This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last


Ain't it the truth that appliances have a funny way of breaking at the worst possible times?

Your refrigerator stops running as soon as you fill it with a couple weeks' worth of groceries, or your central air conditioning bites the big one during a heat wave in July. All is not always lost, however. In many cases, the appliance can be fixed. For a couple hundred bucks you might be able to squeeze a few extra years out of it.

Alas, nothing lasts forever – and knowing the life expectancy of home appliances gives you an idea of when you should start saving for a replacement. Let's break down a few of the big ones. 

See also: How to Save Money on Appliances Any Time of the Year

1. Refrigerator

Your refrigerator might be the most expensive appliance in your kitchen. You can spend under $1,000 for a refrigerator on the low end, or up to several thousands of dollars if you get a fancy model with all the bells and whistles.

See also: Make Your Fridge Last (Almost) Forever with These 8 Tips

If you paid a pretty penny for your fridge, naturally you'll want to squeeze as much life out of this appliance as possible. Typically, refrigerators have a lifespan up to 15 years, according to Angie's List, a consumer rating service. Start looking for a replacement if your model is nearing (or already passed) the 15-year mark. This way, you avoid the refrigerator dying unexpectedly. And since refrigerators use a lot of energy, buying a more energy efficient model can save you money over time.

See also: Best 5 Refrigerators

To test the efficiency of your fridge, put a thermometer inside and close the door for about five minutes. If the temperature inside the fridge is higher than 45 degrees after five minutes, the fridge could be on its last leg.

2. Stove/Oven

Don't wait until your stove burners or oven stops working to think about buying a new stove. On average, you can get between 10 and 15 years out of a range/oven. Common problems with this appliance involve igniter failure and problems with the control board or bake element.

3. Dishwasher

If you have running sink water and dish soap, replacing your dishwasher might not be an urgent need. On the other hand, you probably can't imagine going a day without a dishwasher if you absolutely hate washing dishes by hand. (Like I do; totally makes me gag.)

See also: Make Your Dishwasher Last (Almost) Forever With These 6 Tricks

To avoid any surprises, expect to replace your dishwasher every eight to 10 years. The good news, however, is that dishwashers are relatively inexpensive. You can find models starting around $400. Start shopping around if you hear loud, banging noise coming from the dishwasher, or if the dishwasher no longer cleans your dishes despite maintenance. Don't discount, though, that you may be able to fix some issues yourself — like I did when my dishwasher wouldn't spray water — when I looked up a DIY tutorial on YouTube. Huge time and money saver. (See also: Best 5 Dishwashers)

4. Washer and Dryer

With your packed schedule, you don't have time to plan weekly visits to the laundromat. It's time-consuming and inconvenient, and it's a good idea to replace your washer or dryer before it stops working.

See also: Best 5 Washing Machines and 5 Best Dryers

According to Angie's List, both appliances have an average lifespan of eight to 12 years. You can extend the life of your dryer by regularly cleaning your lint trap. Additionally, clean your washer and dryer hoses, heating element, and dryer ducts at least once a year. Properly maintaining your dryer not only extends its life, it also reduces the chance of a dryer fire. This can happen when lint accumulates on the heating element or in the ducts.

5. Hot Water Heater

You should be able to get about seven to 10 years out of a hot water heater. To get the most use, drain about a quarter of water from the tank every three months. This little trick helps remove sediment from the tank, which forms from minerals in the water. Removing sediment allows water in the tank to heat up faster, making the tank more efficient.

6. HVAC System

Your air-conditioning and heating system is responsible for maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home. It uses a lot of energy and it might work around the clock depending on the season – so naturally, you shouldn't expect the system to last the lifetime of the home. On average, you should replace an HVAC system every 15 to 20 years. You can extend the lifespan of your system with preventive maintenance. Getting your unit professionally serviced at least once a year helps identify problems early and keeps the unit working at its best.

