How Long House Appliances and Systems Typically Last
and the costs associated with replacing them
With home ownership comes not only great joy, but also great responsibility. When an appliance breaks, it is up to you, the homeowner, to ensure it is repaired or replaced. While the responsibility may seem daunting, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to mold your home into the perfect nesting place by choosing appliances that suit your needs.
However, most people don’t prepare for the inevitable failure of various appliances. According to Forbes, 63% of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency and according to CreditDonkey, 26% of adults don’t have any savings set aside at all. To help stay ahead of the curve, here are some common household appliances and systems, how long they last, and what the average cost is to replace them.
Lifespan: 8 to 20+ years
Cost: $3,000 to $7,000+
There are many factors that contribute to the longevity of boilers: traditional gas boilers, while more expensive to fix due to the risk associated with carbon monoxide leaks, tend to last longer than their electric counterparts. Similarly, low-quality boilers, while cheaper to install and maintain, generally do not last as long as high-quality boilers. Here is a quick breakdown of the various types of boilers:
- Electric boilers can last between 8 and 10 years
- Gas boilers can last 10 to 15 years
- High-quality boilers can last over 20 years
Many things can go wrong with a boiler from a carbon monoxide leak with a gas boiler (as mentioned above) to temperature control failure (water too hot or too cold) with an electric boiler. Despite what can go wrong with a boiler, they’re usually one of the most reliable appliances in a home. According to HomeAdvisor.com, boiler repairs average between $171 and $524 and common issues with the boiler system are usually not with the boiler itself but with the pipes that distribute the water or the radiators that heat various rooms. On the other hand, buying a new boiler, having the old one removed, and having the new one installed can cost as much as $10,000, although it usually averages between $3,000 and $7,000.
Lifespan: 13 to 19+ years
Cost: $800 to $9,000+
Depending on the model and brand, refrigerators can last anywhere from 13 years to 19 years or more. Single-door refrigerator units are likely to last the longest while side-by-side freezer and fridge models usually only last 14 years.
According to HomeAdvisor.com, if your refrigerator is less than 8 years old, it would be more cost effective to have it repaired than to buy a new one. A new refrigerator can cost $800 to $9,000 depending on the quality and brand, whereas repairs for a refrigerator can be as low as $200 to $400, with two to three hours of labor. Note that repairing an icemaker alone can cost $275 to $330, so if your refrigerator requires multiple costly repairs, it may be time to buy a new one.
Lifespan: 9 years
Cost: $50 to $300+
For the most part, microwaves are fairly stable products and last an average of 9 years. They’re also among the cheapest appliances to replace: a brand-new, low-end microwave from Target, Walmart, or even Home Depot averages $50. If you’re not picky, you can also get a used microwave for as low as $10.
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to repair a microwave is typically $70 per hour of labor plus the cost of the replacement parts. On average, microwaves cost $100 to $250 to repair. If your microwave appears to work and is completely turned off, unplug it and try it with a different outlet before rushing to call for a repair. It may be that the circuit breaker was tripped for the room or the outlet is defective.
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years (gas range), 15 to 18 years (stovetop)
Cost: $350 to $2,000+
As with the boiler, gas stoves tend to last longer than electric stoves by 2 to 5 years. The range generally lasts 13 to 15 years, while the stovetop can keep functioning 15 years to 18 years. Be sure to check the burners regularly: a small gas leak can do serious damage.
Common problems with the gas range include a faulty oven, stuck oven door, damaged indicator light, broken burner, and so forth. Repair costs can range anywhere from $110 to $200 for a faulty igniter to over $260 for a broken control board. If you’re okay with a low-cost gas stove, then consider purchasing a new one when repair costs exceed $350.
Washer & Dryer
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years (washer) and 10 to 13 years (dryer)
Cost: $350 to $1,000+ (washer), $300 to $1,000+ (dryer), or $800 to $1,700+ (all-in-one washer/dryer combo)
While the clothes washing machine can last 10 to 14 years, the dryer usually lasts one year less at 10 to 13 years. The longevity of these two machines depends primarily on how frequently they are used. Washers that see more frequent use tend to wear out faster than those that are used less often.
Both front-loading washing machines and top-loading washing machines experience problems unique to their design; top-loading washers are prone to humidity and rust issues and lid switch failure ($140+ to fix), while front-loading washers have been known to develop leaky door gaskets ($200 to $300 to repair).
Dryers, on the other hand, can experience an array of issues depending on whether they’re gas or electric. Gas dryers cost less to power, but their ignition coil may need to be replaced at some point, and they can also have faulty igniters, flame sensors, thermal fuses, and gas valves. Sometimes the dryer belt needs to be replaced, other times it’s the dryer coil. If it costs more than $400 to repair the dryer, you can easily opt for replacement instead.
All-in-one washer and dryer combinations are a relatively new invention and come with their own problems. According to the article “How good are washer-dryer combos?” by Choice, these machines are “the least reliable laundry appliance and 22% of owners experienced a major problem with their machine.” That’s not to say they’re not a good solution for small homes that can’t easily accommodate a separate washer and dryer, but it’s something to consider for long-term investment.
Lifespan: 8 to 13 years
Cost: $400 to $700+
On average, dishwashers last 9 years. Some dishwashers last longer than others and can even make it 13 years, while others have a shorter lifespan. Unlike a clothes washer, it’s better to run the dishwasher frequently – even daily! – as doing so helps prevent mold and mildew from forming and keep the seals, gaskets, and hoses from dry-rotting. Although the dishwasher is meant to clean dishes, the less food that winds up in it, the better. Food debris can clog up the machine and increase the likelihood of mold forming. It’s also really gross to discover some several-weeks-old piece of food on your freshly cleaned dishes.
Some of the most common repairs for dishwashers include cleaning the drain pump ($100 to $300), and repairing the control board ($190+) or the water inlet valve ($160). Angie’s List recommends replacing the dishwasher if repair costs exceed half the cost of the original dishwasher.
Lifespan: 20 to 50+ years depending on material used
Cost: $150 to $700+ per square installed (depends on material selected, total square footage of roof, geographical location, and roofer; varies wildly)
How long roofing lasts is, like the boiler, dependent upon the material used. The following are just some common roofing materials and how many years they tend to last:
- Asphalt shingles or composite roofs usually last 20 years.
- Fiber cement shingles can last 25 years.
- Wood shakes should last 30 years.
- Tile roofs made of slate, copper, clay, concrete, or a terracotta can last up to 50 years.
Replacing a roof is costly, be it replacing part of it or the entire roof. Depending on your geographical location and available local roofers, the base amount charged for installation services can vary drastically. The material used adds to total cost of replacing the roof: composite roofs are cheaper, while tile roofs are more expensive. If you have a leaky roof, call a local contractor and ask for an inspection to see if you just need to have some repairs made or have the entire section replaced.