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Durability of electrical appliances is falling more and more

The good old tube televisions felt like forever - so we could often look at the same device as a child "Heidi" and today the jungle camp
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Most electrical appliances only last 5 years

A new study by the Federal Environmental Agency proves: Many electrical appliances only last about 5 years. Do the manufacturers deliberately do that so we can buy more?

Electrical appliances in German households are not getting old - and for two reasons, as the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) together with the Öko-Institut and the University of Bonn found out.

The scientists analyzed various electrical appliances in the period from 2004 to 2012. The study will run until the end of 2015, but scientists have now published the first interim results. Why do we buy so many electrical appliances?

1. Electrical appliances break faster

Actually, appearances are not deceptive! Rainer Grießhammer, member of the management board of the Öko-Institut, confirms that "the proportion of large household appliances that do not even last five years and have to be replaced due to a defect has increased".

Many have long been wondering if manufacturers intentionally shorten the life of electrical appliances . Such wear is often referred to as "planned obsolescence."

So far, there has been no evidence for this theory - and this is exactly what the study by the Federal Environmental Agency wants to change. UBA President Maria Krautzberger: "To what extent a planned wear and tear is responsible for the short service life, we now clarify in the second half of the study." After the end of the overall study at the end of 2015, the Federal Environment Agency intends to draw up recommendations for manufacturers, consumers and the legislature, and to examine how the minimum service life can be extended and finally reviewed.

2. Many buy new equipment, even though the old ones still work

The second reason why electrical appliances do not grow old in German households: Keeping up with technical progress is becoming increasingly difficult. Too fast, there are always new devices on the market and our TVs, mobile phones and computers are outdated again.
The calculator still works, but runs with Windows XP, for which Microsoft no longer provides security updates?
The good old tube TV is wonderful in itself, but the TV program is designed for large televisions in 16: 9 format? With "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", you can no longer read the questions and no longer recognize the cards on the "TV Total Poker Night"? It is often the easiest solution to buy a new device.

This trend is also evident in the study. Grießhammer: "Today, more electrical and electronic devices are being replaced, even though they still work well, and technology leaps are often a trigger, just as with televisions."

So long do the electrical appliances on average:

Flat-panel TVs: Especially in televisions buy many new devices, although the old still work. In 2012, more than 60 percent of the still functioning flat screen televisions were replaced by an even better device. A quarter exchanged his device for defects. The old device was at the time on average 5.6 years old.
For comparison, tube TVs were replaced in the years 2005 to 2012 only after ten to twelve years of use.

Large household appliances: Not so big is the jump in the large electrical appliances such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators. These were replaced at the beginning of the study on average after 14 years, 2012 after 13 years. Nevertheless, a third of the new purchases were made, although the devices were still in order. The owners wanted to switch to better (more economical?) Devices. The proportion of devices that had to be replaced within five years due to a defect increased noticeably between 2004 and 2012 from 3.5 percent to 8.3 percent.

Notebooks: There has been little change in laptops for five to six years. But the reasons for the acquisition of a new computer have changed: In 2004, almost 70 percent of the devices were replaced because there were technical innovations. 2012/2013 only a good 25 percent.


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Source: Öko-Institut, University of Bonn: calculated according to GfK data