How long should things last in and around your house before they need to be fixed or replaced? From your roof to your floors, your refrigerator to your HVAC unit, and even your television and toothbrush, we examined the data from multiple credible sources and came up with these general guidelines. Of course things could last longer – or shorter – depending on their quality, how often they’re used, and if they receive intended maintenance.
If something in your house has lasted an unusually long time, please let us know!
Exterior doors are made of fiberglass, steel, or heavy wood and usually will last multiple decades or as long as the house.
Closet and interior doors should last just as long, though vinyl doors tend to warp after 20 years and screen doors will start ripping in that time.
Wood windows last 30-50 years or more, but need regular maintenance like re-glazing, repainting, etc. to protect them and keep them sealed.
Aluminum windows last 15-20 years before they warp or fail. Vinyl will last longer, but you have to be careful the vacuum seals don’t go out (which is why you see moisture and condensation inside the panes.)
Believe it or not, a good portion of the refrigerators built in the 1950s or 60s are still running today, or maybe just need a part or tune up here or there, but unfortunately, they started mass producing them with cheaper parts and lower quality standards starting in the 1980s.
That being said, a modern refrigerator should last 9 to 15 years, with some estimates showing the newer models should last an average of 13. It’s notable that fridges with fancy icemakers and water dispensers, flashy features, and complicated electronics usually require service much sooner.
Electric stove ranges function fine for 13 to 15 years, while gas ranges tend to last a little longer, with a range of 10-19 years and an average of 15 years longevity. And if you come across a “vintage” stove from decades past, they might not match your kitchen décor but could last you a lot longer, since they are built simply with no computer components.
Trash compactor, 5-6 years.
Microwave, 9-12 years.
Garbage disposal, 8-12 years but you may need to clean it or tune it up once or twice.
Washing machines used to last 18 years or more, but when manufacturers started using plastic parts instead of steel, their expected use dropped significantly. These days, you’re lucky to get 10-15 years out of a washing machine.
Most household dryers last 8 to 12 years, but again it depends on if you’re doing laundry daily for a family of 10 or just once a week. It’s common that a few specific parts go out first, so it usually makes sense to try and repair them instead of replacing them immediately, and older machines with steel parts are worth holding on to as they will last up to 20 years with regular cleaning and periodic small maintenance.
Dishwashers will give you 8 to 10 years of service, with an average of 9 for good quality models. You can definitely extend their life by keeping them clean and performing a little basic maintenance every 3-6 months, per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Air conditioning units
Average life expectancy for a central air unit is 8-15 years. But with regular maintenance, cleaning exterior filters yearly and interior every six months, and cutting back brush or debris they may function well for longer. This is a big-ticket item so it’s definitely important to put in TLC on a regular basis.
A heat pump usually lasts for 10-15 years before needing replacement.
A furnace should operate for 15 to 25 years.
Radiators and boilers
If you live in an older home, you may have electric radiators or a boiler, both of which could easily last 40 years or more!
A conventional electric or gas tank water heater usually lasts about 6-12 years with an average for a good unit closer to 10 years. Draining the sediment from your tank once a year (or twice if you have hard water) will definitely prolong its life.
If you convert to a more modern tank-less water heating system, it will probably last closer to 20 years.
Slate roofs are some of the most durable, lasting an astounding 60-150 years as long as they’re maintained regularly.
Copper and other metal roofs can last 40-80 years.
Tile roofs might last more than 50 years.
Wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 25-30 years. (Wood shake was most popular in the 1980s, which means they are all about due to be replaced.)
Fiber cement shingles last about 25 years.
Asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years. (Environmental factors like heat, wind, and the amount of rainfall factor in, and in Sacramento, it’s not uncommon for comp shingle roofs to last 30 years.)
Aluminum gutters last about 20 years, though they may need to be re-sealed and reinforced as they hang to prolong their use.
Copper gutters last 50 years or more.
A standard deck with pressure treated wood can last 20 years, but they often go 25-30 years if the deck received regular maintenance that includes power washing and treating with a new stain or paint. Of course decks last longer if they receive less rainfall, less than full exposure to damaging sun, and kept clean.
Wood floors should last 100 years or more (unless flooded!) and marble and slate floors will do the same if they are maintained.
Tile floors last 75-100 years (the grout will dry out, crack, and start coming up long before that).
Linoleum floors start wearing out after 20 years, vinyl after 50, and laminate floors 15-25 years.
A high-grade carpet will last 8-10 years, but wear and tear (or stains) usually takes it out of commission before that.
Faucets and sinks
Faucets for kitchen or bathrooms last 15 years on average.
Enamel sinks usually go for 5-10 years before cracking or losing their seal.
Televisions use a lot less energy these days and the price tags for larger screen models have definitely come down, but they’re also built more cheaply and need to be replaced sooner. You’ll probably get 4-10 years out of a LCD/LED TV and 3 years out a plasma TV. By the way, we usually replace televisions long before they stop working these days – an average of every 36 months or so – just because we want bigger screens, sharper picture, or new technology.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Most smoke alarms and other detectors are good for up to 10 years as long as you change the batteries regularly (check every 6 months but you’ll probably only need to replace them yearly) and dust them off lightly periodically. A good number of these products come with 10-year warranties, and it’s never a good idea to keep using them past their warranty life.
Other common household items:
You might not sleep soundly tonight after reading this, but your pillows collect dead skin cells, dust mites, dust mite feces, and other allergens or fungi. I know – you want to go buy new pillows now.
Additionally, pillows will lose their contour and form over time. Pillows that contain memory foam or latex are more durable and resistant and can probably last 2 or 3 years easily, but common pillows can probably be tossed and replaced every 2 years or more.
How long your mattress is good for depends widely based on its quality, construction, and wear and tear, but most people replace their mattress at least every 10 years or less. If you see signs of wear and tear, feel stiffness or sagging in areas, or start waking up with aches and pains, it may be time to upgrade your mattress. To prolong its life, flip and rotate your mattress every six months or so. Most commercial mattresses come with a limited warranty, but the more expensive but better quality brands may come with 5 or even 10-year guarantees.
The Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every couple months or so, while toothbrush brands Sensodyne, Colgate, and Oral B recommend replacing their toothbrushes every three months.
It’s no surprise that sponges are like a magnet for germs because they’re usually moist and in contact with organic materials. You should never use your daily sponge to clean up meat juice or remnants (use paper towel or antibacterial wipes for that and then dispose of them). Some people replace their sponges weekly; some monthly; but you can prolong their use (and keep your family safe) but making sure they are wrung dry and allowed to air out between use, and microwaving a damp sponge for one minute kills 99% of bacteria, yeast, and mold it might be holding.
Cutting boards and chopping blocks
If you’re asking, “I’m supposed to replace my cutting board?” then you may want to give it a hard look, as even plastic chopping boards should be replaced eventually. Both wood and plastic have their advantages: plastic is less permeable than wood, but wood has natural antibacterial properties. But how long you hold onto it really depends on how well you keep it clean. Raw meat and meat juice – especially chicken, which all contains at least low levels of Salmonella are the biggest culprits. Even if you clean it well every time after use, once a cutting board has grooves or slice marks from sharp knives, germs and bacteria could hide in there and risk cleaning, so better get a new one.