While you can maximize an appliance’s life span with proper maintenance and careful usage, there will eventually come a time when you have to replace it, no matter hard you work to take care of it. Let’s look at how often you should replace home appliances, along with the fundamental problems associated with not replacing these important machines often enough.

Even If It Ain’t Broke…It Might Be Broke

In talking about how often to consider replacing home appliances, it’s helpful to keep in mind the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s one big problem with this saying in regard to home appliances: Older home appliances that seem to do their jobs adequately may have reached a point of inefficiency that, for practical purposes, renders them “broke.”

Ask yourself, for instance: How often does your old washing machine go out of balance or spin-off track during a cycle? Do you find yourself putting it back on track with every load? Does food in your old refrigerator spoil more quickly than you would expect—or more quickly than it used to when you first bought the fridge? Do you find you need to turn the temperature dial to maximum cold to get functional cooling?

Some consumers may respond to these questions with something like, “Sure, but what’s the problem? It still works. When it finally, truly stops operating, I’ll replace it. For now, I don’t see the problem.”

There can be serious problems with continuing to use an appliance beyond its optimal-performance lifespan, though.

Is It Less Expensive to Buy a New Appliance?

You may not think much of spending $100 to replace a refrigerator motor or to replace a dryer thermostat. However, if you’re making repairs on a regular basis, you could easily spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a product that isn’t reliable.

Energy Inefficiency

How much energy is that old dryer or refrigerator using? A new appliance will definitely be more energy efficient than an older model—even compared to when the older model was new. Why? Energy efficiency tends to increase with each new model year, meaning an older appliance will almost always cost more to operate than a new one. Don’t forget that each new appliance comes with a full warranty, too.

Is Anything Leaking From the Appliance?

If you see water leaking from a refrigerator or any other appliance, your best option is probably to replace it immediately. As you likely know, water—along with any other type of liquid—and electricity don’t mix. Additionally, old appliances can suffer leaks you don’t see or detect. These can also present electrical dangers, as well as potential health issues for people or pets living in the home.

Ask yourself: Is saving the upfront costs of purchasing a new appliance worth the risk of potential property damage or bodily injury?

How Old Is Your ‘Old’ Appliance?

How old is too old for a major appliance, then? In our experience, most home appliances last roughly a decade before owners should start thinking about replacement. Refrigerators, however, tend to last about 15 years, while a washer and dryer pair can work well for about 12 years before needing to be replaced. As a rule, we advise you to start watching your home appliances more closely for signs of trouble or decreased performance once factory warranties expire.

Call About a Free Home Energy Audit for Members

Wondering if your home appliances have become a drain on your electric bill? If you’re a Cooperative member, GVEC offers a free in-home energy audit. One of our energy solutions specialists will come to your home and perform a complete audit of your home’s energy efficiency. This free service includes an inspection of select home appliances to check for leaks, damaged seals and more. Our specialist can offer advice on whether you might want to consider replacing your older home appliances or if they might be worth fixing. To learn more about GVEC’s free home energy audit for members or about any GVEC Home product and service, call us today at 888.590.7773.

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