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THE RISE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN HOME

SHARE THE RISE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN HOME

As many homeowners know, the average American home can be a sinkhole for money. Most people spend 1 percent to 3 percent of the price of the house on annual upkeep, according to HouseMaster of America, a nationwide home-inspection company.

A big-ticket item that goes out can play havoc with your home-improvement budget.To help homeowners plan for the inevitable, the November issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine lists estimated life expectancies for major household appliances and the approximate cost of replacing them.

Sources for this information were Carson, Dunlop and Associates Ltd., HouseMaster of America; Criterium Engineers; and James Madorma, author of "The Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Home" (Betterway Publications).

- Wood deck: 15 years, $10 to $15 per square foot.

- Exterior paint: 5 years, $1,000 to $2,500.

- Toilet: 35 years, $300 plus.

- Shower pan: indefinite, $900 to $1,600.

- Toilet flush mechanism: 10 years, $100 to $150.

- Chimney and liner: 100 years, $4,500-$12,000.

- Siding: 40 years, $8,000 to $20,000.

- Asphalt shingle roof: 25 years, $1.25 to $3.50 per square foot.

- Bathtub/tiles: 25 years, $1,500 plus.

- Bathroom sink: 16 years, $200 to $350.

- Faucets: 12 years, $150 and up.

- Plumbing: 20 to 60 years, $1,500 to $4,000.

- Refrigerator: 14 years, $600 to $1,000.

- Dishwasher: 12 years, $600 to $1,000.

- Oven/stove: 20 years, $800 to $1,200.

- Garbage disposal: 10 years, $150 to $400.

- Vinyl kitchen floor: 25 years, $3 to $12 per square foot.

- Garage-door opener: 10 years, $300 to $450.

- Central air-conditioning compressor or heat pump: 11 years, $800 to $2,000.

- Water heater: 10 years, $350 to $800.

- Hot-air furnace: 18 years, $1,000 to $2,000.

- Washer and dryer: 13 years, $650 to $800.

Children's glasses

When it comes to children's eyewear, fashion is important, but so is fit.

Like adults, children don't like eyeglasses that slip down their face, pinch their nose or squeeze the sides of their head. And because a child's facial structure is constantly maturing, fit is important. Claudio Del Vecchio, executive vice president of the Luxottica Group, offers these tips:

- The temples of children's eyewear should fit snugly, but never be too tight or too loose. Cable temples that wrap around the ears offer a strong, comfortable hold.

- The bridge of eyeglasses should sit securely and comfortably on the nose without producing pressure. Soft-strap bridges and silicone nose pads offer maximum comfort at the bridge area.

- Eyeglass frames should be made of sturdy metal or plastic. Spring hinges, which are tiny, unobtrusive springs built into the temple piece, provide flexibility and often prevent temples from snapping or breaking off. - Associated Press.