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DurhamAppliance

Appliance Life Expectancy Article

13 posts in this topic

Here's another interesting article for your appliantological enjoyment...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Appliances can talk with one another. They can track their energy use. They can be controlled by phones.

Now can we just get them to last?

All the technological and energy-saving gizmos added to home appliances in recent years have come at an expense: life expectancy.

“The average appliance life span is 10 to 15 years,” said Robert Rist, whose family has owned Central Ohio Appliance Repair for almost 40 years. “The days of them lasting 25 or 30 years are gone.”

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the life expectancy of major household appliances ranges from nine years for dishwashers to 15 years for gas ranges. Other surveys, such as those from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and Mr. Appliance, give appliances a few years longer.

But whatever figure is used, experts agree that the plug gets pulled a lot faster on appliances today than in the past.

“Older products might have lasted 15 years before a repair,” said Dana Smith, who owns the Dayton and Lima

Mr. Appliance franchises.

“We’ve talked with people who say they just spent $3,000 on a range and can’t believe it doesn’t work, and we hear how the old one lasted 20 years without a single repair.”

A 2013 survey of 29,281 Consumer Reports subscribers found that 31 percent of side-by-side refrigerators broke within four years. In the same time period, 22 percent of front-loading washing machines and 20 percent of dishwashers failed.

The 2013 survey found that the failure rate of appliances and other household items was actually better than it was in 2010.

Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, a deputy content editor with the publication, doesn’t know how the failure rate might compare with decades ago but thinks one reason people are frustrated with modern appliances is that when they fail, they really fail.

“When products break, it’s memorable,” she said. “About 53 percent of respondents said the products just stopped working altogether, and 32 percent said they work poorly, so it’s a big deal when it breaks. It’s not like the light stopped working on a refrigerator.”

Nonetheless, Lehrman thinks appliances today are better overall than in the past. They’re quieter, more efficient and more effective, she said.

Manufacturers have responded to issues of reliability in part by shrinking the typical warranty down to one year, compared with up to five years for large parts several years ago, Lehrman said.

There could be many reasons that appliances don’t last as long as they once did, including the greater reliance on plastic parts and thinner metal, but repair experts say the biggest reason is that energy-saving features and electronic components have made appliances more complicated and therefore more error-prone.

A favorite example among repair experts is the compressor used in refrigerators, which has shrunk to meet energy guidelines. Refrigerators are now far more efficient but also more likely to fail.

Another example: Dishwashers today consume about one-fifth the amount of water they used just a few years ago. But the water-saving change has boosted service calls from homeowners concerned about performance.

“They use a lot less water,” Smith said. “That affects performance, and people are disappointed.”< /p>

But perhaps the greatest culprit is the increased reliance on electronics and computers.

From simple LED displays to moisture sensors and Wi-Fi adapters, appliances have far more electronics, which brings a greater chance of failure.

“Each function adds another circuit,” said Jody Vass, president of Capital City Appliance in Columbus, which makes more than 30,000 appliance repair runs a year. “And each time you run electricity through a circuit, it creates heat and can fail.”

Local repair companies estimate that 50 percent of their service calls are due to electronic, rather than mechanical, failures.

“The classic example is the washer and dryer,” Smith said. “Most have automatic timers now. The old ones were all mechanical, and mechanical components don’t fail as often.”

Electronic components are also vulnerable to power surges and lightning strikes. (Repair experts strongly recommend surge protectors on major appliances.)

Each time a manufacturer introduces a new appliance bell or whistle, repair crews tend to roll their eyes.

“We cringe when we see stuff like this,” Vass said. “They just lead to additional problems. I wish people would have stayed basic. It would have made their lives and our lives much easier.”

The classic example among servicers is the LG refrigerator that included a television on the front door. (The model has been discontinued.)

“At a seminar I asked, sort of joking, ‘Should we send out the appliance repair tech or a TV repairman?’ ” Rist

asked.

Experts say homeowners share some of the blame for appliance failures. Many problems could be avoided if they simply cleaned the appliances and followed the owners’ manuals, servicers say.

“Nobody reads their use-and-care manual, but those things do help,” Smith said. “It’s much more critical now than it used to be.”

The question of when to repair and when to replace depends on many variables, but repair crews, not surprisingly, lean toward keeping an old machine running.

“If we see an old Maytag, we almost always recommend that the customer fix it,” Smith said. “ Even with a $400 repair and the increased electricity use with the old appliance, they’ll still save a lot of money in the long run.”

jweiker@dispatch.com

Extending use

How to prolong the life of your appliances:

Dishwasher: Average life span: 9 years

For best cleaning results, use moderate amounts of soap, rinse only large food particles from dishes and don’t overload the machine. Replace dish rack if worn or rusted.

Clothes washer: 10 years

Pull items out of pockets before washing and don’t overload the machine. Periodically check water hoses and replace if

they show signs of

cracking or wear.

Clothes dryer: 13 years

Regularly clean vents and lint filter.

Gas range: 15 years

Regularly clean the cooktop and the oven. (Use only the self-cleaning feature if your oven has one.)

