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How Long Do Appliances Last?

Nothing lasts forever, & unfortunately, that includes your major kitchen appliances. Read along to determine the average lifespan of your kitchen appliances & how to keep them maintained.
How Long Do Appliances Last

Making the Most of Your Kitchen Appliances

When you think about the things you'll buy in the span of a decade, home appliances aren't the most exciting things you'll own. Your home, your car, and your computer—now those are exciting purchases. But, your money will go a long way when you make a purchase on a home appliances like a dishwasher, refrigerator or washing machine.
Although purchasing home appliances can be a big investment, they do last quite a while and are well worth it in the long run. So, don't skimp out to save a few dollars when considering making a purchase on an appliance. Try to keep in mind how long it will last you.
Kitchen Counter Holding Appliances
Zeroing in on that, just how long do home appliances last and what can you do to make them last longer? Knowing the answer to those two questions can save you time and money in the long run while helping you to budget accordingly when the time comes to make a purchase on a new appliance. To get you started, one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your appliances is to clean them. It's really that easy. With that said, knowing the proper ways to clean appliances so that you're not damaging them or using chemicals that may cause more harm than good is important.

What to Know About the Lifespan of Your Appliances and How to Keep Them Running

Select an appliance to learn more or continue reading below:

Dishwasher

If you've lived in a home without a dishwasher, you likely know the value of having a dishwasher. They're worth the money and time saved from washing dishes by hand, but they also have a relatively short shelf life of about nine years, according to the Home Warranty of America (HWA). Cleaning your dishwasher (under and inside the door, the flatware basket, the detergent dispenser and the drain), immediately removing mildew if it arises and inspecting the spinning arms to make sure they're working properly are all ways to increase your dishwasher's durability. You should also ensure the dishwasher is as close to full as possible before running it to conserve on water and best utilize the appliance.

Microwave

Similar to the dishwasher, the longevity of a microwave was found to be just nine years, according to the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. Yet, a microwave can be a cook's best friend as it easily heats up food at the touch of a button. Using the microwave's exhaust fan, degreasing the filters and using microwave-safe containers will all help to keep your microwave working longer. Microwave-safe containers are your friend!
Microwave Lifespan Keep It Running Graphic

Refrigerator & Freezer

A refrigerator will last about 13 years, according to HWA. And that length of time can be extended with proper maintenance of one of the most important appliances in your house. How can you properly maintain your refrigerator other than opening and shutting it while taking out food? Take a look at the panel at the bottom of your fridge and you'll likely find refrigerator coils. They may also be located on the back of the appliance. Those coils should be vacuumed about once per year to extend the longevity of your fridge. Additionally, regularly cleaning out and then turning off and turning back on the fridge can do it some good. We're not recommending that be done every month, but once a year is a good regularity with which to clean out and scrub down the fridge. While the same tips for extending the life of your freezer are true, the Life Expectancy of Home Components study found the average freezer lasts just 11 years, two years less than the average refrigerator. If you're considering getting a two-in-one fridge/freezer, it may be better to buy them separately for longevity's sake.

Stoves & Ovens

One of the best features on an oven is the self-clean button. In addition to utilizing that feature on your oven, be sure to clean out your oven and stove regularly, and we're talking a lot more regularly than you clean the refrigerator. Regularly cleaning out the oven and stovetop will ensure grease and oil don't build-up, which can cause smoke to accumulate in the oven. A dirty oven also causes your food to taste differently than desired. The average electric stove lasts 13 years, while gas stoves were found to last 15 and oven hoods about 14 by the Life Expectancy of Home Components study.
Kitchen with Open Oven Door
With so many different types of ranges to choose from, be sure to explore your options when it's time to buy a new oven. Electric and gas ranges both require a source of electricity in order to function, but gas ranges only require a standard 110V outlet to work (they also need to be cleaned more often). Electric ranges require a greater spectrum of electricity than the standard 110V outlet provides. You won't have to worry about the nitty-gritty of buying a range too often as stoves and ovens have some of the longest average lives among home appliances.

