Don't let two of your most important appliances let you down. Washers and dryers are some of the most important appliances in a household and as such they can be some of the biggest investments. There are many things that go into your washer and dryer and that includes the actual cost of the appliance, electricity, heating and water, all which can add up to a large sum of money. The reality is that these appliances are also some of the most convenient ones that you can get so you should be trying to make them last as long as possible. Two of the most common problems caused by washers and dryers are fire and flooding and those take place when people do not take care of the maintenance of their appliances. There are a few tips which you can follow in order to keep your machine safe. Washers Anytime that maintenance will be done in either your washer or dryer, they both need to be unplugged. Then you should be pulling them away from the wall at least a few feet so that there is enough room to work and see what you are doing. After that you should be turning off the water valves and make sure that the drain hose has been removed from the drain. If you find any cracks on the hose, then it should be replaced. Make sure to place a towel right under supply hoses so that any water can be caught and then remove your hoses with grooved joint pliers. Clean the debris and sediment from the filter screens which could slow the flow of the water to the machine. Make sure to clean up any buildup with a bristle brush so that the machine is clean. Install New Braided Hoses: Use your fingers to screw the fittings of the hose onto your washer’s threaded nipples and then tighten them with pliers making sure to be gentle. The hose should be long enough so that it allows you to move the washer whenever necessary. Usually a 60 inch hose will be enough. Adding A Drip Pan: Placing a drip pan under your machine will ensure that you catch leaks. If you live on a second floor, then you may already know that drip pans are in fact required. The better drip pans will also include a drain that way any water that is collected by it will in turn be sent to the floor drain. In order to fit the drip pan under the machine, you would need the help of a second person or a dolly. After the drip pan has been placed, you should check for any leaks which have taken place. Hooking Up Your Water Supply: You can hook up the braided hoses to a water supply bib. You should, however, make sure that they do match with hot and cold water supplies. Once you have connected the hoses, have the valves open and check if there are any leaks. Maintenance Wash: A maintenance wash can be done by running the washing machine on the hottest available setting for the length of a typical load. Add some basic detergent in the load for your maintenance wash and if you want an additional sparkle in your machine, add either colored ammonia or vinegar. Both will give you a cheap and simple clean which makes your machine look better. Clothes should not be added during the maintenance wash. Keeping the wash without clothes and doing it regularly will reduce any risk of flooding. Dryers Cleaning The Lint Trap: Cleaning the lint trap can be done by pulling out the lint screen and pushing a small size snorkel brush down the trap. Move the brush in circles so that any lint trapped there can be collected. After you have done this use a flashlight to ensure that it is in fact clean. If you have long crevice tools for your vacuum, then that may also help you pick up any remaining lint. Lint removal is a safety precaution because if it stays there, it could cause a fire. Cleaning The Duct Work: The first thing you need to do to clean the duct is to disconnect it from your dryer exhaust and then from your exterior vent. Ducts made of ribbed metal or plastic can be thrown away. Smooth wall metal can be taken out and cleaned with a small round dyer-vent brush. Don’t Forget The Outside Vent: To clean your outside vent, you will need to work from inside spinning the vent brush at least a few inches into the duct which leads outside. The bristles will be clean by pulling it back. Keep repeating the process until the brush’s bristles reach the exhaust hood outside the wall. They should be coming out clean. Special care needs to be taken so that you do not shove lint out with your brush because otherwise you could actually build up a clog. When you head outside, ensure that the vent hood is not plugged. When needed, remove the hood and clean it before putting it back. Reattaching The Duct: You will need to reassemble your metal duct work and then seal joints using aluminum tape. Do not use screws as a way to connect the different sections because they could stop lint and in the worst cases, cause buildup. Make sure that the ends of duct work fit snuggly onto your dryer’s exhaust as well as vent hood without the need of tape or clamps. Once you are done with the dryer, you can put the machine back where it was. Make sure to check the cleaning ducts and hoses at least every six months. After five years of owning the machine, you should be thinking about replacing all the hoses as they have a life expectancy of five years. When you take care of the machines with these tips, you will be ensuring that your appliances last longer, work better and finally reduce your energy costs.