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How Long Will it Last?   Article Center   

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How Long Will it Last?

By: New Jersey Home Inspector Michael Del Greco
How Long Will It Last?

Submitted by: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic GI 0121, President of Accurate Inspections, Inc, a New Jersey home inspection company

How nice it would be if we had a crystal ball to tell us how long the systems, appliances, and building materials in our home would last! Unfortunately, this is the \"real world\" and no such item exists. The next best bet is to consult the following list of \"Life Expectancies for Residential Equipment and Materials.\" It will give a good idea of how long these items typically last.

The ranges below may vary a little based on a number of factors, including:

1. Quality of the equipment and/or materials.

2. Proper application and/or use of the equipment and materials.

3. The proper capacities of the equipment and/or materials.

4. Varying amounts and type of usage.

5. Exposure to different weather and geographical conditions.

6. Quality of fuels, water, and air to which the equipment is exposed.

7. Future high-tech equipment, materials, and applications (that may increase or decrease life expectancies).

8. Quality of workmanship used in the installation.



Cast iron 30 to 60

Steel 20 to 35

Heating Exchangers (steel)

Gas-fired 25 to 40

Oil-fired 20 to 35

Heat Pump Compressor 7 to 12

Heating Pipes

Steel 80 to 120

Copper 60 to ?


Oil 20 to 30

Gas 30 to 40

Misc. Heating Components

Circulators 20 to 30

Fans 12 to 40

Oil Tanks (inside) 25 to 50

Expansion Tanks 35 to 50

Zone Valves 7 to 10

Note: Heaters need complete replacement when the boiler (water) or heat exchanger (air) fails.



Compressors 10 to 14

Coils 20 to 30

Fans 12 to 40


Water Service (Public)

Lead 50 to 90

Steel 40 to 75

Copper 70 to ?

Plastic Unknown

Interior Water Pipe

Steel 1/2\" 40 to 60

Copper 1/2\" 70 to 100

Plastic Unknown

Drainage Lines

Galvanized Steel 40 to 60

Copper 60 to 100

Cast Iron 50 to 90

Plastic (P.V.C.) 35 to ?

Lead 50 to 90


(On-site Water Supply)

Pump-Submersible 15 to 22

Pump-Above Ground 13 to 20

Pressure Tank-Steel 15 to 25

Pressure Tank - Fiberglass 25 to 50


(On-Site Drainage System)

Steel Tank 15 to 30

Concrete Tank 25 to 40

Life expectancy of leaching fields is determined by porosity of soil and maintenance (10 to 60 years)


Water Heater

Gas 8 to 14

Electric 12 to 18

Oil Burner 20 to 40


Faucets, etc. 20 to 60

Toilets & sinks 40 to 60


Service cables 20 to 40

Wiring (interior)

Knob & tube 60 to 90

Armored Cable-BX 50 to 80

Plastic - Romex) 70 to 80

Panel Boxes

Fuses or Circuit Breakers 20 to 50

Life expectancy is directly related to moisture in the area of the box (rust & oxidation of contacts).


Roof Coverings

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles 18 to 25

Roofs wear out sooner on the south side of the house.

Built-Up Roofing, 3 ply 10 to 15

Installation procedures and regular recoating can extend the life of these roofs 2, 3 or more times.

Slate (depends on the quarry from which it came, maintenance is required. 35 to 200

Metal Standing or Welded Seams 50 to 90

Metal roofs are mostly tin and will remain functional as long as you keep them from rusting .

Cedar (depends on quality of wood, workmanship, and maintenance) 20 to 40

Sidings and Veneers

Aluminum (you may repaint aluminum siding at about 20-23 years to extend life) 18-25

Vinyl 25 to ?

Aluminum with Tedlar coating 35 to 50

Hardboard or composition (depends on finish, exposure to sun and maintenance) 20 to 40

T1-11 Plywood Siding (must coat regularly or will not last more than 8 years) 20 to 40

Stucco (70 years without paint, 200+ years with regular painting) 70 to 200+

Asbestos (needs normal maintenance, recommended painting) 40 to 100


Brick. Veneers with periodic pointing. 100+

Note: Masonry walls are very durable and as long as they are designed properly and receive periodic maintenance, they should last 100+ years. Exceptions would be salmon brick, cinder block (instead of concrete block) and Serpentine stone.


Wood. Usually very dependable and have long life expectancies with regular painting and storm windows to help protect them. 35 to 100

Aluminum. Usually are marginal in design and functionality. An advantage is their low cost. 10 to 25

Vinyl. Reasonable window, moderate cost, not enough history to project life expectancy. 15 to ?

Aluminum storm windows 30 to 40


Ceramic Tile (in tub or shower wall areas)

Wed Bed (cement) or Wonder Board Backing 40 to 90

Mastic System (adhesive) 14 to 20


Walls 70 to 120

Ceilings 60 to 90

Life expectancy of plaster is altered by the carpentry framing and the type of plaster lath used.

Drywall (also called sheetrock)

Walls 50 to ?

Ceilings 30 to ?


Refrigerators 10 to 20

Dishwashers 13 to 18

Gas Ranges 20 to 35

Electric Ranges 15 to 25

Garbage Disposal 10 to 15

Humidifiers 5 to 20

Dehumidifiers 8 to 12

Washers 10 to 20

Dryers 10 to 20

Information provided by Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic. GI 0121, American Society of Home Inspectors Member 102273, Pesident of Accurate Inspections, Inc. A West Paterson New Jersey Home Inspection firm.

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