When to Replace Appliances

My childhood kitchen was filled with appliances that had been there longer than most people have been alive. I’ll never forget my parents’ dryer: It was often duct taped shut to squeeze just a few more months (which turned into years) out of it.

Sound familiar? While you may not duct tape your appliances, chances are you’re hoping that they last as long as possible–and rightly so. Americans spend more than $15 billion a year on the more than 600 million appliances at work in U.S. households. While the life expectancy and price of most appliances isn’t exact, there are average ranges for when to replace appliances. Here are the life expectancies of five of the most common household appliances.


According to the National Association of Home Builders, your fridge has a life expectancy of 6 to 15 years. Expect to spend between $800 and $1,400 for a side-by-side unit. A newer unit with a freezer on the bottom will run you $1,100 to $2,700. Fortunately, many newer refrigerators qualify for an Energy Star rebate. (This is offered by the government to support energy efficiency, encourage the use of renewable energy sources and strengthen efforts to conserve energy and lessen pollution.)

Given these price tags, sometimes it’s better to repair than replace your fridge. According to AngiesList.com, repairs to ice makers cost about $300. Consider replacing your refrigerator if the repairs exceed $700 or involve a major part like the compressor.


Whether you own a gas or an electric stove, it should last between 10 and 15 years. Expect to pay between $650 and $2,000 for a new one. Many newer, energy-efficient stoves qualify for an Energy Star rebate.

Similar to refrigerators, stoves can be repaired for far less than they can be replaced. Common repairs like igniter cleaning or baking element repairs are often less than $200. Like refrigerators, if repairs exceed $700, it’s probably better to invest in a new unit.


The sticker shock on washing machines is (thankfully) not as bad as it is for refrigerators or stoves. Traditional washers start around $350, though newer front-loading machines cost between $700 and $1,000. Both washers and dryers have a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years.

The nice thing about washers is that you can extend the life of your machine by checking and cleaning its hoses annually. Still, nothing lasts forever. Repairs can range from $100 to $300, depending on the issue. AngiesList.com suggests replacing your washer if repair costs exceed $500.


The replacement cost on a dryer is similar to a washer (between $400 and $1,000). Common repairs range from around $130 to $200 depending on the issue. Like washers, you can extend the life of your dryer by checking the hoses and cleaning the lint trap, heating element and exhaust duct. Cleaning out your dryer is also key when it comes to preventing dryer fires.

Like washers, dryers should be replaced if the repairs exceed $500.


Last but not least is the dishwasher. This has to be my 16-year-old daughter’s favorite appliance. (Insert eye roll here; she hates everything there is about doing the dishes!)

Your dishwasher has a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. A new one will cost between $400 and $700. Keeping your dishwasher clean and clear of food and debris will also extend its life – which my daughter will tell you is a very good thing for anyone who does not enjoy hand washing dishes.

Most homeowners don’t know much about when to replace appliances. With this new knowledge, you’ll be able to keep your house running smoothly—and possibly save some serious cash.