How long do refrigerators normally last?

How long do refrigerators normally last?

Woman Opening the Fridge


Proper care and maintenance play vital roles in maximizing the working life of your refrigerator. A chart by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) revealed that the average life span of a refrigerator is approximately nine to 13 years. This life span is longer than window air conditioners, some freezers and even some washing machines.

Various factors can influence the working life of your refrigerator, including its size, brand, the type of fridge, placement and maintenance. This article will delve into these factors and the cost of repairing your refrigerator, including when it might be time to invest in a home warranty from Cinch Home Services.


Most common things that break on a refrigerator

Refrigerators malfunction for various reasons, including overloading, frayed cables and leaking refrigerant. Fortunately, the owner’s manual provides useful information to help you understand how your specific refrigerator works. By following its guidelines, you can prolong the life span of the appliance and keep the warranty valid.

Refrigerator parts that can be susceptible to malfunctioning include:


This part helps keep the refrigerator cold by pushing refrigerant into the coils to absorb heat. An integrated temperature sensor activates the compressor when the temperature inside your fridge reaches a preset level. This mechanism prevents the refrigerator from becoming warm. 

If the compressor malfunctions, the refrigerator will have trouble remaining cold, compromising the freshness of its contents. You can usually detect issues with the compressor when your fridge doesn’t run for an extended period and becomes warm inside. A working compressor also makes a humming sound, which is detectable at regular intervals.

Ice maker

When the ice maker malfunctions, you might notice water pooling on the floor. A leak in the supply lines typically triggers this problem. Additional issues linked to the ice maker include a malfunctioning connector tube or saddle valve. 

A clogged connector tube can prevent water from reaching the ice maker, undermining your refrigerator’s capacity to produce ice. Clogging typically results in unwanted freezing inside the tube, preventing the free flow of water. Low water pressure can contribute significantly to clogging.

Condenser coils

When condenser coils break down, your fridge won’t be able to keep food frozen or cooled. Frosted coils are a clear indication of a malfunctioning condenser coil. If you notice this, you might need to replace the entire thermostat. Regularly cleaning the condenser coils with a vacuum or brush may help increase their life span.

Start relay

A start relay enables the compressor to run once the temperature sensor detects an increase in temperature to a specific level in the fridge. A malfunctioning start relay can compromise the compressor’s ability to push refrigerant into the coils and keep the fridge cold. Electrical faults can cause the relay to malfunction; a clicking sound emanating from the bottom of the fridge often signifies that the start relay has a problem.

Circuit board 

The circuit board is another part that can cause a breakdown if it gets stuck or frayed. If your circuit board has burn marks, it most likely requires replacement to ensure optimal operation of your refrigerator. However, a stuck circuit board doesn’t show any visible signs. So, to determine whether the board has malfunctioned, you’ll need to tap on the box containing the compressor relay. Doing so could restart the refrigerator, confirming a stuck circuit board.


How much do refrigerator repairs cost?

Appliance repair is never fun and can be expensive. While refrigerator repair costs vary, several parts may require a significant amount of money to repair. Here’s what you can typically expect to pay for different types of refrigerator repairs, according to HomeAdvisor:

  • Compressor: You can typically expect to pay around $250 to $650 to replace a broken compressor, which includes labor costs.
  • Control board: You can expect to spend between $500 and $800 to replace the control board. 
  • Door seal: A broken door seal can set you back up to $440, depending on factors like the size and type of fridge. 
  • Condenser coils: You may pay anywhere between $100 and $440 to replace condenser coils.
  • Door dent: Fixing a refrigerator door dent can cost between $100 and $240 depending on the dent’s location and size. A service professional will typically charge more if the dent hinders the door from closing and opening or compromises the integrity of your refrigerator’s door seals or gasket.
  • Refrigerant: If there’s a refrigerant leak, expect to pay around $150 to $400. 
  • Thermostat: The thermostat is integral to your refrigerator’s temperature. A malfunctioning thermostat can cost anywhere from $100 to $440 to repair or replace. 

If you’re worried about the cost of certain repairs, it might be a good idea to consider a home warranty like those offered by Cinch. With an Appliances protection plan, you get peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong with your refrigerator, you can protect your budget.


About your refrigerator’s life span

The life expectancy of a new fridge depends on the type of fridge, how often it’s used, your maintenance routine and other key factors. By taking good care of your refrigerator, you might be able to prolong its working life.

Here’s a closer look at the factors that can determine your refrigerator’s life span:

  • Placement: Adeqwwwe airflow to the condenser coils found at the lower back can determine how long your refrigerator lasts. The coils play an integral role in dissipating heat from the appliance. It’s important to leave adeqwwwe space between the fridge and the wall or other objects. It’s also important to ensure the condenser coils remain clean and free from dust and debris, which clog surfaces. Keeping the coils free from dirt and debris enhances the fridge’s energy efficiency, and proper placement ensures that maximum air circulation reaches the coils.
  • Overloading the fridge: Your fridge can work optimally for longer when you pay attention to how you load it. Overloading can overwork key components, like the condenser coil and compressor. Avoid stacking food haphazardly inside the fridge. 
  • Freezer temperature: The temperature you set in your freezer can make a difference in the longevity of your appliance. Setting the temperature over 15 degrees Fahrenheit can hamper the defrost thermostat’s operation, shortening your refrigerator’s life span by overworking the motor.
  • Changing the water filter: Failing to change the water filter regularly can lead to clogging, hampering the refrigerator’s ability to operate efficiently as it overworks. The ice and water dispenser might also malfunction.
  • General cleaning: Sticky spills and debris can compromise your refrigerator by clogging critical components or sticking to the door gasket, tearing or breaking the seal. Once the door seal breaks, cold air can leak from the fridge.

Is it worth it to repair my refrigerator?

Several factors can determine whether repairing or replacing an old refrigerator is the right move. These considerations include your refrigerator’s:

  • Age: If your fridge has been working for 10 years or longer, it might be prudent to consider purchasing a new one. Investing in a new fridge allows you to benefit from energy efficiency and reliability. An old fridge can be more costly to maintain, impacting your finances in the long run. Leading refrigerator brands like Samsung and Whirlpool offer high-quality products with Energy Star ratings.
  • Type: Another key factor to consider is the type of fridge because some are more durable and cheaper to repair than others. For instance, built-in refrigerators are less expensive to repair and have a longer working life. If you own a side-by-side refrigerator, you should consider repairing it within a five-year window and replacement afterward. A bottom-freezer refrigerator may need repairs within a seven-year window, while top-freezer units typically have a three-year window before replacement becomes a more practical option.
  • Nature of the repairs: If your refrigerator has multiple issues, you may want to consider replacing it due to the higher repair costs.


Refrigerator repair and replacement is a nonissue when you have Cinch

No one wants to think about their refrigerator breaking down, but it can happen. Knowing the signs and having a home warranty from Cinch Home Services can bring you peace of mind. 

With our Appliances plan, you can request service at any time for any covered kitchen appliances — including your fridge — and we’ll find a pre-screened service professional in the area to help diagnose and remedy the problem. All you need to do is pay the preset deductible and relax. Every Cinch plan also comes with protection for unknown pre-existing conditions, discounts on new home appliances, rust and corrosion coverage, and a 180-day workmanship guarantee. 

We make refrigerator repairs simple. Get the coverage you need by requesting a free quote today.


Wondering how much life you can expect out of your refrigerator? Read this helpful guide to get a good idea of what to expect.

Your home protection is ready and waiting!