domestic appliance scuseme cambridge

How to extend the life of your domestic appliances

Looking after your domestic appliances in Cambridge

Large household appliances such as fridges, washing machines, cookers and dryers, can be expensive to buy, but sometimes just as much to repair.  But with a bit of care and attention, and regular maintenance, you can prolong their lives and keep them working in top form.

We receive numerous enquiries asking for appliance repairs, so our local experts suggested that we share some simple tips to help you keep your machines in tip top order, saving you time, money and headaches.

Fridge, average appliance life: 13 years

Your fridge will operate best when it’s spick-and-span.  You will save space and energy if you clean out your fridge once a week and sanitise it every other week.

Clean the condenser coils every six to twelve months. This will improve energy efficiency by as much as 30%. This video shows you where to find the condenser coils and how to clean it.

Position your refrigerator as far away as possible from heat sources.

Make sure door seals are airtight.

Set the interior temperature to around 3 to 5 °C (37 to 41 °F).

You should replace the filter in your water dispenser (if you have one) every six months.

Freezer, average appliance life: 11 years

Many freezers today are frost-free. However, if you have a manual defrost freezer, plan to defrost it at least once every year, or before frost gets to about a half-inch thick. Use a plastic or wooden scrape — no knives or other sharp instruments — to remove the frost layer.

To clean the freezer, unplug it, remove all food, wipe it down with a baking-soda solution, use water to rinse it, and then dry the freezer with a towel before plugging it back in.

Dishwasher, average appliance life: 9 years

Typically, dishwasher racks are very pricey to replace because they are coated with expensive vinyl material that can be easily damaged, so place dishes in the dishwasher racks carefully. And keep them clean as well – built-up dirt on the racks will affect the final wash.

Only use recommended dish detergent, and don’t ignore the reminders for adding rinse aid and salts.

Food debris can clog dishwasher pumps and stop the spray arms, so scrape off food and rinse plates before putting them in the dishwasher.

Make sure you use the right setting for the job to save energy and water.

Use the eco feature whenever possible; this takes longer because it uses less energy and water

Clean filters – follow manufacturer guidelines to clean and/or replace them as directed.

Washing machine, average appliance life: 10 years

Your clothes need enough space to move around during a wash cycle. If you pack the machine too full you’ll put additional strain on the washer’s motor, transmission and belt and other parts, besides not getting your clothes clean if water and detergent can’t swish between them.  You ultimately shorten the life of the machine.

If you have to force the clothing in to close the lid, it’s too full.   If your machine is banging around under the weight of all of your laundry, you’ve gone overboard. Separate into two piles.

Do an inventory on water intake and drain lines and check hoses and screens for build-up of limescale and grime.

Use the cold water setting as often as possible.

Tumble dryer, average appliance life: 13 years

Don’t overload your dryer because this can overheat and damage it. Avoid drying duvets and other similarly bulky items as they will probably come out damp due to lack of space.  It’s definitely worth air-drying these items.

Find the location of the dryer’s external vent cap and remove the dust and lint build-up. Too much debris in the cap can reduce the airflow – which makes your dryer work harder than it needs to – and it’s also a potential fire hazard.

Always remove any build-up from the lint filter after every cycle. This will improve its efficiency and help to keep your energy bills down. To clean the lint filter simply pull off the lint with your fingers and put it in the bin.  It takes seconds, see how here; just make sure it’s completely cooled down first and always check for any signs of damage. Filters are cheap and easy to replace and are essential to keep the dryer working well.

If your tumble dryer uses a sensor, you will also need to clean the drum with either a stainless-steel cleaner or white vinegar once every few months.

Always check the care labels before putting anything in your dryer. Some synthetic items can even melt at high temperatures, potentially causing problems if they drip into the workings of the machine.  If the label says: “do not tumble dry”, believe it.

Every three months wipe with detergent to remove the chemical residues that can cling to the lint filter and restrict airflow.

Once a month, look at the dryer exhaust duct for crimps and obstructions, and clean it annually.  Consider replacing vinyl dryer exhaust ducts with metal ductwork to reduce fire hazards.

Microwave, average appliance life: 8 years

Sanitize your microwave after every use because food spills and particles can stick to the interior, which may cause it to work less efficiently, as well as being unhygienic.

Using a damp cloth, wipe down the interior and exterior of the machine. If you have an over-the-range microwave, pay close attention to the underside as it’s likely caked with grease.

Vacuum cleaner, average appliance life: varies between 5-25 years

Depending on the model and make of your vacuum cleaner, changing the vacuum bags or cleaning the filter can extend its life.  This is because when airflow is restricted by a full bag or clogged filter, performance suffers, and less dirt is captured.

Give your vacuum cleaner the attention it deserves and empty the filter after every use.

Garbage disposal unit: average appliance life: 12 years

Do not put non-food items, grease or fat, fibrous foods or hard food remnants like bones or fruit pits into the disposal unit.

Clean the disposal unit with ice cubes and a bit of dishwashing fluid.

Ranges and ovens, average appliance life: 12 years

Clean inside your oven often and never let food debris stick around on burners, even if it requires a bit of elbow grease to remove.

Don’t spray cleaning fluid directly on control panels though, which could cause them to short circuit. Instead, apply a little onto a rag to clean that surface.

Do not use foil to line the bottom of your oven because spills and drips get under the foil and it becomes glued to the floor of the oven. It then becomes very hard to remove because you can’t get any water through it to soften the gunk gluing it to the oven.

Wash down the range top often with non-abrasive cleaners to remove spilled foods.

An aga needs care and attention and annual servicing with an aga engineer.  Check out these six essential tips for running an efficient aga.


Properly maintaining these household appliances will help them last as long as they’re supposed to. But even if you take good care of your machines, breakdowns still happen.

Contact a scuseme tradesperson to get help with your domestic appliance breakdowns in Cambridge.



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