Maybe your food isn’t quite as cold as it used to be... your dishes come out dirty… or your clothes are damp after an hour in the dryer. Sound familiar? It may be time to replace that aging appliance.
For homeowners, major appliances represent a significant investment. In fact, U.S. consumers spend more than $60 billion a year on household appliances. So it’s not uncommon for us to try and squeeze the last ounce of life (and value) out of them.
Of course, repairs can help prolong the life of your appliance. But there comes a time when you’ll need to compare the cost of a repair with the expected life of your appliance. While life expectancies and prices aren’t exact, there are average ranges for when to consider a replacement.
Here are the life expectancies of five of the most common household appliances:
- Average life expectancy: 14-17 years
- Average cost to replace: $500 to $2,000+
- Average cost to repair: $200 to $400
How Long Do Refrigerators Last?
The typical lifespan of a fridge is 14 to 17 years. The cost of replacing a refrigerator can vary widely, depending on what you’re looking for. Small basic units will run around $500. But if you feel the need to have the latest features, like Wi-Fi connectivity and a digital screen in your refrigerator door, then you could be spending upwards of $5,000!
Minor repairs – like fixing that broken ice maker – can usually be made for around $300. But if you have larger issues with the temperature inside your fridge, then it might be time to replace it. Test the appliance by placing a thermometer inside and leaving the door closed for five minutes. A temperature of 45 degrees or more is a sign of trouble.
- Average life expectancy: 17 years for an electric range; 19 years for a gas range
- Average cost to replace: $300 to $1,400+ for electric ranges; $280 to $1,000+ for gas ranges
- Average cost to repair: $100 to $200
How Long Do Stoves Last?
Generally speaking, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than electric ranges. Common repairs like igniter cleaning or baking element repairs are often less than $200. But if the cost of repair is more than half the cost to buy new, then it may be wiser to consider a replacement. Some symptoms of an aging range include getting too much or not enough heat, no matter what temperature you set.
- Average life expectancy: 13 years
- Average cost to replace: $260 to $900+
- Average cost to repair: $50 to $150
Should You Repair or Replace Your Washing Machine?
The sticker shock on washing machines is (thankfully) not as bad as it is for refrigerators or stoves. Ensuring your hoses stay clean can help you get more life out of your washing machine. But it might be time to replace it if you notice your clothes aren’t getting completely cleaned, or the drum inside doesn’t fill all the way.
- Average life expectancy: 14 years
- Average cost to replace: $240 to $900+
- Average cost to repair: $100 to $400
When Should You Replace Your Dryer?
The replacement cost on a dryer is similar to a washer. Like washers, you can extend the life of your dryer by checking the hoses and cleaning the lint trap, heating element and exhaust duct. Cleaning out your dryer is also key when it comes to preventing dryer fires.
- Average life expectancy: 10 years
- Average cost to replace: $240 to $700+
- Average cost to repair: $150 to $250
Should You Fix or Replace Your Dishwasher?
Keeping your dishwasher clean and clear of food and debris will also extend its life. But if your dishes have spots after cycling through or the dishwasher stops before a cycle finishes, it may be time to consider a replacement.
Equipment Breakdown Coverage for Home Appliances
As a homeowner, replacing major appliances can be a big expense. To protect your investment from unexpected, costly breakdowns, you might purchase extended warranties. But warranties can be expensive and limited in coverage – and you have to buy a bunch of them.
At ERIE, we think that’s not right, so we did something about it.
Good news: You can get an extra cushion of protection for major appliances and home systems right in your homeowners insurance policy with our Equipment Breakdown Coverage. This coverage is automatically included when you choose ErieSecure Home® and the Select bundle endorsement with Sewer and Drain Backup Coverage*.
Want to learn more? Contact your local Erie Insurance agent for more details and a free quote.
This article was originally published in 2014. It was updated in 2019 with new information.