Refrigerators are home’s most used appliances. It’s hard to function without one for it means that most perishable products and leftover food have to be consumed fast before they go bad. A refrigerator saves you the headache of worrying about food going bad, and it’s one the greatest innovation in the kitchen.
A refrigerator keeps your food safe for days by maintaining cool temperatures that slow down bacteria growth. Therefore, even when the power goes off, those few hours puts your food in jeopardy and you are likely to suffer some losses. You can imagine the hassle you have to go through when your refrigerator is faulty and not functioning.
Possible Refrigerator Problems
The refrigerator has many components that could go wrong and lead to a malfunction. If your refrigerator stops working it could be one of these problems listed below.
- Refrigerator stops cooling
- The water dispenser is possibly not working
- Your refrigerator freezer seems cold, but the refrigerator is warm
- It’s leaking water
- It’s freezing food
- The icemaker stops working
- The defrost drain is clogged
- Your refrigerator is noisy and loud
- The light is not working
- The refrigerator is constantly running
Some of the problems listed above may not be that easy to see if you are not conversant with the mechanism of the refrigerator functioning system. If your refrigerator appears to be faulty and not functioning as it should, the first thing you should do is to check your warranty. Most manufacturers have warranties that run for long, and you might be lucky to find that you are still legible for repairs from the manufacturer.
However, if your warranty has expired, do not despair. You can seek the services of a professional to diagnose the problems are that causing the malfunction.
How to Choose the Best Professional for Refrigerator Repair Services
So your refrigerator has stopped working, and you need someone to repair it. The major question should be; how do you get someone reliable to repair your refrigerator without charging you exorbitant costs? There are so many professional contractors out there who are ready to take up the job. However, just like any other service, you need to be cautious when getting a professional for the job.
Here are simple guidelines that will help you get the right person for the repair.
1. Ask for referrals for a professional contractor near you
Asking your friends or neighbors for recommendation might be one the best way to get someone qualified and most importantly, close to you. If your refrigerator is not working, you need someone to fix it right away to avoid the inconveniences of functioning without one.
If you get referrals from people close to you, make sure you ask the relevant questions regarding their quality of work before calling them. Ask if their work was satisfactory and well done. You should also find out about their cost of labor and see if it was fair. You do not want a scenario where the cost of repair exceeds the cost of buying a new refrigerator.
2. Search the internet
You can also get a repair firm to fix your refrigerator through the internet platforms. Nowadays almost every service provider has a website. Do searches for service repair near you and get all the information that can land you a qualified person to fix your refrigerator.
Make sure you read reviews to know the quality of their service and if the customers were happy with their work. Look at the ratings carefully to see if their customers rated them well. The level of scores would show you if their experiences with the repair firm were good enough. Social media platforms like Facebook and Linkedin can be very resourceful, search for information in them to see if you will land on a good repair firm.
3. Interview two to three professionals before hiring
Before hiring, you need to have at least three service providers for you to choose the best that charges fairly and offers quality services. Ask questions about the possible problems that are causing the malfunction and gauge from their answers to see if they will be able to carry out the repairs well.
Also, a good contractor will ask you questions, for example; they can ask, the model of your refrigerator, if it’s leaking, etc. You should be wary of someone who is not asking details about your fridge when interviewing them. It could be a sign of disinterest or lack knowledge of repair.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
When your refrigerator stops working, the worry of having your food going bad can make you rush into getting a repair contractor without a proper assessment. Even though a majority of contractors are honest and ethical, the market has some con artists who are out to get your hard earned cash by delivering poor services that will cost you more at the of the day.
It’s possible to be ripped off by a contractor especially when you have no idea about the cost of most refrigerator repairs. Therefore, it’s necessary to guard yourself against this group of scammers who might bring you more losses instead of the anticipated relief of repairs.
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling into the hands of scammers.
Make sure you know the physical address of your contractor
When you source for a contractor on the online platforms, you may not pay attention to their physical location. It’s advisable to get the details of their physical addresses and if possible pay them a visit for further negotiations.
Knowing the location of their business is crucial because it makes it easy for you to do a follow up in case the repairs go wrong.
Avoid paying before the repairs are done
If your contractor demands payment before doing the job, you need to be skeptical. There is a chance that you may never see them again. A reliable contractor will deliver the service first and make sure your refrigerator is working before asking for payment. Never pay for work that has not been done. Only pay when you are satisfied with the service.
