Life Span of a Satellite Dish, How Long Should It Last?
If you’re going to be investing in a satellite dish and want to know how long do satellite dishes particularly last. Let this article be a guide to you. In this blog I discuss the lifespan of a satellite dish and the reasons behind this, including some tips on preserving the lifespan of your satellite antenna which will hopefully save you some money in the long run.
How Long Does A Sat Dish Last?
There are a few things that affect how long your satellite dish will last. It’s fair to say that you should get around average 10 years life out of a satellite dish, but there are reasons why this could be more or less. In the following I will do my best to describe how long a satellite dish should last and reasons behind this. So, let’s begin.
Quality of the Satellite Dish
The quality of the satellite dish that has been installed obviously will have an affect on how long it lasts. There are some cheap and nasty models on the market which are cheap but also do not tend to last very long. When purchasing a satellite dish I recommend buying one from a reputable manufacturer and not from your local B&Q or other general hardware store. Some of the reputable manufacturers of Sat/Sky dishes that we install are Triax, Vision, Fracarro, Inverto and Televes. If you’re buying when of these then chances are that you have a good quality satellite dish. I use Triax satellite dishes above others as I find them to be very high quality.
What The Satellite dish Is Made Of
Aside from the actual manufacturer the actual material that has been used to construct the dish is as important as anything else when determining how long a sat dish should last. In the following I discuss the pro's and cons of different common materials that are used to make satellite dish antennas the difference in the satellite dish cost.
Painted Steel Dishes
The most common satellite dishes by far are of a steel/painted steel construction. Steel is a strong material, inexpensive material which is perfect for satellite dishes as it does not move much as even a small movement could mean loss of satellite signal. The most common type of steel dish is a painted steel satellite dish. In fact, I have yet to come across a stainless or galvanised version but I’m sure one exists somewhere. The problem with painted steel dishes is that as soon as the paint fails the dishes usually quickly begins to rust.
Aluminium Sat Dishes
Aluminum dishes are available on the market as an alternative for painted steel or steel sat dishes where you wish to prolong dish lifespan. Aluminum is a more suitable material as it does not rust. The downside of aluminium dishes over steel dishes is that they cost a fair amount more to purchase, so you should filter this into your equations when calculating satellite dish cost it may not be worth it.
Fibreglass Satellite Dish
If you’re looking for a material that will last the longest, fibreglass satellite dishes are the way to go. As they are not made of metal this means that they will not rust, making them perfect for seaside satellite dish installations and for installations in marine environments. They do cost a fair amount more than other types of dish so again this should be filtered into your overall costs as it may just be cheaper to pay for a new painted steel dish ever so often.
A mesh dish is where the main reflector is not made of a solid construction. It has small holes across it. This are small enough to not allow the frequencies being beamed down from the satellites in space from going straight through the holes and removes a lot of the metal content of the dish itself. I’m sure that there will be some savings for the manufacturers there. A mesh dish will also remove some of the wind loading force, albeit by a small amount meaning that it may be more suitable to windy environments. The most common satellite dish here in the UK is the Sky mini-dish which is can also be used for Freesat. This is very popular as it’s quite small, easy to install and relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of satellite dish. It is however not the highest quality in terms of construction. The Sky dish of a painted steel, mesh construction.This means that as soon as the paint fails, the steel underneath quickly begins to rust. There are other types of satellite dish also that have a mesh construction. If you have a choice I recommend getting a a solid dish as opposed to a mesh one.
Seaside Installations Don’t Last As Long
“We do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea.” It’s nice to live near the sea, like I do in Sunny Eastbourne. One of the downside that needs to be exchanged in return for living near the sea is the lifespan of your satellite dish. The nearer that you get to the seafront the less time the dish will last. If you live immediately by the sea or on the beach it’s only likely that you will get a few years life out of your dish. In situations like this it might be wise to install an aluminium or fibreglass dish instead of a traditional Sky dish. I recommend mounting this onto galvanised wall brackets and use stainless steel fixings/ washers as you obviously don’t want rust streaks running down your wall!
Dishes In Exposed Environments Last Less Time
If you have chosen to install your satellite dish in a location that receives the most wind/ rain and weathering. Expect your satellite dish to last not as long. If your dish has been installed on a particularly windy side of your property you may find that the satellite dish could blow offline meaning that you have the prospect of having to align a satellite dish yourself or calling a satellite engineer out to do this for you. Dishes that have been installed on the side of your house that receives the most weathering are obviously going to rust quicker than the other sides.
