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Water Heaters, HVACs, And More: The Life Span Of Home Systems

home systems how long do water heaters last
You’ll eventually need to replace some of the big-ticket items in your home.

How long do water heaters last? What about HVAC systems? And how about that retro avocado-green refrigerator? If you’re buying a new home with some aged systems, you may be asking yourself these questions.

Aside from having enough money to cover the mortgage and other monthly expenses such as HOA fees and the cable bill, you may want to set aside some funds to eventually replace that 1990s water heater. Here’s what you should expect regarding how long they’ll last.

Water heater

Tankless water heaters can last more than 20 years, while electric or gas water heaters have a life expectancy of about 10 years.


Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems need proper and regular maintenance to work efficiently. Expect well-maintained systems to last 15 to 25 years. Oil and natural gas furnaces can last between 16 and 20 years (although you may want to replace them sooner if you notice your energy bills steadily rising).

Major appliances

In most cases, gas ranges are expected to last up to 15 years (outliving their electric equivalents by two to five years), while dishwashers usually last for nine years and refrigerators can stay in good shape for 13 to 19 years. Interestingly, single-door refrigerators (a dying breed) typically outlive French-door or top-and-bottom-door fridges. Dryers can last 10 to 13 years, while washers typically last 10 to 14 years.


The life of a roof depends on your climate and whether it was properly built and designed. The quality of the material and adequate maintenance are also factors. Slate, copper, and clay or concrete roofs should last more than 50 years. Roofs made of asphalt shingles last for about 20 years, while roofs made of fiber-cement shingles should last about 25 years. Roofs made of wood shakes should last for about 30 years.


The life span of wooden decks can vary greatly depending on factors such as the climate. Ideally, they’ll last about 20 years.

Doors and windows

Exterior fiberglass, steel, and wood doors should last as long as the house does. Vinyl doors should last 20 years, while screen doors should last 40 years. French doors should last 30 to 50 years. Vinyl windows last between 20 and 40 years on average, whereas wood windows can last more than 30 years.

Electrical and lighting

Copper-plated wiring, copper-clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring should last a lifetime. Electrical accessories and lighting controls should last more than 20 years.


OK, this isn’t a major home system, but certainly one you use daily! And it has a surprisingly long life expectancy: 50+ years! Here’s hoping your throne is a classic model that’ll stand the test of time (and decor trends; we’re looking at you, black commode).

Have any tips on how you made your home systems last longer? What items are we missing from this list? Share in the comments below!

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