New research has found that most people’s domestic appliances and furniture end up being replaced much earlier than they should. What’s behind this lack of durability?
Consumers are failing to get full value from expensive purchases such as domestic appliances and furniture, according to new research.
A study carried out by AHF.co.uk has found that the likes of washing machines, sofas, fridges and boilers should be expected to last for at least a decade.
Built to last?
But in most households these items are being replaced much more quickly, AHF said.
For example, the company said that a typical freezer was expected by experts to last for 16 years.
But most owners ended up replacing their freezers after little more than six-and-a-half years on average, the research discovered.
Meanwhile, a washing machine should generally be able to provide 12 years of useful service.
High TV turnover
But washers are typically replaced every 6.2 years, according to AHF.
A TV should remain functional for 20 years, but they are usually superseded by a more technically advanced model after 5.74 years.
And while the average boiler should keep pumping out hot water for 15 years, these machines are normally replaced after 7.5 years.
When it comes to furniture, the difference isn't as great – but it exists nonetheless.
A decent dining table could be expected to last for 15 years, but is typically upgraded after just half this time.
A bedframe should last a decade but most of us replace ours after just over seven years.
And mattresses, which should have a lifespan of about seven years, are normally replaced before the six-year mark.
Jonathan Gregory, e-commerce manager at AHF, says: “It’s clear that the guidelines given by the experts have not taken into account the everyday effect that busy homes, with children and pets, can have on our items.”
How you can extend lifespans
Certain appliances, such as TVs, are liable to be replaced after a relatively short period regardless of whether they are still in good working order. This is mainly down to improvements in technology and falling prices.
But when it comes to the likes of dishwashers or boilers, upgrades are normally only sought when an old model stops working.
So how can you prolong the life of appliances and other important purchases?
In certain cases, by taking some simple precautions and ensuring careful usage, it should be possible to delay having to pay for a replacement.
The cost of a new boiler plus installation can easily run into four figures and beyond. At the very least, your boiler should be checked every 12 months by an engineer listed on the Gas Safe Register.
If you experience any problems with your boiler, seek expert help as soon as you can. And if you are away from home during the colder months, set your heating to come on every so often to avoid frozen pipes.
Dishwashers can stop working if they get clogged up with food particles or limescale. Make sure your machine has a good filter to stop food getting into the drainage pipes, and keep it clean.
Also, ensure you keep the dishwasher salt reservoir topped up – this can reduce the build-up of limescale and cut the risk of pipes and cleaning mechanisms becoming blocked.
Fridge and freezer
While it’s less common for a fridge or freezer to break down, regular maintenance can keep them running more efficiently.
Check door seals don't become worn or mouldy, and defrost your fridge or freezer if ice builds up.
The received wisdom when it comes to mattresses is that you should look for a new one every seven years, if not more frequently.
Look for signs such as sags or holes which could suggest it’s time for a change. Rotate and flip your mattress on a regular basis (every few months is fine) to stop specific areas suffering worse wear and tear.
Clean and vacuum your mattress regularly, or consider buying a mattress protector to prevent stains.