Refrigerator: 13 years

Periodically clean condenser coils and replace rubber gaskets around the door if they don’t seal well.

Source: National Association of Homebuilders/Bank of America Home Equity study of Life Expectancy of Home Components

from http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2014/08/03/fancy--fragile.html

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Need appliance parts? Call 877-803-7957 now!

In other words, job security :).

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i dunno who wrote that article but half of it is total BS
 

customer says my last fridge lasted 30 years , this one is only 10

 

well when you bought that last fridge it cost you 3 months wages and now you can buy one for 2 weeks wages

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J5, I am not defending the article, I posted it for discussion purposes only. However, your analysis is way off. We are talking 30 year life expectancy , not depression era 1930's! No way did it take three months salary to buy a fridge 30 years ago.

The article is talking about "life expectancy" so it also referencing fridges bought pre-2000 as they usually had a thirty year life expectancy. Let's take, for example, fridges bought in 1990 as well as 1983:

first,, based on inflation an $800 fridge today would cost $439 in 1990 and $334 in 1983

minimum wage today = 7.25 x 40 = $290 per week or 2.75 weeks of salary to buy the fridge.

minimum wage 1990 = 3.8 x 40 = $152 per week or 2.9 weeks of salary to buy an equivalent fridge.

minimum wage 1983 = 3.5 x 40 = $140 per week or 2.4 weeks of salary yo buy an equivalent fridge

...

so let's look at value... based on longevity, 30 years vs 10 years you got three times the value in 1983. Even if we offset it by energy savings of $60 per year, after 10 years or $600 savings minus at least $400 in repairs you will have $200 (if lucky) to buy a fridge after 10 years..... dunno about you, but as a consumer, that sucks big time. As a tech, and an appliance dealer, it's great news! see http://appliantology.org/blog/1/entry-778-how-the-energy-star-requirements-are-unwittingly-protecting-the-appliance-repair-trade/

the following sites were used to make the above calculations

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774473.html

PS.... I'm also old enough to have bought my first fridge... 1985 and it certainly didn't take 3 months salary. I bet that thing is still humming along.

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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its great for discussion

 

You cannot use inflation and work back for costs

 

im in australia so our dollars are different and so are minimum wages

 

but hey lets throw around a few figures for the sake of the discussion

 

lets say a 7.5kg F&P washer

 

8 years ago $888

today $650

1998 $1200

 

fridge e522b

today about $1300

15 years ago about $1600

 

15 years ago a reasonable tradesman was making about $45kpa

now that guy is on about $60K

 

now granted usa and aus are different , my 3 month commonet may not be entirely correct

but it wouldnt be too far off back in 1960/70 which is where the 30+ year old fridges came from

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They are not talking, about fridges from the 60's and 70s! They are talking about fridges made when they had a life expectancy of 30 years... that was as recent as 1999. Btw a fridge made in 70 is 44 years old...

What do you mean I can't work back for cost? I lived during that time and I know what fridges cost in '85. Those figures are to close accurate if factoring in the difference in the buying power of the dollar and considering you were buying something made of metal as opposed to cheap plastic.

Come on J5, you have to know this article is not targeting an international audience. 3 months Salary to buy a fridge??? In the 50's maybe. Calling the article bs based on an Australian perspective is...uh... interesting, at best.

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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Right, like the fridge that "never broke" that has a Supco URO41 on the compressor.  I think people tend not remember their older appliances breaking, nostalgia for green fridges or something.

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durham i dunno about the USA but a lot of things have come down in price over the years

 

so for that reason you cannot use inflation as your calculation back from today what something would have cost back in 1975

 

how many 1985 fridges are still chugging along today as thats 30 years

 

1999is only 15 years ago do you think you are going to see then in 2029 ?

 

1990 is 30 years after 1960

 

im lucky to see a fridge from the early 90's today they get 20 years tops when new gases came along and cfc's were outlawed

with low gas charges and small compressers

 

also you cannot use minimum wage as a guide, if anything you must use average wage unles you have been earning minimum wage for

the past 40 years ?

 

also something i missed on my prev discussion was in 1990 an average tradie was earning $30Kpa

so his wage has doubled in 25 years and appliances have gone down between 25 and 50%

 

head back further into the past and you will find similar

 

yes months wages back in the 50's and 60's thats exactly what i was talking about as these are the older folk that knew exactly what they were earning and

know exactly how long a fridge lasted for and these are the exact people that bring up my last fridge lasted 30 years which from the 90's is back in the 60's

 

yes it may not be targeting an international audience but either way there is some issues with the article

 

energy saving circuits and failures , 50% of repairs are electronic failures

 

i dunno about you but i do a whole load of user faults, blocked pumps, leaking hoses , yes there is some electronic failures but no where near 50%

 

oh and mechanical timers, i used to do a bucketload of speedquean timers all sub 5 years old , lucky if they made 2 years

 

same with dishwashers, users, blockages

 

fridges , mostly defrost elelements and the odd fan and some door seals , electonic replacement is rare for me

 

i guess each brand has its own issues and i suppose the bloke who wrote the artical is prob repairing a lot of cheap asian made stuff with high

failure rates due to poor QC

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J5....we are talking life expectancy. The appliance industry itself puts out life expectancy data. The current appliances are at the low end of the spectrum

No one said the older appliances never needed repairs... just that the repairs were infrequent with less determination that the problem was terminal.

