. Often, homeowners use too much soap, or the wrong kind, which can lead to problems including locking up the pump. Powdered soap tends to work better than liquid because liquid can clog up the supply lines.

Washer & dryer:

· Inspect the hoses on your clothes washer. Look for any cracks or leaks.

· Avoid overloading the washing machine. This can damage the tub and cause belts to break.

Clean the lint filter on your dryer before each use and have the dryer vent inspected and cleaned once a year by a professional. In addition to being a fire hazard, a clogged dryer vent requires the dryer to work longer and harder to dry clothes. Energy is also wasted and the heating element and blower in the dryer wear out quicker. A clogged dryer can take two-to-three times longer to dry clothes.

Angie’s List tips for appliance repair:

· Maintenance required for your appliance will depend on the manufacturer. Always check with your model’s manual. Whenever you perform extensive maintenance work on your appliances, take the necessary safety precautions. Shut off electrical and gas lines when working on them. Consult an appliance repair professional for major maintenance/repairs.

· If you find there is a problem, you need to give the appliance repair company plenty of time to order the appropriate parts from the manufacturer. If you find the repair costs more than you’d like to invest, allow yourself enough time to go out and shop for a new appliance before the holidays.

· If an appliance repair will cost more than half the cost of the new appliance and the unit is more than six or seven years old, you’re probably better off replacing it with a newer model.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3