Avoid leaving repair person alone in the house
Some unscrupulous contractors when left alone may intentionally cause more damages and to notify you of the ‘new problem’ they encountered. To protect you against such scams, always stay with the technician during repair and let them explain upfront the problem they are fixing. Any inexplicable damage that comes after they do repairs should be their liability and not yours.
The license lies
Some regulations govern appliance repairs. Contractors and technicians are required to be in possession of licenses and certificates if they are qualified. Some contractors will claim to be certified, and yet they are not, or their licenses have expired. If you are in doubt of their licenses, you can follow up with the manufacturer or the licensing body to ascertain if they are indeed licensed and certified to carry out repairs.
Get two to three quotes
Some dishonest contractors will have a look at your refrigerator and realize that it’s just a small problem that could probably take less time and money to repair. However, due to greed, they will lie to you that the problem is big and quite costly to fix. You might end up paying exorbitant costs for something that could have cost way less.
To avoid being ripped off in this manner, always get at least three estimates and make a price comparison. Do not settle for the first contractor you get on your internet search. Take time and do extensive research to get cost estimates for most repairs.
Avoid being rushed in hiring
Some contractors may create a sense of urgency and convince you that you need to fix your refrigerator immediately by hiring them. Others make it look like they will only be available at that moment and you might not get them any other time due to their busy schedules.
Do not be pressured into hiring immediately you approach someone, take your time. If the contractor is genuine, he/she will be readily available when you when you are ready.
Trust your gut
Lastly, if you feel you are being ripped, trust your gut. If something about the contractor does not feel right, leave. Being skeptical is okay. Don’t let a contractor rush you into making a decision. Take your time as you look for the right person to repair your refrigerator.
Average Costs of Refrigerator Repairs
A refrigerator is one the largest kitchen appliance and if it breaks you need to invest in its repair so that you continue getting its maximum performance. Most common problems include loud noise or rattles, frozen food, lack of cooling and many others.
Some problems such as malfunctioning compressors and icemakers can be expensive. Depending on the kind of problem affecting your refrigerator, the costs of repair may differ.
Some factors can affect the cost repair such as;
The age of the refrigerator – if you have had your refrigerator for eight years and below you can proceed to have it repaired. It is likely that its still in good condition and can serve you for a couple of more years. However, if it has been in operation for more than 15 years, buying another one might make more sense than repairing.
How efficient is your refrigerator – how was the performance of the refrigerator before it broke down? If an appliance is not performing as it should, it may increase your utility bill. You may consider replacing it instead of keeping it.
Model and Type – some models are more expensive to repair while others are easy to fix. Getting some parts for a particular model may be hard especially if the manufacturer stopped manufacturing the said model. Your contractor will make a diagnosis and tell you the right action to take.
Therefore, when deciding whether to repair, you may need to carefully consider the age of the refrigerator and the extent of the damage to see if the cost of repair is worth and if you need to keep it. In some scenarios, the cost of repair may not make sense if it exceeds the cost of a getting a new one and you might consider a purchase instead of repair.
If you decide to proceed and repair the refrigerator, you will need to have cost estimates that will enable you plan and budget. The costs may vary depending on the contractor and the amount of work required. If contracting a firm to repair your refrigerator, you need to note that some charge by the hour including the trip fee to your home; others will give a flat fee. Depending on your agreement, you need to find out if the pricing includes the following;
- The total cost of parts to be replaced
- Labor charges
- The total service fee
Most contractors will charge an hourly charge of $100 to $200 and a diagnosis fee that range from $60 to $100. However, the average cost of repair including some parts can vary from $200 to $400, and this does not include the cost f repairing an icemaker.
If your refrigerator is producing a buzzing sound and you find that the food is not cold as it should be, it can be an indication that your fridge compressor is faulty and needs repairs.
A contractor can charge $50 -$300 depending on the size of the compressor. The extent of the damage might force you to recondition compressor which could cost you $35 or $ 500-$700 to get a new unit.
Here are some of the reasons that could be causing your compressor issues;
A Faulty Fan
The fan helps to cool down the refrigerator and prevent it from overheating. It an essential part of a refrigerator and if it breaks down you will experience some abnormal sounds and your fridge will start overheating.
A Clicking Noise
A clicking noise is an indication that the start relay has issues or you are having overload problems. The coils behind the refrigerator will need to be checked to see if they are abnormally warm and if there is heat coming out from behind the refrigerator. Such a problem can be solved by keeping the condenser coils clean and cool.
However, if the start relay is faulty and there is overload, you may need to do a replacement. The parts for overload and start relay can cost $30 to $80. Replacing the faulty compressor with a new one can cost from $500-$700.
