Dabney Wharton, owner of Glebe Radio & Appliances in Arlington, has been selling refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, and washers and dryers since 1972. Here are a few of his tips for keeping an appliance running longer—and avoiding repairs:
• “The secret with a clothes washer is not to overload it,” Wharton says. “Then they’ll last a long time.”
• “If you keep a refrigerator gasket clean—the rubber piece along the door—then it keeps a seal better and doesn’t have to work as hard. A thin film of Vaseline on the gasket will help it seal better.”
• If your refrigerator has an icemaker you hardly use, empty out the ice weekly to avoid problems with the lines.
• New energy-efficient dishwashers don’t use as much water or let it get as hot as older dishwashers. Give water temperature a boost, Wharton says, by first running the water in the sink until it gets hot, then turning on the dishwasher.
• When is it time to replace versus repair an appliance? “If it’s more than 10 years old, you might flip a coin about getting an estimate on a repair,” Wharton says. “Appliances used to last 15 or more years; now they last 10 to 12. These days, they all have electronics that don’t last as long. They have to be more energy-efficient, and to do that they don’t last as long. Ranges last the longest, dishwashers probably the least.”
This feature first appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.