How Long Do Washing Machines Last?

When it comes time to upgrade your old, crumbling washing machine, there are a number of factors that can affect your next purchase. Price, brand trust, reviews, technical specs and functions are all factors that may affect your choice. But perhaps one of the most important things that anyone wants from a washing machine is longevity.

As a washing machine is an investment akin to a new TV, laptop or a dishwasher, it’s important that you get the most years possible out of this investment. So how long should you expect a washing machine to last?

Consumer research by sustainability charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) found that we expect brand new washing machines to last six years before needing replaced.

Then again, you may know some people who have had their washing machine for 10, 20 or even 30 years. So how long should washing machines last? And what can you do to extend their life?

Average life expectancy of a new washing machine

Why Only Six Years?

While we may have mentioned the likes of TVs and laptops, the main reason we often replace these devices is not necessarily because these devices have stopped working; we just want a better user experience.

Yet when it comes to white goods such as washing machines, most of us are content with owning a machine that gives our clothes a good clean in a timely fashion – irrespective of the machine’s age.

So why do washing machines now have a life cycle that is comparable to consumer electronics?

In the past, washing machines were built to last. They were robust and able to stand up to the demands of families with 2-4 children. Additionally, repair costs were cheaper because manufacturers would offer good prices on spare parts and they would offer extensive technical information to repairers.

Today, however, the story is rather different. It’s not atypical to find newer washing machines requiring repair after just 18 months of service.

Repairing a broken washing machine

What changed?

Washing machine manufacturers are producing more cheaply made models than ever before. This approach is not exclusive to the white goods industry – it has been adopted by many businesses across all consumer goods industries.

As such, cheap goods and longevity rarely go hand-in-hand.

On top of this, washing machine repairers are also having a harder time of it too. While there may be more washing machines in need of repair than ever, the cost of spare parts for newer models has gone up and it’s harder to receive technical support from manufacturers.

So while a washing machine will go through a few repair cycles, there reaches a point when it starts to be more financially reasonable for customers to consider buying another washing machine rather than have an older, failing model repaired.

That being said, it’s still possible to find good washing machines that have been built to manage thousands of loads – which, depending on usage levels, can last as long as 20 or 30 years.

But today’s cheaper models can often only manage hundreds of loads before buckling under the pressure. If you are putting on a wash once a day, your machine could be past its cycle life in just a couple of years.

Washing manufacturer Indesit say that they expect their products to last 7-8 years. As Indesit also owns the Hotpoint brand, it is fair to say that this standard likely applies to these machines too. On the other end of the scale, Miele say that their machines are tested to last for 20 years.

Yet, with the exception of some Miele models, most washing machine manufacturers offer warranties that last just one year.

Research by Candy Hoover shows that the average Brit is likely to do 2.6 washes a week or 135 washes a year. From this, we can extrapolate that a couple will perform 270 washes a year; whereas a family of four will put on 540 washes a year.

When you realise that many cheaper washing machine models have been built to handle hundreds of cycles, you start to understand why we have poor expectations of our washing machines.

Unfortunately, while manufacturers know how many cycles each of their models can be expected to perform, this information isn’t easy to find. Instead, we’ll hear all about energy consumption ratings, drum or spin speed and noise levels.

While all of those factors are undoubtedly important, none of that information tells you how long a machine will last. So it pays to perform some research and ask questions of manufacturers to find out what washing machine would suit your lifestyle.

Extend Your Washing Machine's Life Cycle

How Can I Extend My Washing Machine’s Life Cycle?

The great news is that you can use this new information to to find a machine that suits your purposes. But what about your current washing machine? Is there anything you can do to keep it ticking over?

Thankfully, with planning and care, you should be able extend the life of your washing machine.

There are a number of factors that can affect how long a washing machine lasts – such as how much you are using the machine, the amount of detergent being used, installation procedures and the weight of your loads.

For example, if you overload your machine with a heavier load than it has been built to take, this will just put unnecessary strain on the machine’s bearings – which can cause them to prematurely fail. By that same measure, under-loading your washing machine can be a waste of a cycle.

While you may be tempted to stuff every last dirty t-shirt into the drum, it’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines on the machine’s capacity. This ensures that you are not only getting the most out of your machine possible, but that you can keep that trip to the scrapyard (and accountant) at bay for the time being.

Additionally, it’s important to get your washing machine checked and repaired by a professional as soon as you notice any problems. It’s tempting to keep using the machine if it still works despite the problem, but the issue could be indicative of a wider complication in the innards of the machine. It may even cause other issues that will end up being more expensive to repair.

Approaching a company such as Repair Aid for professional washing machine repairs is important to ensure the long-term health of your appliance. It’s always worth finding out how much your machine will cost to repair before you think about investing hundreds or thousands of pounds on a brand new washing machine.

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