Here are some key tips for keeping your home appliances in tip-top shape.

1.  Air conditioners- Rinse and replace filters monthly. Check for refrigerant leaks. Clear leaves and debris from around outdoor compressors.

2.  Garbage disposals- If you hear an abnormal grinding sound, immediately turn off the disposal and clear the obstruction. Common culprits are fruit pits and small utensils. To prevent any unpleasant odors, grind portions of citrus fruits in it and rinse with plenty of water. Remember to use the utmost caution when cleaning your disposal - it is a grinder after all and can cause serious damage.

3.  Hot water heaters- Check the outside for corrosion, which can turn into a crack and lead to flooding (not only a nuisance, but a large expense as well). Also, test the pressure-relief values for leaks. If a replacement heater is in your future, consider a tankless model that saves space and energy.

4.  Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors- Press the "test" button monthly to make sure your detectors are working. Batteries should be replaced annually and the device will alert you when the light begins to flash or chirping sounds start.

5.  Refrigerators- Move your refrigerator every time you do a deep clean to sweep and clean the coils. While doing so, check to make sure the seal is still tight and replace water filters (every six months).

6.  Dishwashers- Remove water mineral buildup monthly by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar into your empty machine and running it through a cleaning cycle. Keep an eye out for leaks on the side and under the machine; if you see one, call a repair service immediately.

7.  Range hoods- Cooking grease and build up wreak havoc under range hoods. Monthly, remove filters and soak and scrub off grease in a sink filled with soapy water. While filters are soaking, remove debris from the hood's insides.

8.  Washers and dryers- Check hoses and wiring behind the washer and dryer for pinched, cracked, or broken lines, which need to be replaced immediately. Clear lint from dryer traps after each load to prevent fire. Clean the outside and inside of both appliances with a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water roughly every six months, depending on how much laundry you do.