The typical American home has a few large appliances that people tend to take for granted. The washing machine and dryer. The refrigerator. A furnace, and perhaps an air conditioner. The dishwasher.
These staples of the modern home shouldn't be overlooked, though. Whether you buy them brand-new for your house, or they came along with your purchase, you'll eventually need to replace these appliances.
Here's what you need to know about four common home appliances and their lifespans:
You can generally count on your fridge lasting a decade, according to Consumer Reports. After that, you'll want to begin watching for signs that it's not working as well as it should be. Refrigerators are the top source of home appliance complaints to Consumer Reports, with the most common issue being the water or ice dispenser not working.
To lengthen the life of your fridge, keep it clean. Vacuum the condenser coils, wipe down gaskets and use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the ice dispenser.
Washers also last 10 years typically, a Consumer Reports survey found. This lifespan is in line with most manufacturers' claims, though you'll also see a few outliers, like Speed Queen, that advertise their machines as lasting up to 25 years.
That said, 30% of respondents to Consumer Reports' survey said they experienced a problem within the first five years.
An important way to prevent washer damage is to ensure it's on level ground. An unsteady machine can damage the internal components like the drum. If you begin to hear odd sounds when you use the machine, like knocking or squeaking, address it right away. If something is misaligned, continuing to use it will probably make the problem worse.
Ten years is also the expected lifespan of dryers, and only 20% of respondents to Consumer Reports' survey said they had a problem within the first five. One reason for this could be because dryers are significantly less complicated than washers.
Of the complaints Consumer Reports analyzed, the most common (10%) was that the machine wasn't drying clothes entirely. This could be caused by a broken heating element, a typical cause of breakdowns dryers have.
The most important thing to remember for keeping your dryer in good condition is to clear out the lint. Empty the trap with every load of laundry, and vacuum out the duct annually.
Like some of our other favorite home appliances, dishwashers can typically last a decade. However, about 30% of consumers said they've experienced problems with theirs within the first five, according to a survey from Consumer Reports.
The biggest complaint about dishwashers is that it's not cleaning properly. To keep your dishwasher working well, ensure dishes are clear of large pieces of food, bone or toothpicks before loading, and keep the machine clean. Remove hard water or residue buildup, and clear the filter.
Eventually, you'll have to replace any one of these appliances. Prepare for this event by setting aside money in an emergency fund. Reach out to The Federal Savings Bank for help setting up an account or advice on savings strategies.