WATCH NOW: Proper maintenance can get the most out of appliances and other systems | Business

Christine Bryant Times Correspondent

Any type of home improvement is an investment in your property. The duration of this investment is a key question that many want to know before spending hard-earned money.

Every home system or item has an expected lifespan, but experts say a variety of factors can determine how long components will last.

Conventional water heaters typically last 6 to 12 years, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. The mineral content of the water, including calcium and magnesium. can shorten this.

Rob Revels, owner of R&R Plumbing Technicians in Homewood, says a good flush as part of annual maintenance can help extend the life of a water heater.

However, he says newer models often have a sealed combustion chamber.

“I highly recommend that a licensed plumber do the first room cleaning and teach the landlord how to do it from there,” Revels said.

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The lifespan of your home appliances can be a bit like a dart board.

“It’s everywhere,” says Margie Larocca, custom kitchen consultant at Novak and Parker in Orland Park and Mount Prospect. “You have your basic appliances and your high-end appliances. Really, with all appliances, I tell all my clients that you should maintain them like you maintain your car.

His #1 tip? Read the manuals for the device.

The manual will include manufacturer guidelines that may affect the life of a device. Specific recommendations may even include the type of detergent used.

“With basic washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers, the lifespan is about 10 years,” Larocca said. “Ten years is a pretty good lifespan, but you can extend it if you maintain them.”

She advises cleaning compressors, checking dryer vents and not forgetting food traps in the bottom of dishwashers.

Regular maintenance can also help prevent minor problems from turning into major repairs, says Larocca.

A properly laid concrete driveway and sidewalks should last about 25 to 30 years, says Paul Crest, owner of Crest & Son Cement in Palos Heights.

However, he says it’s important to keep in mind that hairline cracking will occur, due to frost heaving or upward swelling of the soil during the winter.

The typical concrete strength used for a driveway should be 4,000 psi, Crest said. Contractors should also incorporate wire mesh, a solid gravel stone base, and seal driveways and sidewalks.

With regular maintenance, a HVAC system can last for decades, says Rich Dykstra Sr., owner of Dykstra Home Services in Crestwood.

“For an oven, the average lifespan is 15 to 17 years,” he said. “With a lack of maintenance, it breaks down.”

A central air conditioning unit can expect a similar lifespan and the same consequences if not properly maintained.

“The air conditioning is a bit more critical because with poplar it can be pulled into the unit and put a blanket over the coil, Dykstra said. “The unit can’t breathe, and it can’t operate or it will cost you a lot more to operate.”

If your unit is under warranty, Dykstra says it’s important to have an HVAC specialist perform the annual maintenance to check the unit’s efficiency and make sure there are no potential issues at hand. the horizon.

“I always use the analogy of a car,” Dykstra said. “You have to change the oil even though it may be under warranty, and if you don’t change the oil and the engine seizes, it won’t be covered. We have to take care of it. »

Homeowners should plan to change their filters approximately every two to three months.

“If it’s a high-efficiency unit filter, you can probably go six months,” Dykstra said. “But stay away from one-inch pleated filters which will trap a lot of dirt. The oven cannot breathe and the coil will ice up. Same for the furnace.

For those planning to replace their HVAC equipment soon, Dykstra says not to wait.

“Prices rise with the cost of raw materials, such as copper, aluminum and steel,” he said. “There are also shortages of equipment with chips for circuit boards. I’ve been in the business all my life. I’ve never seen it like this, ever.

The lifespan of electrical wiring in a home can vary, but in general, experts say its lifespan can be decades.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), copper wire, copper aluminum, and bare copper wire can last a lifetime. However, homeowners may need to replace electrical accessories and lighting controls such as dimmers after 10 years.

Electrical service panels can last up to 60 years, depending on the organization.

While many electrical components can last for decades, InterNACHI warns that damaged or overloaded electrical circuits or equipment are the leading cause of home fires. The group suggests having a home’s electrical system inspected regularly and updated as needed.

There are also several warning signs that electrical wiring and equipment should be looked into, including frequent circuit breaker trips, dimming of lights when using multiple devices, heat or vibration from electrical outlets. , burning smells and sparks from an outlet when plugging in a cord. .

The lifespan of a roof can depend heavily on factors such as weather, materials and maintenance, according to InterNACHI.

An asphalt shingle roof typically lasts 20 to 30 years, while a metal roof can last 40 to 80 years. A terracotta roof can last more than 100 years.

Exterior siding can also vary, with materials such as stucco lasting over 50 years compared to aluminum siding, which lasts around 25-40 years. Vinyl siding can last about 60 years.

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