Angie's List: Preventing appliance repair during holidays

LEWISTON, ID - According to a nationwide Angie's List poll, more than 40% of respondents said they'll host holiday dinners this year, putting their ovens, refrigerators and garbage disposals to the test.

"When it comes to appliances, homeowners oftentimes take them for granted," said Angie List Owner Angie Hicks. "We don't take proper care of them and then we end up disappointed when they don't work right. We over-stuff our freezers so proper airflow can't get through or we overload our dishwasher so it doesn't even have a prayer of being able to get the dishes clean."

11% of the poll respondents said they've had an appliance die in the midst of preparing a special meal.

"If you're going to be hosting dinner over the holiday season be sure to do a test run before the big day," said Hicks. "Do it at least two weeks ahead of time of time. Cook a nice meal to make sure the oven is working properly because the last thing you want to do when guests are there is serve them frozen turkey."

Your refrigerator runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week - so simple maintenance is key.

"The only thing you can do besides wiping it down and keeping it clean," said Appliance Repair Company Rick Cantleberry. "Your kick plate down here, you can pull it off. If you have coils underneath there you can vacuum them and keep them clean. Some are on the back behind the back panel and you have to pull out and take the back panel off to do some cleaning, but be sure you unplug it when you do that. If they are on the back wall, if the condenser coils are on the back wall, just dust them off, that's all you got to do."

Your dishwasher will also be working overtime this holiday season.

"As far as dishwashers, one of the biggest problems we have, especially during the holiday season, is you've got a house full of people coming over and people tend to take their plates and wipe them off into the dishwasher or just throw them into the dishwasher," said Cantleberry. "We literally see people with steak or chicken bones inside their dishwashers and then the people say "well, they told us there was a disposal in there and it will chop up the food." Not true, really. There are a lot of dishwashers that have a chopping blade in there, which will chop up small pieces: corn, beans, things like that. You're going to end up ruining that chopping blade and then calling us because a clog and then you got a repair bill on your hands. Clean the plates off in your disposal or get the paper plates out."

Home appliances are expensive, and you want to ensure the company you hire is reputable and has the skills required to complete the fix in a timely and efficient manner.

Here's what you shouldn't do before the holidays: run your oven's self-cleaning cycle. Self-cleaning cycles cause the oven to run at extremely high temperatures, which could cause them to fail.
Another way to keep your oven clean, wipe it down after each use with soap and water.