Cheap asian made? Aren't all appliances now cheap asian made?

"As (MIT lecturer Daniel) Braunstein tells it, many consumer-product companies have moved their manufacturing offshore, delegating design and engineering to contractors, which can create a conflict of interest.

A contractor, Braunstein says, might try to lure corporate customers by keeping the cost of its design and engineering services low. "The result becomes focused on the factory's bottom line instead of the interests of the consumer," he explains. Trimming costs can mean taking shortcuts that negatively impact the appliance's quality.Not to mention repair costs. "

Here is an interesting anecdotal story of how long an LG rep said their top of the line washer and dryer should last: http://consumerist.com/2012/08/29/lg-rep-washers-and-dryers-are-not-meant-to-last/

BTW, have you been to an American landfill lately? You'll see countless appliances less than 5 years old being trashed. The rate if that happening the 90's was absolutely less.

"Here are some disturbing statistics from Consumer Reports. In three to four years, here are the odds of an appliance breaking down:

Side-by-side fridge with an ice maker -- 36%.

Dishwasher -- 20%.

Washing machine (front load) -- 25%."

check out http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post.aspx?post=eb71b3bc-12f5-4427-9909-57e4fe615eda

As stated in the video found in the previous link, I am not just going by statements of others but from my own personal experiences.

And as to mechanical vs electronic appliances ... I'm more in line with...http://aramastertech.hubpages.com/hub/Mechanical-VS-Electronic-Appliances

Based on the information I have read, I will modify my statement...

pre energy star appliances 20 years...... modern appliances 7 years (if lucky).

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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From Whirlpool's Service Briefs dated June 1999:

 

What Is The Average Life Of major Home Appliances?

 

Appliance Type / Average Useful Life In Years

 

Garbage Disposal...................................12

Trash Compactor....................................14

Dehumidifier............................................11

Room Air Conditioner..............................12

Washer - Front Load...............................11

Washer - Top Load.................................14

Dryer.......................................................13

Microwave Oven..................................... 9

Oven - Built In.........................................16

Range - Slide In......................................17

Range - Double Oven (Hi/Lo).................18

Dishwasher Portable..............................11

Dishwasher Built In................................13

Refrigerator Compact............................. 5

Refrigerator Built In................................14

Refrigerator Top Mount..........................14

Refrigerator Side By Side.......................14

Refrigerator Bottom Mount.....................17

Refrigerator One Door............................19

Freezer Upright.......................................15

Freezer Chest.........................................18

 

Source:  National Family Opinion Inc.

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BTW, have you been to an American landfill lately? You'll see countless appliances less than 5 years old being trashed. The rate if that happening the 90's was absolutely less.

 

 Sorry to bump a slightly older thread like this, but when you said this, did you actually mean appliances are going into landfills, or do you just mean that people are getting rid of appliances sooner?

 

Because I've seen things like this said around these forums a few times.... where people are saying that there's appliances just put into landfills, but I would be very surprised if this was true. Not because I don't think people are getting rid of their appliances, I mean, I know first hand they are, but just that I doubt whomever is actually doing the getting rid of them is just throwing them in landfills. Aside from fixing used appliances, repairing, and delivering, I also scrap the used appliances that the company I work for gets back from people. Let me tell you, if anyone is just throwing away appliances in the landfill, or anything metal in that aspect, let me know about it! I'll go get that metal free of charge. There's very good money to be had in recycling metal. At least here in Oregon.

 

Just had to ask, since I even saw one post where a guy had a taken a picture of a pile of appliances, saying something like "Look at how they're just throwing this out! It's hurting the environment" or something like that. Trust me, I doubt people would just throw out a huge pile of scrap metal. At least $700 of metal in that one picture I saw alone. I really don't think people are just throwing it out.

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Certainly they are seen at the Landfill... a usual term used for the city waste management site where they are probably slated for recycling. The discussions were centered on longevity of the appliance and not environmental concerns. thus the distinction between landfill,the location, vs being used as landfill was not made. Although the distinction was irrelevant to the discussion, the meaning, however, should be clear taken in context.

As for throwing appliances out, most customers aren't concerned with making money from scrap. From their point of view, they are indeed throwing their appliances out.

But to your point, Currently 90 percent of discarded appliances are recycled. Do you have any idea how much volume that is and the impact it has on our environment?

So not only was the term "Landfill" used as a location; Not only is the distinction irrelevant to the conversation, but 10 percent of appliances that are used as landfill can still make up the rows and rows of appliances shown in the photo you mentioned.

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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Ah, I see. Well, at least where I come from, the landfill sorts the metal out of most of what consumers drop off. If they don't other places, they really should. Maybe I should go down there and do it for them. Make some extra cash. :)

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