Replacing Your Kitchen Refrigerator
Refrigerators are the most important appliance in the Kitchen. The following are some helpful tips when it comes time to replace it.
Should I Repair or Replace my Refrigerator?
If your refrigerator is out of warranty then the decision to repair or replace your old refrigerator depends on a few factors.
The first factor is identifying what is not working with your current refrigerator. Is the refrigerator not cold anymore? Does it cycle on and off frequently? Is the built-in ice-maker not making ice or is it just making weird noises all the time? Being able to isolate the problem, such as leaking coming from a hose, makes it easier to estimate the repair cost helping you with your decision. If you can't identify the problem it might be a bigger issue requiring higher costs. One thing to note, if the sealed part of your refrigerator or freezer needs to be serviced, it has to be performed by a professional. If that's the case then it is usually more cost effective to replace the appliance.
The second is age. If you have an older refrigerator, the cost to repair it vs the cost to buy a new one might not be that different if the parts needed are no longer in stock. Also if you factor in the energy savings from having a new energy efficient refrigerator, it might make more sense to replace the existing one. If your refrigerator is relatively new, it might be worth it to have it fixed as the likely culprit is one bad part instead of wear and tear of all the parts due to age.
The third factor is the type of refrigerator. If you have a built-in refrigerator, it makes sense to try and repair it first as replacing it is a much larger project. If you have a free standing refrigerator, look to the age and issue to help guide you in your decision.
If you look at your old refrigerator using these 3 factors as a guide, you should be able to determine if it makes sense to repair or replace the unit.
Cost Factors of Replacing Your Refrigerator
No doubt the biggest factor in the project cost of replacing your refrigerator is the cost of the refrigerator itself. Refrigerators come in all types, sizes and finishes from economy to designer. Built-in refrigerators install either completely flush or framed with cabinetry and generally cost more than free standing ones. Below are the main cost factors in the project of replacing your refrigerator.
- Removal of the old refrigerator
- Delivery and installation of the new refrigerator
- Installing water/ice line (if applicable) and the material costs
- Hauling away and disposing of the old refrigerator
Also note that when you get a new refrigerator it is always good to check with the manufacturer on how long to let it sit before plugging it in. When a refrigerator is transported in a non-standard position (on its side), compressor oil can run out of the compressor and up refrigerant lines. Waiting will allow the oil to drain back down to the compressor. Failure to wait could mean the compressor will start pumping without sufficient oil leading to damage of the unit. Usually 2 hours is sufficient.
Tips For Keeping Your New Refrigerator Running Great
Once you have your new refrigerator you will want to make sure you take care of your new appliance to keep it running for a long time.
- Clean the Condenser CoilsUnplug and pull your fridge away from the wall, take a vacuum attachment and vacuum the back coils to remove dust and dirt that cling to the coils. This should be done twice a year.
- Keep the Rubber Door Seal (Gasket) CleanThe gasket is the rubber seal on the inside edges of your refrigerator and freezer doors. It seals out warm air and can weaken and loosen over time due to dirt and grime. Clean it as needed with any universal cleaner.
- Clean and Deodorize the InsideRemove old food particles and wipe down any spills with warm soapy water once a week. To keep the air fresh use baking soda or an over the counter deodorizer.
- Replace the Water Filter (if applicable)Rule of thumb is to replace your water filter every 6 months.
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