What's My Appliance's Lifespan?

You’re worried about your appliances.

How long can you expect them to last? The answer is… well, there is no basic answer, because the fact is, it’s complicated.

There are all sorts of factors at play when you’re trying to determine the lifecycle of your home appliance. First off: what brand is it? Was it shoddily constructed in the past couple of years out of cheap materials, or was it carefully crafted over a decade ago by a trusted brand?

What kind of appliance is it, anyway? A compact refrigerator? A gas boiler? A washing machine?

We’ve got a quick overview of anticipated appliance lifecycles below, sourced from our trusted friends at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), as well as a list of tips and tricks you can rely on to extend the life of your appliances (and to avoid energy-wasters that will die out on you quicker than you anticipated.)

Ready to start? Let’s dive in.

Anticipated lifecycles by appliance

As we mentioned, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to determining an appliance’s lifecycle. It depends on the brand, the quality of materials used, the amount of upkeep or maintenance the previous owner (or you) devoted to it to keep the appliance healthy, and so on.

But we can offer basic estimates of lifecycles for select appliances, based on extensive research into consumer information conducted by NAHB. Here’s what they found:

  • Dishwashers – 9 years
  • Dryers – 13 years
  • Electric boilers – 13 years
  • Electric heaters – 11 years
  • Electric ranges – 13 years
  • Gas boilers – 21 years
  • Gas heaters – 10 years
  • Gas ranges – 15 years
  • Microwaves – 9 years
  • Oven/stove-top – 11 to 15 years
  • Refrigerators – 13 years
  • Trash compactors – 6 years
  • Washing machine – 10 years

Energy-saving tips, maintenance tricks, & more

These aren’t miracle cures, by any means. But if these tips and tricks are applied consistently throughout the life of your appliance, they could help keep a few extra bucks in your pocket.

“Compact” doesn’t mean energy efficient

Thinking about investing in a trash compactor? Or a compact refrigerator?

Don’t. Their lifecycles are relatively short (at 6 years for the trash compactor, you’ll be replacing it before you know it). And—in the compact refrigerator’s case—they wind up costing you more for energy, even though they’re smaller. Sometimes big is better.

Our advice on the trash compactor front? Ditch it altogether and transform the space that it used to occupy into some kind of storage spot.

Routine maintenance can increase an appliance’s lifespan

Cleaning furnace filters, dryer vents, and refrigerator coils; making sure the gaskets seal well on refrigerators and dishwashers, so no cold air or water escapes; re-leveling the washing machine.

Fairly simple, low-energy maintenance measures like these can really make a difference with respect to the long-term health of your appliance.

Not confident that you can handle small jobs like this on your own? Confused about who to turn to for support in real life? Look to your local appliance pros for guidance, they’ll be able to guide you through the appliance triage process. (They’ll also be able to give expert advice about whether or not it’s worth the trouble to salvage it.)

Regardless, happy resuscitating! May your appliances lead long and happy lives.