A refrigerator problem is no laughing matter. For most people, the fridge is the only appliance that keeps food items cold and fresh, meaning the difference between food that’s safe to eat or is spoiled and unsafe. If the unit isn’t running cold enough, you may have to choose whether to repair or replace it.

There can be many reasons your fridge isn’t working properly. Fixing the problem depends on many things. First, make sure the plug is firmly in the socket and the circuit breaker isn’t tripped. These issues can be corrected without any repairs or replacements!

If dust or hair have clogged the coils, a quick cleaning can resolve the situation. Water dispensers and ice makers, if your fridge has them, may require simple maintenance such as replacing a filter.

When to Repair a Refrigerator

First of all, make sure it’s worth repairing the unit. If it is very old, you may need repeated service, or the cost of repairs (now or in the future) is near or more than what you would spend on a newer, more efficient model, replacement is a better option. Here are some indications your fridge requires a repair:

  • Temperature: The temperature should be below 40°F in the refrigerator and 0°F in the freezer. If it’s not cooling properly, the unit may have a thermostat, coil, air flow, or vent problem. A refrigerant leak could be the cause as well.
  • Noise: Noises from the back of the refrigerator can mean there’s a condenser fan, compressor, or defrost timer problem. Noise inside the fridge may be caused by a bad fan. If it’s coming from the bottom, a rattling drain pan may be the culprit.
  • Sealing: If the door doesn’t seal properly, cool air will escape and the refrigerator will run inefficiently. Food spoilage is a concern as well. Door seals can be repaired by a professional without having to replace the entire unit.
  • Water/Ice: If water isn’t dispensing or the machine isn’t making ice, the parts associated with these systems can be repaired or replaced, so your refrigerator is restored to its original condition.

However, you can avoid repairs (and even extend your fridge’s operating life) by not overloading it, which reduces strain on the compressor. Try not to block air vents as well. Only open the door when necessary to maintain internal temperatures. Also, wipe the door gaskets clean regularly and vacuum the refrigerator coils at its bottom to maintain efficiency.

Do I Need to Replace My Refrigerator Now?

You can often get away with a repair for just about anything. Consider replacement if the unit is over 15 years old. Newer models are more energy efficient, contributing to long-term cost-savings. Also, replacement is the more likely scenario if the freezer stops working.

If you hear a humming noise from the compressor, it’s probably failing. Although a compressor can be replaced, this is typically a costly job. Repair costs are a factor in deciding what to do. In general, consider a replacement if the cost of repairing the fridge costs over half the price of a new model.

Contact Wilshire Refrigeration & Appliance, Inc. Today

Whether in need of repairs or maintenance for your Sub-Zero Fridge or Refrigerator (for in-warranty and out-of-warranty products), or you’re shopping around for a new refrigerator, contact us for factory-certified service or to replace your fridge with a leading-brand, energy-efficient model.