You've seen it before. The washing machine stops washing, leaking on the floor. The stove cuts out just before a big meal. The fridge cuts out and spoils the food.

These disasters can be avoided or delayed with just a few easy DIY maintenance steps. And the best part is that you can do them yourself. Here's a few things to look for to take care of your appliances and potentially save money.

1. Check Your Oven's Door Seal

Your oven can lose more than 20% of it's heat if the door isn't sealed properly, creating a longer to cook time. Open the door and check the rubber or fiberglass gasket that goes around the edge of the door. If you feel any deformed, torn, or broken areas, or if you close the door and find any leaks, replace the seal.

2. Check Range Filters

Metal filters can be washed in a dishwasher or by hand. Replace charcoal filters (don't wash them).

3. Clean Stove top Drip Bowls

Clean the drip bowls underneath your burner elements by pre-soaking them for 5 minutes in cleaning solution. Wash by hand and place them back on the stove top. Try to clean them after spills so they don't get burned in next time the burner is used.

4. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerator coils can get clogged with dirt, dust and pet hair. This will restrict airflow and make it harder to keep it cool. Gently clean the coils once or twice a year with a vacuum. They can either be found behind the kick plate or in the rear.

5. Change Refrigerator Water Filter 

Old water filters can expose your to harmful water. Make sure you change them every 3 - 6 months, depending on how much water, and brand, you use.

6. Repair Rusty Dish Rack Tines 

Check your dishwasher racks for rusty tines. If you do find rust, it can easily be repaired with a sealant and replacement tips to cover the tines. This will keep your dishes and silverware from being ruined.

7. Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Check your garbage disposal for any stuck items. Make sure the power is off and do not use your hands! Pour a combination of ice cubes and salt, or vinegar down the drain, then run cold water for 10 seconds and then turn on the disposal with the water still running. Never run the disposal without water. You can remove odors with citrus peels, or with odor removal packets sold in most stores.

8. Clean Dryer Exhaust

Check for lint in the dryer exhaust by loosening the clamp and pulling the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer. Pull out lint with your hands or gently with a hanger. Vacuum before you re-attach the hose.

9. Check Washing Machine Hoses

You can prevent your washing machine from flooding by checking hoses for leaks. Check for cracks, leaks, or weak spots. As a rule of thumb, replace hoses every 5 years.

10. Clean AC Filters

Cleaning your AC filter every 2 - 4 weeks will increase your AC's life, as well as maintain efficiency. Vacuum reusable filters, and replace disposable ones.

If you follow these tips, you'll hopefully be able to avoid costly appliance repairs or replacements.

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