Washer & Dryer

Just like refrigerators and freezers have different lifespans, washers and dryers do, too. A good washing machine should last about 10 years, while a reliable dryer will last even longer, giving you 13 years of use before needing to be replaced. That's a lot of bottles of detergent and even more loads of laundry. It may seem annoying, but don't forget to clean out the lint trap before using the dryer on every occasion. It can actually help extend the life of the unit. You should also aim to keep the vent pipe, motor, belt, drum, and the space behind the dryer free of lint and other dust. On the washing machine, be sure the hoses are leak- and clog-free to keep it lasting its full expectancy. To do so, you should be looking 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. Another simple yet smart tip for your laundry needs: only run the washing machine when you have a full load ready to go. Running small loads of laundry will just overuse the machine and cut into its shelf life, not to mention it's a waste of water and electricity.
Washing Machine Lifespan Keep It Running Graphic

Water Heater

Your water heater is likely an appliance you don't think about often. You just enjoy your hot shower and don't worry about how exactly the water is heating up. And that's a good thing. An operating water heater is one you shouldn't have to concern yourself with too often. Most water heaters last for about 10 years, though electric water heaters (as opposed to gas) can last 11 years or longer. Monitoring the pressure release valve—and by monitoring, we mean checking on it two or three times a year—can help to extend the life of your water heater. You should also check the anode rod every few years. The anode rod can be removed to evaluate and it's normal for it to show signs of use. You should not however see "six inches of the steel core wire underneath," according to Sciencing.org. If you do, it's time for an anode rod replacement. If the rod is corroded, that's another sure sign it should be replaced.

HVAC system

Home Heat Air Conditioning Unit
HVAC is short for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These systems last for quite a while, but also require regular maintenance and updating. 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, according to the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. But, these systems may require new parts, filters, and regular cleaning to last that long. Additionally, tankless water heaters can last more than 20 years, and electric or gas water heaters can be expected to last about 10 years. 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. Thermostats, for example, can last about 35 years but often get replaced sooner due to advancing technology and available improvements. 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. Some money spent now on taking care of your HVAC system will save you in the long run.

Small Appliances

Small appliances likely won't last quite as long as large appliances, but toaster ovens can last six to eight years. And it wouldn't be too surprising if your toaster lasted even longer. Cleaning up food particles left behind while using the toaster and storing it in a dry place will help to extend its use. Many home cooks will say their slow cooker is their best friend. And it's not just because slow cookers are responsible for creating some great recipes. It's also because they can last for six to 10 years on average, and often can work effectively even after 15 years. One of the small home appliances that's a near essential is a vacuum cleaner. The problem with vacuum cleaners is that they can break and require maintenance relatively easily, but a good vacuum can last more than 10 years. 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 specific vacuum you choose.
Slow Cooker Lifespan Keep It Running Graphic

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that while household appliances may have an expected lifespan, their longevity will depend on many things. That includes how you treat them, weather, and even a little luck. Good appliance cleaning equipment can come in handy, too. But cleaning can't prevent freak accidents, which can turn a 10-year appliance into one that lasts for just a few years in a hurry. While no one expects or wants an accident to happen, they're called accidents for a reason. With that in mind, treat your appliances like you would treat your home, your car, or another exciting purchase you're motivated to take care of. You'll appreciate that extra care given to your appliances when it's time to purchase new ones. And if a household appliance ends up falling short of its expected shelf life, consider repairing it before rushing to replace it. Sometimes a repair could cost just a few hundred dollars while a replacement will cost much more. According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average cost of an appliance repair ranges from $104 to $238, though that varies based on the type of appliance and geography.
This all comes back to buying quality home appliances from trusted retailers. That will help ensure you're buying products that will last as expected.

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  • The salespeople are knowledgeable, the product selection is great and the delivery is always on time and done right. Wouldn't buy appliances anywhere else.
    May 12, 2020 - Edie L.
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