If you are buying or selling a house, odds are you’re laser-focused on the layout, the closet space and the…
If you are buying or selling a house, odds are you’re laser-focused on the layout, the closet space and the yard — all aspects a homeowner can’t easily change. But another important consideration is necessary home repairs. For instance, roofs are designed to be replaced every 30 years, and appliances rarely last that long. Understanding the life span of appliances and home fixtures can help you decide when to repair and when to replace.
For instance, if you’re a homebuyer, you may be wondering if you can negotiate with the seller if a home’s roof will need to be replaced soon. The most expensive components of a home are generally the roof, electrical, plumbing, furnace and air conditioning systems. The stakes are high because replacing any one of these systems can mean a bill of four or five figures.
Meanwhile, if you’re a seller, you might be worried that you won’t be able to get a good price for your property if your roof or refrigerator is aging. Exactly how long your heating, plumbing, roof, air conditioning, water heater and other home components will last varies based on the quality of the items, how well they’ve been maintained and where you live.
Here are some factors to keep in mind as you’re considering your options:
Research repairs before replacing. Mike Powell, a professional engineer and owner of Red Flag Home Inspection in Tampa, Florida, advises weighing the cost of repairing an item or component first before replacing it. He points to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors website, where “you can weigh the life expectancy of the appliance or component and use it toward your repair vs replacement assessment,” Powell says.
If it seems like a repair you can do yourself, he suggests checking RepairClinic.com or AppliancePartsPros.com to find common parts for a range of appliances from washing machines to furnaces. “You can also read reviews by others that have had that issue, and (often) see their complaints on the frequency of failure,” Powell says.
Consider the component’s age. Knowing the life expectancy of an appliance or a home component like a roof can help you calculate if it’s worth the repair. He offers the example of an electric range that costs $2,000 and has a lifespan of 15 years.
“When you take $2,000 and divide by the 15 years, you get $133 a year. So that 5-year-old oven has $1,330 value left in it — 10 years times $133 per year. So that $300 repair isn’t looking so bad. Obviously, as you get in the other end of the spectrum, that $300 repair in a 12-year-old oven isn’t such a great deal.”
Zach Blenkinsopp, owner of Digital Roofing Innovations in Florence, Alabama, says 20 years tends to be the time to consider replacing a roof, but he adds that it depends on the roof’s condition. “If you see mold and mildew … or notice severe sagging, you will be better off replacing the roof,” he says.
Determine if you want to make an investment. Some replacements or repairs are easy to determine, but it really depends on the situation, says Timothy Trudeau, an investor and a Realtor with the Realty Association in Nashville, Tennessee.
“If I have a rental that has fully functioning appliances, then I leave them and repair and replace as necessary. I recently bought a stainless steel dishwasher in a house that had otherwise black appliances. And this is because that is what I plan on moving toward. But until then, the fridge, stove and oven all work great,” Trudeau says.
But if you’re selling a property in the near future, replacing an appliance or two can make a lot of sense. “The average person sees a kitchen with new appliances as move-in ready and less hassle over looking at something with older appliances and the perceived future breakdown,” Trudeau says.
With that in mind, the National Association of Home Builders surveyed manufacturers, trade associations and researchers in 2007 and produced “The Life Expectancy of Home Components” report, which estimates life spans for everything from appliances to windows. Based on the association’s research and the research of others, including the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors — also known as InterNACHI — here’s a look at how long you can expect these 10 major home components to last.
[See: 35 Ways to Save Money.]
Slate, copper and tile roofs, which are on the upper end of the price spectrum, can last more than 50 years. Homeowners with wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 30 years, while fiber cement shingles last about 25 years and asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years, the NAHB found. There are basically two types of roofs if you go with shingles: shingle roofs and wood shake roofs, which are traditionally hand-cut wood shingles and cost about double the price of traditional shingles. Solar panels tend to last around 25 to 30 years. Climate and weather conditions, such as snow, hail and hurricanes, can cut the life span of all types of roofs.
Air Conditioning System
Central air conditioning systems typically last 10 to 15 years. For a window air conditioner, InterNACHI suggests five to seven years. Having your unit serviced every year or two, keeping filters clean and trimming bushes around the outdoor unit can keep it working longer, but eventually the components wear out. Before you buy an air conditioning system, water heater or any other costly appliance, keep energy efficiency in mind to prevent your utility bill from soaring. You may also want to check with your utility provider to inquire if rebates or incentives for buying certain appliances are available, or consult EnergyStar.gov for additional tools and information.
A conventional electric or gas water heater typically lasts about 10 years. If you have a tankless water heater, expect it to last around 20 years.
Expect most popular appliances to last no more than 15 years. According to InterNACHI, here are the expected life spans for the following appliances:
Refrigerator: nine to 13 years
Oven range: 13 to 17 years Washer and dryer: five to 13 years
Dishwasher: nine years
As for microwaves, the NAHB estimates the life span to be nine years. In its report, the NAHB also noted that appliances are often replaced before they quit working because consumers want new styles or technology.
Because of weather, the life span of a deck varies. In optimal conditions, a wood deck can last 20 years, the NAHB study found. A deck can last 20 to 25 years in dry areas, but is likely to last only 10 to 15 years in the South, where there is more rain and humidity.
Exterior doors made of fiberglass, steel and wood will last for decades, or the lifetime of the house, as will closet doors, according to the NAHB study. Screen doors last about 40 years, and vinyl doors typically last about 20 years.
Wood floors can last 100 years or more, while marble and slate floors can last just as long if they are well-maintained. Tile floors can last 75 to 100 years, and terrazzo floors last more than 75 years. Linoleum lasts about 25 years and vinyl up to 50 years, while laminate floors have a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years. Most carpet needs to be replaced every eight to 10 years, even if it’s maintained well.
Aluminum gutters last about 20 years, while copper gutters last about 50 years.
Wood windows can last more than 30 years, while aluminum windows are expected to last 15 to 20 years.
More from U.S. News
How Long Can You Expect Your Fridge or Roof to Last? originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 03/14/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.