Appliance Maintenance Tips

Everything you ever wanted to know about your appliances

Appliance life expectancy

Ever wonder how long the appliances in your home will last? Below is the average life of common household appliances. Life expectancies include occasional repairs and reflect the average age at which you might want to consider a replacement. Regardless, if you’re a Service Guard plan holder, you’ll have peace-of-mind protection against the unexpected cost and hassle of appliance repairs.


Appliance Average life (in years)
Air Conditioner 10
Dishwasher 10
Dryer 14
Electric Range 17
Garbage Disposal 10
Gas Range 19
Microwave 11
Refrigerator 14-17
Washer 13

Source: NAHB Housing Facts, Figures and Trends; Whirlpool and General Electric appliance division

Average repair costs

Americans spend millions of dollars each year on appliance repair. But with Service Guard, you don’t have to worry about an unexpected repair busting your budget. And with Service Guard, we’re just one phone call away.

Here is the average cost of some common appliance repairs. More than 63,000 satisfied Service Guard customers prefer the column marked “With Service Guard.” We think you will too.

Common appliance breakdowns Without Service Guard With Service Guard
Replace self-cleaning oven thermostat $347 $0.00
Replace washer motor $335 $0.00
Replace washer tub seals $310 $0.00
Replace A/C fan blade $242 $0.00
Replace dryer blower motor $248 $0.00


I bought a new refrigerator/freezer, and I was planning to move my old one out to the garage and use it for additional cold storage space. Will it damage the unit if I store it in the garage?

Only if it is a self-defrosting refrigerator and the temperature in your garage drops below 50 degrees. Then, it is possible that the oil could thicken and cause premature compression failure.

I have an old refrigerator/freezer that doesn't work anymore, and I need to get rid of it. What can I do?

The best option is to take it to your local landfill. However, the law does require that you have the refrigerant evacuated first.

Can I put my refrigerator all the way up against the wall?

Yes, as long as there is not a metal grid on the back of it. If there is, you should make sure you leave an inch of space between the unit and the wall.

Why would my washer be using cool water during the warm cycle?

Your washer is actually combining hot water and cold water to create the warm water, and during certain times of the year, cold water gets colder. So, during the colder months, you can expect your warm cycle to run cooler. You might also want to check to see if there is anything blocking the hot water coming into your machine.

Why do I have suds left over in my washer after I am done washing a load of clothes?

It’s possible you’re using more detergent than necessary for the load size you are washing. Double check the detergent instructions to make sure you are using the correct amount.

Why are my dishes still dirty after they’ve run through a wash cycle?

Consider cutting the amount of detergent in half and boosting it with an additive such as Lemi Shine.

In the summer of 2010, dishwasher soap manufacturers took the phosphates out of their ingredients. Those phosphates were the workhorse in cleaning dishes and keeping them clean throughout the wash and rinse cycles.

A number of states banned phosphates in dishwasher detergent because the chemicals cause excessive algae growth downstream. The algae rob the water of oxygen, which impacts fish and other aquatic life. Phosphates were banned in clothes washing detergent years ago.

The Internet has much to say about the situation. Two sites we found are Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent and States Ban Phosphate-Laden Dishwasher Soap.

Why does my gas oven glow like it is hot, even when it is not heating?

The glow is caused by a “glow-bar” igniter that is used to ignite the gas in your oven. It glows as it is heating up, but unless it reaches the correct temperature, the gas valve will not open, and the gas will not ignite. Therefore, your oven will not heat up. If your igniter is not heating up to the proper temperature, you may need to replace it.

What makes my oven smell so bad when it is cleaning itself?

The smell is caused by the grease and food that your oven is burning off. When possible, it is a good idea to create additional ventilation in the kitchen when cleaning your oven, perhaps by opening windows and/or doors.

What is the average amount of time it takes for a load of clothes to dry?

On average, a large load of clothes should only take around 45 minutes to dry completely. If you are noticing that your clothes are averaging more than an hour to dry, you might want to have your dryer vent system checked.

Is it bad to use softener sheets?

Softener sheets won't cause any damage to your dryer, but they can lead to clogged lint filters or the coating of your moisture sensor. If you use them, be sure to periodically clean the screen of your lint filter and wipe off your sensor