- Typical Range: $40 to $1,000
- National Average: $350
A refrigerator typically lasts for 10 to 15 years—and some can last 20 or more years with proper maintenance. But sometimes, a refrigerator will need repairs to help it reach its expected lifespan. According to Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, “The two most common refrigerator repairs are temperature issues: too hot or too cold, and the ice maker not working.” Some other common appliance repairs are for a malfunctioning thermostat, frozen coils, broken compressor or fan, leaks, noises, and door dents. All these refrigerator repairs vary in price depending on the brand, size, and style of the fridge, as well as the cost of labor in the home’s geographic area. If the average refrigerator repair cost works with a homeowner’s budget, it will be considerably less expensive to repair the part that’s broken than buying a brand-new refrigerator.
According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, refrigerator repair costs can range between $40 and $1,000, with the national average around $350. Depending on the appliance’s brand, model, and age, replacement parts may be harder to find and can be more expensive. The more common brands of refrigerators are usually more budget-friendly to repair than less common, higher-end brands and models. Homeowners will want to double-check to see if the refrigerator repair technician they hire has experience repairing the brand of refrigerator in their home. Some refrigerators, such as side-by-side fridges or ones with the freezer on the bottom, require special parts. Homeowners who need fridge repairs are advised to hire an appliance repair specialist or someone with experience repairing refrigeration systems.
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Factors in Calculating Refrigerator Repair Cost
There are several factors that impact refrigerator repair costs. Prices can differ from the national average due to the type of repair required, the type of problem, the refrigerator brand, materials, and labor.
A refrigerator is made up of many different parts, and any one of them could be the cause of an issue. When something breaks, the cost to repair it depends on what it is, what issue it causes, and the type of repair that’s required. The following are some of the most common refrigerator repairs.
- Rubber door seal: $100 to $350
- Drip pan: $150 to $200
- Thermostat: $150 to $400
- Coil: $60 to $100
- Compressor: $500 to $1,000
- Control board: $500 to $800
It might not be immediately clear what part of the refrigerator has broken, but identifying the type of issue may help to narrow it down. For example, if there is a pool of water collecting under the fridge, this is likely due to a problem with the evaporator coil. Depending on whether the coils will need to be repaired or replaced, this could cost $120 to $200 to repair. If the fridge is not cold enough, there’s the possibility one or more elements may have broken down. For this type of problem, a repair technician may have to inspect the fridge in person. Depending on what issues they find, repairs could cost $50 to $250. It’s helpful for homeowners to provide the repair person with as many details as possible ahead of time to help them determine a diagnosis.
A refrigerator’s brand may impact the cost of repairs. The best refrigerator brands strike a balance between durability and affordability. If the fridge is a more common brand like GE or Whirlpool, it will be easier to source repair parts. Repairs for these brands usually cost around $50 to $550. Some models have more complex parts that are challenging to repair: Brands like Samsung and Sub-Zero tend to be the most expensive to fix, with repairs costing between $250 and $1,200.
Materials and Labor
The cost of both materials and labor impact the overall fridge repair cost. Fixing just the parts that are broken is typically more cost-effective than buying a new refrigerator, and repairing the existing parts will be cheaper than ordering replacement parts. Homeowners will want to consider the cost of parts, installation, labor, and service fees when calculating total repair costs. Depending on the age, model, and brand of the fridge, some parts and materials may be hard to find, resulting in higher repair costs. For labor, some professionals may charge an hourly rate between $100 and $250 and a service fee that can range from $70 to $120. Other professionals may charge a flat rate for the repair instead of charging by the hour. Rates may vary based on region, so homeowners will want to look up “refrigerator repair near me” to get an idea of prices in their area.
Additional Costs and Considerations
While the factors above will have the most impact on the overall cost to repair a fridge, there are some additional costs and fees to be aware of.
