I have been inspired to dig out that electric company newsletter again to look up the lifespan of dryers… we’ll let this one die a natural death, but it looks like maybe it’s time to start thinking about shopping for a new one.

Here’s the list. Obviously these figures are only a guideline, and many appliances greatly outlast their estimated lifespan. I know someone who has a refrigerator that is still running well (although undoubtedly not very efficiently) after forty-two years… but I thought it was interesting that such a wide range was given for some appliances, based on the diferent manufacturers.

  • Dishwasher — 5 to 12 years
  • Microwave — 9 to 11 years
  • Washing machine — 7 to 13 years
  • Freezer — 11 years
  • Electric water heater — 10 to 18 years
  • Garbage disposal — 5 to 12 years
  • Refrigerator — 8 to 17 years
  • Clothes dryer — 8 to 14 years
  • Electric range — 8 to 17 years
  • Range hood — 14 years
  • Air conditioner — 10 to 15 years
  • Gas range — 8 to 19 years
  • Kitchen faucets — 15 years

Obviously it can’t be too hopeful a sign when an electric clothes dryer suddenly starts to emit a continuous high-pitched whine… especially when no one is near it, the dryer isn’t in operation, and it hasn’t been used for a couple of days… but that’s what happened here last night. Unplugging the dryer for a few minutes, turning it on and then off again… nothing would stop the sound that was coming from the electronic control panel on the front of the machine. The sound continued non-stop until I finally left the dryer unplugged.

Today it’s rainy, wet, and cold, and I needed to do laundry, so I plugged the dryer back in again… and amazingly there was no longer any whining sound at all, even when the dryer was turned on. It’s now several loads of dry laundry later, the dryer is working perfectly fine, and the dryer’s control panel still remains silent. I’m left wondering if the noise was a fluke or a warning that worse is yet to come.

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I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but–

I had almost the same thing happen with my electric range. It began to make an annoying whining sound and never stopped no matter what I did to it. Like in your case, the sound was obviously coming out of the electronics panel on the front of the stove. Since the stove was a built in I finally had to turn off the circuit breaker to stop the noise.

When I wanted to use the stove the next day I turned the breaker on and the noise was gone. Things were O.K. for a couple of days but then the noise came back. This time it never stopped and I had to replace the range because the cost of repairing that electronics panel and labor was almost as much as the cost of a new stove.

I hope you have better luck than I did.

Jon in France

Could be a solenoid about to go for a Burton. If it does and if the repair Jonnie comes along, puffs out his cheeks, emits a low whistle, and pronouces Death, you might try a squirt of WD40 (actually, I have no idea what that is called in the US, but it is an aerosol lubricant that is noted for its cleaning and water-repelling properties and you chaps MUST have something similar).

I can’t guarantee it will work, but it did for us.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Jon, that’s an intriguing idea. I already have the WD40 and if the whining ever happens again, I’ll certainly give it a try. Thanks!