Tech Tips

Keep Your Kitchen Up and Running (And Your Family Happily Fed)

When technology fails us, life stops. When the troubled technology is in the kitchen––well, we don’t even want to contemplate that.

Make sure you’re covered against a malfunction or shutdown of your kitchen essentials by getting an extended warranty from your retailer, and by following these tips to extend your appliances’ valuable lives and keep them performing efficiently.

Washing machines need a little love, too.

1. See those rubber hoses that came with your machine? They can break and leak. Replace them with steel braided ones. They last longer and give you something valuable these days: peace of mind.

2. Once a year, take a peek. Look at the hose and hose connections behind your washer to ensure they are tightly fastened, in good condition, and not leaking.

3. Every six months, clean the machine’s soap dispenser with warm (soapy, of course) water, then run the washer for one cycle on the “clean washer” setting. If your washing machine doesn’t have that cycle, just run an empty bleach load with hot water. It’s good for it.

Dishwashers? Keep them clean so they can clean.
Mold and fungus love warm, wet places. This explains why dishwashers, like clothes washers, need to be cleaned every few months. Doing so keeps them running smoothly and efficiently, while helping to avoid breakdowns. Here’s what to do:

1. Remove and clean the spray arms. Ensure there is no food or detergent build-up clogging the holes.

2. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on removing the filter basket––the process varies by model––then take it out and give it a good washing.

3. Clean the inside of the dishwasher with one cup of distilled white vinegar. Pour the vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle (empty, of course) on the hottest temperature setting.

4. Check all of the rubber gaskets and water hoses. Make sure the water hoses are tightly secured and there are no holes or signs of deterioration. This is one sure way to avoid leaks. And leaks are, well, bad.

The oven cleans itself.
(Just remember to tell it to do so.)
As with all of your other kitchen technology, an oven needs to be kept clean in order to keep it working efficiently. Make sure you take care of those crumbs and bits of burned food that gather in the bottom––they’re fire hazards and add to the wear and tear of the oven––and follow these other helpful tips:

1. Run the self-clean cycle at least once or twice a year, depending on how often you bake. Plan one of those cleanings around a time when you’re using the oven often––such as the holidays.

2. Replace the oven light and check the gaskets around the door regularly to ensure the oven is sealing in all the heat. This ensures even cook times, controls heat distribution, and can help you save energy.

Three tips to keep your fridge running.
And no, you won’t have to catch it.

1. Twice a year, check the door gasket by closing a dollar bill in the door; if the dollar bill falls out, it’s time to replace the gasket. If the gasket is still keeping all of the cool air where it belongs (inside the fridge), then simply clean the gasket to remove any food residue and to keep the seal nice and snug.

2. Take a look behind the fridge. Every six months or so, check the condenser coils (they’re on the back) to keep them free of dust. If they need to be cleaned, unplug the refrigerator and vacuum the coils. It’s one easy way to keep it running efficiently. (Just make sure you plug it back in when you’re done.)

3. A full fridge is an efficient fridge. Keep it well stocked, and you’ll maintain what’s called “thermal mass,” which enables the refrigerator to efficiently maintain its cold temperature. Oh, and the best temp setting? Maintain that between 37 degrees and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make sure you get the most out of all your kitchen gadgets, protect them with an extended warranty from your retailer. Visit to learn more.