Frances Gerety once observed that “A diamond is forever.” Unfortunately, chances are that your home isn’t made out of metastable allotropes of ancient carbon. As such, every part of your house has a built-in expiration date. Time makes fools of us all, and homeowners are no exception. The good news is that if you have a general idea of when those expiration dates might be falling due, then you’ll be able to better prepare for what could potentially be some fairly steep home repair costs. Well, we might not be able to tell you exactly when your roof is going to fail, but we can certainly help you understand approximately how long certain house-components last. Read on to see how old you can expect parts of your house to get before they call it quits.
1. Electrical systems/appliances
The good news is that the actual copper wiring of your home isn’t going anywhere any time soon; it’s supposed to last about as long as the home itself. Of course, the same can’t be said for the things that are hooked up to it. Lighting controls and other electrical accessories don’t generally make it too far past the ten-year mark. Also, just because the wiring itself probably won’t degrade, we can’t promise that older homes won’t need some upgrading to bring ancient electrical systems into accordance with modern safety standards. As for appliances, the actual life-expectancy may vary from device to device and depend on how often it is used, but it’s safe to say that most major appliances will last from 9–15 years.
2. HVAC systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are made up of multiple components, each of which has a different shelf life. For example, your thermostat may last as long as 35 years, while an electric or gas water heater may need to be replaced after only a decade. Furnaces can last for 20 years, air conditioning units for 15, heat pumps for 16, and tankless water heaters may still be working after two decades. Of course, this is all dependent upon you being willing to perform required regular maintenance, because without it, you HVAC components won’t last nearly this long.
For something that you spend all day trampling underfoot, flooring actually lasts for quite a long time. For example, if you were to invest in some all-natural wood flooring in 2014, you probably wouldn’t have to bother with replacing it until approximately 2114, because that stuff can hold up for a century or more. Some of the other potential flooring materials aren’t quite as long-lived. Natural stone flooring can also last 100 years, but will need more maintenance to reach that venerable age. Vinyl floors can last for 50 years, and linoleum for 25. Carpet is the bottom of the bunch, generally needing to be replaced every 8–10 years.
4.Faucets, sinks, and other fixtures
Most anything made out of porcelain will last as long as it needs to, assuming it never gets cracked. However, any fixture that uses plumbing will probably need new parts eventually. Most faucets will work properly for about 15 years, and other plumbing may make it as long as half a century (but don’t count too heavily on it).
The life of a roof depends heavily upon factors such as climate, design, and maintenance, but the single most defining factor is the materials being used. Roofs made out of copper, clay, or slate should be able to endure for about 50 years. Common wooden shingles can make it to 35 years under normal conditions.