New Year, New … Refrigerator?
Feb 5, 2021
Just how often do you really think about your refrigerator? Outside of opening it to grab some munchies or filling your glass with ice, probably not much. It’s basically hiding in plain sight … that is, until things don’t seem as cold as they usually are, the icemaker jams up or the whole thing stops working outright.
If you’ve had yours for a long time, it’s times like these that make you stop and wonder: Is this a minor issue, or is it time to think about getting a new refrigerator? And how long should a refrigerator last, anyway?
Like all appliances, the occasional repair or service call is to be expected. Otherwise, refrigerators are generally built to last a long time at least 12 years on average.1 So if you’ve had yours for that long (or longer), it’s safe to say it probably is. That may not be good news for your family budget; refrigerators are expensive, after all!
If you’re finding yourself on the fridge fence, here are a few things that may help you decide to invest in a new icebox including an idea for a no-credit alternative to appliance financing* that can help fit the extra expense into your current budget.
Signs It’s Time for a New Fridge
Sometimes appliances are like pets they don’t always outwardly show that something is wrong or they’re not feeling well. So if your 12-year-old-or-older refrigerator seems to be working totally fine, when should you start to worry? Here are a few easy telltale signs of wear and tear to look out for:
1. Your food is losing its freshness faster than normal
If you find your food is going bad sooner than it should, it’s likely that your older fridge isn’t able to properly maintain that same level of freshness or temperature that it once did. If you’re unsure of how long certain foods can be refrigerated safely, refer to the United States Department of Health and Human Services food chart here.
2. The motor is running constantly.
You know those fridge noises? Turns out most are completely normal; the occasional whir and hum are just proper maintenance and temperature control. In fact, they’ve probably become white noise to you at this point. However, it is time to take notice when the motor seems to constantly run louder and/or more severely than normal. If that’s happening, it’s almost a given you’re in need of a new refrigerator.
3. The refrigerator’s exterior is getting hot.
There’s a likely chance that a constantly running motor is also creating heat that you can feel on the outside of your fridge. This is a major red flag indicating that the motor is failing or that the coils have stopped working. It could also be a potential fire hazard, so call a repairman immediately.
4. The repairman is becoming a regular visitor.
Regular repairs are normal and nothing to get nervous about. But, when they become more frequent, it’s time to evaluate the situation. High costs and time-intensive repair appointments not only indicate that something may be wrong, but also that it’s time for a new unit altogether.
5. The replacement parts no longer exist.
It’s a common risk with fridges that are 12 years old or older: The company that made your fridge may no longer manufacture the replacement parts your fridge may need. When that’s the case, there’s really no point in wasting money on a workaround when you should just put that money toward a new unit.
All Cool to Know … So What Now?
All of these tips have probably given you some things to think about. And, maybe they’ve confirmed what you were suspecting all along: It’s time to make that new fridge purchase. But you may be worried about your budget taking a hit.
We get it, it’s a big decision and a big expense but it will be worth it in the long run. In addition to saving you from endless worry, the technology and energy efficiencies of today’s best refrigerators can go a long way in saving you money on electricity, providing healthier water filtration and helping your food stay fresher, longer. Plus, it’s just fun getting to play with all of the new bells and whistles that have been created since you bought your current model!
As for fitting it in your budget, we have you covered on a way to shop now and pay later on that fancy new fridge with a Preferred Lease lease-to-own agreement.** Take advantage of this alternative to appliance financing by shopping for refrigerators, freezers and other appliances at our more than 4,500 retailer partners.
*“No credit needed” does not mean or imply that no inquiry will be made of credit history or creditworthiness. We may receive data from consumer reporting agencies and/or data furnishers, but no established FICO score or credit history is required.
**The advertised transaction is a rental-purchase agreement (rent-to-own agreement, consumer rental-purchase agreement or a lease/lease-purchase agreement depending on your state) provided by Preferred Lease. It is not a loan, credit or financing. You will not own the merchandise until the total amount necessary to acquire ownership is paid in full or you exercise your early purchase option. Ownership is optional. Approval subject to review and verification of your application. Not all applicants are approved. See your lease for payment amounts and rental terms.
“Shopping for Appliances” energy.gov