The 5 Appliances That Break Most Often

Broken washer

Why Do Appliances Break?

It could be that your appliances are old and worn. Brand matters — some appliance brands are more reliable than others. Maybe you’ve abused your appliances are or pushing them beyond their limits. And maybe, just maybe, you purchased an appliance “lemon.”

Eventually, Every Appliance Breaks

At some point, every appliance you own will need repair or replacement.

A top-loading washer might last 10-13 years, and their front-loading brethren have even shorter lifespans. Frequency of use is a factor. The average American family does over seven loads of laundry per week.

A dryer has a similar lifespan of 10-13 years. For dishwashers, it’s usually even less.

That said, certain appliances and brands are more prone to breakdowns than others. It pays to do your research if you’re in the market for a new fridge, washing machine, or dryer.

Or you can talk to us at West Coast Chief Repair. We’ll steer you in the right direction so that your next appliance purchase gives you the most bang for your buck.

Which Appliances Need More Maintenance, Care & Repair?

1) Washing Machines

Washers always seem to be breaking down at the worst time, when hampers are full and closets empty.

Why do they break so often? Partly because of the nature of their work. Several components come in contact with water, and the spin cycle can be brutal, especially with heavy loads.


  • Do you overload the washer?
  • Do you wash heavy bedding that should be laundered in a commercial machine?
  • Do you perform regular maintenance, like cleaning the drum?

Make sure that:

  • You’ve installed your washer in a good spot;
  • You keep loads at a reasonable size;
  • You don’t launder items that can potentially damage the machine.
  • You maintain your washer as specified by the manufacturer.

2) Dryers

As with washing machines, dryer breakdowns always seem to occur at the worst moments.

Overloading the dryer can break it. Neglect or abuse contributes to dryer failure.

  •  A dryer needs regular maintenance.
  • The worst offense is to run a dryer with a clogged lint trap or vent. Why? Try blowing through a straw after you’ve inserted it in pudding. Now sustain that for an hour, just like your dryer as it forces air through clogged filters and vents.
  • You should clean the lint screen after every load.
  • If you’re running several loads of laundry weekly, have the vent cleaned once a year. Depending on the vent, you may have to bring in the pros for this.
  • Pay close attention to the items you place in the dryer. Don’t ask your dryer to do too much.

3) Refrigerators

A broken washer or dryer is an inconvenience. You may have to make odd wardrobe choices. Wear pants for several days before washing them. Make a trip to the laundromat now and then. Launder socks by hand. Somehow, you’ll get by.

Comparatively, a broken fridge is a disaster. Without immediate repair, food will spoil, and your grocery bill will rise as you’re compelled to eat out or dine in with sumptuous processed fare from boxes and cans.

Even in ideal conditions, refrigerators tend to die after a decade of use. But these simple steps can extend the lifespan of your fridge and improve its performance.

  • Clean dust and grime off the condenser coils every six months.
  • Keep the fridge stocked. An empty fridge is a hardworking fridge.
  • Keep the refrigerator door shut as much as possible. Don’t stand with the door open as you contemplate your dinner menu or leave the door agape as you stroll across the kitchen to pour a glass of juice. Don’t load piping hot dishes into the fridge. All these behaviors place extraordinary demands on the compressor, one of the first parts to go when your fridge gives up the ghost.

4) Dishwashers

Appliances that come into contact with water are more prone to failure. And because moisture can cause severe damage to flooring and structural components in your home, a leaking dishwasher is a serious problem.

Dishwashers tend to break down more often than most home appliances. Few dishwashers last beyond 13 years.

  • The biggest threat to your dishwasher is dry rot, which affects the seals, gaskets, and hoses.
  • The best way to prevent dry rot is to run the dishwasher often. This keeps seals, gaskets, and hoses from drying out.
  • Run the dishwasher empty once a month, using vinegar or a special detergent to clean it out.

5) Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals are tough.

Not as tough as peach pits, cat food can lids, or even celery stalks, but much tougher than most household appliances. If they played football, they’d be nose tackles.

That doesn’t give you license to abuse them! Everyone has experienced a clogged or stuck garbage disposal. The blame probably lies squarely on a careless or inattentive person who has placed something that doesn’t belong in a garbage disposal down the drain.

A garbage disposal, used correctly, will work like a champ for 20 years or more. The problem is that some people treat them like wood chippers, not disposals.

The most common mistake is to put non-food items in the disposal, or things that are too hard or thick for the disposal to “chew.” These include bones, corn cobs, and fruit pits. Even celery stalks are problematic due to their stringy fiber wrapping around disposal parts, choking them.

But as long as you treat your disposal right, it will give you two decades or more of faithful service.

Which Appliances Break Less Often?

Now that we’ve called out the big five of home appliance repair, what about the dependable five?

These are the most reliable appliances in your home:

  • Range hoods
  • Microwaves
  • Toaster ovens
  • Gas stoves
  • Ceiling fans

That’s not an exciting list at all. But dependable!

  • What do they have in common?
  • Water rarely or never touches them.
  • They don’t handle heavy workloads.
  • They have few moving parts.

Of course, brand and model make a difference. The most reliable brands, in our experience, include:

  • Whirlpool
  • LG
  • Frigidaire
  • Miele
  • Bosch
  • Samsung
  • Speed Queen
  • Maytag
  • KitchenAid
  • Thermador
  • Wolf

For Repairs, Buying Advice & More, Call West Coast Chief Repair

If you’re struggling with an aging appliance or are looking for advice to buy a new one, we’re here to help.

We specialize in home appliances: repair and installation. You won’t find better appliance service or advice in metro Los Angeles.

Call us, and we’ll be on the way! For same-day service, call us before noon.


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