Tips to keep your appliances lasting longer

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You spend thousands on home appliances, so here's how to keep them running as long as possible (KTRK)

A nice refrigerator, dishwasher, and range that perform well in Consumer Reports' tests cost around $2,000. And if you want stainless steel, it could be $7,000.

The appliances in your home are a big investment. You can avoid repairs, keep them running efficiently, and get them to last as long as possible using these tips from Consumer Reports.

The refrigerator is the one of the most important kitchen appliance. It will stay colder, run better, and last longer if the cold air can circulate easily, so don't over-stuff it with food.

There is a simple check to make sure your fridge isn't wasting energy. Do the doors seal properly and keep the chill in? Close the door on a slip of paper and tug on it. If it slides out, it's time to replace the gasket, so your fridge doesn't work as hard.

Compressor coils clogged with dust can't release heat efficiently and make the fridge work harder, wearing it down. Cleaning the coil with a brush and vacuum once a year will add years to the life of your refrigerator.

Your dishwasher will last longer if you clean the gasket routinely with soap and water, and take the time to remove food debris regularly from the filter.

"Much of the energy used by your dishwasher goes toward heating the water. So before you do a load, run the water at the sink until it gets hot. That saves the dishwasher work, and it'll last longer," said Consumer Reports' Celia Lehrman.

Keep your range working its best by keeping the burner ports clear, using a pipe cleaner or paper clip.

"Don't overwork your dryer. Clean the lint filter before every use. Use the Auto Dry setting - that's going to save energy and wear and tear on your clothes. And clear the vent annually to help the dryer run efficiently, and help prevent a fire hazard," Lehrman said.

Over-stuffing your washing machine strains the motor, transmission, and other parts. Consumer Reports says you can fill it, but only loosely. After doing so, your laundry will come out cleaner and your machine will last longer.

For even more savings, take good care of your vacuum cleaner by changing the bag frequently and keeping the filters clean. Check the brush rolls before you start to vacuum to remove pet hair or long fibers. If you have a retractable cord, don't let it reel in too fast, as that will keep the plug from breaking off.


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