How to Decide If You Need a New Refrigerator

If your refrigerator is acting up, should you call it quits and purchase a brand new unit or see if you can have it repaired? There are many things that affect the decision to repair or replace. Many of these depend on whether or not the repair would exceed the cost of a similar model.

Your refrigerator is a key part of your kitchen and household. Under normal circumstances, refrigerators typically don’t give the owner too much trouble and can last for years. But even the best models can break down. To decide whether you should buy a new fridge or repair your old one, check out these important factors:

Age

Your refrigerator can last anywhere from 11 to 15 years. Of course, this number is based on the brand, usage, and maintenance. Although many consumers choose to upgrade their appliance early due to changes in style and technology, you can expect your refrigerator to last within this time range. Some refrigerators can even last 20 years. Keep in mind the longer you own your refrigerator, the more expensive the repairs will be if something goes wrong.

Is the unit between 8-15 years? Weigh the price of repairs against the cost of a new fridge. If the refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it’s time to replace.

Type

The type of refrigerator plays a major role in whether or not it should be replaced. Units with a built in ice maker are more than twice as likely to need repairs compared to a top or bottom-freezer model without the ice maker.

Built-in refrigerators are typically less expensive to repair so unless there is critical damage, it’s worth calling a technician. Side-by-sides should be repaired within five years of purchasing and a replacement unit should be considered after. Bottom-freezers should be repaired seven years after purchase. After this time period, consider a replacement.

Energy Efficient

Even if your refrigerator is operating correctly, it can still be a costly appliance in terms of energy use. According to Energy Star, “more than 60 million refrigerators are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs.”

If your unit is an older model, keep an eye out new, more energy-efficient refrigerators. Many appliance stores offer rebates and sales, and buying a new fridge before your old one goes out can save you time and stress.

The Big Picture

While there are several deciding factors when determining whether you should repair or replace your refrigerator, use your best judgment. If you have a variety of bad parts or if the unit is old, then it will be more productive to replace. If you are getting rid of your old refrigerator, make sure to recycle it properly. Call your city or municipal waste management services. Many areas offer appliance recycle programs and pick up.

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