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How to Avoid a Christmas Nightmare

Watch Josh demonstrate how to avoid a Christmas nightmare caused by a breakdown of an appliance in the home.

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Video Transcript

Hi I’m Josh from eSpares.

For many people Christmas can be a busy and stressful time of year, not just on the day itself but also in the weeks leading up to it. So in this video I'm going to show you some of the checks and maintenance you can perform in the appliances around your home to avoid any of those Christmas nightmares, and to make sure that the big day goes down without a hitch.

Now arguably one of the most important appliances at Christmas is your cooker, and if you developed a problem with the cooker it’s going to cause a big issue on the day. One of the first things you need to check with the cooker is that the fan is functioning correctly.

When you first turn on your oven the fan should start spinning quite quickly, and there shouldn't be too much excess noise while it's spinning. If we just turn this one on, you can hear its started spinning quite quickly and it's not producing too much noise either. So that indicates that the fan is working properly, also when you turn the fan off it should continue to spin for a short while afterwards. If I just turn this fan off, you should hear that fan has continued to spin for a while after I've switch it off, so that would indicate that this fan is working fine.

One of the other problems that can be caused by the fan not functioning properly is that the elements surrounding it can overheat and actually fail. Of course you don’t want that to happen in your oven, so if you are noticing any of the symptoms of the fan taking a while to start spinning or its causing excess noise while it is spinning then it's probably a good idea to replace it before it fails completely and you can see how to do that in another eSpares video.

Now it may be the case in your fan oven that it's also fitted with another fan, this is a cooling fan and that's designed to keep these controls here nice and cool after you’ve switched the fan oven off and whilst its still hot. If after you’ve switched the fan oven off you’re hearing any excess noise coming from the cooling fan, then again it's a good idea to replace it before it fails and you can see how to do that in another eSpares video.

When you've checked the fans in your oven it's time to move on to the door and the seal. When you close the door it should be nice and solid and there shouldn’t be any extra movement from it. But as you can see on this oven even with the door closed I can still move it backwards and forwards. Now the problem with that is that it means the door isn't closing properly, so it's going to let the heat out of the oven, and that's going to cause a problem when you're cooking food in it, now that would point to a problem with the hinges and obviously you'll need to replace them.

Once you've checked the hinges just open the door and have a look at the seal that goes around the outside the oven cavity, this seal is held on by tension at the corners so it may well be loose in between but just have a look for any tears or perforations and make sure that the rubber isn’t distorted in any way. As we have a look around this seal it looks to be in pretty good condition so in this case we will just need to replace the hinges on the door. A good tip for when you using your fan oven is to leave the circulation fan running for just a couple of minutes after you’ve finished cooking with the temperature turned down to a minimum in the oven, this just helps to disperse the heat that's in the oven and stop the element from overheating which will help to prolong its life.

While we're on the subject of cookers, it's also a good idea to take a look at your hob and it may be that previously you had a ring fail on the hob and you’ve manage to cope without it. But at Christmas when you're cooking much larger amounts of food you're going to need to have all those hob rings available, if you have had one fail, now is a great time to get it replaced and get them all working again.

Now after we have had a look at the cooker and hob the next appliances to take a look at are the fridge and freezer. At Christmas we tend to buy too much food and not have enough space for it, so before you do your big Christmas shop try to run down the contents of your freezer as much as possible. This is a good opportunity to go through and find anything that's getting quite old or what might be considered to be passed its best, and you can decide whether you're going to eat it or chuck it out.

You can also clear the freezer out completely and defrost it, and that’s going to keep it working at its best. Same again with your fridge, just go through it and have a look for anything that might be getting a bit old that you can get rid of and if there are any broken shelves or draws in there now's a great time to replace them, or if you're looking for some additional shelf space you might want to consider adding an extra shelf or a bottle rack for keeping your wine nice and chilled; of course all of those are available from eSpares.

If your fridge is like this one and it has a water and ice dispenser you might want to consider changing the water filter as well, as you're likely to use this more and around Christmas for gatherings and parties.

