Is It Worth Buying an Appliance Warranty Plan?
Artificial Intelligence has come home, and it seems there’s nothing a household appliance can’t do for itself anymore. The microwave can scan your package of frozen lasagna and set itself to heat it up perfectly for you. You can phone your refrigerator, and it will tell you if you need to buy milk on the way home. The washer can even talk to the dryer and make sure it doesn’t shrink the sweater it just washed.
The one thing even the most high-tech appliances can’t do is fix themselves when something goes wrong. For that, it takes a live person with the experience and know-how to set things right again. The problem can often be in finding that right person. When one of your home’s appliances or systems breaks down, you probably gird yourself to dig through listings on the internet, ask friends and neighbors for references and then call each repair service to compare their rates and check their availability.
The good news is that appliance warranty plans take away all the worry. As a subscriber, you make one call no matter what the issue is, and you’re connected with a proven, reliable local professional. Even better is that repair services contracted through such a plan cost far less than what you’d pay if you contacted the service on your own. With a warranty plan, you pay a pre-determined flat fee per service call, and that fee sometimes even includes parts.
If you own income properties, it’s a particularly efficient and cost-effective way to make sure your investment and tenants are cared for properly — and there’s no setting out with a toolbox in the middle of the night.
So, yes, buying an appliance warranty is definitely worth it. Murphy’s Law pretty much guarantees that something will go awry within days after the manufacturer’s warranty expires, and it’s just prudent to be prepared. In the meantime, it’s smart to ward off problems and extend the working life of your appliances with simple routine maintenance you can do yourself:
Test the Refrigerator Seals
The rubber seals around the refrigerator and freezer doors can get brittle over time, which lets air in and raises the temperature inside. Do a visual inspection, and then take a piece of paper and put it between the seal and the door before you close it. If you can slide the paper down with the door closed, it’s time to get the seal replaced.
Check the Oven Seal
Older oven gaskets can deteriorate the same way the seals on the refrigerator do, letting heat escape and wasting energy. If you’ve got gas burner ports, take another minute to clear any clogs with a straight pin — not a toothpick, which can break off in a port and cause a blockage or worse, set on fire.
Dust off the Refrigerator Coils
Refrigerators waste energy and don’t run as well when the condenser coils are dusty or covered in pet hair. Every six months you should unplug the unit, and then use an appliance brush or damp cloth on the coils. Then just vacuum or sweep up the debris. You’ll find the coils either behind the kickplate at the bottom or at the rear of the refrigerator, depending upon your model.
Inspect the Washing Machine Hoses
Even a small weak spot in a hose can lead to a crack that turns into a hole, and before you know it you’ve got a wading pool in the laundry room. The most common location of leaks is at the connection, so check there as well.
Clear Out the Dryer Exhaust
Even if you clean off the lint screen every time you finish a dryer load, as you should, it’s still important to clean the exhaust venting at least once a year.
Follow these tips from a pro to see how to do it.
Replace Heater and AC Filters
Depending on the season, don’t forget to change the filters on your heater and air conditioner every month or so. It’s as simple as snapping the old one off and snapping the new one in. If you have re-usable filters, vacuum them with the upholstery tool to keep the air in your house clear and dust-free.
Check Small Appliances
It’s easy to forget paying attention to the cords and plugs when use your small appliances like coffee makers, toasters, juicers and waffle irons, but it’s wise to check them every once in a while to make sure they’re still in good condition and not a potential fire hazard.