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The Home Depot

Complete Refrigerator Repair Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Appliance > Complete Refrigerator Repair Guide
Complete Refrigerator Repair Guide

Unlike most of the appliances in your kitchen that are turned on only when you need them, a refrigerator is in a constant state of operation. Though these machines are designed to work this kind of schedule, eventually the components inside will wear down. It is not just the inner-workings of your fridge that age, however, but the rubber seal around the fridge and freezer doors, too. While some particularly handy homeowners might attempt their own refrigerator repair, this is typically a job that most of us will leave to a professional.

  1. Only when dealing with very high end, very expensive appliances are extensive repairs typically going to be worth the cost.

    1.Approximate Refrigerator Life Expectancy

    According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, most refrigerators have a lifespan of between 9 and 13 years. Homeowners who have opted to install high end commercial-grade appliances should take extra care to call for repairs promptly, as these models can last a lot longer than consumer-grade products if they are well maintained.

  2. 2.Repair or Replace

    Deciding whether to repair or replace hinges on several factors, one of the most important of which is the problem your appliance is experiencing. For issues like malfunctioning seals, the decision to repair is easy. If your fridge is still under warranty, this is also a no-brainer. The folks at Consumer Reports have a simple rule for dealing with pricey appliance repairs: If the unit is 8 or more years old or the repair estimate is more than half the price of the appliance, replace it. Only when dealing with very high end, very expensive appliances are extensive repairs typically going to be worth the cost and effort.

  3. 3.Who to Call for Service

    When a refrigerator is still under warranty, it makes sense to call a factory-authorized repair shop, as they will likely perform service free of charge. If your warranty has expired, however, many consumers have found that they can have repairs performed just as well for a lower price when they employ an independent contractor. In some cases, handyman services may be able to fix a malfunctioning refrigerator (along with any other small repairs you need performed around the house), but it is important to let the service know that you're looking for appliance repair before they arrive, as specialized tools or an employee with a specialized skill set may be required for the job.

  5. 4.Don't Ignore Malfunction

    Refrigerator repair is not always the most cost-effective solution, but nothing wastes more money than allowing a malfunctioning unit to continue to operate all day and all night long. Refrigerators--especially those old enough to need major repairs--use a lot of energy when they are functioning normally; when the unit is forced to run at a lower efficiency, the amount of energy consumed can be very significant. Fearing a large repair bill or a high replacement cost, many homeowners may be tempted to put off or even deny the issue, but the fact is: Appliances don't just get better on their own. Even if you notice is proper function returning from time to time, the periods in between are costing you money and wasting resources that could be put to better use.

  6. 5.Choosing a New Refrigerator

    If you've had the same fridge for a decade or two, you'll be amazed at what today's refrigerators offer in terms of extras and amenities. It is also important to note that just about any model on the market today will be much more energy efficient than a similar grade unit purchased 15 years ago. Advances in refrigeration technology have allowed manufacturers to produce extremely efficient units that will keep their contents ice cold using a fraction of the energy their predecessors used. The U.S. Government's Energy Star program makes it easy to choose an extremely efficient fridge just by looking at the label; no matter what your price range, there's likely an Energy Star approved model to fit your needs.

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