The good "ole" days are gone. At least when it comes to the
expectancy of major household kitchen appliances. Gone are the days
when a refrigerator lasted 30 to 40 years. It is a good idea
to be aware of
this when shopping for new appliances.
So what is causing the decrease in life expectancy?
Increases in technology, decreases in quality components made overseas and the constant chase for manufacturers to drive down costs while at the same time remaining profitable. Back in the 1950s and 1960s not only was there a much simpler assembly process that was performed in the United States, the components were also "Made in America."
"Much of what drives that cost reduction is of the rising cost of raw materials", says Roger Beahm, executive director of the Center for Retail Innovation at Wake Forest University School of Business. "Competitive and trade pressures keep the manufacturer from raising prices too fast. So manufacturers look elsewhere to find ways of offsetting these raw-material cost increases. These factors reduce product longevity and, relatedly for some products, durability," Beahm says.
And while "Made In America" can still be associated with quality. Appliance life expectancy depends in large part on the quality of its components.
So how long can you expect your new kitchen appliance to last? Here is a list with some average life expectancies. Depending on the original cost, manufacturing quality, and how heavily it´s used, an appliance may last a longer or shorter period than shown in the following table. Information has been derived from different sources including manufacturers´ websites and consumer resources, and is intended only as an estimate.
Average Expected life in years
|Garbage disposal||10 - 12|
|Refrigerator, compact (dorm type)||5|
|Air Conditioner (room size)||10|
Repair or Replace....Use The 50% Rule
A good rule of thumb when you are trying to decide whether to repair or replace an appliance is to use the 50% rule. If an appliance is more than 50% through its lifespan, and if the cost of one repair is more than 50% of the cost of buying new, then you should replace rather than repair.