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How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Appliances?

Household Appliances Including Dishwasher, Refrigerator, and Dryer
By:Danielle Hanula| Last Updated:03/28/2024
Time to Read: 6 min

When to Replace Your Appliances

We don’t often think twice about our household appliances until they are on the fritz, or until they have completely stopped working and it’s too late to do anything about it. To help you avoid future catastrophes, here is the rundown on the average life of appliances, so you can take stock on how much longer yours have left and plan accordingly.


Should I Repair or Replace My Appliances?

While it might seem like you’re saving money by continually repairing an appliance, it might actually cost you more in the long run. In addition to appliance-specific factors, a good rule of thumb is to replace the appliance if the repairs costs are over half the cost of a replacement. Additionally, many appliances have a ripple effect on other costs, like your gas or electric bills, so a new unit could save you money each month too.

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The Complete Guide to Your Appliances’ Life Expectancy

In most cases, our household appliances are seeing a high volume of usage on a regular basis, so even if you have top-of-the-line models, they won’t last forever. We’ll break down common issues each appliance has and whether it’s worth repairing or time to replace it.

For tips on when to replace a specific appliance, jump to:

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“For homeowners, major appliances represent a significant investment. In fact, U.S. consumers spend more than $60 billion a year on household appliances.”
Raychel Adiutori, Erie Insurance


When to Replace Your Washer

A washer is a key player in your lineup of household appliances, but luckily, it isn’t the most expensive investment if you need a new one. Depending on what is wrong with your machine, sometimes buying a brand new one makes more sense than spending money on the repairs – especially if the fix isn’t covered under your warranty. Some common repairable problems washers see include:

  • Loud vibrations or noises, which can be resolved by replacing your washer’s spin basket.
  • Slow-filling washers caused by limescale build-up, which can be fixed by cleaning or replacing your washer hose.
  • Washer doors getting stuck or not locking, which can easily be fixed by replacing your door lock assembly.

Life Expectancy: 10 – 13 years
Cost to Repair: $50 – $300
Cost to Replace: $450 – $1,300

Door Open on Front Load Washing Machine

When to Replace Your Dryer

If you are contemplating repairing or replacing your dryer, buying a brand-new one won’t break the bank if the repairs aren’t covered under your warranty. Many people like to replace both their washer and dryer at the same time to get a better deal at the store. Keeping up with routine maintenance is a good way to extend the lifespan of your dryer. Make sure you are regularly clearing out the lint trap and checking the hoses and exhaust ducts.

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“The most common cause of dryer fires is failure to do a thorough cleaning. Because a lint trap is not a foolproof method for catching all the fuzzy stuff from clothes, lint can gradually build up and catch fire in the heating element or exhaust duct.”
Raychel Adiutori, Erie Insurance


Easily fixable issues you might face with your dryer include:

  • Clothes taking too long to dry due to an issue with your heating element, which you can test yourself.
  • Loud thumping and clothes coming out torn, which could be a sign that you need to replace your drum seal.

Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
Cost to Repair: $50 – $400
Cost to Replace: $450 – $1,400

Not sure what to do with your old appliances?
Check out our Appliance Disposal Guide!

When to Replace Your Stove

Moving on to the kitchen – your stove can encounter many minor setbacks that are easy to fix, but if your repairs seem to keep adding up, it might be time to replace. If the inside of your oven appears to be rusting, you should definitely replace your appliance. Repairs you can handle without taking the leap of buying a new range include:

  • Things cooking too slowly or too quickly, which could mean you’ll need to check the heating element or replace the gasket.
  • Cracks in your ceramic top or glass door, which can be remedied by swapping them out for new ones.

Life Expectancy: Gas range 15 – 25 years; Electric range 13 – 20 years
Cost to Repair: $100 – $250
Cost to Replace: $550 – $2,000

Modern Kitchen with Stainless Steel Refrigerator

When to Replace Your Refrigerator

Since your refrigerator is always running, this appliance may have a slightly shorter lifespan than the rest. If your refrigerator is more than 8 years old, replacing it might end up saving you money in the long run, due to lower energy bills and less spoiled food. If your refrigerator temperature is higher than 40 degrees, you have a problem. Refrigerator repairs that are worth the investment include:

  • Installing a new light bulb inside the refrigerator when it burns out.
  • Replacing the door seal if your door won’t close correctly.
  • Changing the water filter if your ice maker is on the fritz. If that doesn’t work, the issue may be with the water flow, which needs expert help.

Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
Cost to Repair: $100 – $400
Cost to Replace: $600 – $2,500

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“Test your refrigerator 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.”
Raychel Adiutori, Erie Insurance


When to Replace Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher saves you hours spent at the sink washing dishes in dirty water, but what if your appliance isn’t doing its job? If your dishes start coming out dirty, it might be time to replace. Common issues you can handle with a DIY repair include:

  • Dishes that aren’t fully dry after a cycle, which might mean you need a thermostat replacement.
  • The dishwasher stopping mid-cycle, which could mean you need to replace the dishwasher door latch assembly.
  • Leaking water, which could have a simple fix with a new door seal. If the dishwasher is leaking and damaging other parts of your home, you should skip repairs and purchase a new one.

Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years
Cost to Repair: $100 -$300
Cost to Replace: $300 – $800

When to Replace Your Water Heater

Regular maintenance is important for the upkeep of your water heater, but if yours is more than 12 years old, it may be time to get a more efficient model that will save you money. Repairs you might face with a water heater that can be solved without completely replacing include:

  • Water not getting as hot as you desire, which could have a simple fix with checking the heating element or thermostat.
  • Sizzling noises, which could signal that you have sediment buildup and need to clean your tank with vinegar.
  • Leaking water, which can be remedied most times by replacing the pressure-relief valve or fittings.

Life Expectancy: 8 – 12 years
Cost to Repair: $150 – $500
Cost to Replace: Tank $200 – $600; tankless $600 – $1,500

Sump Pump in Basement

When to Replace Your Sump Pump

To avoid being underwater, your sump pump is not an appliance that you want to wait to replace until it’s completely kicked the bucket. The maximum sump pump life expectancy is 10 years, so if yours exceeds that, it’s time to get a new one. Don’t let your sump pump stay out of sight, out of mind. You should clean and test your pump annually. Look for these to sign to decide if your pump needs to be replaced:

  • If it recently rained and water has reached the top of the pump.
  • Strange noises are coming from the motor.
  • It’s approaching 10 years of use.

Life Expectancy: 5 – 10 years
Cost to Repair: $350 – $600
Cost to Replace: $100 – $350

When to Replace Your HVAC

If your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is having problems or has stopped working, chances are you’ll be noticing quickly. Your heating and cooling system uses the most energy in your house, so if it isn’t working efficiently, replacing it could save you a lot of money long term. Some signs it’s time to fully replace your HVAC system include:

  • The unit is more than 15 years old, and the cost for repairs is as much as replacing it.
  • The energy bill keeps going up in cost.
  • You’re having trouble heating or cooling your whole home after a recent addition.

Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Cost to Repair: $150 – $650
Cost to Replace: $4,000 – $10,000

What to Do With Your Old Appliances

If you have decided it’s time to replace your appliance, getting rid of the old one might seem complicated because they are so bulky. Luckily, we’re here to help you toss out the old and start fresh with the new. Head to our appliance disposal guide to see your options for removal, recycling or donating them safely.

Getting rid of old appliances? Find a dumpster near you!