How often should you replace your kitchen appliances?

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 2:30 PM

Your kitchen appliances are among the most expensive items you own, so you won't want to replace them too often. However, you are likely to want to balance this with the desire to have the latest equipment and styles.

As a result, it can be difficult to decide how often to purchase new ones. As a rule of thumb, most appliances will last for between ten and 15 years, but there are no firm guidelines on this and there are lots of things to consider before you make a final decision about whether to buy.

One of the most important is hygiene. You won't want machines you use to wash clothes or dishes, or to cook food to become too difficult to clean. This can happen if you keep hold of them too long and crucial parts get clogged up.

Another thing to think about is how much energy your appliances for the kitchen use. While you may see a piece of equipment that lasts for 25 years as excellent value for money, you might find the total cost of owning it is higher than you had previously thought, once you have factored in that older models use far more electricity than modern ones.

If you are keen to be as green as possible, you will probably want to replace your appliances more regularly to ensure you have the latest energy-efficient machines and reduce your domestic carbon emissions.

You may also enjoy having the added functionality of modern appliances. For example, a washer-dryer from a brand new range is likely to have more programmes to choose from and more efficient spin cycles.

All these factors are important, but you will, of course, need to balance them against your finances. If you cannot afford to make major purchases on a regular basis, you will probably want to squeeze the maximum lifespan out of your kitchen equipment.

To achieve this, you will need to ensure it is well maintained. That will involve everything from choosing the right kitchen homeware to clean the machines to checking and replacing parts such as filters and hoses on a regular basis. You should also follow the manufacturer's guidelines on servicing.

Occasionally appliances will break down even if you have followed all the maintenance instructions, and if the machine is out of its warranty period, it may be expensive to repair. In these circumstances, you should get a quote for the work and then consider whether buying a replacement would be a more cost-effective option.

Typically, if the faulty appliance is more than five years old and you do not have extended warranty cover, it will be better to buy a replacement than try to rectify a major problem. While purchasing a new model will be more expensive than having it repaired in the short term, you will benefit from greater energy efficiency and the peace of mind that the replacement won't break down.

Once you have concluded your appliances are reaching the end of their lifespan or you just want some more up-to-date models, there is lots of advice available online to help you select a replacement. The Energy Saving Trust website will be able to point you in the direction of the greenest versions, while organisations like the Good Housekeeping Institute and Which? have independent reviews of machines.

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