Planning for the life-cycle of your appliances (and when to replace them)
Ever wondered how long the appliances in your rental houses will last? It’s easy to turn the property over to a manager and expect things to carry on a long time without having to think about them. But appliances have a known life. All systems of a home have a known life-cycle. The average life-cycle of an appliance can aid you to figure out if the top of the line range is worth the added cost. It can also help you when deciding on whether to replace or repair an appliance. The life expectancy of most appliances range from 6 to 10 years, but some, such as furnaces and freezers, last twice as long. Brand new appliances usually have three month to a one year warranty. Most manufacturers sell extended warranties that last from 3 to 5 years.
Appliance Life-cycles Differ
The longest-lasting home appliance is the thermostat. On average it does its job for 35 years, and the furnace it controls requires replacing after 15 to 20 years depending on the fuel it uses. Electronic appliances tend to have a shorter life-span compared to gas appliances. Here is the life expectancy of some major appliances:
- Dishwasher, 9 years – Expensive and newer models don’t necessarily mean longer lives. The more additional features a dishwasher has, the more likely things can break. However, staying on top of maintenance and repairs will prevent bigger problems in the long run.
- Stove or Range, 12 to 15 years – Gas stoves tend to last longer than electric stoves. Daily proper care such as cleaning after use and frequent checks on the burner will assist in extending its life-span.
- Garbage Disposal, 10-13 years – The primary factor that affects garbage disposal is how often it’s used. A bachelor that regularly eats out will need to replace the garbage disposal fewer times than a large family that cooks at home. Efforts such as using a strainer and running water when using the disposal will pay off in future.
- Refrigerator, 13-19 years – The rare single door refrigerator units have the longest life expectancy. The side by side and freezer on top models can last 13 and 17 years respectively. Repairs like malfunctioning ice makers and failed door gaskets are bound to happen, but a broken compressor signals the end of the fridge.
- Water Heater, 6-10-25 years – The life-span of the heater depends on the type and model. Tankless water heaters can last for over 20 years, and the electric or gas tanks reach nearly the 6-10-year mark, depending on the build quality. The source of water also affects the life-cycle of the water heater. Untreated hard water contains lime, calcium, and other mineral deposits that can accumulate inside the tank. The build-up of the deposits inside the tank reduces the efficiency of the heater over time.
There are a few steps you can take when planning for the life cycle of your appliances in Portland, OR:
Forget the compact refrigerator
A lot of property managers think that providing tenants with compact refrigerators instead of full-sized fridges is a money-saving strategy, but the reality is just the opposite. The full-size modes use less energy and last 4 to 5 years longer than the compact models. Tenants don’t appreciate smaller fridges, and that effects the way they look to care for the appliance in their home.
Beating the odds
We all know that nothing is perfect. The water heater, freezer, or dishwasher contain small parts that can fail at any time, and undoubtedly they do fail. Whether the parts fail or not, finding available parts on a discontinued appliance is expensive and difficult. Sometimes simple repairs necessitate replacement of older appliances because the parts cannot be had, or are prohibitively expensive. By doing good shopping and upkeeping with proper maintenance practices, you extend the life of an appliance. Just remember… it still has a useful life expectancy.
Buy Reliable Brands
Some brands are unreliable while others have a reputation for offering quality service for an extended period. When buying or replacing appliances for your rentals, a little research can help you get the best value for your money. Use your local appliance experts as they are good sources of information, warning, and recommendation. We call John with Spencer’s Appliance, in addition to checking reviews on various websites including Consumer Reports.
Regularly Perform Repair and Maintenance
Frequent maintenance and repairs can add a few years of service to your appliances. Appliances with operational parts such as washing machines, dryers, etc. can suffer damage if neglected or poorly maintained. A property manager should regularly do the following checkups:
- Cleaning or replacing the furnace filters regularly.
- Periodically re-leveling the washing machine.
- Cleaning the dryer vents annually, especially on long dryer vent runs.
- Check the gaskets on the washing machine, freezers, and refrigerators
Often, appliances fail due to simple issues that the property manager can easily handle with a basic set of tools. Learn how to repair the blown fuses, worn belts, and control panels. Whether you do the maintenance yourself or call an expert, the bottom line is that it’s an easy way to save you from the cost of a new appliance. InterWest Properties performs regular unit evaluations where systems are checked and evaluated for proper operation. It’s better to know a problem is coming that to be surprised and unprepared later.