Home appliances can be expensive, so you definitely want to get the entire life out of them before you replace them. At a certain point, however, it can make more financial sense to replace a broken appliance than to pay to have it repaired. Where do you draw the line? Read on to learn how long your major home appliances should last, plus signs that it may be time to replace them.
Before Replacing Anything
Before you replace any appliance you believe is beyond repair, you’ll want to make certain the appliance is no longer under warranty. Calling the manufacturer before shelling out cash for something new when the old one might still be under warranty is a good place to start.
Beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, there may be other options for appliance replacement. Some homeowners may have a home warranty, which acts as a sort of supplemental insurance on appliances in the home that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover.
It’s important to understand the details of the home warranty to make sure all the rules are followed to have the repair or replacement covered. Another option may be to have a small amount of money saved to cover any potential repairs or replacement that will certainly come up sooner or later.
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Replacing Common Home Appliances
Typical lifespan: The average lifespan of a dishwasher should be about 10 years. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will get a decade of bliss with their appliance. About 30% of all newly purchased dishwashers are likely to develop problems or break within the first five years.
Cost to replace: The average cost, with installation, of a new dishwasher is $970. Low-end models can run as little as $250, however, while high-end dishwashers can run over $2,000.
Signs of wear and tear: Typical signs a dishwasher is in need of a little care include leaking, door-latching problems, dishes coming out spotty, or the machine making unusual noises, among other things.
How to make it last longer: Reading the instruction manual and heeding the advice on cleaning the appliance and replacing the appropriate filters is the recommended best practice to get the most years of use out of the unit.
Typical lifespan: The average lifespan of a refrigerator is about 10 to 15 years. However, like dishwashers, fridges also tend to come with some issues at the five-year mark.
Cost to replace: The average cost to purchase a refrigerator is $600 to $2,300, not including installation cost (which can run $75 to $200).
Signs of wear and tear: Signs of typical wear and tear include a fridge that is hot to the touch in the back, visible condensation (inside or outside of the unit), excessive frost in the freezer, and unusual noises.
How to make it last longer: Refrigerators should be cleaned regularly to keep them in tip-top shape. This means going deep by keeping door gaskets and condenser coils clean. Since a refrigerator needs space around it to operate efficiently, keeping the top of the unit clear of clutter is important. If the fridge has an ice maker or water filter, cleaning them regularly will keep them in good working order.
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Typical lifespan: The typical lifespan of a kitchen stove and oven — sometimes simply referred to as a range — are dependent on whether it is electric or gas. Electric ranges typically last 13 years, while gas ranges should last 15 years.
Cost to replace: The price of a new oven and stove combo can range from $600 to $1,300, without installation (which can run $100 to $300).
Signs of wear and tear: Usual signs of wear and tear on a range can include visible cracks in the top, lack of heat on either the cooktop or in the oven, and control panel issues.
How to make it last longer: Making a range last longer through regular cleanings is a consumer’s best bet (are you seeing a theme yet?). Beyond the exterior, also make sure to clean the fans, filters, and oven interior.
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Typical lifespan: The average lifespan of a washing machine is 10 to 13 years, though some brands claim their machines have an even longer lifespan than that. Still, about 30% of all newly purchased washers are likely to develop problems or completely break within the first five years.
Cost to replace: The cost to replace a washing machine can run between $700 and $1,300. Like the other appliances listed, the cost to install a new washer will likely cost extra.
Signs of wear and tear: Typical signs a washing machine is on its way out include leaks on the floor, unusual sounds, and water no longer filling the internal drum.
How to make it last longer: Beyond the normal cleanings, it’s also important to ensure a washing machine stays balanced, meaning make sure it stays level. After years of loads, it might toss and turn a bit, so leveling it every now and then can pay off. And, of course, regular maintenance like checking hoses and connections, checking for clogs, and ensuring filters are clear are recommended maintenance tasks.
Typical lifespan: Like the washer, the dryer, too, should last about 10 years. However, as with other appliances, about 20% of all newly purchased dryers are likely to develop problems or break within the first five years.
Cost to replace: A new dryer can cost between $500 and $2,100, depending on the energy source (without installation). Like everything else on this list, dryer prices can vary greatly depending on size and features. On average, gas dryers tend to cost about $100 less than electric dryers.
Signs of wear and tear: Some signs it may be time to look into either fixing an existing dryer or buying a new one include excessive or unusual noises while in use, clothing coming out damp or not drying at all, or any burning smells coming from the machine.
How to make it last longer: Some helpful tips on making a dryer last longer include dividing laundry by fabric weight, keeping a dryer clean and free of debris, regularly cleaning the lint trap, and reducing heat whenever possible. Not every load needs to be dried on high heat — the fabric type should determine the setting used. Air drying is better for some fabrics and will give both the dryer and the electric bill a break.
Typical lifespan: The average garbage disposal should last about 12 years with normal use. If a household uses their disposal more often than average, their disposal may not last quite as long.
Cost to replace: The cost to replace a garbage disposal, on average, is $225, including labor. However, you can spend up to $1,000 for a commercial model with higher horsepower, or as little as $50 for a lower-end, less powerful model that you install yourself.
Signs of wear and tear: Signs of wear and tear on a garbage disposal include excessive noise while in use, abnormal clogging, bad odors, and power failure.
How to make it last longer: To ensure a garbage disposal lives a long and useful life, homeowners are advised to be careful about what they put down the drain. Things like coffee grinds, pasta, or other starchy foods in large quantities shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal as they can clump together causing clogs and other issues with the blade. Using cold water when running a garbage disposal can make it easier for the disposal to break up solids, especially if there is some fat on them, and can reduce the chance of a clog. Non-food items should never be put in a garbage disposal. Reading the owner’s manual that comes with the unit is recommended.
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Things break. It’s just a part of life. But when they do it’s important to know all your financial options so you can easily repair or replace them and move on with your day.
If replacement is your best option but the cost is beyond your budget, you might consider using a home improvement loan to finance the purchase of a new appliance.
A home improvement loan is essentially an unsecured personal loan that is used for home repairs or upgrades. You receive a lump sum up front which you can use to purchase and install a new appliance (or multiple new appliances); you then repay the loan over a set term, often five to seven years, with regular monthly payments. Interest rates are typically fixed.
If you’re interested in exploring your appliance financing options, SoFi could help. SoFi’s home improvement loans offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.
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