When to Replace these Household Items

Sometimes we forget that nothing lasts forever. Or perhaps, as it is often with the gutters or the roof, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” How long has it been since you checked the fire extinguishers? Can you remember when you bought the smoke detectors? When was the last time you changed the air filters? As we get our homes ready for winter and the holiday season, take time to replace household items that might have been neglected for a while.

Air Filters

The air filters in your home should be changed every three to six months, depending on the local weather and where you live – climate and microclimate (you live near a processing plant). When living with pets, change the air filters every two months.

Fire Extinguishers

Especially if you have never used the fire extinguisher in your home or it has not been used very often, replace it if the pressure gauge needle is not in the green and/or if the casing has become worn. Disposable fire extinguishers last up to 15 years; the shelf-life of rechargeable fire extinguishers is six years.

Smoke Detectors

A working smoke detector increases an occupant’s chance of survival by 50%. Because over time smoke detectors lose their sensitivity, they need replacing every 10 years. Check and replace batteries at least once a year.


A refrigerator that is ten years or older typically consumes 200% more energy than newer, energy-efficient models. Refrigerators usually do not need replacing until they are older than 15 years.


As parts become older, dishwashers become more inefficient, increasing the cost of energy bills. Replace a dishwasher approximately every eight to 10 years. In the meantime, regularly clean the tub, the door, and other parts of the appliance to extend its life.

Washing Machines

The average lifespan of most washing machines is eight to 12 years, if you clean and maintain it regularly. When maintaining your washing machine, areas to focus on include, replacing washing machine gaskets, replacing worn hoses, tightening connections, and balancing the machine to reduce the amount of noise.

Clothes Dryers

To improve the performance of a clothes dryer that is five to seven years old, replace parts such as the drive belt, drum roller, blower wheel, and heating element. Clothes dryers should be replaced every eight to 10 years.

Water Heaters

A water heater should be drained twice a year. This will improve its functionality and efficiency by reducing the amount of sediment buildup. Lowering the thermostat can also prolong the water heater’s lifespan. Water heaters last from eight to 12 years, depending on how well they have been maintained.


Depending on the type of windows installed in your home, they should last anywhere from 20 to 40 years. Signs that windows need replacing are:

  • glass panes become foggy
  • windows consistently get stuck when opening and closing
  • a window pane is broken or cracked
  • the window frame becomes “soft” to the touch (sign of rot)
  • the window frame is warped or cracked
  • you consistently experience drafts ( sign of broken seals)

Outdoor Decks

 Collapsing outdoor decks aren’t as uncommon as you might expect. While a deck doesn’t need replacing every so many years, outdoor decks should be maintained regularly to prevent accidents. Check for discolouration, damp areas, and loose hardware (railings, nails, screws, etc.).


Metal gutters typically last longer lifespan than vinyl gutters. For example, aluminum gutters have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years; while copper gutters have been known to last 50 plus years when regularly maintained. Vinyl gutters can last up to 20 years depending on climatic conditions, but generally, have to be replaced every 12 to 15 years.


 Regardless of the kind of roofing system your house has, it should be replaced as soon as possible if it’s leaking, sagging or the shingles have become damaged (curling up, cracking, or missing). Metal roofs last up to 50 years, while clay roofs have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years. Wood roofs made cedar shingles or cedar shakes last approximately 30 years. Roof systems with the shortest lifespan – up to 20 years – are roofs made from composite materials or asphalt.