Help your appliances survive the holiday cooking season

The busy holiday cooking season is upon us – are your appliances ready to work overtime?

Angie's List has some suggestions on preventing appliance repair from topping your holiday wish list.

According to a nationwide Angie's List poll,more than 40 percent of respondents say they'll host holiday dinners this year, putting their ovens, refrigerators and garbage disposals to the test. More than 10 percent said they've had an appliance die in the middle of preparing a special meal.

Angie's List dos & don'ts to get the most out of your appliances:

Stoves/Ovens – Self-cleaning cycles cause the oven to run at extremely high temperatures. Do not run the self-cleaning cycle right before your big meal. Check your oven's performance at least two weeks before the big day by getting a basic cake mix and following the directions exactly. If the cake isn't perfect in the time frame set out on the box, your oven's temperature might be off. Clean the oven after each use with soap and water – that will help prevent having to run the self-clean function.

Dishwashers – Clean your dishwasher's filter at least twice a year to remove particles and debris. The filters location can vary depending on the model so be sure to check your owner's manual. Rinse large food particles off dishes. Check the spinning arms to make sure the spray holes are free of debris. Avoid leaving a dishwasher running with no one home. If the automatic shutoff fails, you could come home to an overflowing unit and a water-damaged house.

Garbage disposals – Keep the blades sharp by running cold water and sending a cup of ice down the disposal. Run cold water for 10 seconds before inserting food into the disposal and for 30 seconds after each use. Cold water helps solidify grease and fat so they can be chopped up by the disposal.

Maintain your appliances - Maintenance required for your appliance will depend on the manufacturer. Always check with your model's manual. Whenever you perform extensive maintenance work on your appliances, take the necessary safety precautions. Shut off electrical and gas lines when working on them. Consult an appliance repair professional for major maintenance/repairs.

When to repair versus replace- If an appliance repair will cost more than half the cost of the new appliance and the unit is more than six or seven years old, you're probably better off replacing it with a newer model.

If you do end up calling a repairman, expect to pay up to $100 for a typical service call. Additional parts and labor charges will apply if you hire the company for a repair, but many companies will deduct the service charge

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