There comes a dreaded moment in every person’s life when a major household appliance begins to putter-out and the crawl toward the point of no return is imminent. Knowing the lifespan (even vaguely) of appliances you’re likely using daily—like a stove, microwave, or washer—will not only put your mind and wallet at ease, but also help you know how long to hang onto that warranty.
Know the red flags
If a major household appliance, such as a a dishwasher or air conditioner, isn’t functioning properly, you’ll often see a sneaky spike in your energy bill because the machine requires more energy to work properly and produce the same result. If it’s not the dead of summer and your AC bill seems higher than normal, the likely culprit is an inefficient, outdated unit. Expect to replace a microwave as well as an AC unit every 10 years.
Repair or replace?
Retailers and service technicians have long advised that it often makes sense to buy a new product rather than repair a broken one. They use the 50 percent rule: If a repair would cost half or more of what it costs to buy a new product, the product should be replaced.
According to Million Dollar Contractor star and founder of Fanuka, Inc., Stephen Fanuka, who’s worked on major home renovations for the likes of Tina Fey and Bruce Willis, most major appliances will last on average about 10 solid years, but “washers and dryers may not last that long, they’ll start to fade around eight years,” he says.
And any appliance over 15 years old probably should be put out to pasture. The good news is that about 80 percent of a refrigerator or a washer is recyclable (you can use Earth911’s recycling database to find out how to dispose of your old, large appliances in a planet-friendly way based on your location).