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Refrigerators Last a Lifetime, Right? Well, Not Exactly.

Learn the average life expectancy of washers, dryers, dishwashers, and more

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

It’s no secret that refrigerators, dishwashers, and big household appliances are expensive. If you plan ahead for these sorts of expenses, it’s much easier to have the money on hand when the time comes.

But how do you know when the time will come?

Start by figuring out the year your appliances were manufactured. How many years have passed?

Then, compare them to the average life expectancy for these appliances:

Now, you may be wondering about the longevity of furnaces and roofs. Those, unfortunately, are wild cards, meaning their longevities range so drastically from one home to the next.

All of this information is important to know, whether you’ve owned your home for three years, three days, or you’re considering making an offer. Of course, all of these ranges are relative and heavy use will put their longevity more toward the lower end of these ranges.

Should this impact which home you buy?

Buying a home is expensive enough after you factor in the down payment and closing costs. However, what goes into your home is also something to consider.

When touring a home, find out how old the household appliances are. Will it be a few years before some of them need replacing? Or is the dishwasher 10 years old, meaning it could need replacing any day now? It’s also a good idea to find out if the current homeowner plans to take the appliances with them (which will be called out in the sale agreement). Then you’ll need to buy all new appliances anyway.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Washer: Yes, these should appear clean, but also check for any mold or musty smell. Is there any rust? When were the supply hoses changed last? Are there any signs of leakage or hard water buildup on the valves?
  • Dryer: In addition to looking for rust and a moldy-musty smell, make sure the vent line is there. (Believe it or not, this isn’t always the case.) Is there a ton of lint coming out of the dryer?
  • Refrigerator: Your ears will tell the story here. Is the refrigerator quiet? It should be. Also, check that the vent grill is cleaned to ensure good circulation. As for the smell, well, a smelly fridge is never a good sign.
  • Dishwasher: Typically, advanced age will be evident in the door seal area. Are there signs of deformities? Those could be a sign of aging or unusual heat buildup inside the cabinet. And of course, be wary of unpleasant smells.
  • Water heater: Look out for lime scale and other signs of water leakage.

The age and quality of a home’s appliances could impact how much you put down with your offer or help you decide if you can afford the home at all. For example, a home with a relatively new refrigerator, washer, and dryer could make a home more appealing to you. On the flip side, a home with a bunch of old appliances might push a home already at the top of your budget beyond your max.

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