The Lifespan of Satellite Dishes
If you plan on investing in a Satellite Dish installation, it’s a good idea to know how long your dish is going to last. However, not all satellite dishes are created equal. From the quality to the material to the climate and installation, numerous factors can determine whether you’ll be shelling out cash for another dish in no time.
To help you save some money down the road, I’ll provide a comprehensive look at different types of dishes, how long they last, and some issues that can cause your dish to need replacing before its time.
The Short Answer
To provide a bellwether for the discussion below, I think it’s fair to expect your satellite dish to have a life span of about ten years. Again, this should be your expectation. As you’ll see, a lot of different things can end up affecting this number. For instance:
You’ve heard it before: you get what you pay for. If you have the choice between a brand name dish and an off-the-rack model whose manufacturer you’ve never heard of, you need to understand that the latter will likely not last as long. Manufacturers like Vision, Fracarro, Inverto, Triax, and Televes are premium priced for a reason – they’re made to last. If you cheap out, you will probably end up paying more down the line.
There is no consensus on the best material out of which to make dishes. That said, there are distinct pros and cons to each type of material. I’ll highlight some of the most common types below.
Steel Dishes – Painted steel is the most common type of material used in the construction of satellite dishes. It is strong, inexpensive, and very stable – meaning it won’t result in a loss of signal due to wind. The main issue with these dishes, however, is the paint. Once it begins to wear off, you’ll see rusting begin almost immediately. This will drastically reduce the lifespan of your dish.
Fibreglass Dishes – Satellite dishes made of fibreglass are generally considered to last the longest. As they use little metal, rusting is not an issue. They are quite expensive, however, which makes some buyers think twice. Still, if you live in a marine environment or area with heavy rainfall, this is likely a good investment.
Aluminium Dishes – Like Fibreglass, aluminium is a good choice of material for a dish because it doesn’t rust. Though not as expensive, these dishes too can be a bit on the pricey side for many buyers. Some aluminium dishes can be quite flimsy as well, as the material is far lighter than steel or fibreglass.
Mesh Dishes – These unique dishes utilise a reflector that is not solid, which minimises the needs for metal components. As these dishes are full of holes (hence, mesh), they also are much more likely to catch the full force of the wind, which is one of the primary causes of satellite damage.
A popular model of mesh dish in the UK is the Sky mini-dish, which is also used for Freesat. Small, inexpensive, and easy to install, this particular dish still utilises stainless steel. As I mentioned, once the paint fails, you’ll be stuck with a rusty dish rather quickly.
Other Factors To Consider
The closer you are to the seafront, the less of a lifespan you can expect out of your satellite dish. Not only do you have high winds to deal with, but a wetter environment (rust) and salt in the air (corrosion). These factors sometimes combine to reduce that 10-year lifespan expectation to just a couple of years tops. Consider an aluminium or fibreglass installation if you live by the sea.
The type of dish you install matters a lot less when you install it in a location that is exposed to wind, rain, and weathering. Though we sometimes have no choice, dishes that are put in these “exposure areas” need more frequent adjustments, rust and corrode faster, and are much more in danger of being blown off the roof completely. You need to consider all of these factors (and talk to your technician) before installing them.
If your dish hasn’t been installed properly, you can expect that to dramatically affect the lifespan of the device. DIY installations are probably the most common in this category. The biggest issue here is that your dish might be blown offline by high winds, or blown in such a manner that it damages the dish or even destroys it. Not only is it a good idea to trust a professional with your investment, but to ensure that professional has the right tools for the job.
There’s more threatening your dish that just the weather. In cases where dishes are installed on the sides of houses, near footpaths, or within reach of vandals, satellite devices have ended up vandalized or stolen. If you absolutely must place your dish in an area that isn’t your roof, try disguising it as best you can.
Tips for Making Your Dish Last
· Only use high-quality parts
· Hire a professional to do the installation
· Install your dish where it is largely protected from weather
· Grease your plugs and bolts
· Stick with fibreglass or aluminium, not steel (especially near the sea)
· Painting your dish will help it last longer
· Keep your dish out of reach of vandals and thieves
· Try weatherproof coax plugs
Warranties and Guarantees
The chances of you finding a warranty that will last the ten years I’ve projected are very, very slim. Usually, you’ll get a one or two-year guarantee at best. Luckily, this will likely cover you in the event of a bad installation, as the wind will usually cause damage sooner rather than later.
Some companies, like ours, offer two-year guarantees in the event that the installation is completely new (with new LNB and coax cabling). We also offer extra years in some situations after the customer gives us an online review.
The Final Word
To expand on my short answer from above, if you take the proper precautions listed here and take my recommendations on what type of dish to by for where you live, you should expect the following:
- Inland Dish: 12 years
- Seaside Dish: 8 years
- Seafront – 4-5 years
Keep in mind that this is only taking the dish into account, not faulty wiring or components.
Satellite Dish Lifespan Questions?
If you have any questions on this subject, I’d be happy to answer them! Please see my contact details.
TV Aerials Leeds
2 Infirmary Street,
0113 880 5252