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Thread: 15 year old Fridge, repair or replace?

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    DIY Member paulsiu's Avatar
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    Default 15 year old Fridge, repair or replace?

    Is it worth hiring a repair man to fix a 15 year old fridge or should one just buy a new one.

    Paul

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    You should wait, they are coming out with rebates for clunkers for fridges, dishwashers, stoves, washers and dryers. I think yours would fit at 15 years old and you don't need to turn it in either. There is a link to it here somewhere.

    If you can wait,

    here is part of the article, I didn't copy the site addy I usually do, so I apologize I don't have that, an oversight of mine.

    But, here is part copied,


    By Matthew Boyle Matthew Boyle – Mon Aug 24, 8:08 am ET
    A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers, but it's probably not enough to lift companies such as Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR - News) and Electrolux out of the worst down cycle in the sector's history.

    Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won't have to trade in their old appliances.)

    "These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement announcing the plan. Only appliances covered by the Energy Star seal will qualify. In 2008, about 55% of newly produced major household appliances met those standards, which are set by the Energy Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency.
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-25-2009 at 06:49 PM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsiu View Post
    Is it worth hiring a repair man to fix a 15 year old fridge or should one just buy a new one.

    Paul
    What is your fridge doing or not doing?

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Depends on what it will take to repair it, what you have, and what you really want. I sold my 15 year old fridge, clean and in excellent mechanical condition (energy use was still near the Energy Guide spec.) earlier this year for $200. It was an Amana 22 cu.ft. side-by-side with icemaker/water dispenser.

    The newer fridges are nearly twice as efficient as that one was, but it's hard to justify a replacement on energy consumption with such an expensive appliance. This is especially true if you are upgrading to stainless steel and larger capacity.

    Depending on the repair, you might estimate how long it will last, then decide if it is worth the gamble. I suspect my old one would have worked for another 5 years before some sort of major or PITA trouble developed that would make it unsalvageable or at least undesirable for us. So in essence I got $200 for replacing it sooner with a better, more attractive, and larger model that is saving some energy as well (about $53/year.) I also took advantage of generous 0% financing...didn't need to, but it's nice to accrue benefits while not having paid for it yet.

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    DIY Member paulsiu's Avatar
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    I am not sure, it's my in-law's fridge. I think the fridge freeze stuff on some level and is warm on others. The temperature seems inconsistent. I was thinking of getting them a new fridge for Christmas, but that would be an expensive gift, so one idea was to hire a repair man.

    Paul

  6. #6

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    The one thing when people talk about getting rid of things just because they are no longer energy efficient as new ones, that they are missing, is where and what happens to the old ones when they are discarded? To the landfills. If people are really concerned about the environment they have to consider the gases which is emitted from those places.

    I am like you, everything is so old before it is discarded. It can't be fixed anymore or parts can't be found, like on my 55 year old furnace I had replaced about 4 years ago.

    To replace things just because the given age is 6 years on a water heater is insane, it is leaks, or can't be fixed, okay. Just imagine if everyone did that crap, replaced this at a certain age or that, my word, our planet is already a garbage dump could you imagine how much worse it would be, if it weren't for people like us?

    My water heater is somewhere around 12 years old, and my fridge like yours cited here of your in laws is about 15 years old, too. At least. Still running well. The gaskets needed fixed, and I took my time in replacing them, and they are fine. I sweep the back of the coils every now and then, I guess, if down the road I need to replace it, I will. Back not until, their is a reason to.

    I intend on letting my water heater age gracefully like me, and my 21 year old cat, and when it needs replaced it will then be replaced but, not a day before then. Not just because it is old. Hog wash to do anything other.

    I think it is nice of you to want to do that for your inlaws, that is a nice gift, either way, to buy new or to fix. You must be a nice guy to do that.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    The one thing when people talk about getting rid of things just because they are no longer energy efficient as new ones, that they are missing, is where and what happens to the old ones when they are discarded? To the landfills. If people are really concerned about the environment they have to consider the gases which is emitted from those places.
    Large appliances tend to end up going to recyclers. You aren't allowed to just landfill refrigeration gear without removing the refrigerant as best I understand. The inefficient device is going to end up disposed of anyway, it's just a matter of when.

    One can fret about the land filled material while emitting an extra 500 lb or so of CO2/year by continuing to operate the less efficient fridge...(not to mention the extra mercury emissions that result when the local electric is coal fired.) Coal fired electric generation emits 2.1 lb CO2/kwh, nat. gas fired about 1.3 lb CO2/kwh per the DOE.

    I am like you, everything is so old before it is discarded. It can't be fixed anymore or parts can't be found, like on my 55 year old furnace I had replaced about 4 years ago.
    Consider how much natural gas that thing wasted compared to even the 80% efficiency units of the 1990's. It probably wasn't even hitting 60% efficiency, so each year it was using at least 33% more gas than required for ~13 years. A ccf of nat. gas is equivalent to about 12 lbs/co2.

    To replace things just because the given age is 6 years on a water heater is insane, it is leaks, or can't be fixed, okay.
    Totally different issue than replacing something because it is inefficient AND runs poorly (problems the OP is facing with this one.) I agree that unless a water heater is in a death spiral there is little incentive to replacing it. As for the fridge I'm actually wondering how much it might take to repair it, assuming it is repairable.

    At some age one is throwing good money after bad for a device that is unlikely to last more than a few years. Figure out the new fridge purchase cost (with tax, delivery, etc), subtract any credits, subtract sale of previous fridge if possible, divide by life expectancy of the new one, then subtract the cost of the electrical reduction/yr. The result is the cost per year of early replacement. If the repair cost divided by the likely life expectancy exceeds this value, then there is no economic justification for repair (other than lacking the funds to replace.)

    Although the side-by-side I replaced still ran well, I didn't like it because of the same sort of temperature issues mentioned by OP above. Things were too warm in the top half, too cold in the bottom. Only the middle was really safe for most storage. I only put things on the bottom shelf that could stand a freeze, and the top was for stuff that really only needed mild chilling. Never did like the side-by-side design since the height-to-width ratio is too high creating a nasty temp. gradient. (The unit was here when I bought the place.) Didn't end up in a landfill as a neighbor bought it.

    I replaced my reliable and still working old top loading washer with an efficient front loader and have been shocked at how quickly it is going to payoff (about three and a half years.) And that's not even counting the reduced wear and tear on clothes from the agitator.

    There's a big difference between simply wanting something shiny and new, and having good justification to replace a still functional piece of equipment. I hang onto stuff for a long time, until it no longer makes sense to do so. I've still got my 19 year old TV, partially because it uses about half the energy of a comparable LCD/plasma, and partially because I'm tight with a buck.

  8. #8
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsiu View Post
    Is it worth hiring a repair man to fix a 15 year old fridge or should one just buy a new one.

    Paul
    We went from an 18 cu ft to a 26 cu ft
    The new one uses 10% LESS then the old one was rated for when it was new 14 years ago
    We kept the old one for pool parties

    I do not put $$ into old appliances
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

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