Your contractor will diagnose your compressor to see if it’s faulty and advice if a replacement should be done. Usually, a compressor should be silent, and if it’s making noises, then it’s likely that it’s faulty and needs repair immediately to avoid accumulation of bad gas in the fridge.
Other problems that may not include the compressor but affect your refrigerator performance include;
If your icemaker fails to make ice, it may mean that the water route is blocked or the bail wire is lifted. The issue affecting the ice maker might be complicated, and you may need to have a technician look at it. The cost of repairing an icemaker can range from $250 -$330.
Your refrigerator Is producing a rattling sound
The drain pan under your refrigerator could have become loose with time and its rattling when water hits it. It may not be a huge problem and can quickly be fixed even for free, or you may pay not more than $50.
Defroster making unusual noises
All refrigerators have a defrost heater that regulates the cooling process. If the defroster is faulty, the refrigerator may sometimes cool a lot or not cool at all. The breakdown can affect the temperature of the refrigerator, and your food may go bad in the process.
The defroster can be fixed for a cost of $100-$200.
A faulty freezer
If the buzzing or humming noise increases drastically, it could be a definite pointer that your freezer is having problems and it’s faulty. Another sign that shows you that your freezer is not working well is if it leaks water to the floor. A leakage can also be an indication that your defroster is faulty.
Some of the problems associated with a freezer include;
- The refrigerator freezer light does not switch on
- The freezer is not cooling well
- The food in the refrigerator is getting frozen
- The refrigerators’ motor keeps running continuously
If you are experiencing problems with your freezer, then a contractor may charge $200-$250 to replace the motor which is majorly the cause of the listed problems.
The tables below summarize the different cost of refrigerator repair.
Average cost of labor
|Cost of labor per hour||$100-$200
|Total cost of repair –labor and replacement parts (excluding cost or repairing an icemaker)||$200-$400
Average cost of repairing a compressor
|Fixing a faulty compressor||$50-$300
|Reconditioning a compressor||$35-$100
|Replacing a compressor||$500-$700
|Replacing overload and start relay parts||$30-$80
Average cost of repairing other refrigerator problems
|Fixing a drain pan||$0-$50
|Repairing an icemaker||$250-$330
|Fixing a defroster||$100-$200
|Replacing a motor for your refrigerator’s freezer||$200-$250
To Repair or Replace A Refrigerator
A refrigerator is one investment that you make hoping that it will serve you for several years without having to repurchase another one. A good refrigerator can last up to 20 years depending on the brand and model. However, with time your refrigerator may develop a couple of problems that may call for repairs or replacement.
The decision on whether to repair or purchase another one will depend on several factors.
How long have you had the refrigerator?
The age of your refrigerator is a great determinant of whether to replace or repair. As mentioned earlier, a refrigerator can last between 10-20 years. However, you should note the longer the period, the higher the cost of repair.
It might be advisable to replace your refrigerator if it has lasted for more than 15 years because its efficiency might have considerably reduced. If it’s below eight since the time of purchase, then repairs can work just fine.
What type of refrigerator do you have?
Some refrigerators are easier to repair while others are better off replaced. For example, a side-by-side type of a refrigerator that is older than five years will be costly to repair. However, a built-in refrigerator is easy to repair, and you can continue using it for a couple of more years. The bottom freezer should be replaced if it’s been in use for more than seven years instead of repair, while a faulty top freezer can be repaired and work well even beyond seven years.
Is Your refrigerator energy efficient?
Remember that most appliances cease to be energy efficient after many years of use including the refrigerator. If your refrigerator has been operational for more than ten years, the chances are that it’s using more energy than a new one and your electricity bills keep rising.
You may consider replacing your refrigerator with a new one that uses less energy and reduces your electricity bills.
DIY or Hire A Refrigerator Repair Professional
A refrigerator, just like any other appliance in your kitchen, is quite essential. It allows you to store food for a more extended period. If something goes wrong, it makes sense to want to fix it immediately to avoid the pain of losing your foodstuff.
However, the cost of repair may come a little bit too high for some homeowners, and they may opt to do the repairs by themselves. Although some tasks can easily be performed; like checking if the electricity plugs are working well, the bulk of the repair is better left to a professional.
Here are some of the reasons why it’s advisable to hire a pro to diagnose your refrigerator problems and do repairs.
To avoid adding damages
If you are not conversant with the mechanism of the refrigerator, attempting to repair it may result to more damages. If you know you do not have a good knowledge of how a refrigerator works, it would be better to leave the repair to a pro.
