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How Long Do Appliances Last?

How Long Do Appliances Last

Know About the Lifespan of Your Appliances

A dreaded question you might consider when you run your dishwasher, start a load of laundry, or open your fridge—how long do appliances last before they give up the ghost? No one wants to be caught off guard when a device starts to fail—like an oven on Thanksgiving or a washing machine on laundry day. Read on to learn more about the average lifespan of your appliances, and how to keep them working for longer.
Select an appliance to learn more or continue reading below:

Kitchen

Consider the kitchen. If you walk into a house, you may notice things like the island, the cabinetry, backsplash, and other stylistic elements. But what really keeps your home’s heart beating is your kitchen appliances. The refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave are things you’ll use almost every day. And if you’ve ever lived in a home without just one of these devices, you understand how necessary they are.
So what, if anything, can we do to prolong their lifespans? Save time and money with a better understanding of how your devices work, and what you can do to keep them running. Hint: One of the best things you can do to keep them working like new is to clean them properly.

Dishwashers: Cleaner for Longer

Dishwashers are some of the most powerful cleaning agents in your kitchen. These powerhouses are strong but discrete, blending in with your kitchen’s silhouette. Plus, they make everything easier, saving you time, money, and water (approximately 100 gallons a week) compared to handwashing. Unfortunately, their heavy workload means they have a relatively short shelf life of only nine years on average.
So, how can you extend your machine’s lifetime? Proper cleaning, as mentioned above. For a dishwasher, that means washing under and inside your door, the flatware basket, the detergent dispenser, and the drain. Especially the drain. food waste can clog up here and damage your plumbing and the machine. Common problems include mold and mildew--make sure to annihilate any trace. As you clean, inspect the spray arm for proper function. Taking regular stock of your machine will help you to better answer the question of "How long do appliances last?" If yours has run its final cycle, check out our dishwasher buying guide to help you find a new one.

Microwave: The Multifunctional Chef

Just like the dishwasher, the average lifespan of a microwave tends to be about nine years. And as one of the kitchen’s vital multitaskers, they’re usually put to heavy use. Whether you’re heating up gourmet meal prep or a freezer dinner, you’ll be pressing the one-minute button on that microwave a few times a week.
How long does a microwave last? Potentially longer if you take good care of it and regularly clean yours. Make sure to degrease the filters as often as suggested by your user’s manual, use the exhaust fan, and always use microwave-safe containers. Never put metal in the microwave either, but that one’s obvious, right? Check out 13 other things you should never put in the microwave here.
If you’re interested in replacing your microwave, don’t fly blind. Do your homework first by reading up on our microwave buying guide.

Refrigerator & Freezer: The Quintessential Kitchen

The refrigerator has an average lifespan of about 13 years, and that length can be extended with proper maintenance. As one of the most important appliances in your home, you’ll want to pick one that’s best for your household and keep it running for as long as possible. See our refrigerator buying guide to find one that matches your lifestyle.
Along with biweekly gentle cleanings and good food organization, you should vacuum your refrigerator’s coils at least once a year. You can find these behind the panel at the bottom of the fridge. Give these a once-over with the vacuum to remove dust and allergens, and you’ll find your fridge working more efficiently already.
Additionally, regularly cleaning out and turning the fridge off and back on can help extend its life. We're not recommending that be done every month, but once a year is reasonable. When you turn it off, give it a good scrubbing to knock out two chores at once. When it comes to freezers, many of the same tips are true, though with a slightly shorter lifespan. Freestanding freezers tend to last closer to 11 years.

Ranges & Ovens: High-Temperature Durability

How long do appliances last on average? When it comes to ranges and ovens, the answer is varied. Gas ovens average about 15, while certain electric ovens average 13, but both can last longer if you take care of yours well. For tips on how to keep yours in shape, check out our article on how to clean an oven quickly and easily. Regularly cleaning your oven can ensure grease and oil don’t build up, and prevents smoke from building up in the oven.
A dirty oven can make your food taste differently than it should, too. If your oven is beyond saving, check out our oven buying guide to find out what you need in your next one.

Small Appliances

How long do appliances last, ones like kitchen mixers and slow cookers? That depends on which devices you have, but one thing is true for nearly all of them: they won’t last as long as your larger devices like the fridge or microwave. That doesn’t necessarily apply to the toaster, though, which can last anywhere from six to eight years.
Meanwhile, the slow cooker can outlast nearly all other appliances. That’s why grandma is planning on leaving it to you in her will, too. These soup makers are built with durability in mind, lasting as long as 15 years and beyond. However, the vacuum cleaner is not as blessed with durability. Parts can break or need replacement on occasion and can be tough to replace. A good vacuum can last more than ten years if cleaned properly, though. Be sure to research before you buy to ensure you're choosing a vacuum that will last a long time. Then, look into the best ways to take care of the one you pick.

Home & Laundry

Washer & Dryer

Washers and dryers are kind of like refrigerators and freezers: they have very different lifespans. A well-designed washer should last you about 10 years, while the dryer can go for 13 years or longer without needing to be replaced. And while we all know doing laundry can be a pain in itself, it's important to do minor maintenance along the way to prolong your appliance’s life.
Make sure you clean out the dryer’s lint trap every time you run it, and try to keep lint away from the vent pipe, motor, belt, drum, and the space behind the dryer. Want some tips for the washing machine? Make sure your hoses are leak- and clog-free. To do so, check to see if anything feels loose or out of place. Call in a professional if you fear there's a leak developing in your washing machine. Finally, never run the machine unless you have a full load. Running small or partial loads can overwork the machine, cutting its shelf life as well as wasting water and electricity. Keep your laundry room organized in order to access both machines with ease.

Water Heaters & HVAC system

These are devices you probably don’t think about very often, and that’s the way it should be. An operating water heater and furnace are things you shouldn’t have to worry about by definition. Water heaters can last ten years or longer. Monitoring the pressure release valve—checking on it two or three times a year—can help to extend your water heater’s life. You should also check the anode rod every two years or so. The anode rod can be removed to evaluate (or replace) and it's normal for it to show signs of use. However, if the rod is overly corroded, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
When it comes to HVAC systems, things are a little greyer. There are many types of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, with some lasting longer than others. For example, furnaces can last for 15-20 years, heat pumps last for 16 years on average and air conditioning units can remain functioning for 10-15 years. However, these systems may require new or replacement parts, filters, and regular cleaning. While most of those systems don't require new technology or modern updates to get by, that's not the case for all HVAC appliances. For example, thermostats can last as long as 35 years but are often updated based on new technology evolutions (we’re looking at you, mercury thermostats).
To increase the longevity of your HVAC system, regularly inspect, clean and change the air filters; clean the evaporator and condenser coils; and schedule seasonal maintenance of the system. Money spent now on taking care of your system will save you more in the long run.

Appliance Service

Whether you’re buying a new appliance today or are trying to get the most out of a decades-old purchase, there’s one clear solution to keeping your devices running, and that’s keeping them clean. Write notes on the calendar or set reminders in your phone to sponge down the fridge and steam-clean the microwave, too. If you find yourself in need of a new stove, washer, HVAC system, or any other home appliance, we’ve got your back. Give us a call at 800-860-3577 and connect with an expert who can help you find the right one to fulfill your needs.

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