How Appliances Show Their Age

by Rowan Guthrie
illustration of appliances as seniors

Considering the average water heater lasts about 10 years before giving up on you, we reason that one human year is about eight water heater years. And when you think of it that way … you might really start to feel like your water heater — and, by extension, your other household appliances — are really getting old.

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Nothing’s better than a household appliance that works efficiently and effectively, and nothing’s worse than one that doesn’t. Wear and tear eventually take their toll, so let’s look at the warning signs that tell us our old appliances need repairing or replacing.

What Happens to Your Appliances When They Get Old?

Refrigerator

  • It can consume up to twice as much electricity as a new one due to worn-out seals, dirty coils, faulty thermostats or inefficient compressors.
  • The refrigerator may develop leaks that can damage the surrounding area and create a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • It may produce loud or unusual noises, such as buzzing, humming, rattling or clicking, due to worn-out fans, motors or compressors.

Oven/Stove/Range

  • It may not be able to heat up or maintain the desired temperature due to faulty sensors, elements or burners, resulting in uneven or undercooked food.
  • Old devices may develop leaks in the gas lines, valves or connections, resulting in escaping gas and risking fire, explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Accumulated grease, crumbs or debris can ignite and cause smoke or fire, endangering everyone in the home.

Microwave

  • Old appliances may struggle to generate enough microwaves to heat up or cook food evenly, resulting in cold spots or overcooked edges.
  • The microwave may produce sparks or arcing, which are flashes of blue or purple light, due to damaged or exposed wires, metal objects or food particles.
  • An old microwave may leak radiation due to damaged or misaligned doors, seals or hinges.

Washer

  • It may not be able to wash or spin your items properly due to clogged or damaged hoses, pumps, filters or agitators.
  • An old washer may develop leaks in the water lines, valves or tubs, causing water to escape and damage the surrounding area and becoming a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • It may produce loud or unusual noises due to worn-out bearings, belts or motors.

Dryer

  • An old dryer may not dry your items completely due to blocked or damaged vents, ducts or thermostats, resulting in damp or wrinkled items.
  • It may overheat and shut off prematurely due to clogged or damaged lint filters, heating elements or fuses.
  • The dryer may produce loud or unusual noises, such as thumping, squealing or scraping, due to worn-out rollers, glides or drums.

Dishwasher

  • It may not be able to wash or rinse your items thoroughly due to clogged or damaged spray arms, filters or racks, resulting in dirty or spotted dishes.
  • An old dishwasher may develop leaks in the water lines, valves or seals, causing water to overflow or leak from the appliance.
  • The dishwasher may produce loud or unusual noises, such as clanking, humming or rattling, due to worn-out pumps, motors or solenoids.

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Air Conditioner

  • It may not be able to cool your space effectively due to low or leaking refrigerant, dirty or frozen coils or faulty fans, resulting in uncomfortably warm or humid air.
  • An old AC may consume more electricity than a new one due to reduced efficiency, improper settings or frequent cycling, increasing your energy bills.
  • Old ACs sometimes develop leaks in their drain lines, condensate pans and evaporator coils, causing water to drip or pool from the system.

Furnace

  • An old furnace may not be able to heat your space evenly due to clogged or damaged filters, ducts or burners, resulting in cold spots or insufficient heating.
  • An old gas furnace may develop leaks in the gas lines, valves or connections, causing gas to escape and creating a fire hazard, as well as exposing you and yours to harmful carbon monoxide.
  • Faulty furnaces produce loud or unusual noises, such as banging, squeaking or rattling, due to loose or broken parts, such as blowers, fans and igniters.

Water Heater

  • An old water heater may not be able to heat or deliver water quickly or consistently due to sediment buildup, corrosion or leaks, resulting in low water pressure, lukewarm water or no hot water at all.
  • It may consume more gas or electricity than a new one due to reduced efficiency, improper settings or frequent cycling, increasing your energy bills.
  • Old water heaters can develop leaks in their tanks, pipes or valves, causing water to drip or gush from the system.

Finally, to extend your old appliance’s life span, you should regularly clean and inspect it and replace damaged or worn-out parts promptly. You should also consider upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model if the appliance repair cost exceeds half of its replacement cost.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. Systems, equipment, issues and circumstances vary. Follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of the Blog is subject to the

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