When was the last time you replaced any of your appliances? If you’ve lived in your home for years and the thought has never even crossed your mind, that probably means you’re about due for an upgrade.
Whether it’s a refrigerator that’s no longer meeting your family’s needs or a noisy dishwasher barely getting anything clean, below is the ultimate guide to knowing exactly when it’s time for these old devices to go. Take note of these expert tips and timelines so that you’re not stuck regularly using something that can’t deliver on what it’s supposed to do. Sadly, these items aren’t meant to last forever and it’s important to stick to their lifespan.
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Despite being the focal point of any kitchen, refrigerators can be taken for granted. There will be glaring signs of when a replacement is necessary, you just have to pay attention. “If your fridge has excessive condensation, it may not be cooling properly and if that’s the case, investigate the rubber sealing around the door to see if there are water droplets or signs of mildew,” The Home Depot Division Merchandise Manager Paul West explained. “Additionally, if the back of the refrigerator feels warm, you should check to see if the motor is running correctly. Excessive heat can indicate you may need to replace the coils or replace the appliance altogether.”
Paul went on to point out that food not staying fresh is a major signal. “Another sign that it may be time to replace your refrigerator is when your food takes a long time to cool down or when it begins to spoil quickly,” he added. “It’s an indicator that your fridge is unable to maintain the necessary temperature and also means you’re spending more money on your energy bill on top of the money you spend on wasted produce. Overall, if your fridge is more than 10 years old, you should monitor these warning signs closely.”
Stove and Oven
Lifespan: 10–15 years
You shouldn’t take chances with anything that can catch fire. A stove and oven’s average lifespan is up to 15 years—occasionally longer if you opted for a gas range. “The biggest thing to note is that a proper stove shouldn’t take too long to heat up properly,” according to Paul. “For gas stoves, if the flame isn’t blue and flickers from red to yellow, try cleaning the grates and burner caps. If it’s already clean, you may need to replace it. In case it doesn’t turn on, your gas stove has a faulty spark igniter and loose wiring is a fire hazard, so you want to fix this or replace it as soon as possible.”
A few more signs that things might be awry? “You also want to look for a new appliance if the buttons are malfunctioning or if your electric stove has a crack on the tempered glass making it not safe to cook,” he added.
Then again, if all you’re missing is a specific part, it’s possible that it could be covered under your warranty. Look into that before placing a shiny new stovetop order. “Your warranty should cover the replacement of major parts,” Lowe’s Vice President of Merchandising Dean Schwartz said. “Replacement parts are usually available for at least 10 years after the appliance was manufactured, but remember that your warranty may treat parts and labor costs differently.”
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Dishwashers are a lifesaver, but older ones that aren’t working properly can definitely make things more difficult. Have you been rinsing your dishes so much to avoid streaks and residue that you’re basically washing them when doing a cycle? Stop and do something about this ineffective cleaning method.
Apparently, loud noises are telling of when a dishwasher is in trouble. “When it’s making strange noises, overheating, overcooling, leaking, or giving off a funny smell, these issues mean it’s time for a repair or replacement,” Dean explained. To figure out which route to choose, SMEG Marketing Manager Christian Boscherini shared a special trick. “There’s a rule of thumb that if the cost of the repair exceeds roughly half of the original cost of the appliance, or of a replacement, a replacement is preferred,” he advised. “In the end, this would be a decision for the consumer, as sometimes, they have an entire matching set of appliances, and perhaps the newer model is a little different.”
Washer and Dryer
Lifespan: Approximately 10 years
Leakage is a common problem with a washer and dryer that’s been around for a while. For anyone who notices puddles or pools of liquid, don’t ignore it. “Keeping an eye on your energy bill can also help you pick up on signs that your washer and dryer are malfunctioning,” Dean revealed. “For instance, if your water bill suddenly jumps from the previous month, a leaking appliance could be the cause of the issue.”
Don’t forget to also listen for red flags. “For both machines, excessive constant noise may be a sign that the appliance is starting to wear,” West recommended. “To make sure your washing machine isn’t simply off-balance, you should wash smaller loads and make sure the distribution is even before you begin the wash.”
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Microwaves aren’t exactly essential, but many people have them in their homes. Since they’re relatively affordable, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of a new one, especially if it’s something you use on a daily basis.
“If your microwave isn’t cooking correctly and emits smoke, sparks, or burning smells, it’s definitely time for a replacement,” Paul emphasized, “A working keypad is also essential to a microwave. If the buttons on your appliance no longer work, you should replace it. And, all in all, buying a new one is worth it rather than going through the hassle of replacing parts of an inefficient one.”
Lifespan: Approximately 5 years
Calling all coffee enthusiasts: Five years is the standard timeline for coffee machines and espresso makers. While you can continue using them if there are no major problems, they at least require a double take once this benchmark has been reached. “There are several signs that it can be time to repair or replace your machine,” Philips Espresso representative Catherine Diaz-Cardoso mentioned. “If the water is not getting hot enough, the pump breaks or the machine is leaking, it is likely time to replace the machine.”
For those attempting to be cost-efficient, it’s best not to delay when your device is five years old. “If the appliance is over five years old, it might be best to replace it,” Best Buy Home Expert Rodney George noted. “A lot of times, with an appliance that’s around that age, you might repair one issue only to have another issue follow right after. It could turn into a money pit really quickly.”
Clever, Isis Briones, 4.6.21