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6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value

Maximize the life span of your washer, dryer and more with some basic maintenance.

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Unlike any car you buy, your home appliances can retain their value so long as you give them a little TLC. Maximize the life span and potential resale return of your washer, dryer, fridge, and more with some basic maintenance.

See Also: 6 Home Projects That Save Energy and Money

1. Give the Inside the What-For

Begin with a thorough clean of the inside of your fridge, microwave, stovetop, and dishwasher. Be sure to test all the buttons on your keypad control panels — even the ones you don't use every day. Check for deterioration in the rubber seals around your dishwasher — a minor crack can quickly lead to a flooded kitchen. (Or, you know, when your husband puts laundry detergent in it because you ran out of dishwasher liquid.)

Mike Clear, VP of operations at American Home Shield, a home warranty provider, offers a few more pro tips.

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"Avoid using sopping wet sponges or rags to clean your appliances' keypad control panels," he says. "You may be slowly damaging the control panels on your appliances during your routine cleaning which could eventually short-circuit the panel."

2. Work Your Way to the Basement

As temperatures heat up and A/C takes center stage, show your furnace and heating system some TLC in the offseason to be sure you're not left in the cold next winter.

"Keep the area around your air returns clean and unobstructed," Clear says. "Extra dirt on your filter means the unit will have to work too hard and run longer, making it less cost-efficient and reducing its life span. Check to see if the cover near your furnace's filter is in place. If not, you could be risking fire and other safety hazards. Regular maintenance by a professional should be scheduled well before cold weather sets back in."

That last point is important: Don't forgo regular maintenance. Even if you inspect your furnace and everything looks fine, leaving untreated problems to only get worse will only inconvenience you further when you need it most.

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3. Mind the Hard-Water Buildup

Those who live in hard water areas (70% of Americans do) struggle with hard mineral scale buildup, which can shorten the life of appliances.

Products like Ionizer Armor condition the water and reduce the amount of minerals that make their way into the appliances using magnet technology. Just snap it onto the water line and forget it — lest you want to live in a Zest commercial.

4. Consider Your Appliances' Cosmetic Aesthetic

It's not just the moving parts that contribute to the resale value of your appliances — they have to look good inside and out.

"Periodically cleaning out the entire contents of a freezer/refrigerator and doing a deep clean keeps the appliance looking new and removes any remnant odors or stains," says Wes Taft, co-founder of moveCHECK, an app to make moves less stressful. "The longer those sit, the harder they are to get rid of. An appliance with a stain or dull finish will linger in a potential buyer's mind as a concern when making an offer on the home or the appliance."

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So, yeah, it's time to ditch all those science experiments hiding behind the expired milk.

See Also: 7 Things You Must Know About Warranties on Appliances

5. Keep the A/C Too Legit to Quit

During the warmer months, it's crucial that your air filter and A/C system are working properly. You know this homebody requires climate control!

"Check your air filters regularly," advises Clear. "Cleaning or replacing your A/C system's air filter can help prevent damage, inefficiencies, and keeps your air clean. Schedule annual maintenance on your A/C now, so you can be sure your unit is in top shape before being put to the test with this summer's high temps."

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Try not to wait for the first heat wave or minor A/C hiccup. You'll be kicking yourself (and sweating) later if you put off A/C maintenance until after it breaks down.

6. Know When to Call a Professional

We're all about DIY here at Wise Bread, but if you're in over your head when trying to fix a broken appliance, don't be ashamed to call in a knowledgeable professional. Eating crow is much better than being electrocuted to death.

"Be mindful of what may seem like a quick DIY fix," says Clear. "This can be especially disastrous when it comes to fixing large and expensive appliances and home systems. Leave it to the pros."

This article is from Mikey Rox of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website.

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This article is from Wise Bread, not the Kiplinger editorial staff.