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Your appliances serve an important role in your household. General upkeep and cleaning of household appliances are important in maintaining the life of the appliances. You may be surprised to learn that not using appliances can cause them to break! Here are some of our best care tips for appliances.

Our friends at Nelson's Appliance have provided some routine appliance care tips for us. Take a minute and learn how to keep your appliances running smoother for longer.

Items that are Tenant Responsibility

  • You are responsible for replacing a broken handle on an appliance, drip pans on a stove when dirty, and a water filter in a fridge.
  • You are responsible for garbage disposal repairs caused by foreign items in the garbage disposal or if a plastic dish melts in the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • It is your responsibility to clean out the dryer vent hose that runs from the dryer to the wall and the lint filter after each use. We recommend cleaning out the dryer vent hose when you move in and clean it at least twice a year thereafter.
  • Before calling for service on any appliance be sure the cord is securely plugged in, and the breaker is not tripped. Reset all breakers before calling for service.

Refrigerator and Freezer Care and Use Tips:

Your fridge is arguably your most important household appliance. The fridge does need routine cleaning, including cleaning underneath and behind the fridge to keep the fridge in proper working order. You should vacuum the fridge coils quarterly. Be sure to always shut the door tightly. Remove all items and thaw any thick layers of ice on the inside of your freezer regularly.

Fridge is Leaking:

Be sure to shut the refrigerator door tightly at all times. If the door is left open, the fridge will not cool properly or will leak inside.If you find water inside the fridge but do not see an active leak and it is cooling properly, this is likely what happened. Keep an eye on it and call for service if it happens again.

Finding the Proper Settings:

The refrigerator will operate most efficiently if the temperature is set between 3 and 8. To determine the best setting, test the temperature of the items inside and adjust accordingly. The freezer setting may be too high if freezer items form ice coating shortly after placing them inside.

Ice Buildup on Freezer:

The freezer should be defrosted when the ice that forms on the side is no more than 1/4 inch thick. A heavy build-up of frost can severely limit the effectiveness of your unit and increase the electric cost on the utility bill.To defrost the freezer, we recommend placing all items in a cooler and turning the control knob to off or defrost. Allow the ice to melt by placing a pan of hot water inside the freezer. Never use knives or other objects to remove ice, as this can be dangerous and cause irreparable damage for which you may be held liable.

Oven Care and Use Tips:

Keeping your oven clean is very important to the efficient operation and safety of the appliance. A buildup of grease or food particles left inside the oven or on the stove is a leading cause of kitchen fires, along with leaving cooking food unattended. A moist towel and mild soap can be used to clean food or grease which has not baked onto the surface. You can use baking soda and water to clean any burners or baked on grease. Always place food on a baking sheet or aluminum foil inside the oven. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Also be sure to clean the hood vent and filter.

Dishwasher Care and Use Tips:

The dishwasher should be used weekly. If it’s not run, the seals may dry and the motor may be damaged. Before running the dishwasher, make sure that the bottom of the washer has been cleared of any items which may have fallen there. Use only detergents which are specified for use in the dishwasher. Pre-wash dishes by scraping food particles from dishes into the garbage before placing them in the dishwasher. Clean the door, bottom, and remove food from the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher regularly.

Dishes Not Drying Well

If your dishes are not drying as well as you’d like, try using Jet Dry or a similar product. Unfortunately, dishwashers don’t dry plastic well, and that is often the problem. If you have not cleaned the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher lately, you should clean it to improve the efficiency of your dishwasher. Food particles, debris, hair, and more get caught in the filter causing it not to work properly. Clean the filter at least twice a year or if you are noticing the dishes are not cleaning or drying as well.

Washer and Dryer Care and Use Tips:

When you install your washer and dryer, check your hoses and washers to be sure there are no leaks. Check the wall and floor monthly for evidence of a hidden leak as leaks in this area are commonly not found for some time.

Be sure you don’t overload your washer or dryer. Clean the lint trap with each use.

It is your responsibility to clean out or replace the dryer vent hose that runs from the dryer to the wall and the lint filter after each use. We recommend cleaning out the dryer vent hose when you move in and clean it at least twice a year thereafter.

How to Clean your Dryer Vent

Not routinely cleaning your dryer lint and vent can become a fire hazard, and it also decreases efficiency of your dryer. Here’s how to clean your dryer vent:

  • Washing The Trap: Sometimes just clearing out the lint trap isn’t enough. There is a lot of lint that gets stuck. By running the trap under the water in either the sink or tub, it will help clean the trap better. If you want to go the extra mile, you could use some of the clothing soap to help clean it.
  • Vacuum the catch: The lint trap sits in the catch and can sometimes get dirty. The best way to clean out the stray lint is to vacuum it out. If your vacuum can’t get in the small area try taking a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels.
  • Clean the Vent: Semi-annually you should clean out the dryer vent duct on the back of the dryer. You will have to move the dryer away from the wall and then brush out the lint in the vent.

If your dryer is still having trouble, seek out a professional.

Washer Hose Leaking

If there is a leak at your washing machine hose, we ask you turn the water supply off until a plumber can service the area.

Garbage Disposal General Care and Use Tips:

Disposals operate virtually trouble-free when used properly. Unfortunately, almost all disposal jams are from what is put into them or misuse. Preventing these issues comes from first knowing how to properly use a garbage disposal.

Follow the procedures outlined below to prevent jammed disposals and clogged drains from your garbage disposal:

  • Run cold water before turning on the disposal.
  • Push refuse through the splash guard keeping hands away from the inside chamber. Run the disposal until the grinding sound stops.
  • Continue to run cold water for two to three minutes to be sure all of the waste particles have been flushed away.
  • Use ice, vinegar, and baking soda to routinely clean your disposal.
  • Grind a citrus peel or put baking soda down the drain periodically to keep the disposal odor free. Garbage disposals can attract drain flies or gnats.


  • Never put your hand down a disposal when it is running
  • Don’t use hot water when operating a disposal.
  • Don’t try to put too much through the disposal at once.
  • Don’t use a drain cleaner in your garbage disposal.

Garbage disposals are really meant to catch small particles of food and not to be a means to dispose of wastes and other items. Any foreign item that falls into the garbage disposal can burn the motor and damage the garbage disposal. Be very choosy in what you put down the disposal.

Do not put any of the following items into a disposal:

  • Grease does not belong in your sink or garbage disposal
  • Metal, wooden, cloth, glass, or plastic items
  • Bones, meat, shells, or fruit pits
  • Fibrous materials like artichokes, cornhusks, celery, potato, or banana peels asparagus, and tomatoes

Garbage disposals are not for bones, greasy items, meat or any other similar materials.

Common Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting Issues

No Power to Garbage Disposal

If there is no power to the garbage disposal, press the reset button (a red, yellow, or black button on the garbage disposal unit itself). If that does not restore power, reset your breakers. If that still does not restore power, reset all of the GFCI outlets in the home (see electrical troubleshooting for more information).

If the motor has stopped due to overloading, turn the disposal off. Wait three to five minutes, then push the reset button. Run cold water for a few minutes before using again.

How to Unjam your Garbage Disposal

If the motor buzzes, it is likely jammed. If the disposal is jammed, turn the power switch off before attempting to remove any object. With tongs, remove any object that might be inserted into the mouth of the disposal and turn in a circular pattern to free the blades. Once the movement has been restored to the blades, push the reset button on the disposal unit.