Consumer Reports: How to Make Pricey Appliances Last

The cost of maintaining a home and appliances is often a major deterrent for those debating whether to rent or purchase a home. The unexpected expense of fixing leaky gutters and broken dishwashers can be budget breaking if it comes at the wrong time of month. Not to mention it's a huge pain. Consumer Reports has put together a great guide for how to extend the useful life of appliances and pricey goodies. Obviously, the key is maintenance and keeping a watchful eye on appliances so they don't break down unexpectedly and leave you in a pricey pinch. Consumer Reports suggests:

Cell phones
Don't stow in your car's glove compartment during the summer. Otherwise, batteries may overheat, possibly ruining the phone. If you've been known to drop your cell phone, treat it to a protective case.

Clothes dryers
Clean the lint filter after each use and the entire air duct yearly. If your dryer breaks, think about replacing it if repairs will cost more than half the price of a comparable new model. But don't expect much gain in performance or efficiency, since dryer technology hasn't changed much.

Clothes washers
Don't overload. If your washer breaks, think about replacing it if repairs will cost more than half the price of a comparable model. If you're replacing, consider a high-efficiency washer, which should save money over time. Also consider a front-loader, which is less punishing to clothes than a top-loader.

Dishwashers
Check the filter regularly and remove any debris.

To see additional suggestions and reminders, read more.

Hardwood floors
Dust mop or vacuum weekly. Wipe up wet spills pronto.

Kitchen knives
Keep them out of the dishwasher and store them in a wooden knife block or individual plastic shields.

Laptop computers
Set them on a hard, flat surface rather than a soft one such as a bed or carpet, which can block airflow and cause them to overheat.

LCD TVs
Clean the screen gently with a soft, slightly damp cloth, ideally a microfiber one. Avoid commercial cleaners and paper towels, which can scratch the screen.

Mattresses
Rotate periodically. Try not to sit on the edge. Buy a washable, protective cover. And pull back the sheets and blankets to let the bed air out for 20 minutes or so each morning.

Visit the Consumer Reports website for more tips on making your pricey goods last.

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