From Spotlight: Home Improvement for ROI

Appliance Lifespans and Costs to Replace (A Worksheet)

Appliance lifespans can be a key factor in helping you budget for the house you’ve got your eye on — or the one you already have.

Vintage pink appliance in a home kitchen
Image: Melissa Ross/Getty

Skip that question, and you might regret it.

Here's a question that's easy to dismiss when you're in love with a house and eager to make an offer: How long are its appliances and systems going to last?

Because if you end up spending three grand in the first year to replace broken-down appliances, you're probably going to wish you'd offered $3,000 less.

Make a copy of this easy worksheet to avoid regrets like that.

Simply add the year when an appliance was installed (scroll down for more on this), and the worksheet will tell you how much that house could cost you over the next 10 years — the typical time people stay in a home.

Then, with the help of an agent who knows the market, you decide if elderly appliances ought to be a negotiating item with the seller.

Check out this video for a quick tutorial on using the worksheet:


How to Find Out the Age of Appliances

  • Ask your agent to ask the seller. This is the most straightforward approach because homeowners usually remember major expenses like replacing a fridge.
  • Consider the home's age. A house less than 12 years old may still have all original appliances.
  • Ask your inspector. If you've already made an offer, they'll often have this information for you. 
  • Ask to see the  The property disclosure statement could have the answers you need. Sellers are legally required to fess up about problems with the home or anything that comes with it.
  • Scope it out. If a range is missing knobs or the oven bears years of burnt-on grease, chances are it's in its twilight years, and you should probably plan to replace within the year.
  • Find the serial number. Then visit for HVAC equipment and water heaters and for the rest to find the manufacture date. This is the most difficult but most accurate method if you want to be precise. But it's up to the seller if they want to let you snoop around to find the serial numbers or to provide those numbers to you.

How Long Do Appliances Last & What Are the Costs to Replace Them?

Below are the typical lifespans and costs of appliances and other key home components. (We've listed our sources at the end, if you're interested.)

Costs include professional installation, FYI. And your cost could vary depending on whether you buy top-of-the-line, find a bargain, or DIY the installation.

Consider these numbers a general guide:




Central A/C unit

7-15 years $3,800- $7,500

Furnace - electric

20-30 years $1,700-$7,000

Furnace - gas

10-20 years $700-$10,000


9 years



9-13 years $900-$8,000


15-17 years





Washer - top loading

5-15 $350
Washer - front loading5-15$700-$1,000

Water heater - tank



Water heater - tankless



Roof - asphalt (2,000 sq. ft.)



Roof - tile, slate, metal (1,500 sq. ft.)

40-150 years $13,000-$50,000

Wood deck

10-30 years


Note: For the worksheet, we used the median number for the lifespan and cost ranges and broke down some appliances in more detail to create the calculations.

Get Your Own Personal Copy of the Appliance Cost Worksheet Now



Author photo of Amy Howell Hirt
Amy Howell Hirt

Amy Howell Hirt has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including "The Home Depot," "USA Today," and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for "The Cincinnati Enquirer."