What’s your home’s life expectancy?
Far from an inanimate object, a home takes on a certain life of its own. Just like people, houses age. Over time their various systems and components start breaking down and need replacing. To keep your home functioning optimally, it’s important to establish an annual budget and maintenance plan to ensure you stay on top of your home’s needs.
If you’re already a homeowner, knowing the life expectancy of your home’s systems and appliances can help you prioritize how to spend your budget. The last thing you want is to have multiple components of your home fail all at once — or to take on a big interior renovation project only to later realize you have a leaky roof. As you decide which home improvement projects to tackle next, you can use the guide below to identify parts of your home that are likely to need replacing in the near future and focus your efforts on those. You can also plan ahead for costly projects so you won’t get stuck with a major unexpected expense.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, understanding how long each component of a home will last can also help you make a more informed decision about whether to buy a particular home. As you tour houses, ask about the age of each major system and appliance, then compare it to the average life expectancy to estimate how much you’ll need to invest in your new home over the next several years. If you know the roof will need replacing or the HVAC system is getting old, you can factor that into how much you’re willing to offer.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the following estimates can give you a rough idea of how long you can expect each part of your home to last.
- Windows: 15-30 years.
- Asphalt shingle roof: 20 years.
- Exterior paint: up to 15 years.
- Wood deck: 10-15 years.
- Asphalt driveway: 15-20 years.
- Wood or stone flooring: 100 years.
- Carpeting: 8-10 years.
- Heat pump: 16 years.
- Air-conditioning unit: 10-15 years.
- Furnace: 15-18 years.
- Smoke detectors: 5-10 years.
- Home security system: 5-10 years.
- Garage door opener: 10-15 years.
- Electric switches and sockets: 10-plus years.
- Toilet: lifetime.
- Shower enclosure: 50 years.
- Tub/shower faucets: 20-plus years.
- Whirlpool tub: 20-50 years.
- Kitchen sink (enamel-coated steel): 5-10 years.
- Kitchen faucet: 15 years.
- Garbage disposal: 12 years.
- Dishwasher: 9 years.
- Refrigerator: 13 years.
- Range: 13-15 years.
- Microwave: 9 years.
- Washing machine: 10 years.
- Dryer: 13 years.
Equipped with this information, you can start mapping out your home improvement goals for the next several years or make sure you get exactly what you want in a home. You can feel more comfortable and secure knowing you’re less likely to face any unpleasant surprises.