Few appliances get more use than your refrigerator. After all, it is literally operating at all times of the day, helping to preserve your food and drinks by keeping them at a stable temperature. But when your fridge starts to experience performance trouble or consume more energy than it should, how can you tell if you should repair or replace it? While it’s always a good idea to consult a fridge repair expert so you can get their input, there are a few basic guidelines you can use to help determine the right answer.



Interestingly, the type of refrigerator configuration you use can have a significant impact on how often it will need repairs — as well as how soon you should consider buying a replacement. This is typically due to the expected lifespan of these different units, as well as the cost of repairs compared to the cost of replacement.


Whether or not your appliance has an ice maker will likely be one of the biggest difference makers in the frequency of your repairs, as units with ice makers are much more repair prone. Different designs also have varied “repair timelines.” For example, units with a top freezer are practically always repairable if less than three years old. If they start experiencing trouble when older than seven years, a replacement should be considered.


Other units tend to have a longer repairable lifespan. Bottom freezers should be repaired when less than seven years old, but may still be considered for repairs after this time. Built-in refrigerators are almost always worth repairing for up to eight years or more.


Type of Repairs

Though the above timelines are a good starting point, it is also worthwhile to consider the type of repairs your refrigerator might need. A non-functioning ice maker will typically be resolved by replacing the system’s motor module. However, if the entire refrigerator isn’t working or makes unusual sounds, the unit’s electronic control board likely needs to be replaced.


Needless to say, these repairs each come with their own set costs. It is worth comparing the costs of these repairs to the cost of buying a new refrigerator, all while keeping in mind the age of your system. After all, it’s not worth spending hundreds of dollars on repairs for a unit you’ll replace next year anyway. Replacing an older fridge now could also help you enjoy savings through improved energy efficiency.


As you take these factors into consideration, you’ll find the right fit for your budget and household needs.