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How Long Do Appliances Last?

Compare My Home Warranty Editorial Team

July 14, 2022

A late-night plumbing emergency or an urgent trip to the hardware store is a nightmare for any homeowner. While routine maintenance and proactive care can extend the life of our dishwashers, water heaters, and HVAC systems, at some point, they each will break down beyond repair.

Whether you’re buying a home or looking at replacing your appliances soon, buying a home appliance warranty is a smart financial move. Appliance warranties have a few differences from homeowners’ insurance, but the ideas are similar: pay a small monthly fee and in exchange, get financial assistance when you need to repair or replace a major appliance.

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When Should You Replace Appliances?

Good appliances can last for a long time, and if you’ve invested in the right one, you shouldn’t need to look at replacing it for years or even decades after its purchase date. However, even the best machines become increasingly expensive to repair or maintain and eventually need replacement.

For many of us, the right time to replace is right around when an emergency strikes: we hear strange, consistent noises from the washing machine; our air conditioning system doesn’t turn on properly for the summer; or our freezer stops getting cold enough.

That said, there are a few reasons to consider replacing an appliance before it completely bites the dust.

Lower Utility Bills

There are two costs to every appliance: the sticker price of purchasing it and the annual cost to run it. As technology improves, new appliances get better at using less water, electricity, and gas, while old appliances become less efficient with age, costing more in utilities as they get worn down. A 2018 Energy Star clothes washer costs $90 per year to run; a 1990 model costs over $300.

Improved Features

As well as efficiency improvements, modern appliances also come with cool new features. Some improvements are simple, like adding an interior light to the inside of the clothes dryer (no more lost socks!) while others are more high-tech, like programming your HVAC so each room is heated or cooled differently throughout the day.

Better for the Environment

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “65% of U.S. electricity comes from burning fossil fuels.” By replacing an older appliance with one that has earned the Energy Star, we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Want to hear another money-saving tip? Some cities and states have rebate programs, either for recycling your old refrigerator or if you choose to buy an Energy Star appliance as a replacement.

The Life Expectancy of Your Appliances

Most appliances last for a long time–sometimes, over ten years! It’s one of the reasons why, if you’re shopping for new appliances, it’s important to think long-term. The appliance you buy today hopefully will be around for a long time, so it’s important to invest in one with the latest efficiency technology and the right features for your household’s needs.

While the lifespan of any appliance varies depending on what kind you’ve purchased and how often it’s used, there are some other variables that affect how long it’ll last before needing replacement:

  • Humidity: High-humidity environments (greater than 50%) are more damaging to appliances, as the high water vapor level can lead to rust and corrosion in the internal and electrical components of your appliances.
  • Geographic Location: Similarly, where you live can affect the lifespan of common appliances due to natural differences in climate. If you live near the beach, the saltwater kicks sodium chloride into the air which can settle inside home systems and appliances to make them break down or become less efficient.
  • Proper Installation: Although many appliances can be installed DIY, there’s a good reason to call in a professional. In addition to doing the heavy lifting for you, they’ll have expert knowledge on small details that can help lengthen the lifespan of an appliance, like double-checking the ventwork in your HVAC system.

Most appliances last for over ten years with proper maintenance, depending on use and location.

If you’d like to help your appliance last as long as possible, there are two key things to keep in mind:

1. Know the difference between using a machine and overworking one.

We’ve all been there: overfilling the clothes washer or packing the dishwasher to the brim. But there’s a difference between what we can do with our appliances and what’s best for them in the long run.

It seems harmless at the time, but adding too many clothes can strain the motor, and using more detergent than is recommended can build up clogs in your washing machine. Not scraping food from plates and dishes before they go into the dishwasher can also build up a clog or worse, start damaging internal parts of the machine.

To help protect your appliances, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for their best use, and when possible, look up tips and tricks on how to set up your appliances for success.

When buying a house, ask when each of the home systems was last installed and last maintained by a professional. Appliance and system life expectancy data from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

2. Stay on top of routine maintenance.

Appliances need routine maintenance. Levels of maintenance vary, from the “remember to clean out the lint trap” after each use to the “dust out your refrigerator’s coils” once or twice a year. Well-maintained appliances work better, break down less frequently, and in some cases, help you stay healthier by proactively removing sources of dust and mold.

Protect Yourself from Expensive Repairs: Invest in a Home Appliance Warranty

Eventually, every homeowner will end up repairing or replacing the appliances in their home, so it’s worth seeing whether a home warranty can save you money. On average, home warranty policies cost $500-$750 per year–often less than what it would cost to buy a single mid-tier appliance from the store.

Home warranties help with financing the repair or replacement costs of any covered home systems and appliances. Different plans vary in coverage and price, so it’s worth collecting a few different quotes to see which company’s plan works best for your household.

Whether you’ve just bought a new appliance, a house, or are looking at doing some upgrades or renovations, a home appliance warranty can help save you money. Check out a few of our top home warranty companies to compare quotes and see which plan gives you the protection you need.