We 20 Common Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Household Appliances

Written By Babatunde Sanni

Our appliances make life easier for us, but sometimes, we fail to acknowledge that they, too, need some care to remain in their best condition. To avoid shortening the lifespan of your most cherished electronics, here are 20 common mistakes to stop making with them.

Overloading the Washing Machine

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When doing your laundry, the last thing you want to do is put too many clothes in your washing machine. This is because, according to Southern Living, overloading a washing machine puts strain on the drum motor that spins your clothes. And this hastens, its wear and tear. Instead, follow the load recommendations in manuals strictly.

Ignoring the Lint Trap in the Dryer

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Failing to clean up the lint trap each time you use your dryer doesn’t just reduce your dryer’s efficiency; there’s also eventually so much lint buildup that the airflow in the dryer is restricted, which causes it to overheat. As this poses a serious fire hazard, it’s also crucial that you regularly remove lint.

Using Too Much Detergent

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Like Swash shares, “detergent build-up can clog hoses, valves and other components, preventing water from draining properly.” Excessive detergent in your washing machine is a potential threat to its internal components, and, by leaving an invisible, dirt-trapping residue on your clothes, it also makes them look faded and unwearable.

Neglecting Refrigerator Coils

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Refrigerator coils play a critical role in keeping your appliance cool. Dust and dirt accumulation on the coils forces the fridge to work harder, increasing energy consumption and wear. To improve efficiency and prevent unnecessary strain on the motor, clean the coils every six months with a vacuum or brush.

Slamming Microwave Doors

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Forcefully closing the microwave door can damage the latching mechanism, affecting the appliance’s ability to operate correctly and leading to expensive repairs. Gently closing the door ensures the latch remains functional and avoids these costly issues. It’s a simple habit that can significantly extend your microwave’s life.

Overfilling the Dishwasher

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When you load the dishwasher beyond its capacity, you hinder proper cleaning and also potentially damage the spray arms and racks. This misuse can lead to inefficient performance and increased wear, eventually resulting in constant breakdowns. It’s always best to stick to the recommended load limit to maintain optimal functionality.

Forgetting to Replace Water Filters

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Ignoring the need to change water filters in refrigerators or other appliances results in reduced water quality and potential damage. Clogged filters force the appliance to work harder, increasing the risk of breakdowns. Choosing to regularly replace filters according to the manufacturer’s schedule instead ensures clean water and smooth operation.

Using Abrasive Cleaners

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Harsh, abrasive cleaners can scratch and damage the surfaces, leading to both aesthetic and functional issues. Opt for gentle, non-abrasive cleaning products to preserve the finish and functionality of your appliances. This simple change can prevent unnecessary wear and help you save money on early replacements.

Blocking Oven Vents

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Obstructing the vents on your oven can cause it to overheat, and this eventually leads to inefficient cooking and potential damage to the internal components. To allow proper airflow, maintain consistent cooking temperatures, and protect the oven from damage and inefficient operation, ensure vents are clear and unobstructed.

Ignoring Strange Noises

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Unusual sounds from your appliances often indicate underlying problems that, if left unaddressed, can lead to major malfunctions and costly repairs. Promptly investigate and resolve these noises to prevent further damage and eventual breakdown. Pay attention to any changes in your appliance’s operation and address them quickly.

Using Incorrect Cooking Utensils

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Metal utensils on non-stick cookware can cause scratches and damage to the coating, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan. Opt for wooden, silicone, or plastic utensils to protect your non-stick surfaces and avoid these issues. By doing this, you easily maintain your cookware’s performance and durability over time.

Overloading the Garbage Disposal

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Alongside clogging up and having the motor damaged, Business Insider reveals that putting too much waste into your garbage disposal at once can lead to overheating too. All these, without an overload protector, require you to take on expensive repairs or replacements. To avoid these issues, feed it waste gradually and ensure items are properly broken down before disposal.

Skipping Regular Maintenance

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Routine maintenance, like cleaning filters and checking seals, is essential for keeping your appliances in good working order. When you neglect these tasks, you expose yourself to risks of reduced efficiency and potential breakdowns. Always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to ensure your appliances run smoothly and avoid costly repairs.

Using the Wrong Settings

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Misusing appliance settings can lead to inefficient operation and increased wear, ultimately causing damage and the need for repairs. For example, using a high heat setting for delicate fabrics in your dryer can cause damage to your clothes. You can protect your appliances and items in them by carefully understanding and correctly using the settings on them.

Failing to Level Appliances

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Appliances like washing machines and refrigerators need to be on level ground to function properly. An unbalanced appliance can cause excessive vibration, noise, and wear, which eventually leads to breakdowns and damage. Checking and adjusting how your appliances stand ensures stable operation and reduces the risk of damage and costly repairs.

Running Appliances Empty

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Operating appliances like dishwashers and washing machines without any load can cause unnecessary wear and tear too. The lack of a proper load can lead to imbalances and mechanical issues. And, hence, to optimize their lifespan and efficiency, you should only run these appliances when you have the load recommended by manufacturers.

Ignoring Power Surges

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Power surges can cause significant damage to electronic components in your appliances, and you may eventually have to deal with malfunctions and costly repairs. Using surge protectors is a small investment that significantly helps you to safeguard your appliances from these unexpected voltage spikes and the repair or replacement costs that come with them.

Leaving Appliances Plugged in

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Appliances left plugged in when not in use can experience unnecessary wear and can also increase your energy consumption. Pulling out your appliances from plugs, instead of leaving them on standby, will save you on utility costs and also reduce your risks of experiencing electrical issues with them.

Using Hard Water Without Treatment

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Hard water contains minerals that can build up in appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, and the Department of Energy says it can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, too. Installing a water softener or using descaling products helps prevent mineral buildup and keeps your appliances running smoothly.

Not Reading the Manual

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Many appliance issues stem from not understanding how to use them correctly. The user manual provides important information on proper operation and maintenance and, thereby,  also prevents misuse. Taking the time to read and follow the instructions can prevent many common problems and extend the life of your appliances.

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