“Limited Life” “Reliability of Household Appliances

A recent survey revealed:

Seven out of every ten homes will experience a system or appliance failure during the course of a year.”

When I started practicing real estate in the 1990’s, despite the “dip tube” fiasco inside water heaters, and based on information from Freddie Mac (A Consumer Home Inspection Kit 12/2000) and other sources, I would notice water heaters lasting 12-13 (and sometimes many more years) years before experiencing problems requiring repair or replacement. For the past several years, my experience with my home and with clients is that I wouldn’t give them any more than 8 years to last- tops!

Also, I used to observe HVAC air condensing units (those outside the home in a protective cover with a compressor, capacitors, freon, and wiring) lasting 13-15 years (and sometimes many more years). Now, I’ve noticed them lasting no more than 10-12 years before you need to repair or replace them. We also now switched to a new “lower pollutant” freon (From R-22…which is getting more rare/expensive… to R410A…which is more expensive since it’s new…) and tried to make systems more energy efficient. And since they are supposed to be “closed systems” (freon cycles from system coils, to condensing unit, back to system coils), why would they ever leak freon??? (Could it really be why one technician once told me that using two different (differing periodic element) metal connections will cause one to corrode/fail next to another???)

I believe you can apply that same experience with clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens, countertop ovens, etc., since I have seen them last fewer and fewer years in attempts to make them more and more energy efficient…(not to mention the idiocrasy of thinking they save water —or as I refer to “they don’t clean your items as well”—in a closed water filtration system from your local water authority).


(1) When do we demand and get better longevity and reliability from household appliances?

(2) Maybe shipping the work overseas has something to do with it?

(3) Don’t we deserve better?

(4) Did the household appliance manufacturers read about the average homeowner staying 7 years in home and implement planned obsolescence?

Maybe the millennials will solve that problem if they now plan to live in a home at least 10 years, they will start to see what I’m talking about after the 6th year of homeownership.

Bottom line word to homeowners: Budget for system replacements early and often…and prewash your dishes to get them clean “before” stacking them in your dishwasher!

References to products and services are not a specific endorsement, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others.

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