When To Fix Your Refrigerator And When To Throw It Out

A refrigerator is a big expense and one you want to research carefully. It is possible to get good deals on brand new fridges, but many small problems with an old fridge can be looked after without throwing out the old to replace it with a new one. Then again, there are some issues no amount of tweaking will overcome.

Energy Efficiency

How old is your refrigerator? If it is more than a decade old, it is probably highly inefficient. Even the efficient models of a decade ago have been outclassed by the latest styles, so think about this: every hour you use your old electricity guzzler, it is costing you money. Keep an eye on your energy bills too. If they seem to be going up, it could be a problem with your refrigerator that is responsible.


It is advisable to place a thermostat in your refrigerator when it gets a bit older, just to keep an eye on how well it maintains the temperature you want. It becomes a problem when you set the machine for a particular temperature and it fails to reach this. Food safety is a major issue here, since perishables have to be kept to a particular maximum. On the other hand, a fridge that gets too cold will ruin your food.


Some refrigerators collect water in the bottom. They leak liquid every few days or after a week or so. You might find this happens more often if the fridge is empty, or it might be a random occurrence.


Sometimes the problem is simple. Pull your refrigerator back from the wall slightly to allow it some ventilation space. Clean out the back of the machine regularly. Dust builds up there, making it overheat. Keep cook books off of the top for the same reason. Consider keeping more food in the refrigerator at one time, or even jugs of water. On the other hand, do not overfill the refrigerator either. Also, clean your refrigerator on the inside regularly.

When Nothing Works

If you have tried all of the solutions noted above and think you will have to call out an appliance repair technician, think about cost. You will be billed per hour or any portion thereof, so you could end up spending almost as much on repairs as it would cost to get a new model.

Then again, make sure your refrigerator is not still under warranty. A relatively new machine should give you another few years of service before you have to think about trading it in.

When Is It Time To Get A New Appliance?

One of the big things about being an appliance repair technician is that your customers are always looking to you for advice. Whatever you say is what they will believe and so giving your customers good and ethical advice should be a top priority. Many people don’t have hundreds of dollars sitting around and so having to replace a stove could be a huge stress. For most cases, repairing a broken stove is the better route. But how do you know if its time to get a new stove and what type of stove do you get or suggest to your customers

We interviewed the business owner of Carrollton’s Appliance Repair in Carrollton Georgia to answer these questions. Here is a transcript of our interview with Larry, the business owner:

Question – How many customers do you work with on an average month in your city of Carrollton, Georgia?

Larry – I would say we get about 15 solid jobs every month in our location. We don’t really have a marketing plan as I have moved recently to Carrollton from across the state. After moving from Augusta to Carrollton, I’m just now starting to get traction in my area.

Question – Are you able to repair most of the broken appliances you work with or do you have to suggest to the owner that its time for a new appliance?

Larry – Yes, the majority of our work we are able to fix the issue. Sometimes its minor or a part that’s gone bad in the unit. We see many refrigerators that have bad compressors which usually cost more than they are worth fixing. For that reason sometimes its hard to suggest to the owner that they need to get a new refrigerator. A good refrigerator can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on the size you want, while some compressors cost $800 so its hard to fix a broken refrigerator when you can basically buy a new one for a few hundred more.

Question – So when is it time to get a new appliance?

Larry – Sometimes we are able to diagnose or know what the problem is over the phone. If we can figure out the problem over the phone, sometimes we know how much it would cost to fix the broken appliance. Our service call fee is $65, plus our labor and parts. With that knowledge and the diagnosis of the appliance, we can get an estimated cost of repair. So for instance, if it cost $1,000 to fix a broken refrigerator, then yes its probably time to get a new one. But if its a simple problem like a broken seal and it cost $120, and the unit is only a few years old, then maybe its better to fix it.

Sometimes we can gauge when an appliance should be replaced based on how old it is. Appliances can last for many many years, but for some brands of appliances, they won’t last more than 5-10 years. Its all about what we can learn from the customer over the phone.

After talking with Larry, we learned that replacing an appliance comes down to how old it is and what the diagnosis is. Sometimes a service call is required to confirm what is broken and so if it cost $65 to know that you need a new appliance, that is better than dumping money into a repair that isn’t worth it.