Updates Your Home Will Need Over the Years – a Timeline

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Every component in your home has a certain life expectancy, some longer than others. As a homeowner, you’ll find yourself repairing or replacing things in your home every so often – it’s just part of the deal.

Rather than being unpleasantly surprised with an unexpected repair or replacement, your best bet is to be prepared for what’s to come. The following is a rough timeline of when you can expect to make specific updates in your home as the months and years pass.

1-3 Months – Light Bulbs

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Depending on the number and type of light bulbs you’ve got in your home, you’ll probably find yourself changing light bulbs all the time. When you replace one, another will go out, and the cycle continues.

The average incandescent light bulb lasts anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 hours (about one to three months or so). If you go with LED bulbs, that number will be drastically higher, as long as 50,000 hours. Not only will LED bulbs save you the time and hassle of changing light bulbs all the time, you’ll be paying for a lot less energy to power them.

3 Months – HVAC Filter

It’s recommended that homeowners change their HVAC filters approximately every 3 months or so. This is a rough number and will depend on a number factors, such as how clean they are, the durability of the mesh, and if there is anyone in the home who suffers from allergies. The 3-month mark is just a rough suggestion, but if you notice that the filter is pretty filthy and clogged, it’s definitely time to change it.

5-7 Years – Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal if left to accumulate indoors. That’s why having a functioning CO detector is absolutely mandatory for keeping all occupants of your home safe. These detectors typically wear out in approximately 5 to 7 years, after which they should be replaced, ideally with a sensor that will alert you when a dangerously high level of carbon monoxide is present. At the very least, it’s important that the detector is monitored every few weeks to make sure it’s working and the batteries haven’t been depleted.

5-7 Years – Toilet Components

Tiolet bowls themselves should last a lifetime as long as they don’t crack or get damaged for whatever reason. However, many of their components will need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years, including the flappers, fill valves, trip levers, fittings, and plumbing connections.

10 Years – Smoke Detectors

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Just like carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors are life-savers that absolutely need to be kept in proper functioning order at all times. Be sure to maintain your smoke alarms as per the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the batteries at least once a year. The smoke alarm itself will typically need to be replaced every 10 years or so.

10 Years – Carpets

If you’ve got any carpeting in your home, you should know that this type of flooring doesn’t last forever. The average medium-grade carpet material lasts about 10 years, depending on how well it’s taken care of, whether there are pets in the home, and the amount of foot traffic. If you notice any stains that won’t come out, rips or tears on the carpet fibers, foul odors, or poor condition of the underlying padding, the carpet will probably need to be replaced.

8-12 Years – Hot Water Tank

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You can effectively extend the lifespan of your hot water tank if you take the time and effort to maintain it on a regular basis. That said, you can expect your hot water tank to last anywhere between 8 to 12 years. If yours reaches that age span and it starts giving you problems – such as a leak or failure to maintain regular water temperature – it’s probably time for a new one.

8-15 Years – Appliances

Your refrigerator, stove/oven, dishwasher, microwave, washer, and dryer all have finite lifespans and will need to be replaced anywhere between 8 to 15 years after being purchased new. More specifically, each appliance has their own approximate lifespan:

  • Refrigerator – up to 15 years
  • Stove/oven – 10 to 15 years
  • Dishwasher – 8 – 10 years (depending on frequency of usage)
  • Washer and dryer – 7 to 12 years

10-15 Years – Garage Door Opener

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Garage door openers are super convenient and make life a lot easier. But the more often they’re used, the shorter their lifespan will typically be. The life of an automatic garage door is measured in cycles where opening and closing the door once is considered one cycle. Depending on how frequently your garage door is opened and closed, the opener should last approximately 10 to 15 years, and even longer if it’s well maintained.

10 Years – Garbage Disposals

As long as you’re using your garbage disposal properly, it should last for about 10 years. In addition to age, a garbage disposal might need to be replaced prematurely if it is frequently clogged, if food takes far too long to be broken down, or if there are any lingering smells that won’t disappear.

15-20 Years – HVAC Unit

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Your heating and air-conditioning system is among the most important components of your home and is responsible for keeping the indoor air temperature comfortable. It works really hard around the clock, especially during times of the year when temperatures tend to hit extremes. As such, these systems don’t last forever. Depending on how hard the HVAC system is working and how well it’s maintained, the system should last between 15 to 20 years.

20-50 Years – Roof

Your roof is a key component of your home and is essential to its overall condition and longevity. All roofs should be inspected at least once a year in the spring to make sure there aren’t any issues with it that could compromise your home. The longer a problem is left to linger, the worse the condition the overall roof will be. Depending on the frequency of maintenance and the exact materials used, the average roof should last between 20 to 50 years.

The Bottom Line

Owning a home certainly comes with plenty of ongoing expenses and work. But knowing approximately when specific upgrades should be done can help you budget more appropriately. That way you can cut down on those unpleasant surprise bills when the end of the lifespan of each of your home’s components approaches.