Most consumers are looking for ways to save on their household budgets these days.

Household repairs can nibble away at your savings, leaving you scratching your head and wondering where your money went.

A recent article from the website Wisebread identified several ways of getting longer life from frequently used items found in most homes. Here are some highlights, along with some additional tips:

▪ Vacuum cleaners: Empty the bag or the canister before it is completely full and clean the filter regularly. Threads and hair stuck around the carpet roller can be cleaned with scissors or a sharp object.

▪ Dryers: Dryers are a common cause of household fires so proper maintenance is a must. That means cleaning out the lint trap after every use.

Every six months you should check the vent and remove any lint within it. Yearly you should remove the exhaust vent hose and clean it out, also cleaning the vent at the point of exit from your house.

If you find that your dryer is taking longer than usual to do its job, that can be an indicator of lint buildup.

▪ Washing machine: Leave the door open between washes so the machine’s tub can thoroughly dry out. Regularly check hoses and fittings for leaks or irregularities.

Check the screens where the hoses connect and remove any grit. Replace rubber hoses with metal braided ones. A common cause of household water damage is from rubber hoses that spring a leak.

Remember the hoses are under constant water pressure, as the valves leading to them are usually kept open. It is a good idea to close those valves during lengthy absences from your home.

▪ Dishwashers: For many consumers, the dishwasher is one of the more heavily used appliances and therefore it requires careful maintenance.

Manually clean out the filter at least once a week. Run monthly cleansing cycles, inspect racks for rust and clean the spraying arms.

▪ Water heaters: You should flush your hot water heater once a year to prevent sediment buildup and check the anode rod to see whether it needs replacing. Without it, the hot water will corrode and rust out the bottom of your heater.

▪ Garbage disposal: Run plenty of water when grinding waste. Never put Drano or other de-clogging chemicals in the disposal. Grinding up a couple of ice cubes and also flushing it with vinegar or soapy water every few weeks can help keep it clean.

▪ Bathroom exhaust fan: The fan should be cleaned every six months so it will run more efficiently. Moving air inhibits the growth of mold.

▪ Coffee maker: Few people actually take the time to do it but cleaning out the coffee maker every month or two can improve the taste of the coffee it produces and prolong the life of the machine. Simply run equal parts vinegar and water through a brew cycle then follow up with a couple of cycles of plain water.

When your appliances do go on the blink, Consumer Reports says they are generally worth repairing as long as the repair cost is less than half of what the replacement cost would be. A survey by the organization found that more people were happy with repair service that came from local shops as opposed to factory repairs.
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