Keeping your kitchen appliances alive in Mexico’s killer conditions

Throwing money at your appliance budget doesn't buy you that much time

Photo: Courtesy
Photo: Courtesy

My husband and I purchased our condo in paradise just over 10 years ago. Other than our dishwasher, we have been lucky.

Most of our appliances have held out. So how long do appliances last these days? To find out, I did some research on their average life expectancy.

Regardless of how you much you pay for an appliance, research shows that it does not seem to significantly impact its average life expectancy. What does factor in is how much you use it and how well you maintain it. Sadly, as we have become a more disposable society, appliances are not built today like they used to be. What used to last 20 or 30 years only will last about 10 now.

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Surprising to me, the item that has the least life expectancy is usually the microwave. It tends to give up the ghost between year four and 10. Here is a quick test to see if yours is functioning well. Put an eight-ounce cup of water on high for three minutes. The water should boil after three minutes. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time for a new one. After 10 years, you are probably better off financially to buy a new one than have yours serviced.

Washers/dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers typically last 10 to 15 years. According to the stats, top-loading washers tend to last a bit longer than front loaders. I am a big believer in buying a separate washer and dryer rather than a stackable. If one part of the stackable goes, you are stuck having to replace both. You can get full front-loading washers and dryers and a rack so that you can stack them to save space. To get the most life from your machine, remember to occasionally clean with bleach to get rid of odors and hard water build up and vinegar to get rid of suds. The best thing you can do for your dryer (and your safety) is to always clean out the dryer lint from the lint trap and the vent hose.

Do you clean the dust off the condenser coils of your fridge once or twice a year? Eek! I don’t, and now I plan to do it first thing tomorrow. I suspect that won’t give our fridge much more life, but every extra week is a bonus.

Refrigerators with one door for cooling and one for freezing last around 14 years. Fridges with top or bottom-door freezers last about 17 years. One-door fridges last about 19 years.

Dishwashers also last about a decade. The best advice to keep a dishwasher operating at its best is to run it frequently. Doing this keeps the rubber from drying out and mold and mildew from appearing.

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Gas stoves and ovens generally last from 15 to 18 years. Remember to clean your burner ports regularly with a straight pin, so you can remove any clogs.

Need to replace an appliance in your Mexican home? Email furniture@solutionsmexico.com.


Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who sells furniture in Mexico at SOLutions Mexico.

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