Why appliances no longer last 20 years

Don't Waste Your Money

Today's appliances are high tech and super energy efficient.

Refrigerators run at multiple speeds, to keep your electric bill low. Dishwashers and washing machines do their job with just a couple of gallons of water, saving money on your water bill.

Unfortunately, there's a big downside: the lifespan.

Mom's Washer No More

Hoping to get 40 years out of that new front loading washing machine, the way your mom got  40 years out of her old Maytag? Don't count on it.

Today's energy efficient appliances just don't last as long.

A report from the National Association of Home Builders lists the lifespan of appliances, and most are much shorter than you'd think.

    Refrigerator?  13 years.

    Dishwasher: 9 years.

    Microwave oven:  9 years.

    Water heater:  11 years.

    Central Air: 15 years.

    Gas Furnace: 18 years.

And that sleek new high-efficiency, water saving washing machine?  Just 10 years.  Mom must be rolling her eyes over your latest purchase.

Doesn't That Stink?

But from the "doesn't that stink" file:  Why today's appliances can't last longer    .

Remember when the Maytag man was bored because washers never broke down? He's not bored anymore, no matter what the brand (don't mean to single out Maytag).

If yours quits a year out of warranty, you'll say "Doesn't that stink?"
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The problem -- according to the contractor referral service HomeAdvisor.com -- is today's appliances use more electronics and thin plastics, and less porcelain and copper, materials that last  forever.

Home Advisor says electronic circuit boards fail after a few years of exposure to moisture, which frequently happens in washing machines.

Old washers had mechanical arms, mechanical timers, and simple valves. But they used as much as 50 gallons of water per load, as opposed to 5 - 10 gallons in today's machines.

One Tip to Make Appliances Last Longer

Repair shops say one way to make refrigerators last longer: Vacuum the dust out of the motor area in the back once a year.  Inadequate airflow will make it work harder and break down sooner.

Do the same with your dryer vent behind the dryer so it doesn't clog up.

That way it will last longer, and you don't waste your money.

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