The Life Expectancy of Main Home Appliances
July 17, 2020
By April Huynh
Recently I’ve gotten a surge of renters submitting repair requests for several appliances that have failed this summer. It led me to wondering about how long appliances will last and I thought it would be a helpful source of information for my investors and homeowners. Knowing and understanding how long appliances in your homes or rentals can last is important so that you can plan and budget your expenses properly.
The Reality Today
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to” is something I often hear repairmen say when they are out at one of the rentals servicing appliances.
I saw this first hand about 7 years ago when my aunt bought an older home in a neighborhood in Henderson. It was one of the homes constructed in the early 1950’s in a whole subdivision in which all the streets were named after trees. Here was a house that looked like it got stuck in time. It proudly sported the term “vintage” throughout with appliances straight out of the late 60’s or early 70’s that were still in working condition circa 2013!
Nowadays, appliances simply do not last that long. While we might wistfully reminisce about the good ‘ol days and how sturdy and reliable things were made back then, we also have to realize that manufacturers have equipped us with some pretty amazing features that weren’t available back then either. Furthermore, website www.thisoldhouse.com makes another good point here when it states that “appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable.”
Nevertheless, here’s a list of what you can expect out of today’s appliances’ life expectancy according to www.consumer.org.nz. If there are additional comments that follow each item, they are provided by inspection company Caveat Emptor, www.caveatemptorlv.com.
Dishwashers: 9-10 years “When they do need to be replaced, replacement Energy-Star dishwashers are often more energy efficient and consume less water.”
Fridges, fridge-freezers and freezers: 10-11 years A valuable basic rule of thumb: “If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it is so inefficient compared to modern day refrigerators that it should be replaced. A 10-year old refrigerator consumes twice the amount of energy as a modern day Energy-Star rated model.”
Ovens and Stove: 13-15 years “Life expectancy of these components differs depending on whether it is gas or electric. Gas ranges / ovens seem to have a slightly longer life expectancy, one of the longest life expectancy appliances in the home. Gas range ovens typically last 15 - 18 years. Electric ones typically last approximately 9 - 12 years.”
Microwaves and Countertop Convection Ovens: 8 years “Built-in microwave ovens seem to have a longer life expectancy, 9 – 12 years, than the countertop units, 5 - 7 years.”
Washing Machines: 10 years (top and front loader)
Clothes Dryers: 10-11 years “Excessive heat greatly contributes to failure of dryers. Excessive heat is often the result of inadequate air flow. Inadequate air flow occurs when the vent becomes clogged. It’s very important to clean the dryer vent no less than biannually.”
Of course, how long an item lasts often depends on how they are cared for. Repair folks frequently stress the need to have these major items checked and serviced regularly to get the most out of them. Unfortunately, I find that most homeowners and investors (including myself) rarely make this a routine part of maintaining their homes. We really only react to them when they don’t function or work as properly as they had been.
Is there a cost-effective way to keep our appliances working for the longest time possible? Perhaps the solution may be a home warranty insurance package. We’ll explore the value that such a plan may offer in my next blog.