Consider your safety
Your refrigerator runs on electricity. It might be risky to handle and alter the internal parts if you do not have enough knowledge on how they function when connected to a power source.
The quality of work
Getting a professional to handle your compressor issues might work better than managing it yourself. A professional will deliver quality work and leave no room for doubt on whether the problem is fixed or not. In fact, they go further and give you details on how to avoid the problem recurring in future.
Speed and time of repair
A professional will take two to three hours to fix your refrigerator and have it running ready for use. It might take you a day or even days trying to figure out the cause of the malfunction and getting the parts. You will then spend more time trying to figure out how to fix the parts that need replacement.
10 Questions to Ask the Refrigerator Repair Contractor
Before settling for a contractor to carry out the repairs, some things are important to find out before hiring. These questions will help you gather the right information about your contractor and determine if they are the right people to handle your refrigerator repairs.
1. Ask for references
You will need to ask for information about previous clients from them and see if they are willing to share. A good contractor will most probably have clients who are ready to give a positive testimony about their work.
Get contacts and call at least two of the references given and ask them about the quality of work they received from the service provider. Find out how their working experience was with the professional and if they would call them again for repairs.
2. Ask for the years of experience
Remember that experience in any field is important. If a contractor has several years of experience working on refrigerator repairs, it means that they are conversant with different models and brands of refrigerators and they have fixed an array of problems in their working term.
Ask if they have handled the same model of a refrigerator as yours and get to know the kind of problems common with it.
3. Ask about their staff and technicians
Even though a company might be in business for a long time, knowing about their technician’s employment history is important. If they have had the same staff for a long period, then that means their experience and quality of work is sufficient, and you can comfortably let them handle your refrigerator.
4. Ask if they cover for damages
During a repair, anything can go wrong. Do they take responsibility for damages incurred during the repair? It’s important to find out about their liability to avoid disagreements when these issues come up. Also, it’s advisable to get a contractor who will take up the responsibility to cater for damages arising from the repair process.
5. Do they provide a written guarantee?
A company that provides a written guarantee about their services shows that it’s reliable and responsible for its work. It means that they have confidence in their work and they are likely to provide a quality repair that will have a lasting effect. A written guarantee will save you the agony of spending unnecessary costs in case the repair fails.
6. Ask about the cost of repair
When asking about the pricing, its good to note that, the cost of repair alone should not be the determining factor of whether to hire or not. Remember that very cheap quotes may land you a poor job and that high prices do not necessarily translate to a good job.
Ask your contractor about their cost of labor to see if your budget can accommodate it. Ask about the cost of replacing the malfunctioning parts to enable you budget for the whole project. Sometimes the cost of repairs might exceed the cost of buying a new refrigerator, and you may need to decide on whether to purchase or repair.
7. Find out if they accept credit cards or their preferred mode of payment
It’s important to know what mode of payments works for the contractor. Some contractors do not accept credit cards while others do. Find out in advance to avoid inconveniences when it comes to payments.
8. Ask about the process of repair
The reason why you are looking for repair services it’s because you do not the cause of the refrigerators malfunction. A good contractor should not keep you in the dark about the cause of the problem. They should be able to give you a detailed explanation of how they will fix your refrigerator.
Ask them what the problem is? What caused it? They should also tell you ways of preventing the problem from recurring in the future.
9. Ask how long the repair process will take
Always ask how long the process of repair can take. Some contractors may take less time on the repairs while others due to a busy schedule may slot you in after several days.
To avoid delays and inconveniences of having to wait for the repairs, let your contractor communicate to you when they will be available and how long it will it take them to complete the job. Remember that a refrigerator is a very vital appliance in your kitchen and the faster it’s repaired, the better it is for you.
10. Ask about the parts that need replacement
Sometimes when a refrigerator breaks down, it could be that some of its main parts are not functioning. Ask the contractor if you can buy the replacement from the stores near you. It could save you a buck or two in the process.
Refrigerator problems are common, and once in a while, you are likely to find yourself looking for repair services near you. Depending on the age of your refrigerator a repair can help salvage the damage and save you from the pressure of having to budget for a new one. For quality repair services ensure you get an experienced contractor to handle your refrigerator services and avoid doing it yourself if you do not have sufficient knowledge of handling one.
Whether your refrigerator is leaking or has a faulty icemaker, or the compressor needs to be replaced, your contractor should be able to advise you on the best course of action and give you estimated costs of repair. Exercise caution when a hiring someone to do the repairs to avoid being ripped off. Do research and ask relevant questions regarding the process of repair to get a clear picture of what caused the problem and how to prevent the same problem from recurring in future.