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Life Expectancy of Household Appliances and Other Things You Rely On Most

Designer, Realtor, Builder, Developer Nancy Harris Keenan Gives us the Scoop

There are an estimated 600 million appliances working in US households – – or at least they should be.  Knowing the expected average life of an appliance can help you make decisions between gas and electric, old house or new, and how to budget for anticipated breakdowns and replacements.  Since it’s summer, let’s begin with the big-ticket item we can’t live without.


Maintenance is key with central air conditioning and heating, no matter the age of the unit.  Changing filters every quarter and an annual check-up with an HVAC pro will pay off by adding years to your air conditioner’s life.  You can expect your HVAC system to run for about 15 years.  Same for a heat pump.


The life of your roof really depends on the material used to cover it.  Asphalt shingles typically last 20-40 years, and fiberglass shingles are more expensive but will last up to 50 years or more.  Wood shingles and shakes are also a bit more expensive and may need periodic maintenance, but you can expect them to last about 30 years.  Stone tiles of slate, concrete or clay are extremely durable and can last 50 years or more.

Water heater

My water heater is in its 13th year, so I feel like most of us do while watching a horror movie – – something scary is going to happen soon.  The life of a water heater depends on the type and your water source.  Hard water contains a lot of calcium, lime and mineral deposits that, over time, can build up in the tank and affect its performance.  Well and spring water carry sediment that can do the same thing.  Gas–fueled water heaters can last up to 13 years, and electric up to 14.

Kitchen Appliances

The best advice that appliance servicemen ever gave me is newer and more expensive does not mean a longer life.  In fact, the more extra features, the more there is to break.  Naturally, maintenance along the way and proper care will extend the life of each appliance.  Fun fact to know and tell:  Dishwashers have filters that need to be cleaned and/or changed.  If you take care of it, your dishwasher can last up to 10 years.  Gas lasts longer than electric when it comes to your stove.  A gas stove has a life of 19 years, while electric is 13-16.  The fridge depends on the style.  My side by side can run for 14 years, and the top freezer/lower refrigerator can go for 17 years.  Your basic microwave will zap and disposal will dispose for about 10 years.  And let’s just throw in the washer/dryer while we’re at it; they can suds and fluff from 10-14 years.

I had to save the best for last. The average life expectancy of a toilet; a lifetime. However, if you have an old one, you may want to consider a low flow, or high efficiency model, to conserve water.




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