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Open fridge full of healthy food in the kitchen

How Long Will My Fridge Last? How to Know if Your Refrigerator Is Having Issues?

Your refrigerator plays a crucial role in your daily life, making it an indispensable part of your home. Dealing with a failing fridge can be a major inconvenience, and whether you opt for repairs or a replacement, it usually involves spending some money.

But how can you distinguish between minor issues and signals that your fridge is approaching the end of its life? Here, we’ll highlight common signs that indicate your refrigerator might be in trouble. Additionally, we’ll provide useful tips to help you decide whether it’s time to repair or replace your appliance.

How Long Will My Fridge Last?

The lifespan of a refrigerator can vary depending on several factors, including the brand, model, usage, and maintenance. On average, a refrigerator typically lasts between 10 to 20 years. However, there are some factors that can affect its longevity:

Fresh groceries in opened fridge, fruits, eggs and vegetables
  1. Brand and Quality: Higher-quality brands often manufacture more durable appliances. Investing in a reputable brand can contribute to a longer lifespan.
  2. Model and Features: More advanced features may impact the lifespan. Simple models with fewer components might last longer than those with advanced technologies.
  3. Usage: Heavy usage or overloading the refrigerator can lead to increased wear and tear. Additionally, frequent opening and closing of the doors can affect the efficiency of the appliance.
  4. Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning coils, checking the seals, and keeping the interior clean, can extend the life of your refrigerator.
  5. Environmental Conditions: The environment in which the refrigerator operates can influence its lifespan. Extreme temperatures or humidity levels can affect its performance.
  6. Repairs: The frequency and quality of repairs can impact the overall lifespan. Regular and prompt repairs can extend the life of the appliance.

If you notice any unusual noises, temperature inconsistencies, or other issues with your refrigerator, it’s advisable to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or seek the assistance of a professional technician or electrician to address the problem promptly. Regular maintenance and proper care can help ensure that your refrigerator lasts for its expected lifespan.

How to Know if Your Refrigerator Is Having Issues?

If your refrigerator is on the fritz, there are clear signs you can watch for. Here are some indicators that it might be time to call in a technician:

Noisy Fridge

If your refrigerator is suddenly louder than usual, it might be a sign that something is amiss. This increased noise could stem from a failing motor, compressor, or a broken fan blade. When you notice this, it’s crucial to have a qualified technician inspect your fridge. Issues with the motor or compressor can be expensive to fix, and in some cases, replacing the fridge might be a more cost-effective solution.

Quiet Fridge

On the flip side, if your fridge is unusually quiet, it could indicate a problem. While a quieter fridge is generally good, excessive silence might suggest that the compressor is not running. If you observe this, it’s wise to have a specialist examine your refrigerator.

Strawberries, shitake mushrooms and spinach in the vegetable drawer of the opened fridge.

Food Spoilage

If your food is spoiling before its expiration date, your fridge might not be cooling correctly. This issue could result from a faulty thermostat or worn-out seals and gaskets. Bring in a qualified technician to inspect the fridge and recommend the best course of action.

Excess Frost

An abundance of frost in your freezer or fridge could signal a malfunctioning defrost timer or thermostat. When the thermostat fails to regulate temperature correctly, it can lead to excessive coldness in the freezer, causing frost buildup. This can accelerate food spoilage, emphasizing the need for fridge servicing.

Condensation Outside

Condensation on the exterior of the fridge may indicate worn gaskets and seals, compromising the seal’s effectiveness. This can permit warm air to enter, speeding up food spoilage. A qualified technician should inspect the fridge to assess whether seals and gaskets need replacement.

Hot Back of the Fridge

While it’s normal for the back of a fridge to feel warmer due to the motor location, excessive heat might signal issues. Possible reasons include dirty condensers, loose wire connections, or clogged vent holes. A technician can determine the cause and address any problems to ensure optimal fridge performance.

Fridge Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re experiencing problems with your fridge, try these troubleshooting steps before reaching out to a technician.

  1. Check Temperature Settings:
    • Ensure your temperature settings are correct. Accidental adjustments can happen while organizing food. Verify the settings before jumping to more serious conclusions about your fridge.
  2. Inspect Ventilation:
    • Confirm that the vents inside the fridge are unobstructed, allowing air to circulate freely. Sometimes, a simple blockage in the vents can be the cause of the issue.
  3. Evaluate Placement:
    • Check if your fridge is appropriately positioned with enough space between it and the walls. Adequate ventilation is essential for optimal performance. If the appliance is cramped, create more space to see if the problems resolve on their own.
Open fridge refrigerator full of food in the empty kitchen interior. 3d Illustration

Tips for Extending Your Refrigerator’s Lifespan

  1. Clean the Condenser Coils:
    • The coils at the back of your fridge play a crucial role in removing heat. Regularly clean these coils, typically once or twice a year, to prevent them from getting clogged with debris. This simple maintenance task helps your fridge operate at its best.
  2. Inspect the Doors:
    • Pay attention to the door seal, also known as the rubber gasket, around your fridge’s entrance. Over time, this seal can crack or lose its shape. Periodically check for signs of wear, such as loosening, warping, or cracking, to ensure an effective seal. Some experts even recommend applying a lubricant like petroleum jelly to keep the gasket in good condition.
  3. Replace Filters:
    • Your water filter, like other components, has a limited lifespan. Swap it out approximately every six months to ensure you’re getting clean, uncontaminated water from your fridge.
  4. Maintain Optimal Food Level:
    • While you shouldn’t overcrowd your fridge, keeping it too empty isn’t ideal either. A partially filled fridge, even with a few gallons of water, helps maintain a more stable temperature. This is similar to packing a cooler for a trip – cool items assist in chilling the surrounding space, reducing the workload on your fridge.

Repair or Replace: Now It’s Your Turn

If you’ve observed signs that your refrigerator might be on the decline, deciding whether to repair or replace it requires thoughtful consideration:

  1. Cost Comparison:
    • Obtain quotes from professionals for potential repairs on your fridge. Simultaneously, research current refrigerator options to understand the market. If the repair costs exceed 50% of a new fridge’s price, leaning towards replacement might be a sensible choice.
  2. Age of the Fridge:
    • Consider the age of your refrigerator. WikiHow suggests that built-in fridges, those under two years old, side-by-side fridges under five years old, and bottom-freezer fridges under seven years old may be worth repairing.
  3. Warranty Status:
    • Check if your fridge is still under warranty by contacting the manufacturer or retailer. Warranty coverage can significantly influence your decision.

While investing in a new appliance might seem financially daunting, remember that newer models are often more energy-efficient. Viewing the purchase as an investment can lead to a more cost-effective and sustainable solution in the long run.

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