The Lifespan of a Refrigerator: When to Repair and When to Replace

As an appliance expert, I have seen countless refrigerators come and go. And one question that often arises is whether it's worth repairing a 20-year-old refrigerator or if it's time to replace it. The answer is not always straightforward, as it depends on various factors. In this article, I will share my insights on when to repair and when to replace your trusty refrigerator. First and foremost, if your 20-year-old refrigerator has been working well and only needs minor repairs from time to time, then it's definitely worth keeping.

However, if you find yourself needing a major repair, then it may be time to consider replacing the appliance. We all know that feeling when our refrigerator starts to show its age. Maybe it's not keeping our food as fresh as before or making strange noises we've never heard before. But how long should a refrigerator last? On average, refrigerators can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on factors such as usage, maintenance, and quality of the appliance. If you start noticing condensation on the inside of your refrigerator or freezer, it may be a sign that the door seals are no longer working properly.

This can lead to wasted energy and food spoilage, and may be an indicator that it's time for a replacement. Another red flag to look out for is rust or corrosion on the outside or inside of the refrigerator. Not only does this affect the appearance of your appliance, but it can also weaken metal and damage critical components, making it a safety hazard. In fact, in a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 27% of members who discarded their refrigerator instead of repairing it cited high repair costs as the main reason for doing so. If you notice any of these warning signs, it's best to have a professional technician inspect your refrigerator to determine if it's repairable or if it needs to be replaced. Previous surveys have shown that refrigerators are relatively easy to repair, with 62% of repairs being successful on the first attempt and an additional 25% after two or more attempts.

Not only can repairing your refrigerator be less expensive for you, but it's also better for the planet. But what if the repair costs are almost as much as buying a new refrigerator? This is a common dilemma that many homeowners face. If it's a problem with the sealed system, you may be looking at a repair that costs half the price of a new appliance. In this case, it's important to weigh your options carefully. If you've decided to opt for a repair, you'll need to decide whether to tackle it on your own or hire a professional. Keep in mind that some technicians may charge a fee for the initial visit to diagnose the problem and provide a quote for the repair.

Before making a final decision, there are a few additional factors you should consider. As an expert in this field, I can confidently say that it often makes economic sense to repair a refrigerator, even after 10 years of ownership. To help you make an informed decision, I recommend using an online tool that calculates the cost-effectiveness of repairing versus replacing your refrigerator. Simply enter the age of your appliance, its original cost, and your budget for the repair, and the tool will indicate whether you should definitely repair, consider a repair, or replace your refrigerator. Lastly, I was asked if refrigerators are designed with planned obsolescence in mind and if people with newer appliances actually repair them. While I cannot speak for all manufacturers, I can say that most refrigerators are built to last and can be repaired if needed.

So, if you have a newer refrigerator that needs a repair, don't hesitate to get it fixed.

Luke Lamberton
Luke Lamberton

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