Tenants: Protect Your Security Deposit by Cleaning (Not Replacing!) Appliances
Picture this: you’ve just moved into a new rental property, excited to settle in and make it your own. You’ve paid your security deposit, and you hope to get the entire amount back by the time your lease agreement expires.
Nonetheless, it’s inevitable for tenants to feel anxious about the potential deductions from their security deposits for damaged appliances. But, as Iron Man once wisely said, “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”
In the realm of rental living, the power lies in your hands to minimize damage and maximize the lifespan of your appliances through regular maintenance and cleaning—not replacing them.
In this article, we’ll equip you with easy and practical tips to keep your appliances in top-notch condition without spending too much.
How to Take Care of Your Appliances
Appliance lists are common in rental agreements, outlining the appliances provided with your new home.
It’s essential to have a documented conversation with your landlord about the condition of each machine at the beginning of your lease agreement. By doing so, you can ensure that any pre-existing issues or damages are properly documented and photographed, protecting you from potential accusations and deductions for something that was already broken before you even moved in.
Once you’ve agreed on the condition of the appliances in your rental unit, let’s explore maintenance strategies to keep them in excellent working order throughout your tenancy.
In most rental properties, they often provide the following appliances:
The refrigerator is the heart of your kitchen, so treat it with care.
According to the 23rd annual portrait of the U.S. appliance industry, most refrigerators have an average life expectancy of 14 years. But that doesn’t mean it will be damage-free all throughout. Here are four ways to ensure you don’t damage your fridge:
- Vacuum the condenser coils at least twice a year to remove dust and debris, as not doing so can impede your refrigerator’s efficiency and potentially cause a breakdown. You can find the condenser coils on the underside or rear of the fridge, so you’ll need to pop off the grille or pull the fridge out from the cabinet to clean them.
- Wipe down the interior regularly to prevent spills and funky odors.
- Keep the top of the fridge clear because using it as extra storage may interfere with its ability to dissipate heat.
- Ensure that the door seals are a tight fit, as this helps maintain temperature control and prevents energy wastage.
To keep your stove and oven running smoothly, clean up spills and splatters promptly—don’t wait until they’re dry and cake. When you let spills or grease build up, the heating elements of your oven and stovetop must work harder to heat up.
Accordingly, you’ll also increase your energy consumption, resulting in a higher electricity bill!
Remove grease on the stovetop and oven walls using mild detergent and non-abrasive cleaners. Consider using aluminum foil or oven liners to catch drips and avoid unnecessary messes. Lastly, don’t forget to clean the exhaust hood and replace the filter regularly for efficient ventilation.
For ovens with a self-cleaning feature, we don’t recommend relying on it at all times instead of cleaning it yourself. That’s because this feature tends to wear the oven much faster as it forces the oven to reach extremely high temperatures to burn away food particles. In worst cases, they can cause fires when in self-cleaning mode.
Say goodbye to the tedious chore of hand-washing dishes with a well-maintained dishwasher. Here are three tips to keep your dishwasher continue performing at its peak:
- Clean the dishwasher filter: If you notice that your dishes aren’t coming out clean, then it’s time to clean your filter. You can clean your filter using a toothbrush to get any stuck food particles and then soak it in white vinegar.
- Make sure you’re using hot water: If you’re not using hot water, then it will likely cause your tablets not to dissolve all the way. Cold water will force your unit to run longer to reach and maintain the optimal temperature, so it’s best to use at least 120 F water.
- Avoid putting any items that are not dishwasher safe: Certain items should never be cleaned in your dishwasher, not just because they could get destroyed, but because they can wreak havoc on the appliance itself. Some items in this category include candle jars, jars, cans with paper labels, delicate glassware, and fine china.
A clean and well-kept washer and dryer ensure fresh laundry every time. And like any big appliance, replacing a washing machine and dryer will cost you too much money. So, it’s essential to know how you can take care of it to avoid any financial burdens. Here’s how you can do that:
- Clean your washing machine: Having a clean washing machine will help maintain the appliance. It’s advisable to clean your machine once a month or after every 30 washes to help remove any lingering soap scum and build-up.
- Remove wet clothes ASAP: When you leave wet clothes in the washing machine, it can destroy your garments and the appliance, as it creates an environment where mold and mildew can grow.
- Clean the dryer lint filter: Clean the lint trap after every use of your dryer unit to prevent any fire hazards and keep your dryer operating optimally.
- Don’t dry items with plastic and rubber: When you dry these items, the steam from the dryer unit can end up melting the items. When that happens, you risk damaging your appliance.
Proper maintenance of your air conditioning units enhances their efficiency and prolongs their lifespan. Start by cleaning or replacing the air filters monthly or as the manufacturer recommends. Keep the outdoor unit clear of debris, such as leaves and twigs, and ensure proper airflow. Additionally, consider having professional HVAC maintenance done annually to address any underlying issues and optimize performance.
Remember, these maintenance and cleaning tips won’t cost you a dime, but they could save you a significant amount from your security deposit. Take a proactive approach to caring for your appliances, and you’ll reap the rewards of their longevity and performance.
Appliance Replacement Costs
While regular upkeep is free, failing to care for your appliances can result in costly repairs or even the need for complete replacements.
To give you a clearer picture of the financial impact, let’s delve into the average prices for replacing some of the most common household appliances.
Understanding these costs can be a powerful reminder to prioritize proper maintenance and cleaning, and appliance repairs, to safeguard your appliances and your hard-earned security deposit.
Secure Your Deposit With Well-Kept Appliances
Take charge of your appliances’ destiny and maintain them with these simple yet effective tips. By doing so, you’ll save money and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your appliances are running smoothly.
Read more tips on how to become a stellar tenant on our blog.