Americans own 102 million washing machines, according to the Central Electric Cooperative, and 9 million washing machines are sold annually -- meaning that close to 10 per cent of American washing machine owners purchase a new unit each year. When determining the expected lifespan of a washing machine, consider durability, reparability and the cost of repairs versus the cost of replacement.
According to Forbes.com, the average lifespan of a washing machine is 12 to 13 years. The average price of a washing machine is £195 to £260; energy-efficient models range in price from £422 to almost £1,300. Energy-efficient machines may save £65 a year in energy costs, but, by the time the buyer starts experiencing an appreciable benefit, the washing machine has nearly reached the end of its useful life.
Andy Trigg of the website Washer Help asserts that the expected lifespan of a washing machine is actually 7 years but thinks that 5 years is more realistic; he states that many washers do not last that long. Trigg explains that manufacturers are now mass-producing cheaper washing machines that are not built to last. In addition, these washing machines now have a specific number of average wash cycles -- a number that is very low for less-expensive models.
Because newer washing machines are not as durable, they tend to require repairs at a much earlier stage than the older, sturdier, more-resilient models. However, to offset the machines' relatively inexpensive purchase price, manufacturers are making them almost impossible to repair. Older washers could be disassembled to locate and fix the specific part that was defective or malfunctioning; newer machines are designed with entire sections that will require replacement. For example, manufacturers will not sell separately the parts of a washing machine pump; if one piece needs to be changed, you will need to replace the entire pump.
Many consumers choose to purchase new machines instead of paying the high cost of repairs. If the price of a single repair is more than £130, and a new machine can be purchased for £260, many consumers opt for the new purchase, especially since they do not know if the existing machine may require additional repair work in the future. As a result, it is difficult to determine the true life expectancy of a washing machine, as they are frequently replaced instead of repaired.