Curious about “how long does a dishwasher last?”
You’re not alone. Dishwashers, after all, are a true wonder of modern convenience. They give us more time to relax, entertain, or simply enjoy the company of our family, instead of dealing with a sink full of dirty dishes.
But just like all good things, dishwashers don’t last forever. They need care, they need maintenance, and eventually, they need to be replaced.
This guide is here to help you understand just how long you can expect your dishwasher to last, and what you can do to make the most of its lifespan.
How Long Does a Dishwasher Last?
The average lifespan of a dishwasher, according to research by Consumer Reports, is around 10 years.
However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Factors such as frequency of use and exposure to various conditions can impact how long your dishwasher will last.
If you have a bustling household where the dishwasher is in high demand, it may face a shorter lifespan of around 6-8 years. This is due to the constant exposure to high-pressure water, acidic foods, and harsh detergents that can accelerate wear and tear.
On the other hand, a dishwasher that isn’t used as frequently could potentially last much longer. In all cases, regular and proper cleaning, combined with diligent maintenance, can help prolong the lifespan of your appliance.
Let’s take a look at how long different dishwasher brands tend to last, to give you an idea of when you might need to think about an upgrade:
Around 10 years: If you own a Bosch, KitchenAid, Maytag, Thermador, Whirlpool, or Samsung dishwasher, you can generally expect it to last up to around 10 years.
Over 10 years: Got a Beko, Blomberg, Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kenmore, or LG? Good news! These brands often last for more than 10 years.
A whopping 20 years: Miele dishwashers are the marathon runners of the dishwasher world. With proper care, a Miele can last up to two whole decades.
Remember, these are just rough estimates, and actual lifespan can vary based on use, maintenance, and luck!
Factors Affecting Dishwasher Lifespan
Just like the lifespan of any appliance, the lifespan of a dishwasher isn’t predetermined. It’s affected by various elements, including the frequency of use, water quality, the dishwasher’s build, and even how it was installed.
How Often You Run Your Dishwasher
Think about how often your dishwasher is hard at work. If it’s every single day, that’s a whopping 365 days a year! On the flip side, if you’re only using it a few times a week, your dishwasher gets more days off.
Finding the right balance here is crucial. Regular use keeps your dishwasher in good working order, but running it multiple times daily can speed up wear and tear. Using your dishwasher regularly, but not necessarily every single day, can help extend its life.
The Quality of Your Dishwasher
The build and quality of your dishwasher matter a lot. Like a sturdy pair of shoes that can endure daily use better than a flimsy pair, a high-quality dishwasher is built to last. It might be pricier initially, but it could save you money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs.
Installation and Maintenance Matter
Dishwashers work hard, dealing with water, food scraps, and detergents daily. Over time, these can lead to corrosion and buildup, accelerating wear and tear. Regular maintenance can help mitigate these issues.
Starting with a professional installation sets your dishwasher on the right path. It ensures all connections are made correctly, minimizing the risk of leaks or electrical problems that could put a strain on your dishwasher.
The Way You Load Your Dishwasher
Overloading it can cause dishes to block the water spray, meaning the dishwasher has to work harder and for longer to get everything clean. This puts extra stress on the machine and can lead to wear and tear over time.
On the other hand, running the dishwasher when it’s only half full isn’t energy efficient and can also contribute to unnecessary wear. The golden rule? Always load it properly, making sure the water spray can reach all dishes, but wait until it’s full before running a cycle.
Moreover, sharp objects and utensils can also damage the dishwasher’s interior if not loaded properly. Be careful with those knives and forks!
How to Prolong Your Dishwasher’s Life
Want to help your dishwasher live a longer, happier life? Good news, there are plenty of things you can do.
Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean and Fresh
A common misconception is that dishwashers clean themselves during each wash cycle. That’s not entirely accurate. Food residue and mineral deposits can accumulate over time. Give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning every three to six months to maintain its efficiency.
Run a full cycle at the highest temperature setting with a cup of white vinegar placed in a dishwasher-safe cup. And don’t forget to replace your dishwasher’s filter regularly to ensure optimal performance.
Utilize the Hot Water Setting
While it might be tempting to use cold water to save energy, hot water is actually beneficial for your dishwasher. It helps avoid buildup and effectively breaks down greasier foods.
Scrape but Don’t Rinse Your Plates
It’s crucial to scrape off large food particles before putting your dishes in the dishwasher to avoid clogging the sprayers and filters. However, refrain from rinsing your plates before placing them in the dishwasher; most dishwashers are designed to handle some degree of grime.
Run Full Loads, But Avoid Overloading
It’s most efficient to run your dishwasher when it’s full, but remember not to overload it. Cramming too much into one load can obstruct the water sprayers and potentially cause water to accumulate in unwanted areas, which can lead to damage.
Overloading or underloading not only affects cleaning performance, but it can also put unnecessary stress on the machine, thereby shortening its lifespan. Always aim for a balance – a full load that allows efficient distribution of water and detergent, without straining your dishwasher’s system.
Replace Hoses Regularly
The hoses in your dishwasher, especially if they’re standard rubber inlet ones, should be replaced every two years. Alternatively, you can consider upgrading to stainless steel hoses.
Combat Hard Water Buildup
Signs of hard water, such as a cloudy mineral film and rack wheel resistance, can be a nuisance. Regular use of a citric-acid-based dishwasher cleaner or regeneration salt can eliminate this buildup and improve cleaning performance.
