There are three large appliances in any home that are essential for the comforts we take for granted every day. Â These three are the heater, the air conditioner, and the water heater. Â Without these, we would be cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and without any hot water for showers! Â But most people are not aware of how frequently these need to be replaced. Â When looking at a new home, how can you tell if you may need to replace that water heater in only a year or two? Â While there are a LOT of factors(some you can't predict) that go into how long one of these will last, there are some common rules of thumb.
- Water heaters typically cost anywhere from $500-1000, though you may have to add more to that to have it installed. Â Normally, most water heaters can go for 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. Â Sometimes they can break before then(but hopefully under warranty) and some can even go for decades. Â However if you find yourself with a unit running close to 15 years, it may be best to just replace it instead of having a sudden emergency really cost you.
- Central AC units can cost $3500-4000, so they are much more costly than water heaters. Â They typically last a little longer, though not much longer. Â An average lifespan for a central AC unit, depending on the manufacturer may be 12-20 years. Â Where you live and how often you are home can have a large impact on this. Â If you live in a hot climate where you are home all day and the AC is running constantly you will find yourself with a shorter life span. Â In colder places where the unit is not being used very much it may have a very long lifespan. Â Be aware of this, but like with a water heater consider replacing it before you run into an emergency.
- Heaters vary depending on what type of heater they are. Â From electric baseboard to heat pumps and furnaces, their age and cost can really vary. Â A typical cost for a heater may be several thousand dollars, and while heat pumps may last for 12-20 years, gas furnaces may last from 20-25. Â Again, depending on what type of climate you live in and how much of the day the unit is running it may not last as long, or last for a decade more. Â Each piece of equipment is different.
Be very aware of the major appliances and their ages when buying a new home. Â While the price on a house may be pretty good, if the home next door is $5000 more but has a new HVAC system and water heater, that may be a better purchase instead of a home that needs all three systems replaced in a year. Â Do you have any stories of equipment failure, or equipment that has seemed to be ageless?