SAN ANTONIO – If you’ve ever replaced a vacuum cleaner or small appliance that seemed too young to die you know the frustration of wasting that money. Consumer Reports says you can extend the life of your helpful appliances and have them work better for longer by paying attention to this one thing.
"In general, if air can’t get into the motor, a machine has to work harder. This puts a strain on the overall appliance making it less effective, and can mean you’ll have to replace it earlier than you should have to," said Consumer Reports' Paul Hope.
Your over-the-stove microwave has a filter beneath it to catch grease in the air. Cleaning it with warm, soapy water in the sink twice a year will keep the fan working properly and prevent a sticky film from forming on your cabinets. Check your manual to see if your filter is dishwasher-safe.
A dryer with a thick blanket of lint in the filter has to work harder and longer to dry your clothes. It also uses more energy and can pose a fire hazard. Make it a habit to clear the filter between loads.
If your vacuum is overheating, losing suction or blowing dirt back into the air, clogged filters could be the culprit. Manufacturers tell Consumer Reports most people don’t know where their vacuum's filters are.
Check around the bag for small washable filters, and open the back panel to inspect the paper filters meant to catch fine particles. Your vacuum will perform better and last longer if you keep these filters tidy. If you have a bagless model, you still need to clean or replace the filters more often.
Dehumidifiers are simple machines that can go ignored because they’re usually down in the
basement. Take a moment to pull out the filter and give it a good rinse-and-dry to improve the
air quality of the air you breathe.