Follow Your Dishwasher’s Instructions
Each dishwasher comes with an owner’s manual detailing the best practices for use and maintenance. Adhering to these directions will ensure your appliance operates optimally.
Ventilation and Sunlight are Your Friends
After using your dishwasher, make sure there is enough ventilation. If possible, open a nearby window and leave the dishwasher door open to encourage airflow and allow sunlight in. This helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Check and Clean the Spray Arms
Every few months, inspect the holes in the wash arms. If food debris is blocking a spray nozzle, carefully remove it with a toothpick or pipe cleaner.
Prevent Rust on the Racks
If the plastic coating on your dishwasher racks starts wearing off, address it immediately by applying vinyl paint or replacement tine tips. This helps prevent rack corrosion, which could lead to damaging metal shards entering the pump.
Stick to Dishes
Despite some online advice, your dishwasher should only be used for cleaning dishes. Washing non-dish items, especially greasy ones like car parts or wax-coated items like candlestick holders, can lead to serious damage to your dishwasher. Stick to the intended use of the appliance to ensure its longevity.
Signs You Might Need to Replace Your Dishwasher
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your dishwasher might start to show signs that it’s nearing the end of its life.
If your dishwasher starts to underperform, it could be signalling a need for replacement. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Poor Cleaning or Drying: If your dishes aren’t coming out as clean or dry as they used to, this could be a sign that your dishwasher’s performance is dropping.
- Unusual Noises: If your dishwasher begins to hum, bang, or produce other loud noises that it didn’t before, it’s a clear indication that something isn’t right.
- Leaks: Any type of leak is a serious problem and could suggest your dishwasher is nearing its end.
- Door Issues: If the dishwasher door won’t shut properly, it’s another sign of potential serious issues.
- Visible Damage: Rusting or cracking on your dishwasher is a clear sign of wear and tear that could lead to more serious problems down the line.
- Low Water Pressure: If the water pressure in your dishwasher drops, it could affect its ability to clean dishes effectively, indicating it might be time for a replacement.
- Drainage Problems: A dishwasher that’s not draining properly can lead to water accumulation and subsequent damage.
Remember, some issues can be fixed with a repair, but recurrent problems or a combination of several of these signs may suggest it’s time to start looking for a new dishwasher.
Repair or Replace: What’s The Best Decision?
The decision to repair or replace a dishwasher is highly dependent on the individual circumstances surrounding the appliance and its usage. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Age of the Dishwasher: The typical lifespan of a dishwasher is about 10 years. If your dishwasher is nearing or has exceeded this age, replacement may be the more cost-effective choice in the long run.
- Cost of Repairs vs Replacement: As a general rule of thumb, if a repair costs more than 50% of the price of a new dishwasher, it’s often better to replace it.
- Frequency of Repairs: If your dishwasher needs frequent repairs, the costs can quickly add up, and it might make more economic sense to invest in a new one.
- Energy Efficiency: Newer models are usually more energy-efficient than older ones. Therefore, replacing an older model could lead to savings on your utility bills.
- Overall Condition and Performance: If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning well, is making strange noises, or has developed leaks, these could be signs that the appliance is nearing the end of its usefulness.
- Availability of a Home Warranty: If you have a home warranty that covers the cost of repairs or replacements, you might be able to afford to repair or replace the dishwasher at a lower out-of-pocket cost.
However, it’s always advisable to consult with a professional appliance technician who can provide an accurate assessment and advice based on the specific condition of your dishwasher.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some common questions related to the lifespan of a dishwasher.
How often should you replace your dishwasher?
Generally, a dishwasher lasts between 7 to 12 years. However, this can vary depending on the brand, usage, and how well it’s maintained. If your dishwasher is older than ten years and constantly giving you problems, it might be time to consider a replacement.
How do you know when your dishwasher needs to be replaced?
There are a few signs that might indicate the need to replace your dishwasher.
These include the dishwasher not cleaning or drying dishes well, producing unusual noises, leaking, showing signs of rust or cracks, or if the door won’t shut properly. If you’re facing frequent issues or costly repairs, it might be more economical to replace the dishwasher.
Is it worth it to fix a dishwasher?
It depends on the nature of the problem and the age of your dishwasher. If the dishwasher is relatively new and the problem is minor, it’s probably worth it to repair.
However, if the appliance is old and the repair cost is more than half the price of a new dishwasher, it’s generally better to replace it. In many cases, newer models are more energy and water-efficient, so the long-term savings could outweigh the cost of replacement.
Do dishwashers go bad if not used?
While dishwashers are designed to withstand periods of non-use, prolonged idleness could potentially lead to problems. The seals could dry out, and the dishwasher might develop a musty odor due to stagnant water. If you’re not using your dishwasher for a long time, it’s a good idea to run a cleaning cycle occasionally to keep it in good condition.
In conclusion, maintaining the optimum functioning of your dishwasher requires a blend of regular maintenance, sensible usage, and prompt attention to any issues.
Whether it’s ensuring that you’re not overloading your dishwasher, running it only when it’s full, or deciding on repair versus replacement, making informed decisions is key.
Remember, it’s not just about extending the lifespan of your dishwasher, but also about saving energy, water, and ultimately, your hard-earned money.
Armed with these insights, you can ensure that your dishwasher remains a reliable and efficient part of your home for many years to come.
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