March 17, 2018

Appliance Lifespans

We’ve said it before, here, but we’ll say it again, below we list some approximate lifespans for household appliances.

Average appliance life span in years

Compactors: 6

Dishwashers: 10

Disposers, food waste: 9

Dryers, electric: 12

Dryers, gas: 12

Freezers: 11

Microwave ovens: 9

Ranges, electric: 16

Ranges, gas: 17

Range/oven hoods: 11

Refrigerators: 12

Washers: 11

Water heaters, electric: 13

Water heaters, gas: 11

Air-conditioners, room: 9

Air-conditioners, central: 11

Boilers, gas: 20

Dehumidifiers: 7

Furnaces, gas: 15

Furnaces, oil: 17

Heat pumps: 12

Courtesy of

Appliances Don’t Last a Lifetime, Neither Does the Warranty

It used to be, back in our parents and grandparents time, that a large appliance was a once in a lifetime purchase.  The white, round cornered refrigerator in your great-Aunt’s kitchen was the one she got for Christmas the first year she was married and it was the only one she ever needed.

Boy have times, and appliances changed.  Today, you might get nine years out of your dishwasher and microwave, ten from your washer, and if you’re lucky thirteen out of your dryer and refrigerator.  We’ve detailed the average lifespan in this article if you’d like find out about a specific appliance.

The other issue today is the reduced warranties that the manufacturers are now providing.  Gone are the extended warranties on components.  Now one year is all that is being given.  Not only that, but the service from these manufacturers has declined as well. reports that a reader called to report that her 12-year-old dishwasher ran all night. Her husband turned it on when they went to bed around 10 p.m., and when she walked into the kitchen at 7 a.m., it was still running. She opened the door and the blast of heat was like opening an oven door. She called the manufacturer who sent out a service technician who couldn’t tell her why the dishwasher didn’t shut off. The manufacturer then told her they couldn’t do a thing for her because it was well out of warranty and besides that, they told her the average life span of the dishwasher was six years. They offered her $50 towards the purchase of a new dishwasher provided it was their brand.

Although the dishwasher was not new, one should expect that it would at the least run safely and that the response from the manufacturer would be more helpful.

Here’s a second situation:

“I am having a problem with my Jenn Air oven. It is a double oven. It is also a convection oven. It was manufactured in 1996. The past two nights the bottom oven has been turning on by itself. This morning the bottom oven broiler was on. I called Jenn Air and a service tech is coming out. Jenn Air will pay for the diagnosis but says that the oven is no longer under warranty.”

A person’s home is their haven; they should feel safe there.  Do we have to lie awake at night wondering whether the oven is going to turn itself on and set the house afire?  An appliance should enhance and simplify your life, not add to your list of worries and stresses.

Appliance Maintenance Tips and Lifespan Estimates

I think it’s good to be reminded regularly to look after these appliances we spent so much to acquire.  So I feel justified in offering this list from the Sun Herald that nudges you to take a minute and check up on your household appliances. It could add years to their lifespan.


Average life span: 14 years

What you need to do: Locate the condenser coils by checking your owner’s manual. Clean them by unplugging the fridge and removing dust gently with a broom or brush. Check the seals by sliding a piece of paper in the closed door. If it falls out, you need to replace your seals. And defrosting regularly can’t hurt.

Inspected and cleaned: Have it done if your at-home remedies don’t work or if there are noises you can’t locate.

Washer, dryer

Average life span: Washer: 12 years; Dryer: 14 years

What to do: Clean the dryer’s lint filter and hoses. Kinks or ridges can cause highly flammable lint to build up, a major cause of fire.

Inspected and cleaned: Replace the hoses on your washing machine every 3 to 5 years.

Window air conditioner

Average life span: 13 years

What you need to do: Changing the air filter every month helps the system run more efficiently and improves air quality. Dirt and neglect are the main causes of AC failures, so clean it well.

Inspected and cleaned: Do it twice a year, usually fall and spring.

Garbage disposal

Average life span: 13 years

What you need to do: Keep anything stringy, like pumpkin pulp, out of it. Also leave out tough produce, anything hard that can dull the blades, and grease, which can clog your pipes.

Inspected and cleaned: Have this looked at whenever your plumbing is checked.


Average life span: 5 to 8 years

What you need to do: Microwaves are simple appliances; they don’t know the difference between the food you want cooked and old splatters in the chamber, so keep it clean and don’t exceed the recommended usage.

Inspected and cleaned: Anytime there’s a problem. You should never attempt to work on it yourself.


Average life span: 9 to 12 years

What you need to do: Be mindful of what you put in it. Leave out small pieces that can get lodged in the drain and make sure everything is dishwasher-safe. Use a powdered detergent, because gels can cloud dispenser and glasswear. Spend the few dollars on a rinse aid, such as Jet-Dry, every month or so.

Inspected and cleaned: Every 2 to 3 years.

Water heater

Average life span: electric: 6 to 14 years; gas: 5 to 9 years

What you need to do: Check your hoses, fittings and release valves. Also watch for damaged areas on the outside of the tank and leaking.

Inspected and cleaned: Every couple of years.


Average life span: electric, 16 years; gas, 19 years

What you need to do: Check temperature with a thermometer or by following a basic white cake mix and making sure it cooks correctly. Keep it clean inside and out, using nonabrasive cleaners. Check your seals and the hinges, which can bend over time and let heat escape.

Inspected and cleaned: Any time it’s not heating properly.

Central air system

Average life span: 10 to 20 years

What you need to do: Check for leaks around the system and with hose connections. You should also change your filter monthly.

Inspect and cleaned: Seasonally