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Appliance life expectancy

cwbuff's Avatar

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12-05-17, 03:07 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Appliance life expectancy

About 10 years ago we renovated our kitchen down to the studs. We replaced all the major appliances.

In the last 12 months we have replaced the dishwasher (cracked tub), refrigerator (bad compressor ate relays), built in microwave (just dead) and today our built in oven died. My wife turned it on to make cookies and it went to the self clean mode - and stayed there. The only appliance that hasn't been replaced is the cook top. I'm waiting for that shoe to drop.

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12-05-17, 03:10 PM   #2 (permalink)  
At one time.... you could expect upwards to twenty years for appliance life. That is no longer the case. I'm seeing appliance failures at the five year mark now.

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12-05-17, 03:36 PM   #3 (permalink)  
I think a better measure of appliance performance is cost/per use, not cost per years owned. However the latter is much easier to measure and probably why the former is never mentioned. Electrical- mechanical devices are usually the first item to fail on an appliance due to use. If one never used the appliance, it shouldn't fail. But then.why do you have it? While not an answer, something to think about,

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12-05-17, 03:43 PM   #4 (permalink)  
Well, they all used to be referred to as "durable goods". Maybe they still are, but most I've seen are anything but durable. We have a Kenmore chest freezer that may be pushing 30 years old and endured our move down here from NC after I retired. I doubt you could buy one today that will still be going in half that long a time. Our previous refrigerator, a fairly expensive Kenmore 3-door, didn't last 8 years.

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12-05-17, 03:48 PM   #5 (permalink)  
The refrigerator I bought when I moved to my present home died at fourteen years. When I went to buy a new one the saleswoman told me I had a good run on the old one, that most last only about ten years. I remember my mother's refrigerator running well past twenty five years.

As far as refrigerators go I think it is because of the governmental energy savings mandates. They install smaller compressors to use less electricity but they run for far longer time periods in addition to doing a worse job keeping the compartments at a steady temperature. So we save a bit of money on energy costs but we spend it all in replacements because of short life spans.

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12-05-17, 03:56 PM   #6 (permalink)  
Maybe they should make them with quick-disconnect couplings. You could buy a replacement compressor pre-charged and you could just hook it up and return the core.

Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

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12-05-17, 04:40 PM   #7 (permalink)  
Maybe they should make them with quick-disconnect couplings. You could buy a replacement compressor pre-charged and you could just hook it up and return the core.
Great idea, but where is the money in that? As I have mentioned before, not only are things designed for a specific life span, due to economic reasons, but our technology is getting better at determining materiel lifespan to ever closer degrees, and as a result safety factors are less aggressive. Over design is not as critical as it once was.

Classic example are bridges. Now days a bridge can be engineered to last a certain number of years to within almost the exact year as planned. In the early part of the 20th century a bridge had so much safety factors built-in that it could last many more years than designed for. Another example is the NASA Voyager probes or Martian rovers.

Apple electronics is another good example. Very well built. They never really wear out. So what does Apple need to do? Invent or create new "wants" in order stay in business. You can't do that too well with a bridge or with an appliance. If it works, then why replace it?

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12-05-17, 06:20 PM   #8 (permalink)  
The definition of "durable goods" is one that lasts 3 (or more) years.

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12-05-17, 07:41 PM   #9 (permalink)  
dishwasher (cracked tub)
A stainless steel tub won't crack. My opinion is if you buy semi high end appliances they will last.
An over the range micro hood is a crap shoot, they don't vent well but usually hold up as far as operating. If they do fail, my experience is they fail right out of the box.

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12-05-17, 11:23 PM   #10 (permalink)  
Any time we have bought new, I always look for the absolute least bells and whistles I can get. That's getting harder and harder to do. I don't WANT a connected fridge that will display recipes based on what it knows I have in it, or tell me we need to buy butter, or that I can stream a cooking show on the front.

I don't need or want a washer/dryer that I can do 2 socks at a time in a special drawer while I wash the dog on the top. I DON"T EVEN HAVE A DOG!

Using this strategy, I haven't had a major appliance fail in over 30 yrs. Wait, yes I did, I had the transmission coupling (?) fail on a washer after about 7 yrs. I fixed it for about $10 and then found out it would probably have been covered under some sort of extended warranty they had because of that problem. I did have the stat fail on my 15 y/o garage mini-fridge, but heck, that's a mechanical device. Cost $12 for a new one. Anything else I've left them or sold them when I moved before they broke, and I was in the place in VA for 16 yrs, then the place here for 11. Nothing yet.

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12-12-17, 08:07 PM   #11 (permalink)  
My GE refrigerator and clothes dryer are 22 years old. But I periodically remove dust bunnies from the working parts which helps.

I bought an old technology tube TV seven or eight years ago. It was fried in less than 2 years.

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12-13-17, 03:29 AM   #12 (permalink)  
Just before I retired a few years ago.I watched appliance quality go down and harder to repair. Some I blame on EPA reg's other just poor design. Google exploding washers for a kick. This happened after I retired so this is my guess. Washer spin 1200 rpm and have a known seal failure. Water leaks into bearing and freezes.

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