One final word about your fridge and freezer, as with your cooker just check the door seal is sealing properly. If there are any holes or gaps it’s going to let the cold air out. You can check if the seal is working by using a piece of paper and inserting it between the seal and the door. If the paper isn't held in place that would indicate that the seal isn't working properly and you can easily fix it. In some cases you can rectify the issue just by warming the seal up with a hairdryer, this softens the rubber and helps it to expand into the gap. However if the seal is in especially bad condition it's much better to just replace the whole thing and you can see how to do that in another eSpares video.

Now over the Christmas period you may be placing a greater demand on your dishwasher so there are few checks to go through to make sure it's functioning at its best.

If I try to pull the bottom tray out to the dishwasher you can see that it's dropping down and the reason for that is that it's lost a wheel on the side. Now it's quite common for wheels to fall off the tray or for them to crack. So if that happens on yours it's a good idea to replace it, especially when the tray is loaded up it can be quite difficult to pull it in and out of the appliance.

I'm also going to have a look at the a bottom of the cutlery basket for any and holes or damage, if there are any holes the cutlery can actually fall through and block the bottom spray arm which will stop it from turning, and this will affect the cleaning efficiency of the dishwasher. Also have a look in the filters and remove any debris or blockages in there which are likely to cause a problem, and make sure that the rinse aid and salt are kept topped up in the dishwasher as well.

Now it's a good idea, especially if you haven't used your dishwasher for a while, to run a cleaner through it such as the eSpares limescale and detergent remover, and it is really good for just flushing the system and making sure that it's nice and clear. You can see some other tips on how to get your dishwasher cleaning more effectively in another eSpares video.

Now at Christmas you may find yourself using those smaller kitchen appliances that you wouldn't normally use that much throughout the rest of the year.

If you have a food mixer or a liquidizer and the bowl is cracked you might want to consider replacing it or if you've got any worn or misplaced items such as the beaters or any other attachments you can replace those as well. If you have a bread maker you might want to consider replacing the loaf tin if it’s getting a bit old, and such spares for small kitchen appliances are all available on the eSpares website.

Now over Christmas many people have friends and family to come and stay, and if this is the case for you, you may find yourself using your washing machine and tumble dryer more than usual. If there are any squeaks or rattles and rather unusual noises coming from either appliance, that usually indicates the presence of a worn part you need to track down the source of the noise and replace the part before it fails completely.

If there are any and cracked draws on either appliance these can be easily replaced with spares from the eSpares website and that just makes it easy to load and use the appliance properly. Just have a check of the filters in the tumble dryer and make sure they are not blocked up with too much fluff, just make sure these are nice and clear. It's also a good idea to put your washing machine onto a service wash using a cleaner such as the eSpares limescale and detergent remover, that just flushes the system through and make sure that it's nice and clear over the Christmas period, and you can see how to use the limescale and detergent remover in another eSpares video.

Finally it's time for the annual challenge of the Christmas lights, now because you haven't use these for quite a while you need to get on the box and check and replace any bulbs that have failed, like this one for example. Now this old-style bulb is only good for about five hundred hours after which they going to fail more frequently; and nothing is more annoying than setting them up in a display only to return a couple days later to see that more bulbs have failed. So for that reason it's much better to replace them with this new style LED bulbs. These are much tougher than the old style bulbs and they're also good for up to fifty thousand hours, so you get a lot more use out to them.

If you're planning to set your lights up outdoors, where it’s likely to be wet, make sure you do it safely using an RCD safety device that will prevent any accidental shocks that result from water coming into contact with the lights. If you want to cut down on your power usage over the Christmas period, it's a good idea to use your lights in conjunction with a timer plug. Now this can be set to turn the lights on and off automatically when required.

Hopefully this video has helped to show you some of the ways you can avoid a Christmas nightmare in your home; and of course spares and accessories for your appliances as well as lights timers and RCD’s being available on the eSpares website.

Thanks for watching.

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