How Long Do Refrigerators Last? Explained

The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 to 15 years, depending on the type, brand, model, and maintenance of the appliance. However, some refrigerators may last longer or shorter than this range, depending on various factors. In this article, we will explore how to determine the expected life of your refrigerator, how to extend its life, and when to replace it.

Factors That Affect Refrigerator Lifespan

There are several factors that can affect how long a refrigerator lasts, such as:

  • Type of refrigerator: Different types of refrigerators have different components and mechanisms that may affect their durability and performance. For example, top-freezer refrigerators tend to last longer than bottom-freezer or side-by-side refrigerators, because they have fewer moving parts and less wear and tear. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a top-freezer refrigerator is 13 years, while a bottom-freezer or side-by-side refrigerator lasts about 12 years.
  • Brand and model of refrigerator: Some brands and models of refrigerators are known to be more reliable and durable than others, based on customer reviews, ratings, and feedback. For example, LG, Whirlpool, and GE are some of the best refrigerator brands according to Wirecutter, Tom’s Guide, and Consumer Affairs. However, even within the same brand, some models may have more or less features, quality, and performance than others, so it is important to do your research before buying a refrigerator.
  • Maintenance and care of refrigerator: How well you take care of your refrigerator can also affect how long it lasts. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help your refrigerator run more efficiently, prevent problems, and extend its life. Some of the maintenance tasks you can do include checking and cleaning the door seals, coils, and condenser fan, setting the right temperature, filling it up with food and drinks, and being prepared for power outages. You can find more refrigerator maintenance tips from Real Simple, American Home Shield, Sarah’s Appliance Repair, and Thumbtack.
  • Usage and environment of refrigerator: How often and how much you use your refrigerator can also influence its lifespan. For example, if you frequently open and close the door, store hot or uncovered food, or overload the shelves, you may cause your refrigerator to work harder and wear out faster. Similarly, the environment where you place your refrigerator can also affect its performance and durability. For example, if you place your refrigerator near a heat source, in direct sunlight, or in a humid or dusty area, you may reduce its efficiency and lifespan.
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How to Extend Refrigerator Lifespan

As we have seen, there are many factors that can affect how long a refrigerator lasts. However, there are also some steps you can take to extend its lifespan and get the most out of your appliance. Here are some tips to help you prolong your refrigerator’s life:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: The best way to ensure your refrigerator’s optimal performance and longevity is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, operation, and maintenance. You can find these instructions in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Make sure you read and understand the instructions carefully and follow them accordingly. If you have any questions or doubts, contact the manufacturer or a qualified technician for assistance.
  • Clean your refrigerator regularly: Cleaning your refrigerator regularly can help prevent dirt, dust, mold, bacteria, and odors from building up and affecting your refrigerator’s efficiency and health. You should clean your refrigerator’s interior, exterior, and components at least once or twice a year, or more often if needed. You can use a mild detergent, baking soda, vinegar, or a specialized cleaner to clean your refrigerator, depending on the part and the material. Make sure you unplug your refrigerator before cleaning and dry it thoroughly after cleaning.
  • Replace or repair faulty parts: Sometimes, your refrigerator may have some faulty or worn-out parts that need to be replaced or repaired. For example, the door seal, the water filter, the light bulb, the thermostat, or the ice maker. If you notice any signs of damage, malfunction, or inefficiency, you should inspect the part and determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired. You can either do it yourself or hire a professional, depending on the complexity and the risk of the task. Replacing or repairing faulty parts can help your refrigerator function better and last longer.
  • Avoid overloading or underloading your refrigerator: Overloading or underloading your refrigerator can also affect its lifespan. If you overload your refrigerator, you may block the air circulation, increase the energy consumption, and put more stress on the compressor and the motor. If you underload your refrigerator, you may waste energy and cause the temperature to fluctuate. Therefore, you should try to keep your refrigerator at a moderate level of fullness, with enough space for air to flow and enough food and drinks to absorb the warm air that enters when you open the door.
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When to Replace Refrigerator

Even if you take good care of your refrigerator, there will come a time when you need to replace it. This may be because your refrigerator is too old, too damaged, too inefficient, or too outdated. Here are some signs that indicate you may need to replace your refrigerator:

  • Your refrigerator is more than 15 years old: The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 to 15 years, so if your refrigerator is older than that, you may want to consider replacing it. Older refrigerators tend to have more problems, use more energy, and lack modern features and technology. Replacing your old refrigerator with a new one can help you save money, energy, and space, as well as enjoy better performance and convenience.
  • Your refrigerator is constantly breaking down or needing repairs: If your refrigerator is constantly breaking down or needing repairs, it may be a sign that it is reaching the end of its life. Frequent repairs can be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating, and they may not guarantee a lasting solution. If your refrigerator is beyond repair or the cost of repair exceeds the value of the appliance, you may be better off replacing it with a new one.
  • Your refrigerator is not cooling properly or consistently: One of the main functions of a refrigerator is to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh. If your refrigerator is not cooling properly or consistently, it may be a sign that something is wrong with the appliance. There could be many reasons for this, such as a faulty thermostat, a leaky door seal, a dirty coil, or a failing compressor. Some of these issues can be fixed, but some may require a replacement. If your refrigerator is not cooling properly or consistently, you should check the temperature, inspect the parts, and consult a technician. If the problem persists or worsens, you may need to replace your refrigerator.
  • Your refrigerator is making loud or unusual noises: Another sign that your refrigerator may need to be replaced is if it is making loud or unusual noises. Some noises are normal and expected, such as the hum of the motor, the click of the thermostat, or the drip of the defrost cycle. However, some noises are abnormal and alarming, such as the hiss of a refrigerant leak, the rattle of a loose part, or the bang of a compressor failure. If your refrigerator is making loud or unusual noises, you should try to identify the source and the cause of the noise, and contact a technician if needed. If the noise is due to a serious or irreparable problem, you may need to replace your refrigerator.
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Conclusion

A refrigerator is an essential and expensive appliance that you want to last as long as possible. The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 to 15 years, but it can vary depending on the type, brand, model, and maintenance of the appliance. There are many factors that can affect how long a refrigerator lasts, such as the usage, environment, care, and repair of the appliance. There are also some steps you can take to extend its lifespan, such as following the manufacturer’s instructions, cleaning the refrigerator regularly, replacing or repairing faulty parts, and avoiding overloading or underloading the refrigerator. However, there will come a time when you need to replace your refrigerator, such as when it is too old, too damaged, too inefficient, or too outdated. Some signs that indicate you may need to replace your refrigerator include the age, the performance, the noise, and the repair history of the appliance. Replacing your refrigerator with a new one can help you save money, energy, and space, as well as enjoy better performance and convenience.

I hope you find this article helpful and informative. Thank you for reading.