Refrigerator Lifespan and Inevitable Repair: What to Do?

by | May 5, 2012 | Home and Garden

If your refrigerator has thrown in the towel, you will find yourself faced with a decision: to have it repaired or to replace it. Both routes have benefits as well as potential pitfalls. You can come to the best decision for you by asking a few key questions and gathering some information about your unit. For instance, you will want to know how much your refrigerator costs, how much the cost of a repair would be, and the cost of the unit that you would replace it with.

Armed with these prices, or your best estimation of them, you can assess the situation by comparing the cost of repair to the cost of the new unit. If the cost of repair exceeds 50% the cost of a new unit, your best bet may very well be buying a new one. The reason for this is that now that your unit has broken down once, it is likely to do so again at some point in the future.

However, your analysis shouldn’t end there. Presumably, your refrigerator is out of warranty. Still, you should factor its age into your deliberations. Every appliance has a lifespan, and this lifespan will differ from model to model. If your refrigerator suffers a breakdown very early in its life, and the cost of repair is a bit above 50% the cost of a new unit, you may very well be better off going with the repair.

Your unit may have simply received a faulty part that managed to function through the warranty period, and if you replace the entire appliance too hastily, you may rob yourself of years of otherwise problem-free use. Keep in mind that a new refrigerator, though it will come with a warranty, will inevitably break down at some point in the future.

In other words, you should aim to stick with your current appliance if at all possible and as long as the cost of repair is nominal relative to the number of years of life it should have left. Typically, refrigerators last an average of 15 years.

Keep in mind that there are primarily two factors in the cost of a repair: parts and labor. Don’t make the mistake of pricing only the cost of parts. A reputable repair shop will give you a quote that includes the cost of labor.

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