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Get more mileage out of your appliances

Get more mileage out of your appliances

Credit: AP

A customer hands over hundreds of dollars at the Apple Store in downtown Chicago, Friday, June 29, 2007, to purchase the company's new iPhone, a gadget that combines the functions of a cell phone, iPod media player and wireless Web browser. Apple is banking on the new do-everything phone with a touch-sensitive screen to become its third core business next to its moneymaking iPod players and Macintosh computers. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)


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Posted on December 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM

By now many of you have heard about the Cash for Appliances rebate program. It will allow consumers to get rebates for buying new energy efficient appliances.

Texas just decided to implement the rebates in April. Most states won't start the program until next year. You can find the breakdown of when other states plan to offer rebates of their own here.

The Department of Energy has recommended states let consumers choose from the following:

·         Boilers

·         Central air conditioners

·         Clothes washers

·         Dishwashers

·         Freezers

·         Furnaces (oil and gas)

·         Heat pumps (air source and geothermal)

·         Refrigerators

·         Room air conditioners

·         Water heaters


Worried you can't wait?

Tips to make your appliances last longer

KVUE reporter Jarrod Wise interviewed Fernando Gonzalez of Cornerstone Appliance Repair who provided some terrific tips to help you extend the life of your appliances by three to five years. These tips will also help your appliances run more efficiently.

Clothes Washers

“The biggest problem with those is people use too much soap,” said Gonzalez. “They use twice as much instead of twice as less."

Using too much soap can cause bacteria to collect inside the washing machine and that can create mildew making your clothes smell musty. It can also clog up the motor.


We’ve heard this before, but “On the dryer side you have to clean your lint filter," he said.

If you don’t clean the lint from the lint trap, you put a strain on the motor, the rollers, the strollers and the element." All of that can shorten the life of your dryer.



"Don't use dish soap gel. It creates suds. The more suds you have, the less water you have,” said Gonzalez. “Suds become air and the machine cannot process or flow through the air. If you're using gel soaps you will have a lot of buildup in the area." Gonzalez recommends using the powders only.



There’s another good reason to make sure you keep your oven really clean.

"If you have grease on the heating elements it will glow in one area more than the other. The problem with the grease buildup, it weakens that piece of metal and will eventually give out," he said.


Several things can help a refrigerator to work more efficiently:

·         Vacuum the compressor coils located at the back at least once a year.

·         You should also vacuum the vent on the bottom front of your refrigerator at least once every 6 months.

·         Open the door, place a dollar bill halfway in and close the door. If you can pull out the dollar it’s time for you to replace the seal on the door.

·         Maintain recommended interior temperatures in both the refrigerated and freezer compartments.

Coffee makers
Coffeemakers tend to have a shorter life cycle than most other small kitchen appliances. To get the best life from a coffeemaker, give it a routine cleaning by processing a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water, followed by a couple of clear water rinses. This will help to remove mineral build-up that can hamper efficient operation.

When a coffeemaker is equipped with a variable auto shut-off, shorten that period if you can. There's no sense keeping the coffee hot and the heating element working for four hours, if you have no intention of drinking coffee that has been sitting for that long.

You can find more tips from the Department of Energy here.

Tips to help you choose the right appliances

If you are planning to purchase appliances here are some tips for choosing the most efficient appliances from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

You can also find an energy saver appliance guide here.

To learn more about how to save energy and money at home check out this site.