With so many appliances likely to be installed and in more or less constant use in the majority of homes, it is clearly important to protect the ones on which normal domestic life depends.
One of the popular defences against breakdowns, for instance, is appliance insurance – supplied by the likes of KAPUT and others.
But there is still a lot you might do to head off those break downs in the first place.
Let’s take the humble fridge as an example. Most homes will have one and some householders may have had the foresight of arranging fridge insurance, but there are still many ways you might help to look after it so that it gives you trouble-free service:
- the thermostat keeps your fridge working at the correct temperature – too cold and things will start to freeze, too warm and food starts to go off;
- make sure to keep it at the right setting, if necessary, taking the temperature yourself with a thermometer in a glass of water and check that the reading is between 1ºC and 5ºC;
- you have probably noticed the cooling coils at the back of your fridge – they attract the dust, it builds up over time, reducing their effectiveness, and this makes the fridge have to work harder than ever;
- you might want to get into the habit of using your vacuum cleaner on a regular basis to get rid of any such build-up of dust;
- overloading glass shelves might cause them to break;
- wire shelving might help the air to circulate more freely, says consumer group Which?, but these do little to stem spillages from finding their way into more inaccessible places;
- since spillages are the source of the kind of bad smells and odours your fridge might produce, be sure to mop them up and thoroughly clean after any such event;
- if the freezer compartment becomes encrusted with ice, this means your fridge is working less efficiently, consumes more electricity than is necessary and may shorten its effective working life;
- once ice has built up more than, say, half an inch thick, be sure to defrost the compartment;
- the seals around the door attract dirt and mould – dirt and mould distorts the profile of the seal, making the fridge work less efficiently by letting the cold air to escape;
- regular cleaning helps to keep the all-important seals working properly;
- self-defrosting fridges have a drainage hole at the back of the unit and the water is usually collected in a tray where the heat of the motor helps the moisture to evaporate;
- if the drainage hole becomes blocked by spilt food let’s say, the smell may become terrible and even represent a health hazard;
- with nowhere else to go, the water might drain straight down on to your floor, damaging any floor surface or covering;
- the message is clear – help to keep the drainage channel clean and free from any blockages caused by spilt food.
Simple cleaning and maintenance routines, therefore, may help to keep your fridge odour-free, doing its job more efficiently and for a longer working life.