When your fridge breaks, you’re probably wondering, “Should I repair or replace my refrigerator?” It can be a difficult decision to make. Maybe you have a new fridge that’s giving you a lot of trouble or your old refrigerator’s energy usage has you concerned. Below we’ve listed the top things you should consider before you decide to replace or repair your refrigerator.
If your refrigerator is under a manufacturer or extended warranty, you should have it repaired. Most manufacturer warranties (especially on high-end brands) have relatively comprehensive warranties on parts and labor. Even when the labor warranty expires, many models have extended coverage on parts. In fact, sealed system parts (compressor, evaporator, drier, and connecting tubing) can be covered for as long as 10 years on some models. Review your appliance’s warranty information in your User’s Manual.
Also, check with your homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance companies such as American Home Shield and Fidelity have some plans that cover appliance repair and replacement costs.
As a rule of thumb, you should consider replacing your refrigerator if the cost of repair is more than half the purchase price of a new unit. If your refrigerator cost less than $1,000 brand new, than a major sealed system failure repair could outweigh the benefit of repair. However, if you paid more than $1,500 for your refrigerator, most repairs will be worth the money.
If you’re still unsure whether the repair is worth it, have an appliance repair technician diagnose the problem and provide an estimate. A diagnosis will cost you between $89.95 – $109.95 (Tiger Mechanical applies this cost to the repair). If the diagnosis seems too steep considering the age of the unit, replacement may be the option for you.
All appliances have a lifespan, and roughly speaking, the lifespan of a typical refrigerator is between 10-20 years. If your refrigerator is less than 10 years old, the problem is probably worth fixing, but if it is older than 15 years, it probably isn’t. However, the lifespan of your particular fridge can vary greatly by design. High-end models are designed to last for 15+ years. A Sub-Zero refrigerator, for example, has a life expectancy of 17 years, but we see models as old as 20-23 years old still working great.
Of course, the ultimate decision of whether or not to replace the refrigerator comes down to the nature of the problem itself. If you have a bad seal on your fridge door or a broken light, this can be easily replaced for a minimal fee. However, if your refrigerator won’t stay cold or the compressor is noisy, you could be looking at a costly problem.
Again, consider the age and design of the unit based on the information above. If you are encountering a serious problem but your unit is under 10 years old, you should probably get a repair estimate. If you have a fairly minor problem, even if your refrigerator is old, it may be better to spend a little money to keep it going a few more years.
If you do decide to repair your fridge, call Tiger Mechanical for help. All of our repairs come with a comprehensive labor and parts warranty.