How to catch appliance issues early through predictive maintenance

In most homes, people don't consider having their appliances repaired until they completely break down. It's only when the refrigerator can't keep your food cold anymore (or the oven can't bake fresh chicken) that you may consider calling an appliance repair technician. This approach to maintaining your appliances can be very inconveniencing. Why? Because you have to remain with a broken appliance until its fixed, and you often can't predict when your important appliances will need to be repaired.