Unlike the milk carton in your fridge, the appliances and fixtures in your home don’t come with expiration dates stamped on them. That can leave many Sacramento homeowners scratching their heads when it comes to replacing key items. If it ain’t broke… well, it might still be time to replace it. Rather than calling heads or tails, call Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. We can let you know if your water heater, dishwasher, or other common plumbing and heating items need replacement, or if you’re better served by a repair.
Average life span: Up to fifty years
When to replace: Currently, California law mandates new toilets should use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush (GPF). If you have an older toilet that uses 2 GPF or higher, replacing your toilet saves water. If you see cracks or leaks, if you’re making frequent repairs, or if you have accessibility concerns, don’t wait to replace your toilet.
Water Heater Replacement
Average life span: 8 to 12 years
When to replace: Many homeowners have no idea when their water heater was installed, but if it’s older than eight years, we suggest a replacement; newer models are much more efficient. If you’re noticing your water’s not as hot as it once was, check your thermostat first; this often solves the problem, but if it doesn’t, call us for water heater installation. If there’s a leak, we can evaluate the problem and advise you on what to do next.
Average life span: 12 to 20 years
When to replace: Central air can last from 12 to 15 years, with a furnace averaging 18 to 20 years. If your furnace or central air are well within their service life, we suggest a heating and air conditioning tune-up, since that’s often sufficient to keep everything in good working order. If you notice signs of trouble — odd noises, a discolored flame, or the presence of burn marks or soot around your furnace, strange smells, loss of air quality, and higher operating costs for AC — call for repairs immediately, or opt to replace if you find repair bills adding up.
Average life span: 7 to 12 years
When to replace: Dishwasher repairs typically fall under two categories: quick and easy, like a gasket replacement, or frightfully expensive, like the wash motor, water pump, or electronics. If your unit is still under warranty, repair away; if not, ask for a written estimate, and see if the problem you’re encountering is one that isn’t likely to stay fixed; if your machine has a spotty history with a track record of long-term failures, the repair may not be worth it.
Pipe and Fixture Replacement
Average life span: Varies by material
When to replace: Different types of pipe have different life expectancies. At the long end of the spectrum, cast iron, brass, and copper can outlast the homeowner. PVC, on the other hand, typically lasts 25 to 40 years, and polybutylene can fail long before then. With so many variables in play, including what the pipe carries, the kinds of maintenance you’ve had performed, and how much seismic activity your home has experienced, it’s worth contacting a plumber if you notice undue wear, damage, leaks, water discoloration, or problems with water quality. The same is true of fixtures, since cheaper fixtures, or those that were installed improperly, are prone to failure far sooner and more frequently than you’d experience had you opted for higher quality.
Thoughts in Closing
By now, you’re probably seeing some common patterns.
- You may not always know the age of a fixture or appliance, especially if you’re not the home’s first owner.
- We’ll usually suggest a more conservative approach (like a tune-up or repair) to keep things cost effective.
- Pay attention to the money you’re spending; if you see the repair bills or your utility bills climbing, especially once an item is out of warranty, it’s often best to opt for replacement over repairs.
- If you’re conducting a renovation or remodel, use that time (and your home equity loan) to make some necessary, and likely overdue, updates — they may even increase your resale value.
- Don’t go cheap on materials, appliances, or — especially — installations. More often than not, you really do get what you pay for.
The good news is, replacing major appliances with newer and more energy-efficient versions may even qualify you for rebates and tax credits, so don’t be shy about calling Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for help when you need it!