Using The Right Products For Your Appliances

Should You Repair Or Replace A Malfunctioning Refrigerator?

by Brent Hart

If your current response to the classic prank phone call question, "Is your refrigerator running?" is "not well," you may be wondering whether it's time to pull the plug for good and purchase a sleeker and more efficient replacement. However, a number of common refrigerator issues can be easily fixed by a handy homeowner. How do you know whether repair or replacement is the best option? Read on to learn more about some common issues you can likely handle on your own, as well as some situations in which replacing an old or inefficient refrigerator makes good financial sense.

What refrigerator repairs can be performed by the DIY-er? 

If your refrigerator is too warm, making an unnervingly loud noise, or leaking water, you may fear the worst -- but each of these issues can sometimes be solved by a simple repair.

To diagnose a warm refrigerator, you'll need to go to the cold air source -- the fan located in the back of your fridge. In some cases, this fan may be blocked by food or other items, hindering its ability to blow cold air into your refrigerator. In other cases, the temperature sensor may be malfunctioning, telling your refrigerator no additional cold air is needed. Replacing a temperature sensor is a project that can generally be accomplished by a handy homeowner with a screwdriver. 

A noisy refrigerator could have an issue with the condenser or evaporator fan motors. Both these fans require free movement to circulate air over the condenser and evaporator, keeping your refrigerator cool and free of ice buildup. You should be able to access both motors by removing the rear access panel. A quick visual inspection should let you know if an item is blocking the fan's movement or if the fan is covered with ice or debris. In many cases, simply cleaning the fan and rearranging the surrounding items can be enough to solve your noise problem.  

A refrigerator that is constantly leaking water may have issues with defective gaskets or seals or leaky water valves. This can be especially common in older refrigerators, as the rubber seals that keep your fridge door tightly closed can dry and crack over time. First, you'll want to examine the rubber seal around your refrigerator door to ensure that it is making contact and there are no gaps. If this seal appears solid, you'll then want to unplug your refrigerator and examine the water intake tubes to ensure they're tightly connected.

When is replacement a better idea? 

While refrigerators are built to last decades, they don't last forever -- so if you're facing the repair of a refrigerator that is older than most vehicles on the road today, sinking more money into repairs may not be the most cost-effective decision.

Replacement can also be a good option if you're looking for ways to lower your energy bill. A refrigerator is one of the biggest energy consumers in the modern home, so replacing an older and inefficient refrigerator with a new, more efficient one can help you recoup these costs and lower your utility bills for years to come.

For more information, contact Prompt Appliance Services, Inc. or a similar company.