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Whether you're a gourmet chef or the type who only cooks out of necessity, you probably rely on your oven to feed your family or at least reheat food in a manner that won't dry it out or make it less appetizing. But what happens when your oven starts giving you trouble? Should you pay for repairs, or replace your oven with a newer one?
How long should your oven last?
The lifespan of your oven may depend on whether it's a gas unit or an electric one. American Home Shield reports that gas ovens last 15 years on average while electric ones last 13 years.
Of course, there are variables at play that may dictate how long your oven may last, including:
- Quality of craftsmanship. Many homeowners with older kitchens find that their ovens last a solid two or three decades, and chances are, it's because their ovens are made of higher-quality components than today's models
- Level of usage. Some people use an oven on a daily basis. Others use one just a handful of times per month -- say, to reheat a pizza or in the course of hosting a family gathering. The more you use your oven, the sooner its components will wear down, whereas if you only use it sporadically, it should last longer.
- Extent of care. Cleaning your oven regularly could help it last longer. Many newer ovens have a self-clean feature that may seem like an easy solution, but some experts warn that using it could actually shorten your oven's lifespan, since it uses extreme heat to get your oven clean. A better bet is to hand-clean your oven -- once it's cool, of course.
Should you fix a broken oven or get a new one?
A new oven can run the gamut from under $1,000 to $5,000, but Consumer Reports says that based on its analysis, the models with the best performance and most useful features cost between $1,500 and $2,000. If you're not particular about the oven you get, you may be able to find something in this price range.
Now, if you're looking at repairs, you'll need to weigh their cost against the cost of replacing your oven, keeping its lifespan in mind all the while. If you're being quoted $350 to fix a problem on a seven-year-old oven, paying that money could double its useful life and save you quite a bit compared to the cost of replacing it. On the other hand, if you're being quoted $800 to fix an oven that's already 14 years old, you may want to think about buying a new one, especially if your oven lacks certain features you'd like to have.
No household appliance is made to last forever, and that includes your oven. Whether you use it a lot or hardly at all, it helps to know how many years you might get out of it -- and when it pays to replace it with a newer model rather than sink money into repairs.
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