Repair vs. Replacement
“Many times, a refrigerator can be repaired before it needs to be replaced,” explains Shimek. Typically, most refrigerator repairs will cost less than the price of buying a new one. The rule of thumb is that if the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of purchasing a new refrigerator, the owner may be better off replacing it. If the compressor needs to be replaced or the fridge is low on refrigerant, labor costs may push the price of repairs beyond what is affordable for an older appliance. On the other hand, replacement often comes with the cost of disposing of the old fridge. Homeowners will want to consider the price of labor and materials when deciding if repairing the refrigerator is worth it in the long run. New refrigerator cost may be less than the cost of repairs for a fridge that may be on its last legs.
To determine the best way forward with their fridge, Shimek recommends that homeowners contact a professional who can “Perform a diagnostic task on the refrigerator and then discuss with the homeowner the repairs that are needed and help them with the next steps.”
Diagnostic fees are what a homeowner will pay just to have a professional come to their home and identify the issue. These fees can run from $70 to $120 on average. Some professionals will offer to waive the diagnostic fee if the homeowner hires them to complete the repair. The most common problems that result in fridge repair include faulty thermostats, dirty coils, and noises related to clogged drain lines. These are typically budget-friendly and straightforward repairs.
Wine Fridge or Mini Fridge Repair
Although wine fridges and mini fridges are smaller than full-size models, they are mostly made up of the same components. For this reason, they tend to need similar repairs. It can cost between $50 and $350 to repair a wine fridge or mini fridge, so depending on the model it may make sense to replace rather than repair a mini fridge.
If a refrigerator is still functioning but is looking a bit worse for wear, painting can be a good alternative to replacement. Some homeowners will also paint their fridge when they remodel so that it matches the kitchen’s new color scheme. The typical cost to paint a fridge is around $350 to $450.
Types of Refrigerator Repairs
It’s best to get a refrigerator fixed quickly instead of waiting until the problem develops into a bigger issue. What follows are some of the most common refrigerator issues and how much they typically cost to repair.
Refrigerator coils are responsible for keeping everything cold. They circulate the coolant to condense warm air and lower the temperature. They’re typically located on the bottom or back of the appliance, so they can get dirty quickly. Condenser coils can get clogged with pet hair, dust, and lint. It’s recommended that homeowners pull out their refrigerator, blow out the coils with compressed air, and vacuum them thoroughly at least once a year. Condenser coil repair can cost $60 to $100.
The compressor acts like the heart of the refrigerator, circulating refrigerant through the system. Normal wear and tear will cause a compressor to stop working. When that happens, the refrigerator will no longer stay cold, it may become unusually noisy, and ice buildup may appear. Replacing the compressor is one of the pricier refrigerator repairs. Including labor, refrigerator compressor repair costs can run between $500 and $1,000.
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The control board is a vital part of the refrigeration process since no part of the fridge can function without it. This makes it one of the most expensive parts of a refrigerator to fix. If the refrigerator has stopped working suddenly, it may have something to do with the control board. Replacing the control board can cost between $500 and $800. Homeowners can expect to pay more if they have a high-end refrigerator.
The cost to repair a refrigerator door dent depends on the number of dents and how large they are. Smaller refrigerator door dent repair costs around $50, and larger dents can cost $75 or more to repair—especially if the dent prevents the door from closing or sealing properly. If the dent is severe, the door may need to be replaced.
Ice maker repairs typically cost around $350 to $500. One common issue with ice makers is a frozen hose. If thawing the hose doesn’t fix the problem, a repair or replacement will be needed. If the ice maker is making louder noises than it usually does, it could also be a sign that the ice maker needs to be replaced.
Refrigerant Gas Leak
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), refrigerator freon leaks require servicing by a certified technician. If there is a strong chemical smell coming from the fridge, food isn’t staying cold, and the motor is constantly running, there may be a refrigerant leak. A fridge that’s working correctly will not need freon replacement, but if there’s a leak, a professional will know how to put freon in a refrigerator. Refrigerant leak repair costs between $100 and $440 on average.
