Repair or Replace: The Expert's Guide to Your Refrigerator Dilemma

As an expert in the field of home appliances, I am often asked the question: is it better to repair or replace a refrigerator? The answer, as with most things, is not a simple one. There are several factors that need to be considered before making a decision, such as the age of the refrigerator, the type of refrigerator, and its efficiency. First and foremost, it's important to know that most refrigerators can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. If your refrigerator is less than 8 years old, it's usually best to have it repaired. However, if your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it's probably time to start considering a replacement.

For refrigerators that fall in between these age ranges (8-15 years), there are other factors that need to be taken into account. One of the main considerations when deciding whether to repair or replace a refrigerator is the cost. In a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 27 percent of members who chose to replace their refrigerator instead of repairing it cited high repair costs as the reason for doing so. It's important to keep in mind that problem-solving can be a time-consuming process, especially if you're attempting to repair the appliance yourself. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a professional who will charge a fee for diagnosing the problem and providing a quote for the repair. On the other hand, replacing an old and inefficient refrigerator with a newer model can be an attractive option.

According to previous surveys, refrigerators are generally easy to repair with a success rate of 62 percent on the first attempt and an additional 25 percent after two or more attempts. However, before attempting any repairs yourself, always check if your appliance is still under warranty as attempting to fix it yourself may void the warranty. Some common minor refrigerator repairs, such as a faulty thermostat or a clogged drain, can be easily addressed with the right tools, a repair guide, and a positive attitude. However, the more features and technology a refrigerator has, the more likely it is to require expensive repairs or parts that are costly to maintain or replace. This is something to keep in mind when deciding whether to repair or replace your appliance. Before making a final decision, there are a few additional factors that should be taken into consideration.

For example, repairing your current refrigerator may not only be less expensive for you, but it's also better for the environment. Additionally, it's always a good idea to check the specific warranty policy of your appliance to see what is covered. Most major appliance brands offer coverage for repairs, parts, and labor for the first year. In the past, Consumer Reports recommended replacing products when the cost of repair exceeded 50 percent of the cost of buying a new one. However, with advancements in technology and more affordable repair options, this may no longer be the case.

To help you make an informed decision, Consumer Reports has created a tool that allows you to enter the age of your refrigerator, its original cost, and any estimate you have for the repair. As you can see when using this tool, it often makes economic sense to repair a refrigerator even after 10 years of use.

Luke Lamberton
Luke Lamberton

Professional food aficionado. Avid communicator. Passionate coffee fan. Hardcore zombie advocate. Proud music enthusiast. Certified beer scholar.