Study Provides Insights Into Appliance
WASHINGTON, DC In 2001, more than nine in 10 U.S. households have
access to some form of range or cooking surface, microwave,
refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer, a newly released study by
the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers has found.
The study, whose results were released to K&BDN last month,
is the first of its kind ever conducted by the Washington, DC-based
AHAM. It was aimed at determining the depth of saturation of major
home appliances in the U.S., as well as how those appliances are
used by American homeowners, according to AHAM.
While the specific saturation rates of individual appliances
vary slightly from year to year, most notable, according to AHAM,
is the continued increase in built-in dishwashers and two-door side
freezer-refrigerators, and the continued decline in free-standing
double ovens, freezers, one-door refrigerators and room air
Among the other key findings of the study are the
In almost every appliance category, the vast majority of units
are owned by the householder rather than rented. The trend since
1990 continues toward increased ownership. Appliances with the
largest increase in ownership rate include drop-in single ovens,
built-in dishwashers, disposers and trash compactors.
The ratio of acquisition of new versus used appliances varies
moderately by product category, and whether or not that appliance
was included with the purchase of a residence. Microwave ovens
continue to have the highest percentage of units purchased new,
while ranges and trash compactors continue to have the lowest ratio
of new-to-used acquisitions.
In those appliance categories in which there are both gas and
electric models, the mix of fuels has not changed markedly since
1990. Electric appliances dominate in most categories, with gas
finding greatest acceptance in the free-standing/ slide-in single
The average age of appliances varies from a low of 6.5 years for
room air conditioners to a high of 11.7 years for freezers. In
almost every appliance category, the average age of units owned has
either slightly decreased or remained the same since 1996,
indicating that appliances are being replaced or left behind more
often than in 1996.
For most appliances, very few households own or have access to
more than one unit. However, four in 10 owners of room air
conditioners have more than one.
The average length of first ownership appears to be leveling
off, with 2001 lengths reported to be within one year of what was
reported in 1996. The average length of first ownership is 10 years
or more, with the longest-lived appliances being built-in wall
ovens and countertop cooktops. Since 1990, the length of time which
gas appliances are owned continues to increase for all categories
in which it is available. Length of ownership of electric ranges
appears to be leveling off, while length of ownership of electric
built-ins is on the rise.
The disposition of home appliances varies greatly by type of
appliance. Built-in appliances tend to be left behind in residences
rather than being recycled, kept or conveyed to a new owner. In
contrast, appliances that are most often recycled or left at the
curb when disposed of are in-sink disposers, dehumidifiers and
microwave ovens. Washers, dryers, freezers, refrigerators and room
air conditioners tend to be passed on to other users more often
than other home appliances.
In many appliance categories, the most common reason for
replacing the appliance is that the owner has moved to a new
residence. This is particularly true for ranges/cooking surfaces,
dishwashers, compact refrigerators, room air conditioners and trash
compactors. The desire for new features is mentioned more often as
a reason for replacing a microwave oven or a refrigerator than for
any other home appliance. Washers and dryers are the appliances
kept in use until they “die” or need costly repairs, the survey