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Is Your Refrigerator A Fixer-Upper? Here’s How To Tell

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There used to be a time when kitchen appliances were a lifetime purchase. It wasn’t unusual to have your refrigerator last 20 plus years. And honestly, all that they had to do was keep your food cool or frozen. That’s it. But not anymore. With ever-changing technology, refrigerators now have almost as many upgrades every year as your smart phone! And with all those advances comes a larger cost plus more things that can go wrong.

Refrigerator repair was a lot more common when they were simple. We live in a much more disposable time though. Our first instinct when something isn’t working right or completely broken is to just go out and buy new. But refrigerators are expensive and replacing them outright can put a significant strain on your finances. The problem is that a refrigerator is not an item we can go without for any significant amount of time, is it? Therefore, many people, want or need an alternative. And fast!

Do you really need to go out to the store and buy a new one, or can you get your existing unit repaired? It is not always clear. Here’s how to tell:

5 Things To Consider Before Deciding Whether To Purchase Or Repair Your Refrigerator

1. Your Fridge Is Less Than Ten Years Old

If your fridge is less than ten years old, then it is a good sign that appliance repair experts will be able to fix it. Most of the time, you only need to replace a single defective part – so no need to replace the entire unit. If your unit is more than ten years old, however, general wear and tear will probably mean that it isn’t worth repairing and that you should replace it instead. However, it is always worth talking to a repair expert anyway, just to make sure that you’re making the right decision. Most appliance repairmen will come out and give you an estimate for a nominal fee. In my opinion, it is worth the cost. Plus, most companies will deduct the estimate fee from the repair bill should you choose to go ahead.

2. Your Fridge Is Energy-Efficient

If you already own an energy-efficient refrigerator, that is yet another reason to have it repaired, not replaced. Those with old, inefficient refrigerators, benefit most from replacements because of the money that they save on utility bills over the lifetime of their new fridge. That is a no-brainer. But people who already have a top-performing model won’t generate any savings, making it less cost-effective to make the switch.

3. Your Fridge Is Making A Humming Noise

Usually, you shouldn’t notice any humming noise while the fridge is running, especially on new models. If, however, you do, it could be a sign that there is a problem with the compressor. The good news is that engineers can fix most humming issues. Often, it is just a matter of replacing worn bearings or swapping out an old component for a new one. Don’t automatically assume that your refrigerator is scrap, no matter how big the problem. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a brand new appliance if you can get a few more years out of your old one for a fraction of the cost.

4. Your Fridge Is Building Up With Ice

Most modern fridge units come with technology that reduces condensation and disposes of it when it becomes a problem. But for some units, it can become a chronic issue. The main culprit is usually a faulty seal around the door.

If the fridge can’t close properly, then regular outside air will circulate inside, condense, freeze, and accumulate in a vicious cycle. Leaving this problem unattended is a recipe for disaster. The motor has to work harder, and ice buildup will further impede the door from closing.

The solution, however, is usually remarkably straightforward: thaw all the ice and replace the seal around the edge of the door with a new one. It is such a simple and quick repair, it would be a shame to just assume it was time to purchase new.

5. The Back Of The Fridge Is Hot

If the back of the fridge is warm, it is actually a sign that it is working. The coolant is transferring warm air inside to the radiator on the back, reducing the temperature. But if you notice the coils getting too hot, it could be a sign that you might need new coils. Most of the time you can’t DIY a job like this, so you’ll have to call the professionals. Again, don’t let this issue fester as it can create more problems to the point that you may have no choice but to replace with a new refrigerator.

Your refrigerator is one of the most used and relied upon appliances in your home. It can be extremely frustrating when it isn’t working right. Don’t stress yourself or your wallet out. Check out your options for repair before you jump to the conclusion of replacement. At the very least, you will either get a few more years out of your existing refrigerator or you will be confident that it is time to buy new.

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