I get passed the HGTV magazine regularly and in this months issue I was shocked to see an article The Life Expectancy of Appliances. Where do they come up with these figures? I’ve done a little homework you won’t believe what your appliances are expected to cost you over your lifetime. I feel a rant coming on.
First up was the hair dryer. Now I’ve had hair dryers last me years. I was a professional hairdresser, yet I bought the mid-priced hair dryer to use on my clients, and at home. I paid somewhere under $20 for a hair dryer I used from 1978 until 2002 when I lost it in our fire. That’s 14 years. Want to know how long a hair dryer is supposed to last if bought today? ONE TO THREE YEARS.
I had owned a Conair dryer all those years, it’s still relatively inexpensive to buy a Conair, I found a couple online right around the $20 range. So if I had to buy one every other year (average of the 1-3 years) and I’ll go with the year I bought my first hair dryer to today. I would have bought 17.5 dryers at a total cost of $350.
The next appliance listed was the vacuum cleaner. I can tell you the one I own now was bought for me by my son when he was 16, ten years ago. The estimated life of a vacuum cleaner is FIVE TO SEVEN YEARS. I don’t know what he paid for it as he received an employee discount. But let’s say you bought a simple vacuum cleaner in the $100 range. If I bought a new one every 6 years (again the average of the expected life) , starting at age 18 (when I did buy my first one) to the present, I would have bought just over 5 vacuum cleaners (and I haven’t) at a total cost of $500. Don’t forget the filters, my model stated I would need to buy a new filter yearly. I am still using the original one. How? I do a good job of cleaning the filter each time I empty the canister.
The next appliance is one I don’t use, a stand mixer. My grandmother had one, she bought it before I was born. It is a KitchenAid mixer which has been reissued in recent years. Her’s is still running as it’s been handed down to a friend who uses it all the time, as did my grandmother. Today Amazon is selling a white model KitchenAid the same color as my grandmothers for $325. My grandmother saw her mixer as a lifetime purchase, and it’s still working 50+ years later. Any guess how long it is expected to last today? FIVE TO NINE YEARS I would never consider forking over $325 for something that might only last five years. Using the same figures, let’s say I did buy a mixer for my first home I’ll use 7 years as the average, I would have had to buy 4.5 mixers which would have cost me $1,462.50.
Now comes the drip coffeemaker, nope I don’t drink coffee but again I’ll say I do. The average drip coffee maker is only expected to last you FIVE TO TEN YEARS. I know coffee drinkers who use their coffee pot all day long so this is one hard-working appliance. If I had bought a new coffee maker every 7.5 years based on the average cost of $80, yes I know some sell for hundreds, but I’m thinking of the average person who is buying a common appliance here. I would be on my 4th coffee maker at the cost of $320. I’m thinking the coffee maker is cheaper than the coffee that is being consumed in some families.
Finally, the microwave. for an average retail price of $100 you are expected to replace your microwave every SEVEN TO TEN YEARS. I have never heard of a microwave lasting such a short amount of time. A good friend recently replaced her microwave that she had for more than 20 years. The one I was given I couldn’t get to quit as much as I hated it. But if I bought a microwave every 8.5 years, I would have spent $300 and would be looking in the next couple of years to purchase another one.
The funniest thing about all these appliances isn’t the cost I would have incurred over my lifetime so far, $2,932.50. The funny thing is that we don’t need any of these, although with carpeting I don’t want to give up my vacuum. I gave up drying my hair several years ago and let it air dry, We had the old-fashioned percolator that worked just fine, and we lived for years without microwaves. My grandmother, and her mother before her baked every day, but they both spent many years baking without the stand mixer.
But looking at these figures, these are for the things we mostly don’t need. What about the things we feel we do need?
A clothes washer, you could pay in the range of $300 for a top loading model or close to $1,000 for a front loading model. We are supposed to expect our machine to last only eight to twelve years. Using $600 as an average, I would have already spent $3,000
Your clothes dryer should only last TEN TO TWELVE YEARS, $800 seems average after looking at Best Buy, so far I would be out $2,300
Your refrigerator is expected to last you TEN TO FOURTEEN YEARS. A low-end side-by-side model runs $1,500, which after 32 years I would have spent $4,000
Your dishwasher THIRTEEN TO FIFTEEN YEARS, based on an average of $400 (yep there are some in the thousands but I eliminated those), This year I would be out $900 and change.
Your stove will supposedly last you THIRTEEN TO SIXTEEN YEARS. I can’t see myself ever breaking down to pay the prices I saw online so low-balled this one at $400 would have added $883 to my totals.
The grand total for these appliances would have cost me over the course of 32 years a whopping $14,014.50 and that’s not buying top of the line appliances!
How many hours will you have to work for appliances you may not need? How many vacations or experiences with your children could all this money have paid for? Isn’t it time we embraced the local repair man and brought him back from retirement
Where do you think these broken appliances end up?