Caring for your Electrical Appliance

It is not unusual to be regularly asked by customers to “service” their appliance. Unlike motor vehicles, it is more a case of taking care of the appliance properly as opposed to any regular servicing. Below are a few hints on caring for your electrical appliance.




The most important requirement of refrigeration is air. In our hot and humid climate if a fridge or freezer (or even worse the wine cooler!) is trying work in a hot, airless room it will struggle and eventually die! Make sure your refrigeration is able to get rid of the heat that comes from the compressor by ensuring there is adequate airflow.  During use, it is easy for the refrigerator or freezer to be pushed right up against the rear wall thus making it hard for air to circulate. A practical idea is to place a brick or block of wood between the base of the appliance and the wall. Such simple remedies can save so much pain!

Defrosting the fridge/freezer

With the advent of frost-free refrigeration, most do not have to worry about defrosting the freezer. However, we still sell plenty of cyclic fridges and quite regularly we sell one because the owner has wrecked the unit while trying to speed up the job of de-frosting. How does one achieve such an outcome? By chiselling away at the ice build-up with a sharp instrument that’s how! All it takes is a small hole in the freezer and hey presto! the gas escapes and the damage is permanent. One minute you have a perfectly good fridge/ freezer, the next you have a wreck. The answer is simple. Preferably just leave the ice to melt on its own and wipe out the unit later. Or, if you are in a hurry a hairdryer can assist. But no sharp instruments and/or hammering at the ice!

Avoiding mould/odours

Mould will grow very quickly once a refrigeration appliance is turned off and simply left closed. If you are going to leave your appliance off for several days or more, leave the door ajar. This will allow the moisture to dry out thus preventing the growth of mould and the development of offensive odours.

Door seal damage

Refrigeration seals will deteriorate over time. However, keeping them clean will help ensure the best service you can get from them. So if liquid gets spilt onto the seals, wipe it off immediately to prevent it getting sticky and causing the seals to tear. Good seals are vital to the efficiency of your refrigerator.

 Air vents and drains

Refrigerators and freezers, in particular, frost-free refrigeration, rely on air circulation and efficient draining. To ensure vents and drains are not blocked it is important to keep loose particles of food from entering them. Those parts of the fridge are easy to see and it is really a case of loading the fridge/freezer properly and keeping it as clean as possible.

Setting on the floor

Set the feet of your refrigerator/freezer so that the unit is leaning back slightly and is solid on the ground. This helps the water drain the way it should and stops the fridge from rocking around when the door is opened. It will also help keep the door firmly closed, which is certainly important.

Washing Machines


Does your machine take off across the laundry floor when it goes into a spin? If it does it is usually a simple case of setting the feet correctly and not, as so many conclude, “a balance problem” The test is simple. If you can rock the machine (even slightly) back and forth then the feet need adjustment to set the machine solid on the floor. Sometimes, the tiled floor is just too shiny and smooth for the rubber feet to grip properly. In that case, try putting the machine onto a rubber mat to ensure extra grip.


The machine is solid on the floor, but it still has a “balance problem”. Does that sound like yours? This caring for your electrical appliance issue is usually the result of the machine being way out of level, or the feet are not locked solid. Simply re-set the level of the machine and make sure the feet are not loose. In most top-loading machines leaning it slightly forward (never backwards) is a useful way of preventing nuisance out of balance trips.


A washing machine will start to smell quite badly usually due to what has been put into it and not properly rinsed out. In our FAQ page, we mention the evils of fabric softener. As apart of caring for your electrical appliance, is a classic example of an additive that does your machine so much harm. Every now and then, flush your machine out with hot water and a packet of Epsom salts. Never use fabric softener and never use any bleach-based product to clean the machine out.


Front-loading machines can generate mould quite quickly if they are left wet and closed for long periods. After each use, wipe out any excess moisture from the door gasket and then leave the door slightly open.


Can we prevent our appliances from the onslaught of rust? Probably not, but we sure can slow it down. One of the major causes of a machine going to rust quickly is the overuse of soap powder or liquid. This “over-sudding” causes great streams of soap bubbles to escape the tub and settle on the inside of the cabinet. We often find that a reported leak is nothing more than soapy water running down the inside of the machine. The answer is so easy. You only need a level tablespoon of powder or liquid in your wash.  This ensures a good wash without the out of control soap bubbles!


Machines are designed for a certain load. Overloading will cause damage and limit the life of the machine. Keep within the specifications. It is often cheaper, in the long run, to take those heavy blankets and doonas to the launderette. After all, they generally get washed just at certain times of the year. Why risk your machine by loading kilos above its rating?



Dryers must have adequate airflow to ensure efficient operation. When a dryer cannot discharge the heat properly, it will overheat and cut out on thermal overload. Therefore when in use make sure that wherever it is installed that you have a window or door open.


If you use your dryer quite often and it has not been cleaned out for a few years, then you could well have a fire hazard on your hands. The more often you use it, the faster the build-up of fluff inside. We have seen dryers ignite because they have never been cleaned out. Do not attempt to clean it out yourself unless qualified to do so. But remember, it is much cheaper to keep your dryer safe and in good working order than it is to deal with the consequences of a house fire.


Like all appliances, dryers have a load rating. Stay within the stated load and it will last so much longer.

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Wet clothes

Dryers are designed to dry clothes after they have been spun dry. Do not put wet clothes into a dryer. Water and electricity do not mix!


Dryer filters are designed to capture the fluff generated during use. They really do need regular cleaning to ensure good airflow and to minimise the build-up of fluff in the machine itself. Check the filter after every use. That is such a simple, but effective way of caring for your dryer and keeping it working to maximum efficiency.


The above “caring for your electrical appliance hints” have been put together from years of experience with zodiac appliances and are general in nature. If though, you have other “handy hints” for the care of your appliance, please feel free to e-mail us site and they will be put on (with recognition of the author) for other people to learn from.

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