Are your Appliances on Their Last Leg?

Major appliances don’t last forever. It’s a sad fact of homeownership.  One day the boiler will go cold. The microwave will beep no more. The window air conditioning unit will grow warm.  Each one is expected to last only a certain time. If that time is just around the corner, maybe you should be heading to the store to check out some deals.  It’s good to keep the ages of your major appliances in mind—even if your home is relatively new construction.  So what are the averages?

One caveat before we start: Appliance Magazine , a national trade journal, publishes an annual study that lists how long people tend to keep their major appliances, numbers oft-cited by the news media. The National Association of Home Builders uses their data, and the numbers match most of those used by the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Still, the following numbers give some idea of how long you might expect, on average, to keep a major appliance in your home:

  • Boiler: 13 to 21 years
  • Washing machine: 5 to 15 years
  • Dryer: 13 years
  • Refrigerator: 9 to 13 years
  • Freezer: 10 to 20 years
  • Gas oven: 10 to 18 years
  • Window A/C: 5 to 7 years
  • Kitchen disposal: 12 years
  • Microwave: 9 years

The average lengths depend on a host of things—including frequency of use, manufacturing quality and the weather.  For example,  central air conditioning systems should last 15 to 20 years‚ but if you live in a coastal area, your system might last no more than a decade.  So if you’re trying to weigh how long you have left with your current appliances—or those built into the house you’ve just bought—consider all the factors that could impact the lifetime of your equipment.