Is it Cheaper to Repair or Replace a Refrigerator?

The fridge is one of the most important household appliances. No one wants to find spoiled foods or melted ice cream in the fridge. So, when the refrigerator goes on the blink, you want it repaired pronto!

While refrigerators are durable workhorses, they will fail at some point. Sometimes the problem is simple and can be DIY-fixed. Other times, it involves major parts or complicated errors that necessitate a certified appliance repairman. Sadly, appliance repair services mean an unforeseen repair bill – and it can be a few hundred bucks. This brings you to a difficult choice: to repair or to replace the refrigerator.

The most common refrigerator problems involve the unit not running or a section of the freezer failing to achieve the desired temperature. The average cost to repair such errors runs between $150 and $220. However, some refrigerator problems may entail additional costs. In contrast, the average cost of a new refrigerator plus installation is around $1,500.

By simply looking at these figures, you might think that replacing a refrigerator is costly and appliance repair is cheaper. Not that quick.

Cheaper is not always better

As mentioned above, not all refrigerator repair costs are the same. Some will have complicated problems that require expensive spare parts and labor costs. For instance, fixing a fridge with a damaged compressor might cost you between $500 to even $1,000.

Here’s the breakdown. The spare part replacement may cost between $50 and $300, depending on the size and model of the fridge. Besides, you have to pay either the hourly rate of an appliance technician or a fixed rate which can be around $500. Some technicians also charge a diagnostic fee that can be anywhere between $50 and $100.

In short, repairing a refrigerator with a complex problem (around $1,000) might be a little cheaper than replacing it.

However, certified technicians at Hartman’s appliance repair from Jacksonville warn that the cheaper option may not always be the best, especially when it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace an appliance.

To repair or replace?

When a machine is still covered by a warranty, the repair is usually the best route. But if it’s not, deciding can be more complicated. There are several factors you should consider, such as:

  • age and longevity of the appliance,
  • cost of a new appliance and its installation,
  • features of a new appliance, and
  • future use or value of the appliance.

The appliance’s age and life expectancy is often the key to making the right decision. Refrigerators have longevity between 13 and 20 years, depending on the make and brand. For example, if your refrigerator has a lifespan of 15 years and at 7th year it conks out, you can expect the appliance to be serviceable for at least another 8 years if you get it repaired. It makes sense to have it fixed. On the other hand, if the appliance has almost fully served its lifespan, it is best to replace it.

Aside from life expectancy, you should also consider the cost of repair and replacement. If a new fridge costs around $8,000 and repairing one would cost only $1,400, then repairing it is a sound decision. On the other hand, if there are chances of having something else go wrong with the appliance in the foreseeable future, then, repair may not be advisable.

Make sure you know as much information as possible about the appliance’s problem, the planned repair, its outcome, and its prospect. Ask the technician whether the repair will not affect the future performance of the unit. Know if the refrigerator does not have any other potential problem areas. This makes it important to look for an honest and reliable appliance repairman.

It is important to note that some spare parts may not be available, particularly for older models. So, even if the repair cost is cheaper, finding a replacement part can make fixing impossible. If you insist on having it repaired, you might need to go with second-hand parts – the quality of these parts is not guaranteed. Other parts are also costlier than others.

Another consideration is the value of adding a new refrigerator to your household. For instance, if the existing fridge does not have an energy star rating yet, it might be best to replace it with more energy-efficient models. While buying a new refrigerator might mean a higher upfront cost, the savings on your future power bills make it a worthwhile expense. Furthermore, if you plan to sell your home soon, having new appliances will add value to it making it easier to sell at a good price.

When deciding whether to have your refrigerator (or any appliance) repaired or replaced, be sure to follow these tips above. This should guide you towards making a reasonable decision. So, the next time an appliance conks out, don’t rush buying a new one. It might just need a quick repair.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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