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5 tips to maintain your fridge and oven

If you're preparing for a holiday or other event that requires a lot of home-cooking, take time in the weeks before the event to ensure that your major appliances are operating efficiently and will be able to handle the job. Here are five tips:

1. Find out if your refrigerator is wasting energy by testing the door’s seal. Start by closing the door on a thin sheet of paper. If the paper slips, your fridge is wasting energy and costing you extra money. Also, periodically vacuum the fridge vents and coils to keep the compressor running efficiently and using the least amount of energy possible.

2. Keeping your oven clean will help it run more efficiently. Consider baking in batches, rather than heating the oven for one-time use several times over the week. When you can, use the microwave. Be sure your oven door shuts properly; a loose seal lets heat escape and leads to improperly cooked meals.

3. If you’re planning to do a lot of cooking for a major holiday or event, do the self-cleaning some weeks ahead of time and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Some ovens have shown a tendency for electrical components to fail after a self-cleaning cycle, in which the oven temperature nears 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Check your oven’s performance by getting a basic cake mix and following the directions exactly. If the cake doesn't bake properly in the time frame set out on the box, your oven’s temperature might be off.

5. If moisture appears on the outside of the oven door, you may have a faulty door gasket. Gaskets maintain proper cooking temperatures and should be replaced at the first sign of a leak.

If you need help with repairing or replacing appliances, consider how Angie's List can help. Members have access to local consumer reviews on appliance experts and service providers in more than 550 other categories.

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