Modern appliances are designed to make our lives easier, but many come with little maintenance tasks we should carry out regularly to keep them running smoothly. Do they always make it on to your ‘to do’ list?
I like my home to be clean and tidy, but I don’t really put in enough effort to keep it spotless all of the time. I tell myself this is because I’m very busy, so terribly busy. In reality, I’m rather lazy. Even though I might write a long ‘to do’ list, my enthusiasm tends to wane about halfway through the cleaning tasks.
This means that some chores only get done very rarely, if at all. You know, those little jobs you mean to do more regularly, but only tend to tackle when you absolutely have to. For me, that means tasks like: emptying the crumb tray from my toaster; descaling my kettle; cleaning the gloop from my washing machine’s detergent drawer; emptying my vacuum cleaner…
Tumble dryer maintenance
I don’t have a tumble dryer, but if I did I’d probably be too lazy busy to empty the lint filter after every cycle. However, the potential fire hazard that comes from letting lint build up means I should empty it on a regular basis.
Our recent lab tests of tumble dryers with heat pump condensers uncovered the impact of not cleaning the so-called ‘heat exchanger’. These high-tech dryers are designed to be very energy efficient, but we found that letting fluff build up and clog the heat exchanger led to a big jump in drying time and energy usage. We’re now testing to see whether a build up of fluff in lint filters could have the same effect.
The cost of laziness
It would be sensible for me to deal with these little maintenance tasks more frequently.
After all, I might be shortening the life-span of some of my appliances by not giving them the TLC they deserve. My laziness is likely to cost me more in the long run if I have to keep replacing clogged up kettles and clapped out toasters.
And by not keeping my appliances running at maximum efficiency, I’m probably paying for it through my energy bills too.
Inspired by Which? Conversation commenters
Of course, lots of you do make an extra effort to keep your appliances running smoothly. In a recent Conversation about mending and recycling, many of you shared the lengths you go to keep your appliances running for longer. Steve Ellis even saved a TV from the scrapheap:
‘I once fixed a dead 40″ Samsung TV that my sister was going to dump for £1.78. It now has pride of place in her bedroom.’
I’m inspired by that commitment to reduce waste by keeping gadgets running. I need to start by putting the most fiddly, seldom-completed tasks at the top of my next ‘to do’ list. Then I should have a better chance of actually getting them done.