Keeping your washer and dryer healthy

You probably don’t think your everyday actions are harming your major appliances, but chances are, you’re doing something to at least one of them that could lead to an emergency repair call. Over time, abusing or neglecting appliances such as washers and dryers will bring about an earlier–than–expected end to their useful life.

“The more water you have in there, the more freely your clothes are going to move around and wash,” said Rick Cantleberry, who works for an appliance repair company.

Cantleberry says overloading the washing machine is the most common mistake he sees customers make.

“The rule of thumb is to kind of come up to the top hole of your inner tub,” Cantleberry added, “This is your inner tub. Your outer tub on the outside of that is what holds the water, so you bring your clothes up to about right there which is really only about two–thirds of the way up on your agitator.”

An off–balance load can also cause damage to your washer.

“Wash heavy things with other heavy things, light things with other light things, weight wise. You want to wash jeans with towels and t-shirts with underwear and socks, things like that,” Cantleberry said.

To help reduce buildup in the tub of your top loader, clean it regularly. If you have a front loader, wipe the door down to prevent a mildew odor.

“When you’re done with the washer for the day, wipe it out real good, the boot inside there, and keep it dry and keep the door cracked open a little if you can. That lets the air get in there. It doesn’t suffocate the inside and cause mold growth,” Cantleberry added.

When it’s time to dry your clothes, clean the lint screen after every load. If you use dryer sheets, you also need to rinse the screen.

“If the water you run through here, it pools up on here, it doesn’t come through, you know you have a problem. You can usually use a wire brush of some sort to clean that,” said Cantleberry.

Angie’s List says if you skip maintenance, you may find yourself in the market for a new washer and dryer.

“When it comes to replacing your washing machine, typically a top loading washing machine starts at about $350, while a front loader starts at about $700,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “Some members have actually told us they’ve also considered buying refurbished appliances, but if you are doing that, make sure you understand if they come with a warranty or whether they come as–is.”

Over time the rubber hoses connected to your washing machine can rot and burst, which will leave you with a big mess. Replace them with stainless steel braided hoses.