The average lifespan of some of the most common household appliances is as follows:

In the kitchen:
  • Refrigerator: 18 to 20 years
  • Microwave oven: 10 years
  • Garbage disposal: 10 years
  • Electric range: 18 to 20 years
  • Oven/stove (gas): 18 to 20 years
  • Dishwasher: 10 years
  • Trash compactor: 10 years
In the bathroom
  • Toilet (flushing/tank equipment): 5 to 6 years
  • Sink: depending upon material, could last anywhere from 45 to 50 years (cast iron sinks have the longest lifespan)
  • Bathtub: up to 50 years, depending upon material used (again, cast iron is the strongest)
  • Ceramic tile (walls): depending upon wear and tear, up to 100 years
  • Vinyl: 20 to 25 years, depending upon wear and tear
  • Oak/pine: up to 100 years, depending upon whether the homeowner maintains them on a regular basis
  • Ceramic tile: up to 100 years
In the laundry room:
  • Washer and dryer: approx. 12 years
Throughout the house:
  • Water heater: 10 to 15 years
  • Central air conditioning: 8 to 10 years
  • Septic system: 25 to 30 years
  • Smoke detector: 10 years
  • Doors (leading to the outside, and which are therefore exposed to more extremes of heat and cold): 12 to 15 years
In and behind the garage:
  • Garage-door opener: 10 years
  • Driveway (asphalt): 5 to 8 years
  • Gutters: 25 to 30 years
  • Roof (asphalt shingles): 10 years, depending upon intensity of local weather conditions
  • Roof (tile): 20 years
  • Deck (wood): 10 to 12 years, depending upon weather conditions/wear and tear
  • Drywall: 65 to 70 years

However tempting it may be to buy used appliances or to shop at an unknown retailer who claims lower overhead costs and therefore, lower-priced appliances, resist the urge. One exception to this rule would be purchasing from a trusted friend or family member a used washer or dryer, for example, if you're looking for a relatively short-term solution with no guarantees; or if buying new is simply out of the question.

And when you're buying new appliances under such pressing conditions as those listed in the first paragraph, you're going to be sorely tempted to commit to a new appliance immediately because you'll be feeling that you have little choice given the circumstances. That's not necessarily true. Even if you've got to purchase something before the end of the day, shop around. Ask questions. Call friends or family for recommendations; their guidance could be among the most valuable resources available to you, and could save you considerable legwork and time.