Refrigerators are an important part of any kitchen, but however important they might seem they won’t last forever. Every appliance has its life span which surely depends upon the appliance itself. Even the cheapest refrigerators can cost you between $350 to 1000 dollars which is a lot of money and can set you back for the whole month if you plan to buy a new refrigerator. But how to know when you are going to need a new refrigerator or when your current refrigerator is going to give up?
In this article we are going to take a look at the most common signs of refrigerator failures and when you need to start looking for a new refrigerator.How Long Do Refrigerators Last
How long will my refrigerator last?
A typical refrigerator should last you about 10 to 15 years, give or take a few years. Though mostly the lifespan of a refrigerator depends upon which category of the refrigerator it belongs to. For example, refrigerators that have a separate freezer on top or bottom of the main compartment should last you about 10 to 12 years. Also, there are refrigerators which have a freezer inbuilt into the main refrigerator compartment which lasts much less than the previous category. Beyond the mentioned period, the refrigerator loses its cooling efficiency and will work overtime to compensate for the loss which will result in high energy consumption, expensive bills and lower efficiency. If your refrigerator is in this phase currently then you probably should consider buying a new refrigerator as soon as possible.
How to improve the lifespan of a refrigerator?
As seen above, under typical conditions a refrigerator won’t last more than 15 years in any case but if you take care of it properly you can make its life span as long as up to 20 years. There are few things that you should carry out on a regular basis to ensure that your refrigerator is well maintained and working in its finest condition. Here are a few tips that can help you improve the lifespan of your refrigerator –
1. Clean the condenser –
One of the most important working parts of your refrigerator is the condenser coil and the metal tubings surrounding it. Mostly found below or behind the refrigerator’s back, the condenser coil helps to liquefy the vaporized refrigerant from the unit’s compressor to help release hot air from within the refrigerator and pass it on to its surroundings. This helps to lower the temperature inside the refrigerator and keeps it cool.
In case your condenser coils are not working properly which is mostly caused because of dirt and debris getting stuck into the coils, then it can stop working properly resulting in increasing temperatures inside the fridge that in turn spoils your food. Care should be taken that these coils and condenser tubes should be cleaned on a regular basis at least once every two months and if you live in an environment with higher dust amounts you should consider cleaning it more often.
Refrigerators tend to keep the insides of a refrigerator cool by making insulation which keeps hot air outside of the refrigerator and cool air inside. For this purpose, a tight seal should be established between the inner parts of the refrigerator and the outer surroundings.
This work is carried out by the seal applied inside of the door which is also called as the door gasket. The gasket helps to create insulation which seals the interiors with cold air. Over time the rubber in the door gasket gets weakened and produces cracks which can lead to unwanted breaks in the seal causing the air from within the refrigerator to escape.
This makes the interiors of the refrigerator warm over time decreasing the efficiency of the compressor and the condenser. The best way to prevent this from happening is to regularly lubricate the door gasket and ensure that there are no cracks or tears in the gasket.
3. Clean the vents
You might have noticed small vents located on the inside of fridge walls and on the roof of the freezer, these vents help in circulation of cold air throughout the refrigerator. If these air vents get blocked then cold air may not be able to circulate inside of your refrigerator resulting in increasing temperature and ultimately spoiling your food. So make sure that you clean these events on a regular basis at least once every two months. Also, make sure that you don’t place food items too close to these vents and block them.
4. Regularly troubleshooting small problems –
Minor fridge malfunctions occur all the time in your refrigerator but if you take care of them in time then you might be able to avoid major faults. Some common problems and their solutions have been listed below –
If you ever see a puddle of water forming below your refrigerator or water leaking out of your refrigerator then it might be because of a faulty drain pipe. It is mostly caused when there is a crack or breakage in the water drain pipe that carries water from the dispenser to the cooling unit. To take care of this problem just unplug your refrigerator and check for leakages and cracks in the drain pipe. Before doing anything to the drain pipe make sure that you shut off the valve located near the sink under the fridge. If the pipe is beyond repair then replace it with a new one and make sure that you don’t leave any loose ends.
If you notice that your refrigerator is making too much noise such as a motor whirling around, then probably it is because of your cooling fan located near the condenser coils. To fix this issue access the condenser coil area located below your refrigerator and check for damage in the fan blades or the motor. If the fan blades are worn out make sure to replace them with new ones.
If you ever get to the ice maker trying to get out some ice cubes for your drink and find that there is no ice in the ice maker even though you haven’t altered any settings then it is probably because of the fill pipe that supplies water to the ice maker is clogged with ice. To solve this issue just turn off your refrigerator for an hour or two until the ice in the fill pipe starts to melt away. Or if you are in a hurry then just use a hot air blower onto the pipe and melt all the ice away with the hot air.
5. Know when to replace –
Though the above-given tips will help you to increase the lifespan of your refrigerator, but there comes a time when the refrigerator cannot be repaired anymore and needs to be replaced. Here are a few signs that show that your refrigerator needs to be replaced –
The back side of your refrigerator gets constantly hot generating an excessive amount of heat.
Your food is no longer staying good for as long as it used to earlier.
Frequent condensation on the insides of the fridge even when your door gasket is in pretty good condition.
You frequently find a thick layer of frost on your frozen food items whenever you retrieve them from the freezer.
Your electricity bill shooting to the sky even though when you are not using any electricity heavy appliances.
If you find yourself facing any of these above-given signs with your refrigerator then probably the time has come to replace it with the new one.