When it comes time to replace your refrigerator, there are a number of things to consider and some important must-have features to look for. Remember, it’s going to be with you for a while, so it only makes sense to do your research, choose wisely and take great care to prolong its life.
With that said, here’s how much it costs to replace a refrigerator and some of those must-have features you should watch out for. Plus, we’ve included a little advice on knowing when to replace your fridge so you’re not left hanging with a bunch of melted ice cream on a hot summer day.
Is Your Refrigerator Dying?
Knowing that your fridge can last between 14 and 17 years is a great way to start planning ahead and budgeting for a new one, but you also need to be proactive and watch for the signs so you’re not stuck with a fridge full of spoiled food.
Some of the symptoms of a dying fridge include:
- Excessive condensation — If you notice that your fridge is “sweating” more than usual, this could be a sign of inaccurate temperature control.
- A hot motor — It’s normal to feel a bit of heat coming from behind your fridge, but if it’s getting really hot it might mean the coils are going bad.
- You can hear it running — If you’re hearing your fridge running during the day, it’s likely that it’s having to work too hard to keep cool.
- Frost buildup — If you notice a lot of frost buildup in the freezer, this can also be a sign that the coils are going bad. Defrost the fridge and wait to see if it happens again.
If your refrigerator exhibits any of these signs, it might be time to have a technician come out to do an inspection. Sometimes things like coils can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire refrigerator. On average, the cost to repair a refrigerator ranges from $292 to $413 —depending on model, repair and supplies.
Things to Look for When Replacing a Refrigerator
The best refrigerator for your home is the one that suits your family’s needs, offers enough space, and works with your current kitchen setup. In addition, consider these following tips when replacing your refrigerator:
Style #1: Top Freezer (Priced from $500+)
This is the traditional style of refrigerator that we all grew up with. The freezer compartment is at the top, with the refrigerated section below.
Why you’ll love it:
- This no-frills refrigerator often offers more usable space than those with features like in-door water/ice, which takes up space.
- If you have a slim space, these are often the best bet. Typical widths are 30-33 inches.
- They use 10% to 25% less energy than bottom-freezer and side-by-side door models.
- They’re usually the least expensive.
Style #2: Bottom Freezer (Priced from $700+)
Flipping the traditional style, refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom are popular for their convenience —putting the refrigerated compartment at eye-level where things are easy to see and reach. They can also accommodate wider trays of food.
Why you’ll love it:
- Everything is easily reachable with little bending to get things in and out.
- Those with double doors (french) are more energy efficient, as only one door is being opened and it minimizes the amount of cold air that escapes.
- French door models don’t require as much room for the doors to swing open as other models.
Style #3: Side-by-Side (Priced from $900+)
Side-by-side models offer an equal balance between freezer and refrigerator space, which is popular with families who eat a great mix of frozen and fresh foods.
Why you’ll love it:
- These allow for easy access and viewing of food in both compartments.
- Perfect for family members with disabilities who need to access food without bending or a stepstool.
- Typical widths are 32 to 26 inches, but keep in mind the divider between fridge and freezer means there’s some unusable space.
Style #4: Cabinet- and Counter-Depth (Priced from $2000+)
These models provide a custom look if overlayed with cabinet faces and are offered in shorter depths so they don’t stick out past cabinets and counters.
Why you’ll love it:
- These models create a clean, custom look that can be the finishing touch in a luxury kitchen.
- They often come in various sizes and configurations, such as under-the-counter beverage refrigerators or under-the-counter produce drawers.
- Various depths and widths are available to create a truly custom kitchen.
Other Costs and Features to Consider
There have been a lot of advances in refrigerator technology over the past decade. If you haven’t purchased a fridge in the last few years, some of these options and features might surprise you. Keep these in mind as you shop:
Smudge-Free Stainless — Stainless appliances are all the rage, but the fingerprints left behind aren’t! Some manufacturers have developed smudge-free stainless options. Just remember that finishes vary from brand to brand and might not be a perfect match to your other appliances.
Smart Refrigerators — Believe it or not, your refrigerator can tell you what groceries you’re running low on. For $5,000, you can buy (Spring ‘17) the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, which you’ll be able to digitally access from your phone while in the grocery store to see what you’re missing.
Water and Ice — In-door water and ice has been a must-have feature for a number of years, particularly with families that use water/ice often. Just keep in mind that this option takes up a lot of interior space, is susceptible to problems and can be messy. It also increases the cost of the fridge.
Installation and Removal — As with any new appliance, also factor in the cost of installation and the removal of your old refrigerator. Installation and removal charges vary by vendor and location, so always ask ahead of time. If your fridge is still in good working order, you should consider donating it to a local charity, which might pick it up for free.
More on Replacing Appliances …
If you’re looking for more information regarding how much it costs to replace other household appliances, please don’t hesitate to consult our blog. Our team offers an ongoing series on this topic, so you have all the tools you need to maintain your home.