Your Fridge Has a Shorter Life than Its Predecessors, But It’s Not All Bad News 


In the 70s, Maytag, a home and commercial appliance brand used to tag their repairman as “the loneliest guy in town.” In one commercial, the new repair recruits were welcomed with a rather odd orientation. Instead of detailing the job description, the briefer presents them a survival kit to pass time, including crossword puzzles and beadwork — because Maytag’s appliances last too long, no one will ever really need their services.

No appliance brand markets its products the same way anymore. A typical household with parents and an adolescent would have seen at least two refrigerators come and go. This is because the average service life of refrigerators today is 12 years.

And if you get the refrigerator fixed, three years later, you might need someone for oven repair. Don’t fret; it’s not all bad news.

Here rsquo;s why your home will need another appliance fixed sometime in the future &mdash  and why you shouldn’t be so upset about it:

Complexity: It Gives and It Takes

We are past the age of discovery. We are now reaping the explorers’ hard work. Information is vast and knowledge can be one Google search away. Amid a sea of simple ideas, complexity is formed; often into a wave that could swallow you if you don’t pay attention.

Contemporary life, although maintaining the simple routine it’s had since day one, has grown more complex in other ways. Our home is a microcosm of this complex world.

Before the 70s, there were no refrigerators complex enough to store and preserve a week’s worth of biodegradable produce. If you want fresh dinner, you’d have to shop for groceries every day. Ancient refrigerators were small and merely used ice blocks to keep food cold.

Then freezers were invented. Now, the working American can do his grocery shopping on the weekends and have home-cooked dinner on a weekday.

And so, complexity gives and it takes. Complexity gives you refrigerators that spew out blocks of ice with just a press of a button. But complexity could also cause the water to freeze on the way down and clog the ice supply line.

In a way, the repair is simply the price we pay for better appliance features and affordable prices.

Shorter Appliance Lifespan: The Good Parts


The mass production of appliances makes them more affordable each year. A single American working for an entry-level position can now afford a mini kitchen, with one to three appliances. A small oven can go as low as $50, and there are over-the-range models available for $200.

Appliances are also more energy efficient today. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) stipulated minimum efficiency standards that appliance manufacturers should comply with. A blue EnergyStar sticker can be seen on appliances approved by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Additionally, faster production of appliances allows faster circulation throughout the population. Consequently, it also fastens market feedback and quality control.

It used to take years for engineers and designers to develop the ultimate product. Product development is a trial-and-error cycle, a process that improves prototypes after observing consumers’ preferences and dislikes. Now, 2.0 versions can come out before you know it.

Can You Predict When Each Appliance Will Likely Need Repair?

Yes there is a way: by reviewing current statistics and repair trends. Generally, most appliances break down over the summer. The hot sunny weather creates an environment where heat-generating machines could easily overheat. In the middle of the summer season, refrigerator repairs are at their highest.

As one exception, ovens can likewise overheat during the winter, when homeowners use them as another heat source. Aside from being a fire hazard, this careless practice could further shorten an oven’s service life.

Washing machines could also break during the winter as they are sensitive to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold.

Nonetheless, How Do You Make the Most Out of Every Appliance?

A reduced lifespan doesn’t necessarily mean less efficiency. Contemporary ovens are much more useful than their predecessors. Ovens can now come as an electric microwave that can heat your hot pocket in under a minute.

But with convenience, carelessness follows. As ovens become the most frequently used appliance on the kitchen counter, they can be prone to mishandling and neglect. A malfunctioning microwave keypad can be traced to food and dirt stuck under the buttons. A dirty microwave interior is also a reason why microwaves sometimes spark.

So, stop blaming the manufacturers and start making the most out of your appliances. Clean microwave ovens daily, including the interior walls. Do not overload your refrigerator shelves. Likewise, respect your washing machine and the load it can handle.

About the Author:

Share on:

Scroll to Top