Consumer Watch: How to extend the life of your appliances

Set of home kitchen appliances in the room on the wall background. - stock photo appliance tile home tile / Getty Images

We're getting ready to renovate our kitchen and a couple of other parts of our home and want to save as much money as possible. We'll need all new appliances and want to know what we can do to ensure they'll last longer than the average lifetime. – Sally Savings

Dear Ms. Savings: You're a smart cookie! It's easier than you might think to add years to these pricy appliances and the Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even Men Can Understand by Vernon Schmidt tells us how.

A dishwasher's average lifespan is 10 years, but you can tack on an extra four to eight years by following Schmidt's advice. Just run hot water through the running garbage disposal for thirty seconds before you turn on the dishwasher. (The dispersed water sucks out any remains that could be drawn into the machine's drain line, which leads to clogs.