If the temperature inside the fridge is inconsistent, the thermostat may be the problem. A faulty thermostat can also cause unusual or loud noises from the appliance. Homeowners can double-check the thermostat setting if they notice the fridge isn’t as cold as it used to be. The temperature setting can easily get bumped when items are being moved in a crowded fridge. It’s recommended to keep the fridge temperature set between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal food storage. A thermostat that is not working will need to be replaced, which typically costs $100 to $300.
It typically costs between $175 and $500 to repair a water dispenser that is not working. There are many unseen components to a water dispenser that can malfunction, which accounts for the considerable range in repair costs. In some cases, a repair person may need to do an inspection to locate the issue, and this may come with an additional diagnostic fee.
Do I Need a Refrigerator Repair?
There are several noticeable signs that homeowners will see when their fridge is in need of repair, in addition to signs they need to replace their fridge. A new fridge costs a good chunk of change, but if the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of a new one, it might be time for homeowners to start researching the best places to buy a refrigerator. The following are a few of the most obvious signs that the fridge is in need of repair, or even that it may be time for the homeowner to find out how much a new fridge costs.
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Condensation and Frost
If the refrigerator is covered in condensation on the outside or the inside and there’s frost covering the inside of the freezer, the rubber seal surrounding the door may need to be replaced. If the homeowner is unsure whether the rubber gasket is sealing properly, they can try closing the door on a dollar bill and pulling it out slowly. If the dollar bill slides out with no resistance, the seal will need to be replaced. If replacing the seal doesn’t fix the problem, chances are the refrigerator may need to be repaired or replaced.
A fridge that is leaking water may have dirty or cracked coils, or it may have a broken seal that is causing excess condensation. Depending on the extent of the problem, it may be possible to repair, or the fridge might need to be replaced instead. Some leaks stay hidden underneath the fridge without being noticed, leading to water damage. It’s a good idea for homeowners to move the fridge away from the wall occasionally to check for water.
If the refrigerator’s motor is constantly running, that means it’s trying to regulate continually fluctuating temperatures. A noisy refrigerator can signify that the appliance isn’t working efficiently. Cleaning the condenser coils with compressed air and vacuuming away dust, lint, and pet hair may solve the problem. Another suggestion is for the homeowner to unplug the refrigerator and plug it back into the outlet to see if that fixes the problem. If the fridge isn’t maintaining a constant temperature, a professional will be able to tell if it’s time for a repair or a replacement.
While it’s common to feel warmth emanating from the coils on the back of a refrigerator, feeling excessive heat is not normal. Calling in a professional to inspect the coils will let the homeowner know if a coil replacement is needed or if it’s a better investment to buy a new refrigerator.
Another sign that a refrigerator is on its last legs is if food inside is spoiling quickly. A fridge that isn’t maintaining a cold enough temperature isn’t running efficiently. It will not only cost money to replace the food that has gone bad, but it will also eventually cost more and more to run an inefficient appliance.
Older, Less Efficient Model
With the advancements in appliance technology, new refrigerators are more energy efficient than older models. If the refrigerator is between 10 and 20 years old, chances are a new one will cost less to repair and will use less electricity than the current one.
Refrigerator Repair: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Homeowners who are experienced with DIY projects may consider tackling some straightforward refrigerator repairs on their own, such as replacing a rubber door gasket, cleaning coils, unclogging a drain line, or cleaning the drip pan. However, an experienced professional should handle more advanced repairs for several important reasons.
According to Shimek, “The customer should look in the troubleshooting section of the manual that came with the refrigerator and follow the steps for their issue. If troubleshooting doesn’t fix the issue, then it’s time to call in the professionals,” he says.
Refrigerators rely on highly toxic gases. Freon leaks and other issues that deal with refrigerants require a certified professional as mandated by the EPA. In addition, an experienced refrigerator repair technician should be the one to conduct repairs on mechanical issues that involve the motor or coils. Homeowners who attempt to repair the internal workings of a refrigerator without the required experience can make the problem worse, and this can end up costing more money in the long run. Additionally, DIY repairs could void the manufacturer’s warranty on the refrigerator. If the homeowner has any uncertainty about how to proceed with a refrigerator repair, it’s worth the cost of hiring a refrigerator repair service to get the best results.