To help reduce some of the cost with maintaining an HVAC system (and other appliances in your home), consider a home warranty. A warranty protects your pocket against unexpected repairs. For a flat service call fee, the warranty company will repair a covered item, or replace it if unable to fix due to normal wear and tear.

Have you had to replace appliances? Was it unexpected, or did you do it preemptively? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

Ours seem right on schedule.

Guest's picture

All of the above are not ours to replace, as we rent an apartment. However, using a dehumidifier is essential to prevent mold, something we found out quite quickly upon moving to this apartment. I preemptively replaced ours after 3 years, and kept the original one for backup. I did this in the spring, and since our dampness occurs in winter, we had little chance to know whether the new machine works well. That remains to be seen.

Guest's picture

Most of the inexperience authors, including this one, on the vast majority of these webpages, do not have a whole lot of life experience and/or their "sources of reliable information" are either repair people or industry people with a specific agenda to increase sales by putting far lower perceived useful lives of appliances into peoples minds in order to profit from them. I am in my 50s and I have been in the rental property business for about 30 years, so not only do I have my experience for refrig, stoves and ovens, DW, clothes washers and dryers stoves and ovens, I have the experience of my rental properties. So here are the real lives of appliances based on actual experience.

Refrigerators = 25 years as much as forty years in some cases
Stove/oven = if gas 35 to 40 years, if electric around 25 years to maybe 30
Dish washers =25 -30 years.
Clothes washers = based on 10 loads/week front loaders 8-10 years, top loaders 20 -25 years
Clothes Dryers = if gas 25 to 30 years, if electric (not sure here) but probably 10-15
Central Air conditioners = 30 to 45 years. My neighbor a retired engineer made his last almost 45 years.

There will be some minor repairs to all these appliances with the parts not costing but $10 to $50 ($8 bearing for a gas dryer needed at about 10 years), but the labor rates are a minimum of $200 and up. So if you can make the repair yourself, which I believe almost everyone can do it, then it makes almost no sense to replace your appliances. Even if you have to pay for the repair and it is $250 and if a new appliance is above $400, then it is probably still worth it to repair your current appliance rather then buy new. I hope this helps you all

Guest's picture

I have almost never commented on a blog like this but these expectations from a seasoned property business owner seem to be from the 1950's. forty years for a refrigerator, 40 years from an oven, 30 years from a dish washer (did they even make dish washers 30 years ago?) and I live in Las Vegas good luck with 45 years on your central air. I have to say that the original poster was very close to accepting the realities of today's conditions and build standards. You should not take these as guidelines for your appliances, the fact is that it would cost you more to run a 30 year old appliance than it would to buy a new one and run it for two years. There are more things to consider than it just runs.

Guest's picture

I think your estimate is far more accurate based on the life of the appliance my mom and grandma had. Appliances were from the 60s. All the kitchen appliances were replaced about 5 years ago, they were falling apart from age and use. Washer and water heater were replaced in the late 80s so they they both lasted in the 20s, and we're recently replaced again when the washer started leaking and the dryer took forever. The air conditioning unit is still using the old freon. There aren't any parts for it now and we're informed that if it breaks or the freon can't be obtained, that'll be that. It's the original unit; grandpa was an A/C guy when he was alive. Back then, appliances were made to last.

I wonder about today's appliances though. My mom's new stove that replaced the 60s stove, broke at year 3. My fridge is approaching 10 years and was midline. Works nice but thin plastic accessories broke easy. In 10 years I've replaced 2 pumps, a door gasket and an inlet valve on my front loader washer. The thermostat and elements went bad in my water heater at year 5 due to extremely hard local water source, even the anode had completely disintegrated. It certainly does pay to make use of the internet and YouTube to fix your own appliances. I'm sure I've saved hundreds in labor to fix such things. I suppose only time will tell if these appliances will hold up. Right now, I'm not so impressed.

By the author's estimates, I should replace my appliance right about now. If it can be fixed, Is just assume fix it. Replacing Appliances is crazy expensive. I'm not replacing things for the sake of replacing them.