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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Big Ticket Household Items: How Long Do They Last

Roof .

Owning a home is often a rewarding experience. After all, who doesn't want a place they can make entirely their own?

Yet, there's also a reason the phrase, "the joys of homeownership," is often repeated with a touch of irony. Homes need to be continually cared for, and everything inside your home has a finite lifespan. Understanding how long these big-ticket items generally last is the first step toward ensuring their replacement doesn't put you in a financial bind.

Let’s take a closer look at the average lifespan of some of your more significant household items.

Windows—8 to 40 years, depending on type

Old, out-of-date windows aren't merely an aesthetic problem — they can also lead to higher energy bills. This is one of the arguments in favor of window replacement. Over time, efficiency gains will help the windows pay for themselves.

Usage, weather, maintenance, and material quality all have an impact on how long your windows will last. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), windows typically have the following lifespans:

  • Aluminum: 15 to 20 years
  • Double pane: 8 to 20 years
  • Vinyl or fiberglass: 20 to 40 years
  • Wood: 30 years

Roofs—15 to 150 years, depending on type

Like windows, roofs vary widely when it comes to average lifespan, largely depending on type and quality of materials used and ventilation. Here's how long you can expect some of the most common roof types to last, according to InterNACHI:

  • Tar or coal: 30 years
  • Metal: 40 to 80 years
  • Rubber: 15 to 25 years
  • Asphalt: 30 years
  • Slate: 60 to 150 years

Replacing a roof is certainly a big ticket project, so it's important to have an idea of how soon that repair may be necessary. A leaky roof can also lead to serious water damage, so it's critical to keep a close eye on the overall condition of your roofing.

Talk to your insurance agent about discounts that may be available for installing a new roof.

Central Air—7 to 15 years

It never seems to fail: Your air conditioning requires service on the warmest day of the summer, and the technician can't make it out to your home for several days. As HVAC systems age, that's a scenario that may come up regularly.

HVAC maintenance doesn't end there. Along with replacing your air conditioning unit every seven to fifteen years, InterNACHI suggests replacing your furnace every 15 to 25 years.

Countertops—20 to 100 years, depending on type

There's quite a lot of variation in the lifespan of common countertop materials. While tile, stone, and wood can theoretically last more than a century, laminate or resin-based counters should be replaced roughly every 20 to 30 years.

Another thing to consider: Semi-synthetic surfaces, such as cultured marble, do not have nearly the lifespan of natural stone. These surfaces may last as little as 20 years.

Big-ticket appliances

Here are the typical lifespans of some other major household appliances, according to InterNACHI estimates:

  • Gas oven: 10 to 18 years
  • Electric range: 13 to 15 years
  • Refrigerator: 9 to 13 years
  • Washing machine: 5 to 15 years
  • Dryer: 13 years
  • Dishwasher: 9 years

The takeaway

Understanding how long your big-ticket household items typically last helps you replace them so that you won't strain your budget. Also be sure to check with your insurance agent to help you understand how to best prepare for covered losses.

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