Common Home Appliances You’ll Need To Replace And When You Should Do It

Hanna KielarJanuary 03, 2020

Is your refrigerator running? If not, you might need to replace it.

Like most things in your home, your appliances will go through normal wear and tear and need to be repaired or replaced – especially the ones you use on a daily basis. While there’s no universal lifespan for every major appliance in your home, most will last anywhere between 10 – 15 years.

Even with the best maintenance, most appliances won’t function properly past their lifespan, and if you start to notice your appliance acting up, it might be time to replace it. To get a better look at how long your major appliances will last in your home and how much you should expect to pay to replace them, here’s a guide for when you need to replace your common home appliances.


Dishwashers are a great addition to any kitchen. They cut clean-up time in half and can even reduce your water usage if you purchase an energy-efficient model. Yet, like most appliances, it has a lifespan for its usefulness – about nine years, to be exact.

Beyond the arbitrary birthdate, here are some other signs your dishwasher is defective:

  • The door no longer latches
  • Water is left standing after a cycle or leaking onto your kitchen floor
  • Water temperature won’t get hot
  • Noticeable signs of rust
  • Cracks, dents and other damage
  • Usual noises during a cycle
  • Dishes come out dirty or spotty

If your dishwasher is approaching a decade in age, it’s time to upgrade. While shelling out the big bucks to replace an appliance is never a fun feat, you might find that upgrading to an energy-efficient dishwasher might save you money in the long run.

In this case, it would be more cost efficient to completely replace your dishwasher with a new model than to spend your money repairing it. On average, a new dishwasher can range from $400 – $700 (although higher-end models can cost $2,000) for the product alone, and an additional $200 – $500 in installation costs, depending on your countertops, wiring or plumbing.


Depending on the number of people in your household, your washer and dryer units might see a lot of action in a week. Because of this, the average lifespan of a dryer unit is 13 years (we’ll cover washing machines later in the post.)

You won’t want to push your dryer beyond this because an older or defective dryer can cause home fires, or on a smaller scale, damage to your clothing. Here are some signs it’s time to buy a new dryer:

  • Excessive noise during a cycle
  • Clothes come out wet or damp
  • Burning smell
  • Fires or signs of a fire

If your dryer shows any of the above symptoms, or makes it over 13 years, consider purchasing a new dryer unit. Like most modern-day appliances, you can now purchase energy-efficient dryers that could help you save in energy costs.

Additionally, if you currently have an electric dryer, purchasing a gas dryer will cost less to operate and has a lower environmental impact. If your dryer is fairly new and exhibiting the above issues, you could spend money to repair it. Most common dryer issues can be repaired for $85 – $200.

However, if it’s getting up there in years and in repair costs, it will cost less money in the long run to just bite the bullet and completely replace it. On average, a new dryer can cost between $400 – $1,000, depending on the model.

Washing Machine

You read that right. Dryers have a lifespan of 13 years while washing machines have a shorter, 10-year lifespan. So, what happens when your washing machine kicks the can while your dryer is still on a roll? For aesthetic purposes, you might want to replace them at the same time.

If you’re unconcerned about looks and don’t have a combination washer-dryer unit or a stacked set, it’s totally fine to replace one at a time. However, if your washing machine starts acting up, it’s time for it to go. Here are some common signs:

  • Water is leaking onto the floor
  • Excessive noise during a cycle
  • Water no longer fills the drum
  • Violent shaking or movement during a cycle

Modern-day washing machines also have an energy-efficient option for those looking to save money in energy costs.

You can spend the money to repair common washing machine issues, but it could average in the mid-hundreds. Since washing machines average around $700 – $1,000 ($350 for a cheaper, front-loading washer) it would make more sense to purchase a new unit.

Of course, if you choose to replace your washing machine and dryer at the same time, the costs will go up significantly.


The average refrigerator will last up to 13 years in your home. It’s an absolute necessity, so if your refrigerator starts showing signs of slowing down, you might need to repair or replace it.

Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • The back of the refrigerator is hot to the touch
  • Food spoils prematurely to its expiration date
  • Condensation is visible on the inside or outside
  • Excessive noise
  • A buildup of frost in the freezer portion

These signs are hard to ignore, especially if your food is spoiling. As soon as you notice the issues you have a few options for how to proceed. You could pay to repair the damage but be advised most refrigerator repairs can get into the mid-hundreds.

A new refrigerator can range between $900 – $8,000, so depending on your budget, it could make more financial sense to replace your refrigerator. Like most modern-day appliances, refrigerators also come in energy-efficient models, which would save you money in energy bills down the road.


Your range, an all-in-one cooking appliance that includes a stove, several burners and one or more ovens, can last 14 years before needing replacement. They’re pretty sturdy. In fact, you can repair any damage without needing to replace the entire appliance.

This can save you the average $650 – $2,000 material price and an additional $100 – $200 in installation costs.

Most common range repairs include:

  • Crack(s) in the ceramic top
  • Lack of heat from the oven’s gasket
  • Control panel malfunctions
  • Broken thermostat or heating element

Most of the above repair costs are low and some are easy enough to repair yourself (although you should always call a professional if you’re unsure how to repair your range). And since ranges last 14 years, it could be worth it to repair over replace.

One rule of thumb that most professionals advise is that it’s better to just replace your range if it is getting up in years and the repairs add up to more than 50% of the cost of a new range. And since you’re dealing with fire or heat in your home, you won’t want to wait to make this decision.

Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals, like dishwashers, make cleaning faster and more efficient. It also eliminates odor in your kitchen, as the alternative would be to throw away excess food into the garbage can. They’re extremely useful and have a pretty decent lifespan to boot – about 12 years of usage.

As useful as they are, however, when they start to malfunction, it can mean bad news for your cooking and cleaning, so keep your eyes open for these signs:

  • Excessive noise
  • Frequent resets
  • Abnormal clogging
  • Won’t turn on/turns off by itself
  • Odorous
  • Leaking onto the floor of the kitchen

You can pay to repair damage or malfunction in your garbage disposal, but they’re also pretty cost effective to completely replace. On average, it costs $400 to replace a garbage disposal, with installation costs averaging at $185.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

A good rule to keep in mind is that if the appliance is more than halfway through its lifespan and repairing it will cost more than half of the cost for a new appliance, it makes more financial sense to replace it entirely instead of repair. This is true for all appliances across the board.

Another good thing to keep in mind is the length of the warranty. Most manufacturers include warranties that last anywhere from three months to a year. Some even offer extended warranties that can be purchased for extra money.

If you’re already spending thousands on a high-end appliance, it might be worth it to add on an extended warranty, as more expensive appliances will also cost more to repair and replace.

Lastly, don’t wait until your appliance is on its deathbed to replace it. While it might seem great that it’s living as long or longer than its initial expiration date, it might not be running as well as a new appliance.

And when it comes down to your essentials, like your refrigerator, you don’t want to wait until it stops working to purchase a new one.

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.