How Long Do Refrigerators Last? Signs it May Be Time for a Replacement

We depend on our refrigerators to keep our food fresh. When something goes wrong with a refrigerator, especially when we don’t realize it right away, the fallout can be substantial. Not only could you face the possibility of replacing all your food, but until you solve the problem you may not have anywhere to store your perishables. It’s always good to know how long refrigerators last so if yours is getting older, you can have a plan in place when it’s time to make a change. Below you’ll find an overview relating to potential refrigerator replacement.

How Long Do Refrigerators Last on Average?

Estimates range in terms of how long fridges last; some sources say 10 years while others say as long as 25 years. According to the United States Department of Energy, refrigerators last approximately 12 years. At that point, it’s likely time to replace it. Of course, if your refrigerator is not energy-efficient, you may want to consider replacing it before it stops working.

Warning Signs That Your Refrigerator is Dying

The best way to avoid problems because of a faulty refrigerator is to get ahead of it. If you notice any of these problems in your old refrigerator, consider a replacement as opposed to putting money into it. You can start by referring to these refrigerator maintenance and repair tips. Keep reading to learn these 5 warning signs that your refrigerator is dying.

The Exterior of the Refrigerator is Getting Hot

Unless you’re cooking something on the stove, no kitchen appliance should ever be hot to the touch on its exterior. That’s especially the case with your refrigerator. The motor generates heat when it runs, but that heat is supposed to be contained so you won’t really notice it. If you suddenly start feeling that heat on the exterior of the unit, it could be a sign that the motor is failing or that the coils have stopped working.

Food is Going Bad Quickly

There is a certain amount of time that food can be kept safely in a refrigerator before the government recommends you discard it. The United States Department of Health and Human Services publishes a food storage chart with suggestions for how long you should keep certain foods in your refrigerator. Here are a few examples:

  • Egg salad – 3-4 days
  • Bacon – 1 week
  • Steaks – 3-5 days
  • Chicken – 1-2 days
  • Eggs – 3-5 weeks

The full chart provides recommended refrigeration times and time that food should spend in the freezer. If your refrigerator has been keeping food well for some time and suddenly stops doing so, it could be a sign that your refrigerator is dying.

Keep the Motor Running

The motor in a refrigerator is going to run from time to time to maintain the appropriate temperature. The motor should only run periodically, and not loudly, once the compartments have achieved those temperatures. If you notice that your refrigerator motor is suddenly running constantly or that it’s making a lot of noise, you may want to call a professional to analyze the situation.

Exterior Condensation

A refrigerator is a system of approximately five different components, all working together to maintain the temperature you want in the cooling compartments. When one or more of them stops working, it can lead to condensation forming on the outside of the refrigerator. This shouldn’t happen and is a sign that your refrigerator is dying. It generally means that the motor is working too hard to keep things cool or cold, so it’s possible that you don’t have much time to find a solution.

Bills Are Mounting

You may also notice that you’ve been seeing quite a bit of your regular appliance repair person in recent weeks or months and/or that your utility bills are rising. Even if you make use of home warranty plans, regular repairs can still be a hassle and time-consuming. At a certain point, it may be wise to invest in a new unit.

Overall Considerations

Aside from the warning signs detailed above, you may want to keep in mind that how long your fridge lasts is an issue that moves beyond how well it keeps your food. In recent years, many advancements have been made with energy-efficient refrigerators and other appliances. According to a study done by researchers at Cornell University, these new units require less energy on average than older models, which means that your investment in a new refrigerator could be offset every month by lower utility bills and the ability to keep your food longer than before.

Take everything into consideration when thinking about how long your fridge lasts, including the economic aspect. When you do, you’ll be able to come to a solution that works for you and your family. If you’d like to learn more about how Home Warranty of America can help you protect yourself against unforeseen repair costs to your refrigerator, feel free to contact us for more information. You can either call us at (888) 492-7359 or contact us online at any time. We look forward to working with you!

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