The major appliances in our homes can cost hundreds – even thousands – of dollars. When one quits working it can be a huge hit to personal finances.
Home insurance policies generally do not cover repairs or replacements of appliances due to regular wear and tear. Your home insurance will kick in, however, for damage caused by perils such as a windstorm, fire, or lightning. Your policy also may not cover for power surges (often caused by lightning), which is why it’s advisable to have surge protection wired in to your service box. Be sure to clarify what is or isn’t covered with your home insurance provider.
Include in your yearly budget an emergency fund for household upkeep to avoid any unexpected surprises. In the meantime, here are some ways to extend the life of your major appliances to minimize repairs and help you plan for their replacement ahead of time.
Air conditioner systems that are inserted into windows should give you about 10 years worth of use, even when tested by the hot days of summer. To maximize your cooling time, turn off the unit and perform these simple steps:
- Clean filters by rinsing them off about every two weeks if you are using your air conditioner full-time.
- Use a blow dryer to dust the vents about once a week.
Only professionals should service central air conditioners or HVAC systems. They can check for potentially dangerous refrigerant leaks, leaks, loose connections, and if electric control sequences have been programmed correctly.
The lifespan of a dishwasher is about nine years. Around this time you should start to expect it will not perform as well, and that replacement will soon be imminent.
Some ways to get the most out of your dishwasher include:
- Keep the edges and gaskets clean. Pay special attention to the bottom of the door, as this is where leaks tend to start first.
- Ensure the spray arms and pump are clear of debris.
- Run a wash cycle with a cup of white vinegar to de-scale the interior about three to four times a year.
- Clean the strainer with warm water and detergent twice a year.
- Regularly check the back of your dishwasher to ensure hoses are tightly attached and there are no kinks or leaks.
Your fridge most likely consumes the most energy out of all your appliances, which makes sense considering it runs 24/7. Properly maintaining this major appliance will not only extend its life, but it will also help you keep your power bills to a minimum.
A refrigerator can last up to 13 years if well taken care of. Tips include:
- Using a vacuum with a brush attachment to dust the coils at the back regularly. This will help increase its efficiency, as it will help the coils effectively remove heat from the inside. Without heating, the compressor will have to run longer and hotter, which causes far more wear and tear.
- If your fridge serves drinking water, replace its filter every six months. Only use the brands recommended by the manufacturer.
- Clean the rubber gaskets often using warm water and soap, and then thoroughly dry them. This will help them maintain their seal.
- Don’t stuff your fridge or freezer too full. This will stifle the air flow and make it harder for keep food cool.
- Don’t store anything on top of your refrigerator. It requires air flow all the way around on the outside, too.
- Leave the door shut as much as possible. Constantly opening and closing the door causes it to have to work extra hard to keep your food cool.
Stove and Cooktop
A good electric stove should last about 15 years. The gas variety may last up to two years longer. You can extend the use of your stove and cooktop by:
- Cleaning up spills immediately with a recommended product once the top has cooled down.
- If your stove has burner, scrub down the drip bowls regularly.
- De-grease the hood and fan about four times a year.
How long your water heater lasts depends on its type. The most efficient tankless variety can last more than two decades. Electric or gas water heaters tend to give out after 10 years. When a water heater goes it can release all of its water into your basement and cause a major flood. These sorts of instances are usually covered by your home insurance, however to avoid the complicated clean up, replacement of valuables and having to pay a deductible, take these regular maintenance steps:
- Check your pressure valve often to make sure it is working. And overpressurized tank can explode.
- When checking the valve, also flush the tank. This will help get rid of build-up and sediment.
Note: always turn of the power to your water heater before performing any maintenance. It is sensible to have a professional come and check your water heater once yearly, as re-lighting pilot lights can be difficult … and even dangerous.
Washer and Dryer
You can get good use out of most clothes washers for up to 14 years. Dryers tend to give up after 13.
Both types of clothes washers have their difficulties. Front-loaders can develop leaky doors and gaskets, plus water settling inside can cause a damp, musty smell that is hard to get rid of. Top-loaders can rust out due to humidity.
- Replace hoses on your washer when they become old and brittle.
- Rinse out the filter where the plumbing hooks up to your washer.
- Do not overstuff your washing machine. This will cause the motor and drive belts to wear out sooner than they should.
- Always clean the lint trap after each use of your dryer.
- Ensure your dryer is correctly vented to the outside, and brush out its insides with a vent brush about twice a year.
Home Insurance in Calgary: Get the Lane’s Team Working for You
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta insurance broker. Choosing a broker is a wise move for consumers looking to protect their interests when dealing with insurance providers. Brokers work for you, not the insurance companies, so they always look out for your best interests and never recommend products that don’t fit your need just for the sake of making a sale.
In addition to home insurance, Lane’s Insurance offers a complete range of policies and coverage options for just about every imaginable situation. You can count on Lane’s for great rates on auto, travel, life, commercial auto and property insurance, and more.
Lane’s Insurance is pleased to serve homeowners and residents throughout Alberta. Use the following regional links to contact us at: