10 Tell-Tale Signs When To Replace A Refrigerator

An Open Refrigerator In The Kitchen

When it comes to household appliances, refrigerators are one of the most important in the kitchen. When considering how many food items it holds and how vital it is when there is no electricity to support other kitchen appliances, it does a lot when storing leftovers and easily perishable goods.

The rule of thumb for replacing a refrigerator is when it’s spoiling more food than preserving it. Fridges are built to do exactly that, and if it fails to meet its purpose, repairs won’t even be worth the trouble.

In this article, we'll detail precisely when it's time to get your refrigerator repaired or even replaced.

1. The Motor's Loud and Runs Constantly

A Man Looking Through The Fridge’s Motor - Image by Homely Ville

A Man Looking Through The Fridge’s Motor - Image by Homely Ville

It’s a rule of thumb for appliances that a suspicious noise can indicate something wrong with the unit. Your refrigerator's motor shouldn't always be running at max speed. 

That way, there will not be a constant regulation of its temperature unless you are opening and closing it all the time, in which case, please contact your local appliance repair professionals to investigate such a case further.

2. The Cooling Compartment is Too Warm

Refrigerators should be kept at a specific temperature. Adjust your refrigerator's thermostat to a colder setting when you're not using it for food storage. This way, the cooling fluid does not run continuously when the door has been left open longer than needed. 

Best to be mindful of this maintenance hack to ensure the overall condition of your fridge is maintained to avoid repair or the need to replace.

3. It’s Simply Too Old 

Old fridges and freezers

The appliance's age is one of the significant factors determining if you should replace or repair your refrigerator. While most fridges have an average life span of 15-20 years, using your best judgment is critical.

Looking at how long it has been since your appliance was last replaced might not be enough when deciding when to replace or repair your refrigerator, so why don't we go ahead and take things up a notch? Do the research, get something new and a fridge that meets your specific kitchen and food storage needs.

4. The Back of the Refrigerator Gets Easily Hot

While refrigerators are known for keeping things cold when turned on, it’s often quite warm when removing any food stored at the back of the fridge.

A little heat is expected when the refrigerator runs, and all the internal components begin to work harder to keep your food cool. However, to determine if your refrigerator is running too hot, try touching the back of it.

If you feel an uncomfortable heat radiating from your fridge's motor compartment and nothing feels any different at the front or sides, then call a maintenance specialist for inspection. This may indicate problems with the internal circuitry, which can cost hundreds of dollars in repairs in the long run. 

An older fridge will need replacement more often than newer models, so think about when you might have to buy another one anyway!

5. Take Note of the Condensation Forming

A Man Checking The Components Of The Refrigerator - Image by San Diego Appliance Repair

A Man Checking The Components Of The Refrigerator - Image by San Diego Appliance Repair

Another tell-tale sign when to replace an old refrigerator is when you notice condensation forming behind your fridge. Newer refrigerators can maintain a lower temperature so that the condensation can be seen more clearly than on older models. This could also indicate that there is a problem with the seal.

Your fridge can be a home for all of the things that your family loves, but sometimes it becomes more like an icebox than anything else. This is due to the condensation building up on door seals and causing them to stick - completely ruining any chance you had at having cold drinks!

If you find yourself with a soggy kitchen, check for signs of leakage around the doors first by placing a dollar bill between them when they are closed tight.

Gently pull it outwards- if there is resistance or it resists coming back in, this means moisture has built up behind one of these panels, which may be costing you hundreds of damaged floors every year. Can you imagine?!

6. Food Shelf Life is Shorter than the Expiration Date

Check your stored food when in doubt. Food may look fine, but it tends to change color and texture when the refrigeration breaks down from normal wear and tear during spare time.

Keeping food cold is the sole purpose of a refrigerator. Keep in mind that your farmer's market finds will stay fresh longer, and your white wine won't warm up too fast if you know that there's a problem with the refrigerator.

A new fridge can be expensive at first, but then you'll stop wasting money on spoiled foods or an electric bill that is higher than it should be because of wasted energy from not having enough freezer space for all those leftovers!

7. The Refrigerator Door Gasket is Torn or Missing

A Man Pointing At The Fridge’s Gasket - Image by Appliance Parts Pros

A Man Pointing At The Fridge’s Gasket - Image by Appliance Parts Pros

If anything spills on top of the refrigerator, you'll eventually have to clean up those drips when they leak to the bottom of your refrigerator. Those drips could also preclude a more significant problem regarding mold and mildew growth when you don't clean up those spill areas. Thus, make sure that the seal is intact when you see it.

Luckily replacing rubber gaskets typically only costs about $50 from any hardware store, so call an appliance expert before giving your fridge the boot. Checking whether liquid leaks into your house could save money in damages as well as time spent cleaning up spills and mopping wet floors. 

8. A Silent Fridge is Not Always a Good Thing

You know that your fridge is on the fritz when it becomes completely silent. The first sign of trouble? Warm food and a still refrigerator! Don't worry; try this nifty hack before calling any repairmen.

Just unplug the appliance for about half an hour to reset its internal thermostat, then plug it back in again. If you don't see any improvement after performing these two steps, make sure there isn't a problem with your home's electrical panel before calling a repairer or investing in a new appliance.

9. Frost Build-Up is Constant

Frost Build-Up In The Freezer

Do you see a lot of frosts when you open your fridge door? If you notice the freezer section ices over when it is supposed to be cold, there may be a freezer problem. 

A reason could be because the condensing unit in the back of your refrigerator might not be working correctly, so when food or other food items start to freeze, the ice can't melt when it's time to defrost.

One of the most common reasons for this problem is when not enough heat exchange occurs in your freezer. This means that when there isn't a proper amount of heat being transferred from the warm air around it and into your freezing compartment, ice forms on your walls when it's supposed to be cold.

10. Repair Costs Continue to Increase

If you have to pay $50 when the repairs were only supposed to cost $30, there may be something wrong with your freezer. 

Freezers on French door refrigerators sometimes don't get enough heat when they're operating correctly. The coils are not as efficient when they need to be cleaned, so when the fridge is running, it doesn't cool when needed.

Repair or Replace?

When a refrigerator has been with you for so long that it is no longer functioning, the best option seems to be replacing it. The costs will pile up when something goes wrong and only result in more debt if one tries repairing an old appliance instead of buying a new one. Thus, know when it's time to let your refrigerator go!

We hope this post helped you diagnose the problem in your trusty kitchen appliance. How many years have you owned your fridge? Can you recommend a long-lasting brand? Let us know in the comments.

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