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Repair & Maintenance

Here’s What You Can Expect to Pay for That Fridge Repair

The average cost of refrigerator repair can generally range from $250 to $500. This is not a definitive price but when it comes to getting your fridge repaired, many things should be taken into consideration.

Fridge Repair Costs

The cost of repairing a refrigerator can be negligible, or it can be so high that replacing the fridge altogether would be more cost-effective. How much can you expect to pay for fridge repairs? Should you repair or replace your fridge? You need to know the answers to these questions, because even if you aren’t having fridge trouble now, you may one day be faced with the prospect of shelling out hundreds for a costly fix – or a new appliance.

Diagnostic Costs

When you call an appliance repair specialist to come out to your home, he or she will normally charge a fee just to diagnose your problem. This fee will usually be in the neighborhood of $50 to $90 – about the same as you would pay a home warranty provider to resolve the problem entirely. But if you don’t have a home warranty, this fee is just the beginning of the costs you’ll incur.

Of course, most appliance repair professionals will waive the diagnostic fee if you agree to let them fix your fridge. But the fee itself serves as a barrier to shopping around for quotes. If you’re scheduling your fridge repair with your appliance warranty company, you won’t have to worry so much about repair costs. But if you don’t have a home warranty, ask about a diagnostic fee before you schedule a visit.

Labor Costs

It can take one to two hours to repair your refrigerator, depending on what the problem is. Labor typically costs $100 to $200 an hour, depending on where you’re located. Some repairs will naturally take longer than others.

Repair or Replace?

Should you have your fridge fixed, or toss it and buy a new one? If the problem is an expensive one, you may be better off just buying a new fridge. But the decision to repair or replace also depends, to some extent, on what kind of fridge you have and how old it is. Consumer Reports advises fixing a built-in fridge. As for other styles of fridge, a side-by-side unit should be repaired if it’s less than five years old; a bottom-freezer fridge should be repaired if it’s less than seven years old; and a top-freezer model should be repaired if it’s less than three to six years old. Any style of fridge that is more than 15 years old should be replaced rather than repaired.

However, you should also consider the cost of the repairs in question, not just the age and style of your fridge, when choosing whether to repair or replace. Consider that the average cost range to repair or REPLACE can be $153-$1037* without a home warranty. If you’re on track to spend more than half the cost of a new fridge on repairs, it’s a better idea to just buy the new fridge. Of course, what “half the cost of a new fridge” means to you can vary widely, as the cost of a new fridge can range from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand, depending on the brand and style.

Straightforward Repairs

If your fridge repair is straightforward and not too expensive, it may be worth it. Some repairs that are generally worthwhile include cleaning a dirty coil, unclogging a drain line, or replacing a faulty thermostat.

A fridge that won’t stay cold is usually suffering from a bad thermostat or a dirty coil. Both of these problems can be fixed in about an hour, and will cost about $50 to $250. A leaking fridge is usually a sign of a clogged freezer drain pipe, and could cost a little or a lot to fix, depending on how much ice is clogging the pipe.

Expensive Repairs

Some more expensive repair jobs include replacing the compressor, which can cost at least $300 to $500 but may cost much more. You should never try to replace your own compressor; the job requires specialized training and tools because of the refrigerants involved. Other repairs, such as replacing defroster and freezer fan motors, evaporator fan motors, circuit boards, door seals or freezer components, can easily cost you $200 to $250 or more.

Icemaker Repairs

On average, icemaker repairs will cost about $330. However, before calling a repairman about your malfunctioning ice maker, check to see if the hose is frozen. A frozen hose can be thawed out in warm water, and this could restore function to your ice maker. If your ice is ready and your ice maker still won’t shut off, it could need repairs. If your ice maker makes increasingly louder noises than normal, this is another sign that it could need repair. 

You need to know what to do when your fridge breaks, because there’s no sense spending several hundred dollars repairing an appliance when you could buy a whole new one for not much more. Familiarize yourself with common fridge repairs, and learn which ones tend to be cheap, straightforward fixes and which ones will knock a hole in your pocketbook. That way, you can be ready when your fridge goes on the fritz.

Speaking of repairs, did you know that with American Home Shield the components and parts of your refrigerator that malfunction due to normal wear and tear are covered under a home warranty? During your contract term, repair or replacement of your refrigerator is covered, up to a $3,000 maximum. Also, an AHS Warranty covers multiple units.

*Repair/Replacement costs are average U.S. costs as reported in A Study of Homeowners’ Appliance and Home Systems Service Experiences, a nationwide survey of homeowners conducted in 2017 by Decision Analyst for American Home Shield.  Further reproduction or use is expressly prohibited.

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