How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

According to the Social Security Administration’s actuarial table, the typical 65-year old American can expect to live to the age of 83. Some will depart this world sooner, and about 10% will live to 95. Old air conditioners, along with the other replaceable components of your home, are much like that. It’s easy to find out the average lifespan, but pinpointing the month when the service van will pull up to take away your old air conditioner and cart in a new one is just not possible.

    While not an exact predictor, average lifespan is still a valuable piece of information. For example, let’s say you are buying an 20-year-old home with its original shingle roof, air conditioner, and water heater. If you look at the listing of expected lifespans at our article What is the average life expectancy of the components of a house?, you’ll see that all three of them would be either right at, or past, their average life expectancy.

   And while it is possible that one of those three costly replacement items may have a surprisingly long life, it’s also true that the likelihood of one of them requiring replacement soon is almost 100%.

   So average lifespan charts help you to estimate what big-ticket replacement expenses you can reasonably expect in the first years after you purchase a home. Condo association managers use the charts also, to prepare detailed budgets for expected replacement cycles for each building component. This forms the basis for part of the monthly assessments--setting aside an amount each month for the estimated future date of a roof replacement for the entire complex, for example. You can do the same thing on a smaller scale, as a buffer against the inevitable future expenses of owning a home.

    We have based the lifespan estimates on three sources:

  1. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components,” compiled in 2006.
  2. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) “Standard Estimated Lifespan Expectancy for Homes.”
  3. Our own experience in inspecting over 7,500 homes in both South and North Florida.

    The spread in years of the average lifespan ratings is due to multiple factors, which include things like quality of the manufactured product, weather exposure, maintenance, and level of usage.

   Visit our LIFE EXPECTANCY page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Wells

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation Form

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile/Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls & Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

About Us