appliance-maintenance

The ultimate guide to home appliance maintenance

Home appliance maintenance impacts a home’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Here’s how to keep your household devices in great condition.

Vivian Tejada
January 5, 2024
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Home appliances are an integral part of any home. Maintaining current appliances and investing in new ones as needed ensures optimal performance. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about maintaining home appliances including, how long home appliances last, factors influencing longevity, signs of malfunction, and how to prolong home appliance lifespans.

Average home appliance lifespans

Properly maintained home appliances last about 10 years. However, lifespans can vary depending on the type of appliance and how often the appliance needs to be serviced. Here are the most common home appliances and their corresponding lifespans:

Refrigerators (10-12 years)

Your refrigerator is probably one of the most important appliances in your home. Luckily, refrigerators don’t require much maintenance. Signs of failure are usually obvious, so when refrigerator maintenance is necessary, you’ll know right away. Loose door seals, excessive condensation, and spoiled food are easy problems to identify. A disconnected drain tube and a warm back wall also signal the need for refrigerator maintenance or replacement. Pay close attention to the rubber sealing along the inside of your refrigerator door. Cool air can silently escape from your refrigerator’s door gaskets, limiting your fridge’s cooling capabilities. The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10-12 years.

Dishwashers (10-13 years)

Dishwashers are convenient and time-saving appliances. However, if you’ve been rinsing your dishes more than usual to scrub off remaining residue after every wash cycle, your dishwasher may not be in the best condition. Loud noises are also a tell-tale sign that a dishwasher is running poorly. Although dishwashers do make some noises during wash cycles, loud clanking should not be one of them. Homeowners should be especially wary of funky smells, overheating, and leakage around their dishwashers. On average, dishwashers last between 10-13 years.

Washer and dryers (10 years)

Washers and dryers are frequently used home appliances that consume large amounts of water. As a result, leakage is a common problem with both appliances. Puddles of liquid around your washer and dryer and excessive noise are obvious signs that either washing machine maintenance or dryer maintenance is required. Upticks in your utility bills are more subtle signs. The average lifespan of a washer and dryer is 10 years. 

Stoves and ovens (10-15 years)

Another frequently used home appliance is the stove. Most stoves come with an oven. However, stoves and ovens have different functions. As a result, they can malfunction independently. Problems with either a stove or an oven can be dangerous given the fire hazard, so you should pay close attention to signs of poor performance. Ovens and stoves that flicker or take too long to start should be checked. Sometimes all you need to do is clean the grates and burner caps. In other instances, you’ll need to replace these items or the entire unit. The average lifespan of an oven is 10-15 years. They could last longer if connected to a gas range. 

HVAC systems (10-25 years)

HVAC system lifespans vary quite a bit. A residential HVAC system can last anywhere between l0-25 years, depending on design and usage. Poor insulation and local climate also have an impact on how long your HVAC system lasts. This is because both insulation and climate affect how hard an HVAC system has to work to maintain ideal temperatures within the home. The clearest sign that your HVAC system needs servicing is inefficient cooling or heating capabilities

home-appliances

What impacts a home appliance’s lifespan?

As mentioned above, each appliance has specific warning signs homeowners should look for when suspecting a malfunction. However, before you rush to purchase a new appliance, you should know what influences home appliance lifespans. The biggest factors impacting home appliance lifespans are quality of manufacturing, usage patterns, and maintenance history. Take a closer look at these factors, below:

Manufacturing quality 

The quality of material used to build a home appliance has a major impact on how long an appliance lasts. When looking for home appliances be sure to select models with durable components, such as stainless steel and robust plastics. How quality materials are assembled also impacts a home appliance’s lifespan. Poorly assembled parts and unstable construction will cause early malfunctions and may end up damaging the overall unit. Verifying excellent craftsmanship can ensure your home appliance is assembled with precision and attention to detail. 

Usage patterns

How often a home appliance is used will also affect its longevity. A dishwasher that’s used once or twice a week by a single person will likely last longer than a dishwasher that goes through two full wash cycles every day. Washers and dryers in particular come with specific instructions that must be followed to avoid unnecessary wear and tear. 

Maintenance history 

While every appliance has a lifespan, as you’ve learned, this number is a range. How an appliance has been maintained throughout its life will impact how long it lasts. An appliance that is regularly inspected and tuned up will last longer than one that is allowed to function improperly. This is also something to keep in mind if you’re considering purchasing a used appliance. While buying used or refurbished offers some cost savings, it comes with a shorter remaining lifespan and an unknown maintenance history. 

How to prolong home appliance lifespans

Once you’ve obtained a new home appliance, there are a few things you can do to make sure it lasts. Proper installation, regular cleaning and maintenance, and prioritizing energy efficiency are all effective ways of prolonging your home appliance’s lifespan.  

Proper installation

Homeowners can ensure functionality simply by installing home appliances correctly. Leveling certain home appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers, helps keep them stable. This prevents excessive movement which minimizes frequent wear and tear. Heat-producing appliances, such as stoves and ovens, function best when a certain amount of space is left around them. This ensures proper air circulation and prevents overheating. Any appliance with a heating element can become a fire hazard when placed too close to your home’s walls.

Regular cleaning and maintenance

An easy, yet underestimated way of improving home appliance longevity is regular cleaning and maintenance. Kitchen appliances are prone to bacteria growth and mechanical issues because they are frequently used. Refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves should be disinfected at least once a week.  

Many kitchen appliances come with condenser coils which can accumulate dirt and grime when they’re not properly cleaned This causes them to consume more energy than necessary and causes usage problems. You should also regularly clear out the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every dry cycle as well as any home appliance with a drip pan, dryer vent, or door gasket. 

Prioritize energy efficiency 

Monitoring energy consumption should be a top priority for every homeowner, whether they own Energy-Star rated appliances, or not. The less energy a home appliance uses, the longer it will last. When purchasing new appliances, choose energy-efficient models over outdated ones. If purchasing an energy-efficient model isn’t an option, consider installing energy monitors or smart plugs in your home to track energy consumption. 

Final thoughts on home appliance maintenance

Maintaining home appliances is a normal part of the homeowner experience. Before creating an appliance maintenance checklist, you should know that the key to long-lasting home appliances is regular and timely maintenance. Choosing the right home appliance models, installing them properly, and prioritizing energy efficiency help prolong home appliance lifespans. 

However, no home appliance lasts forever. At some point, you’ll need to replace one or more of your home appliances. If you need to finance this kind of home improvement project, consider consider Point’s Home Equity Investment (HEI). An HEI allows you to unlock up to $500,000 of your home equity to fund necessary home repairs – or anything else you need. Learn more about how an HEI works here

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