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How to Save Money on Refrigerator Repair Cost
Refrigerator repair costs can be high, and the additional fees associated with the repairs can quickly add up. One way to save money on appliance repair costs is to hire the cheapest repair technician available, but there are other ways to save without sacrificing quality.
- Get multiple quotes. Be sure to get at least three price estimates from reputable refrigerator repair technicians near you.
- Repair minor issues quickly. It’s common for homeowners to let minor problems go if it’s something that they can work around. Letting seemingly minor repairs wait can allow the problem to develop into significant issues that can cost more money.
- Keep the fridge clean. Cleaning the inside of a refrigerator may be a regular habit for many people, but how often do they clean the outside? Keeping the coils clean and free of dust will keep the fridge running efficiently for a long time.
- Consider a home warranty. A home warranty can help cover pricey repairs or a refrigerator replacement.
- Read the small print. If the refrigerator is malfunctioning due to a manufacturer defect, the appliance warranty may cover the cost of repairs. Be sure to read the warranty carefully.
Questions to Ask About Refrigerator Repair
Asking the right questions about refrigerator repair costs can minimize miscommunication and save money. After looking up “fridge repair near me,” here are some questions homeowners can ask the best appliance repair services before hiring.
- Will you provide references?
- Are your repair technicians licensed?
- Do you have insurance?
- How long has your company been in business?
- How often do you work on refrigerators like mine?
- What training do your repair technicians have?
- How long have they been repairing refrigerators?
- Who will repair the refrigerator?
- What brand of appliances do you have experience repairing?
- Do you specialize in specific brands?
- Is there a fee for a service call?
- Do you provide a free estimate?
- Do you provide after-hours emergency service?
- Do you offer a warranty?
- Where can I leave a review?
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Getting a refrigerator repaired while staying within a budget can be a daunting process. The following frequently asked questions about refrigerator repair costs to help guide homeowners in their decisions.
Q. Is it worth fixing a refrigerator?
Yes, in many cases it is worth it, as a refrigerator lasts 10 to 15 years on average. Often, a repair will cost less than replacing the appliance. If the price of repairing a refrigerator is more than half the cost of buying a new one, it may be time for the homeowner to start shopping around for a new fridge. Homeowners will want to carefully consider the price of labor and materials before deciding to get their refrigerator repaired, especially if they have an older-model appliance.
Q. Why is my refrigerator running but not cooling?
There are a few reasons a refrigerator is not cooling. Homeowners can check the owner’s manual to troubleshoot, test the rubber door seals, check the thermostat to ensure it wasn’t accidentally bumped and changed, clean the condenser coils, and check to make sure there’s nothing blocking the air vents. If these solutions don’t fix the problem, it’s time to call in a professional.
Q. What is the first thing to check when a refrigerator stops working?
If the refrigerator has suddenly stopped working, the first thing homeowners will want to do is check the power cord and make sure it’s still plugged into the outlet. If it is, they can check the power breaker to see if it’s been tripped. Another thing homeowners can do is check the outlet by plugging in a lamp to see if the outlet works properly and check the power cord for damage. If none of these suggestions work, it’s recommended that the homeowner call a professional to come and look at the refrigerator and assess if it can be repaired. If not, the best option may be to replace it with a new refrigerator.
Q. What happens when the fridge compressor goes out?
When a refrigerator compressor is failing, there are a few signs. If the homeowner notices the compressor clicking multiple times during a short period, that it’s quickly turning on and off, if it’s humming all the time, that it’s louder than usual, or if there are grinding or rattling noises, the compressor may need to be replaced. If there is ice buildup in the freezer or food spoilage, those are also signs the compressor is not working efficiently.
Q. How long do refrigerator compressors last?
A refrigerator compressor typically lasts 10 years or longer with regular maintenance. When something goes wrong with a refrigerator, it’s common for a refrigerator repair technician to check the compressor first since it’s crucial in the refrigeration process. Refrigerator compressor cost can range between $500 and $1,000.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Angi, Fixr
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