Satellite Dish Hasn’t Been Installed Professionally
If the satellite dish hasn’t been installed correctly or not been installed professionally shall we say. There is a good chance that this could seriously affect the lifespan of your satellite dish. To be clear it is not my intention to insult DIY installers as I know that there are a lot out there who are capable of installing a dish “professionally” even though they are not satellite installers by profession. Something that easily go wrong if the dish hasn't been installed properly is that blows offline in wind. This obviously would mean a dish re-alignment would be required but it’s also possible in high wind the dish could move, hit something and become damaged. This sounds dramatic but I have seen this. A damaged dish caused by poor installation will obviously reduce the lifespan of your satellite dish.
You Live In An Area With An Erratic Climate
I think that it’s fair to say that if you live in an area where you’re at high risk of very strong gales, hurricanes, typhoons and other types of extreme weather that you’re satellite dish isn’t going to last as long as it otherwise would if it had been installed elsewhere. In environments like this you may want to consider siting your dish in a location that limits the effects of the extreme weather around you, also use very strong fixings!
Dish Has Been Installed Near Footpaths, In Reach etc
I have included this in here as I have seen satellite dishes vandalised on several locations. I actually had one customer that was unfortunate enough to have had his satellite dish stolen off the wall! I installed the replacement well out of arms reach. I have also had balls hit dishes, the local bowls club had their dish vandalised. In all of these situations had they installed their dishes in a more appropriate position to begin with the satellite dish would have lasted longer. I recommend reading our previous blogs on best height to install Sky dish and how to keep satellite dish discreet if you’re looking for some inspiration.
Average Life of A Satellite Dish
I will try to give a very rough guide here, but based on the following locations and mini-dish style Sky dish, with my any years experience of fitting satellite equipment I would give an educated guess of:
Inland – 12 years
Seaside – 8 Years
Seafront – 4 Years
This means that I with most people not living in seaside towns I would estimate about 10 years as an appropriate lifespan of a Sky dish. Obviously it could last longer or less and the satellite dish could stop working with things like faulty equipment or faulty LNB’s etc.
Guarantee/ Warranty of a Satellite Dish
I know I have said that the average dish life is 10 years but you would do very well to get an guarantee or warranty to last even close to this. Most satellite companies I know will offer a guarantee of one year as standard, we do. I know there are some companies that will offer a two year guarantee if the installation is completely new, new LNB, new coax cabling etc. We don’t do this but we offer something similar where we give away an extra years guarantee for an online review or if our customer that had the dish installed recommend us to a friend or family member. I flirted with the idea of offering extended warranties at a small extra cost but to be perfectly honest although I am business owner. I’m an installer first and a salesmen second. I just didn’t think that the extended warranties were worth it from my customers point of view as it would most likely cost them more in the long run. In fact I would say that I’m a blogger second due to the success of our website and a salesmen further down the list.
Tips On Prolonging Dish Lifespan
I will probably create a separate blog out of this topic at a later date so I’m only going to summarise here. Some of the things are already mentioned above:
Install a fibreglass/ aluminium dish instead of steel
Use high quality parts
Try to install dish in location most protected from weather
Consider painting your satellite dish
Use a form of grease on bolts/ plugs
Use weatherproof coax plugs and/ or silicone grease on LNB connections
Keep dish away from reach of vandals
Satellite Dish Lifespan Questions?
If you have any questions I will be delighted to answer them where I can. Please only send your comments question IN THE BLOG COMMENTS SECTION BELOW. Please be patient when posting your comment as I may not be able to respond as fast as you may like.
Please note that we are a small company operating in SUSSEX& KENT ONLY. We do not have the resources to provide free technical advice over the phone so please do not call our telephone lines as these are intended for CUSTOMERS ONLY. I am flattered when people ask to speak to me personally but I honestly do not have the time to help over the phone with all my other commitments. Please also DO NOT E-MAIL YOUR QUESTIONS OR FILL OUT THE WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS as you will not receive a response. It’s too much work dealing with everyone in private on a one by one basis and it’s difficult to know what blog is being referred to if you haven’t posted your question on the blog. By posting your comment into the blog itself really speeds up things my end as it provides me a central location to answer all the questions I get asked, also it’s very good for the blog itself as everyone reading it a later date will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given. Thanks
Until next time,
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