Building & Remodeling
How Long Should My Roof, Furnace, and Major Appliances Last
Every Town, Business, and Homeowner should have a major capital expenditure plan. When will all the expensive items move passed their life expectancy and be a ticking time bomb until failure? There can always be an unexpected mechanical breakdown, but I’m talking about pretending a twenty year warranty roof that is thirty years old will be good for one more winter. Emergency repairs are always more expensive to fix than well planned and scheduled maintenance. Planning and scheduling also interpret into budgeting. If your crystal ball said that you would have a major roof leak, furnace failure, and refrigerator makes its final noise all in one month; wouldn’t you schedule their replacements ahead of time? I’ll go out on a limb and guess you would want each of these events several months apart. For this discussion, let’s talk about the major items in everyone’s homes.
Any residential roof that is over twenty years old is probably a “Three Tab”, twenty year warranty product. When you look up onto the roof, there are straight “water lines” that start to wear over time. Newer shingles are called “Architectural” and give the appearance of a more textured, wood like roof. Years ago, only twenty year warranty roofing products were available. Today thirty and even fifty year shingles can be purchased. The difference is the thickness or weight. I always suggest that the new roof be installed with the heavier weight shingle. If you don’t know when your roof was last done, check with the local Building Department. Roofers should be obtaining a Building Permit. Hopefully it’s in your file.
How about my furnace you ask? There are many kinds and all require a separate answer. Gas furnaces require less maintenance than oil. Each fuel may be heating “hot air” to be circulated through duct work or “hot water” to be sent through pipes to radiators. There is even radiant heat that sends hot water through pipes in the floor keeping your tootsies nice and warm. Ask your furnace repair person what they think about replacement. If they come to your house more than twice a year, it’s probably time. Although it is still a capital expenditure, then good news is that all of the new furnaces are more efficient than the old ones. That means you will be using less fuel and will probably be more comfortable!
Next stop- Appliances! Consumer Reports offers some guidelines. Dishwashers- 9 years, Dryers- 13 years, Microwave ovens- 9 years, Ranges- Electric-13 years and Gas- 15 years. Refrigerators should last 13 years and Washing machines- 10 years