Prolong the Life Span of Your Appliances

Your home appliances make your life easier. You may not realize how many years you have owned these appliances until it is too late. This guide will help you understand the life spans and how to prolong their usefulness.

How do you determine an appliance’s year

If your appliances were installed in your home, it might not be easy to determine their age. You can find the serial number of an appliance online. Manufacturers use codes within this number for information about their production dates.

Appliance life spans

No appliance has a set life span. Your usage and attitude to maintaining it will directly impact its performance. The average lifespan of appliances was determined by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The following information will help you determine how long certain appliances can last on average and provide tips for maintaining them in top shape.

Dishwasher: nine years

  • Wait until the dishwasher is full before you start it. This will prevent overuse and it from getting damaged.
  • Clean the filter regularly by removing it and scrubbing the filter with hot, soapy water.
  • Pre-rinse your dishes before loading to avoid clogs and gunk building up inside the dishwasher.

Microwave: nine years

  • Avoid slamming the microwave’s door, as this can damage the latch mechanisms.
  • Only microwave-safe dishes should be used. Keep metals out of the microwave.
  • Do not run the microwave when it’s empty.

Washing machine: ten years

  • To prevent vibrations, ensure that the machine is placed on a level, well-supported surface.
  • Avoid overloading the washing machine to prevent strain on parts like the motor and transmitters, and evenly balance clothing in the drum.
  • Check the pockets of all clothing you’re washing, as metal items like keys or coins can damage the drum.

Garbage disposal: twelve years

  • Use cold water when running the disposal to help keep fats and oils solid as they pass through the system.
  • Allow the disposal to work for an extra minute or two with running water to flush any bits of food away.
  • Do NOT place bones, popcorn kernels or coffee grounds in your disposal.

Dryer: thirteen years

  • Clean the dryer lint trap after every use.
  • Use a soft cloth or mild cleaner to clean the dryer’s interior.
  • Clean the dryer vent at least once a year to prevent excessive lint buildup that can develop into a fire hazard.

Refrigerator: thirteen years

  • Avoid overpacking the fridge, as this blocks airflow and may cause damage to the compressor and spoiled food.
  • Clean the condenser coils, located on the back or bottom of the refrigerator, twice a year with a vacuum and a soft-bristle brush attachment.
  • Use a mild cleanser and a rag to clean the rubber gaskets on your doors. If the gaskets become brittle or worn, replace them.

Stove: thirteen years (electric) to fifteen years (gas)

  • Wipe the stovetop every day to prevent grime accumulation.
  • Don’t spray cleaning fluid directly on the control panels or knobs, as this may cause corrosion or a short circuit. These areas can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild dishwashing detergent.
  • Replace the oven door’s seal if it becomes cracked or frayed to help prevent heat from leaking out.

Repair or replace?

If one of your appliances is on the fritz, you can use the 50-50 rule to help you choose between repairing or replacing it–if the appliance is more than 50 percent through its average life span and the repair costs more than 50 percent of the price of a new model, it may be time to replace it.

Your home warranty may cover a replacement appliance regardless of its age, provided it meets all requirements. Your warranty will not cover the replacement of an appliance if it isn’t installed correctly, neglected maintenance, or any pre-existing damage or problems before the warranty was in effect.

You can save money on repairs by having older appliances replaced before they fail. Appliances may be less expensive at certain times of the year. Many retailers offer discounts on three-day weekends such as Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day and Labor Day. In January, some stores also offer sales to offset the slowness of postholiday spending. There may be a sale on an older model if the manufacturer releases newer models. You should keep in mind the following months for sales: Stoves in January, refrigerators May, washers, dryers and dishwashers September and October.

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