If you’re like most consumers, you’ve noticed that appliances typically don’t last as long as they did decades ago. Wondering how long do appliances last? Our appliance repair experts answer this question with a list of modern appliances and their average lifespans. We’ll also review how to extend the life of your appliance with regular maintenance and when a replacement overrides a repair.

Your Questions Answered: How Long Do Appliances Last and How to Extend Their Lifespans

While it’s largely true that the average appliance lifespan is shorter than its 20th-century counterpart, it’s also cheaper, with greater technological advancements. When answering how long do appliances last, we’ll also address why shorter lifespans are common and how to maximize them with specific maintenance.

How Long Should My Appliances Last?

Computerized technology and cheaper parts have both contributed to appliances with shorter lifespans. Here’s a rundown of how long each major appliance should last and why:

Refrigerator Lifespan: 10 years

While most refrigerators were originally made of long-lasting metal, plastic parts have cut down on shipping costs and price tags in addition to lifespans. Failure to perform regular maintenance, like cleaning the condenser coils, can also make a fridge work harder, further shortening its life.

Dishwasher Lifespan: 10-13 years

Like most appliances, electronic controls and computerized mechanisms have contributed to shorter dishwasher lifespans. Meanwhile, their modern filtration systems require regular cleanings that are often neglected, leading to breakdowns and harmful drain clogs.

Oven and Range Lifespan: 10-15 years

Today’s electric ovens and ranges utilize more components than older models as well as their gas counterparts. However, food buildup and the high heat of oven self-cleaning features often lead to breakdowns and costly repairs.

Washer Lifespan: 12-14 years

Though frontload washers have advantages over top-load models, their design results in more frequent breakdowns. Using too much of the wrong detergent and a lack of regular cleanings are often the most common causes for this shorter appliance life expectancy.

Dryer Lifespan: 12-18 years

While dryers can last longer than washers, busy lifestyles and multiple loads of laundry often leave maintenance by the wayside. Failure to clean out the lint trap after each use and skipping annual vent cleanings can lead to vent clogs, malfunctions, and repairs.

how long do appliances last

How Do I Extend the Life of My Appliances?

Now that we’ve answered how long do appliances last, how can their lifespans be extended? The answer is almost always “with proper maintenance.” Here’s how regular upkeep can maximize the life of specific appliances:

Refrigerators: 

Regular condenser coil cleanings can go a long way in dictating how long does a refrigerator last. If these coils get coated in dust and dirt, the refrigerator often has to work harder to maintain cool temperatures, shortening its lifespan. Knowing how to clean condenser coils 1-2 times per year can extend the life of your refrigerator. 

Dishwashers: While monthly filter cleanings will remove food buildup, knowing how to load a dishwasher also helps extend its life. By scraping off large food particles and making sure items don’t block spray arms, you can lessen the chance of clogs and repairs.

Ovens and Ranges:

As the high temperatures of an oven’s self-cleaning cycle can damage its components, make sure you allow time for it to cool down after a cleaning cycle. Clean your range burners regularly, specifically gas burners, to prevent clogs and food buildup that can cause malfunctions.

Washers:

Frontload washers require regular cleanings to avoid odors and breakdowns. After each wash, clean the gasket regularly to remove any buildup and leave the door open to allow for airflow. If your washer smells like mold, make sure you’re using HE detergent in the right amounts to limit excessive suds that can harbor smelly bacteria.

Dryers:

Clogged dryer vents are commonly caused by a buildup of lint and debris and can result in malfunction and even dangerous dryer fires. To prevent these outcomes, clean the dryer lint trap after each drying cycle and perform annual vent cleanings to remove lint and debris.

Should I Repair or Replace?

Understanding how long do appliances last also involves understanding when they can be repaired and if they should be replaced. These criteria can help decide if a repair or replacement is necessary:

  • Age of appliance: if your appliance has met its lifespan or is older than 15 years, a replacement can be the better option.
  • Repair cost: if a repair costs at least 50% more than a new appliance, a replacement is generally more cost-effective.
  • Efficiency and convenience: technological advancements can make appliances more energy-efficient and easy to use, saving you money and time. If your current appliance is driving up utility costs and becoming burdensome to use, a replacement may be worth considering.