A quick sweep of your home can save big bucks on repairs or replacement appliances.

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Out of sight, out of mind is a bad approach when it comes to keeping expensive appliances in your home clean and maintained.

Whether you’re ignoring dust bunnies on the back of your refrigerator or leaving your HVAC system to chug along without regular maintenance, you may pay for that negligence later with repair bills or appliance replacement.

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1. Refrigerator

Open Refrigerator Full Of Healthy Items In Modern Kitchen

If you pull your refrigerator away from the wall, prepare to be disgusted by all the pet hair and dust bunnies clinging to its back and clogging the vents. A dirty refrigerator backside isn’t just messy, though.

Dust and pet dander can clog refrigerator coils so the appliance doesn’t cool properly. Brush the back off, sweep under the fridge and clean vent openings with a vacuum attachment regularly or pay for repairs or a new refrigerator later.

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2. Washing machine

Washing machine

Just think of all the stuff that comes from dirty clothes to settle inside your washing machine. Hair, dirt, grass, bits of cloth, pet hair, shredded tissues, and other debris can mess up this machine over time if you don’t keep it clean and maintained. Leaving wet clothes in the washtub can also cause mold and mildew.

Deep clean your washing machine by running an empty load with a small amount of vinegar and warm water. For complete cleaning and maintenance, hire a professional to clean your washer annually.

3. Clothes dryer

Who knew clean clothes could be so dirty? Lint and pet hair build up on your dryer’s lint screen as well as inside the lint trap and even in the vent hose that blows outside when the dryer runs. Maintaining your dryer can extend its life and may even keep your house from burning down due to a clogged vent.

You’ll also spend more money on utilities with a lint-clogged dryer, which is less efficient, using more gas or electricity and taking longer to dry clothes. Clean the lint screen after every use and vacuum out the dryer vent every six months or hire a professional for maintenance.

4. Computers

Dust and fine pet hairs sift into laptops, tablets and desktop computers, causing electronic devices to overheat, run more slowly, sustain component damage and require expensive repairs.

To avoid pricey repairs or buying a new laptop or other electronic device, clean dust from the inside of your computer regularly. Dust off devices often and keep areas around electronics vacuumed and dusted.

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5. HVAC system

You can save lots of money on your HVAC system by scheduling annual maintenance checks for furnace and air conditioning units. For one thing, maintaining these appliances decreases the chance of repair costs for a surprise breakdown on the hottest day of the year or during a January snowstorm.

Furnaces on average last only 15 to 25 years, according to home enthusiast site This Old House. Air conditioners have an even shorter lifespan, 10 to 15 years. Keeping your HVAC system clean and maintained can extend the life of your furnace and air conditioner, delaying purchase of expensive replacement units.

6. Dishwasher

Calcium deposits can clog your dishwasher sprayer arm. Food particles can plug the drain. However, hiring a plumber or appliance repair technician to fix a poorly maintained dishwasher doesn’t have to be a yearly ritual with a few proactive cleaning measures.

Consumer Reports recommends pulling out and clearing the bottom filter weekly. Deodorize and sanitize your dishwasher by placing a bowl of vinegar on the bottom rack during a normal wash and rinse cycle.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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