At a certain point, most things in your home will be need to be updated or replaced altogether. So how do you know when that time comes? Here’s a look at how often to replace 12 common household items.
From dishwashers to decks, knowing when to replace items in your home before they break down can save you a lot of headaches — and money. Here are some guidelines on when to consider upgrading household items found in most homes.
1. Washing machine
If you have kids, or simply like to clean your clothes a lot, chances are your washing machine gets a workout. All that wear and tear can take its toll. Still, generally you can expect your washer to last somewhere in the area of 10 years. You can extend that with regular maintenance like sealing up any any leaks you notice and addressing issues like excessive noise early on.
If your washing machine continues to make a lot of noise, has a persistent odor, or isn’t doing a good job cleaning your clothes efficiently, it’s probably time to get a new one.
Like your washing machine, you’ll likely get somewhere in the range of 10 or so years out of your dryer. To help extend its lifespan, remember to clean the lint trap after each use and make sure the outer vent is clear from any obstructions.
On average, you can expect most refrigerators to last about 13 years. Depending on your model that may be longer… or shorter. A good rule of thumb is to check yours out at the 10-year mark and make sure everything is still running well. Then do it again at around the dozen year mark. While you could make it 15 years without a problem, you may consider trading it in sooner for a more efficient Energy Star rated version.
Your dishwasher may not last as long as some of the other items in your home. On average, you’re looking at somewhere between 6 to 10 years. Key components like the motor or pump can wear out over time, or the heating element may stop working efficiently. Repairing these items can cost several hundred dollars. With new dishwashers averaging around $400-$500, often it makes more sense to simply replace the appliance.
5. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, most smoke detectors will last about 8-10 years. After that, the entire unit should be replaced. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to check its age whenever you replace the alarm’s batteries. Most will have the manufacture date inside the unit.
Most carbon monoxide detectors will last between 5-7 years, but again it’s important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for a specific lifetime expectancy. If your carbon monoxide alarm has replaceable batteries, they should be switched out at least every 6 months.
6. Fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers in general should last between 5-15 years depending on the model. To make sure yours is still in working order, experts recommend checking the pressure gauge monthly to make sure the needle is in the green zone. Models without a gauge can be checked by a professional or should be replaced if you’re unsure of the age.
If you notice things like a cracked or ripped hose or nozzle, a missing locking pin, or a missing inspection tag, you should replace it right away.
7. Water heater
Depending on the type of water you have, it should last between 8 and 15 years. As with the other appliances, maintenance is key. With regular inspection, draining, and flushing, a gas water heater should last anywhere from 8-12 years and an electric one between 10-15 years. Lowering your thermostat to reduce overheating may help prolong its life.
On average, residential windows last between 15 to 20 years. If they’re well cared-for, they may well last beyond that, but at the two decade mark, you should consider replacing them, especially if they’re becoming hard to open and close or you notice a persistent draft coming from them. While you can repair minor leaks with caulk or weather-stripping, a rotted frame indicates a replacement is necessary.
You don’t need to replace all your windows at once, but you may be able to lower your energy bills by installing several newer, more efficient ones at the same time.
A furnace is a key household item, so you want to make sure it’s receiving proper maintenance, like replacing the filter, cleaning the ductwork, and sealing any noticeable gaps. If that’s the case, it should last you between 15-20 years. If you start to notice rooms heating unevenly, the furnace becoming noisy, or there are signs of rust or cracks, you should consider getting a new one. It’s best to do that before it breaks down, rather than waiting until it’s too late and having to scramble to replace it.
10. Air conditioner
Since air conditioners are often exposed to the outdoor elements, you can expect a slightly shorter life span than something like your furnace. Generally, an AC unit will last between 10-15 years. Again, having a skilled technician regularly inspect the unit should increase its lifespan. If you hear excessive noise, or you live in area that experiences significant temperature fluctuations and humidity, you may be looking at having to replace it sooner.
The longevity of your roof can vary widely depending on the material. If yours is made from slate, copper, or tile, it should last more than 50 years. Wood shake roofs come in at around 30 years. Fiber cement shingles should hold up for 25 years or so. And shingle/composite roofs typically last for about 20 years. If you notice leaks, missing shingles, or sagging, it may be time to consider a replacement.
12. Wood deck
Wood decks are great for summer barbecues or for just hanging out, but no matter the season, they can take a beating from the weather. So regular sealing and maintenance is required to keep yours in good shape. While there’s no standard timeframe for how long a wood deck will last, taking preventing measures can extend its lifespan. If you start to see extensive damage like cracked boards, loose railings, or signs or dry rot, it’s probably time to look into repairs or a replacement.
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