How Long Will It Last?

Early on, I had agents complaining about my statements regarding home appliances (water heaters, furnaces, AC, etc) being at their end of design or useful life.  

Well, I think it's important for people to know how old these things are and how much longer they could reasonably expect them to last.  Apparently my clients felt it was important too as they kept asking me how much longer "it" would last or how old "it" was.

As support for my statements, I've been passing out the Freddie Mac "Schedule of Normal Appliance Life" chart from 1995 as part of my report support documents.  It's the newest I could find at the time I developed it.

Reading someone else'ss post, in which he quotes the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study from 1997, I realized that both of these are kind of old and dated.

So I commented asking if anyone else had anything newer I could provide my customers as support for my statement.

Having an easy day today and running back into that post and finding no newer answer got me thinking, "Hey, I have a few minutes.  I can do my own research."

Well, here's the answer.

The NAHB, sponsored by Bank of America Home Equity published a NEW STUDY in 2007 based on the results of a 2006 survey.  Here's the introduction to the Study.


In the summer of 2006, NAHB conducted a comprehensive telephone survey of manufacturers, trade associations and researchers to develop information about the longevity of housing components.  Many of the people interviewed emphasized that the life expectancy of housing components is greatly affected by the quality of maintenance. They also noted that changing consumer preferences can result in products being replaced long before -- or after -- the end of their practical life expectancy.

I've had personal experience with the "changing consumer preferences can result in products being replaced long before the end of their practical life expectancy."  The decorator of my house (yeah, you know who it was) decided that the two year old dishwasher of the house we bought when we moved to Kentucky was the wrong "color" for the kitchen as she wanted to paint it.  Old dishwasher to the Habitat for Humanity "ReStore".  New dishwasher, of the right color, in. 

She's happy and, if she's happy, so am I.  If she's not happy.... well, I'm sure most of you know the rest of that story.

Anyway, the chart is not easily copied to put here and NAHB should get something out of it so here's the link where you can download the 2007 study for yourself from the NAHB website.


National Association of Home Builders / Bank of America Home Equity

Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components

Just remember (as the foot note to the study says)

"This report should be used as a general guideline only."

We've all seen water heaters, furnaces, etc that are well beyond their life expectancy functioning just fine, (though probably not as energy efficient as newer models).  We've also seen those newer models fail in just a couple of years.

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