Essential Housewares & Appliances
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Essential Housewares & Appliances
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 Caiaimage / Tom Merton / Getty Images

The Ultimate Guide

Introduction

The Life Expectancy of Major Household Appliances

A kitchen with appliances

 Caiaimage / Tom Merton / Getty Images

With the rising costs of major appliances and greater attention to the environment, it makes sense to maintain and preserve your major appliances for as long as possible. Appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are better built than ever before, so you can expect them to last for their full life expectancy and even beyond.

Understanding how long appliances should last helps you maintain them for their proper lifespan—without unnecessary repairs for machines that legitimately should be replaced.

Life Expectancy of Major Appliances
Appliance Years

Gas ranges

15

Electric ranges

13

Range and oven hoods

14

Dryers (electric and gas)

13

Refrigerators

13

Garbage disposals

8 to 12

Freezers

11

Washing machines

10

Microwaves

9

Dishwashers

9 to 10

Gas Ranges

Expect most gas ranges to last about 15 years when well-maintained. Gas ranges generally are durable appliances that have simple maintenance schedules.

  • Regularly clean the grates with warm water and mild detergent.
  • Do not use abrasives on the gas range top or grates.
  • Avoid inserting sharp objects into the holes in the burners, especially items that can break off such as toothpicks.

Electric Ranges

Similar to gas ranges, electric ranges are relatively hardy appliances that can be expected to last up to 13 years.

  • Use metal drip bowls to protect the range against spills and aid in cleaning.
  • Remove the electric elements on a regular basis and clean with a sponge and a non-abrasive cleaner.
  • With the elements, drip bowls, and dials removed, clean the top of the electric range with warm water and a sponge.

Range and Oven Hoods

Cooktop, stove, and oven hoods are fairly simple appliances that can be expected to last 14 years or more with regular maintenance.

  • Hoods bear the brunt of cooking grease and food splatters. Clean the top and inside with hot water, a sponge, and a mild detergent.
  • Pay attention to the filter and clean it on a regular basis. Grease on the metal filter can be dissolved by soaking the filter in hot, soapy water, followed by rinsing with cold water.
  • Do not allow the duct to become clogged as this will retard performance and may even lead to fires.

Dryers (Electric and Gas)

Whether electric or gas, most dryers will last about 13 years on a regular maintenance schedule.

  • Remove and clean debris from both the screen and the vent leading to the outside. Dust, fiber, and lint clogs are a major contributor to dryer fires.
  • Never put soiled clothes in a dryer. Clean the inside of the dryer drum only with a soft cloth and a mild cleaning agent.
  • Clean the outside of the dryer with a sponge and warm water.

Refrigerators

Even though refrigerators constantly operate for 24 hours a day, they can still be expected to last up to 13 years.

  • Regularly vacuum the air intake at the base of the refrigerator to clear it of dust and other debris. A clogged air intake will overwork the compressor and lead to premature failure.
  • Maintain the rubber door gaskets by frequently wiping them down with mild cleaner and a soft cloth.
  • Make sure that the drain pan at the bottom of the refrigerator does not fill with water and spill out. Remove the pan and drain it, then clean it with warm, soapy water and a sponge.

Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals grind food matter into particles small enough to flush down drain pipes. Because this intense work taxes the motor, garbage disposals might last as little as 8 years. With regular maintenance, though, garbage disposals can last as much as 12 years.

  • Regularly clear debris from the bottom of the disposal. Always be sure to unplug the disposal before clearing the disposal.
  • Avoid forcing grease, bones, pasta, eggshells, potato peels, and fibrous materials like pumpkin or celery down the garbage disposal.
  • Check the screws that suspend the disposal to the bottom of the countertop to make sure that the unit remains firmly in place. Tighten with a manual screwdriver or cordless drill if the screws are loose.

Freezers

Standalone freezers usually will last up to 11 years on a regular maintenance schedule.

  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the freezer a couple of times a year with dish soap and water, always being sure to rinse off the soap with clean water.
  • Look at the back of the freezer and vacuum off dust and lint from the coils.
  • Consult the freezer for the recommended temperature. Typically, this is around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Washing Machines

Expect your washing machine to last up to 10 years. Since washing machines work hard at agitating and spinning clothing, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on yours in order to extend its lifespan.

  • Always keep clothing balanced in the drum.
  • Keep the drainage line clean and clear.
  • Regularly clean the washing machine drum.

Microwaves

Most microwaves can be expected to last up to 9 years.

  • Frequently wipe down the inside of the microwave to clean it of food splatter.
  • Remove the carousel tray and clean it in the sink. Also, clean the area underneath the carousel to ensure smooth rotation.
  • Run the microwave only when food or liquids are inside; never run the microwave when it is empty.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers must be kept clean on a regular basis to ensure an expected 9 to 10 year lifespan.

  • Consult your dishwasher instruction guide for the proper way to stack plates and drinking vessels.
  • Keep an eye on the bottom of the dishwasher to make sure that it is properly draining, plus keep that area clean.
  • Make sure that the dishwasher air vent is always kept clear and clean.