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The Life Cycle of Household Appliances

image of old toastersHome appliances are indispensable elements of the modern home. It is difficult to imagine what life would be like without a trusty oven, dishwasher or cooktop. A refrigerator on the fritz is enough to throw homeowners into panic mode without alternative storage for highly perishable goods. Washing machine repair is a top priority whenever this workhorse of a household equipment is not functioning properly.

Estimated Life Span of Household Appliances

With proper maintenance and regular inspections, most household appliances will last at least 10 years. A report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) indicates that refrigerators can last anywhere from 14 to 17 years while gas cooktops may be functional for 19 years. Dishwashers and garbage disposal units may be good for 10 years, depending on usage.

Regardless of the brand, type of appliance and reputation for reliability, all appliances must undergo maintenance checks, including burner replacements on gas ranges or filter cleaning in dishwashers. With timely washing machine repairs such as replacement of worn out gaskets, these machines may last at least 13 years.

Replacement Strategy for Appliances

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), it takes a while before appliances are completely junked. In the hands of appliance repair persons, such as Dave’s Appliance Service in southeast Wisconsin, household appliances can outlast the life span estimated by the NAHB.

Nonetheless, it is prudent to compare the cost of replacing vs. repairing. Get a repair estimate from a service pro, and figure out if it is time for a new household appliance. The decision to buy a new or as-new replacement of your refrigerator, for instance, may depend on the time of year. This is because retail prices of household appliances fluctuate, depending on the season.

Best Times to Shop

January is the best time to shop for air conditioning units and gas grills long before warmer temperatures set in. This is also the time when manufacturers and retailers are trying to move inventory of older models, so shoppers can expect deep discounts.

Sometime during the second quarter, cookware and kitchen appliances and refrigerators go on sale. The latest refrigerator models are released in May, so discounts may apply on older inventory.

September and October are the best times to shop for washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens. With the exception of refrigerators, the latest models of household appliances are released around this time, so you have the choice of buying an older model at a discount or bringing home a state-of-the-art household appliance.

Note that the last day of the month may also present buying opportunities for household appliances as sales people may be under pressure to meet quotas and would be amenable to discounting an item to ensure a sale. Retail stores also run special sales around certain holidays such as Labor Day, Memorial Day and Presidents’ Day.

To Replace or not to Replace

When discarding non-functioning appliances, pay attention to recycling guidelines. Better yet, make sure that your appliance is truly beyond repair before considering a replacement. Contact a repair service pro to determine if the appliance can be refurbished. Simple washing machine repairs, for instance, may extend its useful life and reduce costs.

Photo by 1950sUnlimited. Creative Commons license.

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Helpful Hints

Things to check before you call:

  • CHECK for a blown fuse
  • CHECK that the appliance is plugged in
  • CHECK that the dryer vent is clean
  • CHECK that refrigerator controls are at the proper setting