They are habits to which it’s easy to turn a blind eye, but there’s a reason why you shouldn’t let lint build up in your dryer, or stuff your freezer to capacity and beyond. By treating your appliances badly, you could be shaving years off their useful lives. Canstar breaks down nine ways you could be slowly killing your appliances.
1. Storing things on top of a fridge
Plenty of us are culprits of this. It’s easy to dump extra containers, cereal packs, lunch boxes (who knows what else) on top of the fridge, but really we shouldn’t. Refrigerators need air flow all the way around, so by resting objects on top you’re blocking that air flow. Your fridge will have to work harder to keep things cool, so will also use more energy.
2. Leaving kitchen spills on a stove top
If bolognaise sauce or steak grease remnants are going uncleaned on your stove top, it may be time to break that habit. As soon as a spillage occurs – or once it’s cool enough to clean – have a clean up. Leaving sugary substances, especially, on stove tops can damage the surface. Debris from leftover food can also clog burners and destroy burner coils. Don’t forget about the fridge, either. Leaving spills in there can stain the plastics on your shelving and veggie drawers.
3. Overloading a washing machine or dryer
Stuffing a dryer or washing machine full to save money is actually counterproductive. Overfilling your washing machine and dryer can overwork them, causing parts to wear out faster. Plus, your clothes need space to breathe while they spin, so the more you jam in, the less efficient the process.
If you think you’re saving on power bills by doubling up, too, you’re wrong. Actually, it makes a dryer less efficient. Warm air should be able to flow through a dryer load, replicating the natural air flow that surrounds clothes if they are hung on a line to dry.
There are plenty of other ways to save on power bills, as covered in some of our recent stories: How To Save on Power Bills if You’re Using A Heat Pump and Save on Your Power Bill While Working From Home.
It’s also a good idea to take the time to shop around for a better deal on your electricity. Check out the table below for Canstar’s ratings on the electricity providers that offer the best customer satisfaction and value for money:
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2021, published in June 2021.
See Our Ratings Methodology
4. Letting the lint build up in a dryer
Speaking of dryers, how often are you clearing out the lint? Plenty of appliances have filters to make sure they aren’t getting clogged. If the lint in a dryer isn’t cleared out regularly, it can catch fire. A clean filter also puts less stress on your dryer, making it last longer.
5. Leaving things in the pockets of clothes when they’re in the wash
If you’ve found yourself losing coins to the depths of your washing machine, it’s a good time to remember to take them out before you throw things in the laundry basket! Clean out pockets and turn clothing inside out so things don’t clang about. Hard items can damage the insides of washers and dryers, scratching paint and leaving dings. Loose items like coins and buttons can also clog up hoses and filters.
6. Plugging in too many appliances in an outlet
Blown fuses and fires can result from too many appliances being plugged into an outlet. Give each unit a bit of room and try to plug just one large appliance into each outlet, rather than multiple ones. If you’re looking for ways to cut down on your power usage, check out our story on The Biggest Energy Guzzlers in Your Home: 5+ Worst Culprits and how to Tackle Them.
7. Overfilling a freezer
Overfilling a freezer can block air vents and restrict the flow of cold air. It can also put too much strain on your refrigerator’s condenser, which could potentially lead to a burn out.
8. Using hot water in an InSinkErator
Avoid using hot water for cleaning kitchen scraps in the sink. If you’re using an InSinkErator to grind up food waste, use cold water instead. Hot water melts fats and grease, which can lead to clogged drains and mechanical damage. Better yet, consider starting a compost system at home.
9. Not cleaning a heat pump filter
A heat pump is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, mould, dust mites and harmful pollen, so cleaning your heat pump filter at least every six months is a must. It’s estimated that over 90% of heat pump failures are down to owners neglecting to clean them, according to NZ Heat Pumps. On top of improving your heat pump’s efficiency, a regular filter clean prolongs its lifespan.
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