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How Long Should My Home Appliances Last?

November 9, 2017

 

Clean clothes and dishes, a roof over your head, fresh water and plumbing, and a comfortable, temperate house: these are just a few of the things we take for granted more often than we'd probably like to admit. That's why when something goes wrong with any one of them, it seems like it's at the worst time possible. Not only do you have to deal with the inconvenience of being without your appliance or amenity, you also have to deal the cost of repair or even replacement.

     Since it's hard to know if you're dealing with a bad part, a lemon product, or if your appliance or system is just on its last leg, it's useful to first check out the National Association of Home Builders / Bank of America Home Equity Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. This will help you determine whether your product is within its life expectancy and needs to be replaced, or whether you're looking at a salvageable project.

Beyond that, it's important to note that, while many of these household appliances should last you a decade or more, unless they were all purchased at the same time, you will most likely have to replace at least one major appliance or system every couple of years.

     Check out the information below to see what the lifespans of your systems and appliances are. After that, consider investing in a home warranty so that when they do fail, you have a simple solution that doesn't break the bank.

Refrigerator

Refrigerators on average last about 13 years, especially if you maintain them properly. Common fridge and freezer issues include frost and temperature problems, which might stem from a leak in the door seal. If it's not operating at all, check for a damaged fuse or tripped circuit breaker first; after that, make sure that its power cable is plugged in and receiving electricity. Use these freezer and refrigerator maintenance tips to make sure that yours last for as long as possible:

  1. Vacuum your refrigerator coils once a year. These are usually located under a panel at the bottom of the fridge, though you may find them on the back.

  2. Keep the inside clean. Take out the food, turn off the unit, and give it a good scrub down.

  3. Check that the door is staying shut. If the fridge door doesn't close by itself, try changing the angle by adjusting the support feet.

Dishwasher

While some people make it without the luxury of a dishwasher, those who have them know and appreciate the difference. Unfortunately, the findings of this study pointed to dishwashers as one of the appliances with the shortest lifespan. Along with microwave ovens, these plate and utensil cleaning machines will last around nine years. At least they last longer than trash compactors, which will likely have to be replaced every six years.

Stove and Oven

How long your stove and oven are going to last is largely dependent upon whether it's electric or gas, and even then the difference isn't that significant. Electric ranges last 13 years, while gas ranges should last 15. Your oven hood is right between the two at 14 years.

Making sure you get the most out of your oven comes down to how well you maintain it. For an electric range, you'll want to keep it and its filters and fans clean. Gas ranges may need to be cleaned more regularly. Check out these oven maintenance tips for more details.

Washer and Dryer

Washers and dryers are the appliance pair that keeps western civilization fresh. Thankfully, a washer itself is meant to last 10 years, while dryers will last you 13 if you care for them properly. The most important element of clothes dryer maintenance is not only to make sure that you're cleaning out the lint trap every dryer cycle, but also to realize that lint spreads much farther than that. The vent pipe leading outdoors, behind your dryer, and even the motor, belt, and drum can accumulate lint, so be proactive and keep these clean.

     Both washers and dryers have a tendency to become unbalanced, which can rattle the motor and mess with the hardware within. The best way to take care of your washing machine and make sure it lasts its full 10 years is to make sure it's balanced, as well as to do preventive maintenance and to keep it clean. Periodically check all hoses and connections for cracks, leaks, and clogs, and also make sure to check and keep filters clean.

Water Heater

Nice, warm showers and baths can be some of the most intensely missed luxuries when your water heater goes out. These systems should last, on average, for 10 years (11 if it's electric instead of gas), and possibly even longer if you take care of it. We suggest checking the pressure release valve at least twice a year, flushing it once a year, and checking the anode rod once every three years. For more information on caring for your water heater and how to check out those valves and flush your unit, check out our tips here.

HVAC system

The HVAC system is a tad more complex than most other systems boasting multiple components, but according to the Bank of America Home Equity Study, most of these components will last between 15 and 25 years. Furnaces can last between 15 and 20 years, while air conditioning units are going to be closer to between 10 and 15 years. Thermostats have a longer lifespan than most appliances, lasting around 35 years, but are generally replaced by newer technology before they are actually worn out. Check out these general care tips to keep your HVAC system up and running for as long as possible.

     What the lifespan of your product truly comes down to is how well you treat and maintain it. Sure, a dryer is supposed to last 10 years, but if you never clean the lint trap and it's constantly off-balance, it will never make it that long. Preventative care is manageable and helps prevent problems from popping up unexpectedly. Nevertheless, when they do, it always helps to have a home warranty so that you can take care of repairs without breaking the bank.

 

For more information on home warranties and how they may help you to cover costs of appliance repair or replacement call or text Nina Bjornstal at 206-730-0962 or email me at nina@ninabjornstal.com.

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