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Beautiful kitchenOnce we buy a new house, we like to think that our work is done. However, home maintenance is an important factor to consider in any homeowner’s budget. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and entropy is forever working on your moving parts. Paint becomes chipped, carpets get worn down, and–perhaps worst of all–that furnace will need replacing at some point!

Of course, the lifespan of your appliances will vary greatly depending on the quality of the item that you get in the first place, and the numbers given below don’t allow for disasters and accidents that put more stress on your appliances. However, this handy guide can help you plan, so that you’re less likely to be surprised by a huge unexpected expense.

Furnace: There are many different forms of furnaces, but for the most part, you can expect them to last between 10 and 15 years. Replacing this system will usually cost a few thousand dollars.

HVAC: Your air conditioning system works hard. However, if you maintain it well, it should last around 15 years. Make sure to have it serviced every year, and clean out the filters regularly.

Refrigerator: A good refrigerator will last upwards of a decade. However, it’s important to note that if you have an old refrigerator, it could be using three times as much energy as a new energy-efficient one.

Range: Whether or not your stove range is incorporated into your oven, you can expect it to last 7 or 8 years.

Laundry: Cheap clothes washers and dryers may not last much more than 6 years. However, a good one will last about twice that. When choosing a laundry system, look closely at warranty information.

Dishwasher: With regular cleaning and maintenance, a dishwasher should last 5 years or more.

Understanding the average lifespan of these different appliances can help you make a good decision about whether you should replace something, or simply pay to have it repaired. However, when you buy a new house, how can you be sure exactly how old all the items within it are? With major systems such as the hot water heater, or the roof, you can usually find information in your housing paperwork and the documents that you signed when you bought it. Reports can also be found in a home inspection. Other times, you might need to take a good look at the labels on an appliance, or trust the expertise of a technician who comes to service the item.

One more thing: when you’re making decisions about replacing or repairing an item, it’s important to know whether it’s under warranty, or covered by insurance. Keep good track of your documents, and read all policies closely. Sometimes the warranty will come from the manufacturer, and other times it will be from the place where you made your purchase.