Offer

Wait! Before You Go...

Struggling to choose a refrigerator? Discover top brands & values in our buying guide.

Free Download: Appliance Buying Guide

No thanks, I know what I'm looking for.

How Can I Prolong the Life of My Refrigerator?

Adam Thomashow  |  August 28, 2018  |  3 Min. Read

Start finding answers in our Resource Center full of Videos, Buying Guides and Checklists

Learn More

You just came home from a fun day in the sun. You walk into the kitchen. The smell hits you, but you think, “Maybe I forgot to empty the trash.”

As you get closer to the trash can, you realize the smell is coming from the refrigerator. “Did I leave the door open? Did we have a power outage?”

No matter the cause, your refrigerator is malfunctioning, and the world has come to a grinding halt. You'll have to eat out until the refrigerator is fixed or replaced and most of your food in the refrigerator needs to be thrown away.

In this article, you will learn great ways to prevent this from happening to your refrigerator and keep it running at optimum.

Framingham-Refrigerator-Display

How do I prolong the life of my fridge?

Tip 1

Keep the compressor clean

SubZeroCompressor

The compressor is the heart of the refrigerator and it's what keeps your entire refrigerator and freezer cool. A clean compressor, one that can breathe easy, is very important to a longer life for your refrigerator.

On most free-standing models, this is done by keeping the toe-kick, (the vent cover at the bottom of the refrigerator) dust free. We recommend you clean the toe-kick every 3-6 months to keep your compressor from overheating.

Short on time? Get our free Refrigerator Buying GuideLearn More

On Sub-Zero and other top compressor refrigerators, you have to tilt the top and vacuum it.

Tip 2

Use the ice maker

Refrigerator_French-Door_RF22KREDBSR_Control_Panel-Water_Dispenser_Silver

Ice makers are the number one reason for refrigerator service calls. 4 Manufacturers recommend you have a certain amount of water go through the system on a weekly basis. See your user’s manual for the exact amount for each refrigerator. When the ice machine fills with ice and you do not use it while letting it sit there, the ice will slowly turn in to a giant block.

When you then go get ice from the dispenser, the block of ice can cause the auger (the spinning bar that moves the ice through the dispenser on the front of your refrigerator) to break from too much pressure.

We highly recommend using your ice maker regularly. If you don't, dump the old ice often and clean your ice maker at least once a year.

Tip 3

Keep your refrigerator full

Whirlpool-WRF992FIFM

Once food is at the proper temperature, it's easier for the refrigerator and freezer to maintain its temperature opposed to when it's cooling the food down. The air inside the refrigerator and freezer is a different story. It's harder for the refrigerator to cool the air than to maintain the temperature of the food inside.

Tip 4

But not too full

You should leave space between foods as well as making sure that the air vents inside the refrigerator and freezer are not covered.

You probably read or been told that putting the food as far back in the refrigerator is the best way to keep your most sensitive to temperature foods under 40 degrees.

While this is great advice, doing so can block air flow not only to vents but can cause the cool air to not flow properly in the refrigerator. This can lead to the compressor turning on and off more often than it should.

What is the average lifespan of a refrigerator?

The average life of an appliance is 6-10 years with refrigerators being on the lower side. Refrigerators fail more, but remain more efficient.

What are the Issues?

Our number one service call is for ice dispensers. With an ice dispenser, you are sending an ice cube through a warmer refrigerator. This can cause leaks.

Although this problem is annoying, it does not affect the cooling of the refrigerator. Invariably, the refrigerator will work.

Short on time? Get our free Refrigerator Buying GuideLearn More

Most Reliable Brands

Over the last few years, we have published articles about the most reliable brands.

However, certain products like refrigerators will fail more as a group than just a dishwasher or a hood. Refrigerators are on 24/7 while dishwashers are used more sporadically.

We now have 30 service technicians averaging 8-10 calls a day, Monday through Friday. We simply compile the service calls and divide by sales for a service rate for the first year.

30,761 service calls were logged in 2017 by our service department.

This information is pretty interesting for many reasons. The average service rate is 28.8 % in the first year for French door refrigerators versus 12-13% for appliances in general.

From almost every manufacturer, the numbers aren't good, to say the least. However, the problems are more ice maker related than compressor failures. Here are the numbers.

2017 Statistics:

 

Service Qty

Shipped Qty

Service Ratio

Electrolux

18

4

450.00 %

True

3

2

150.00 %

Dacor

3

5

60.00 %

Bosch - Benchmark

24

44

54.55 %

Jenn-Air

324

737

43.96 %

Liebherr

25

63

39.68 %

Frigidaire Gallery

45

147

30.61 %

Frigidaire Professional

41

135

30.37 %

Thermador

131

490

26.73 %

Fisher & Paykel

61

235

25.96 %

Kitchenaid

97

375

25.87 %

Blomberg

14

65

21.54 %

Bosch Appliances

83

390

21.28 %

LG Electronics

4

20

20.00 %

Maytag

1

6

16.67 %

Samsung

72

449

16.04 %

Amana

2

19

10.53 %

Whirlpool

2

23

8.70 %

Bertazzoni

0

1

0.00 %

Frigidaire

0

6

0.00 %

General Electric

0

3

0.00 %

Signature Kitchen Suite

0

1

0.00 %

BlueStar

0

1

0.00 %

Electrolux Icon

1

0

 

Grand Total

1248

4313

28.94 %

Click here for the Most Reliable Counter Depth, French Door Refrigerators.

Should you Buy a Warranty?

Until 15 years ago, we did not sell warranties. You should consider one on a French door refrigerator just looking at the first-year service rates above.

There are articles on this blog and comments written about nightmare service experiences. Just do not buy a warranty from a store without an actual service department.

Third party warranties are a joke (only you will not be laughing).

Conclusion

Refrigerators run all day long, every day of the year. You would think a refrigerator would last longer.

However, with the advent of energy efficiency, electronics and sensors are in every appliance and mean more repairs and shorter lives.

If you can maintain the parts and follow best practices, you will get better life out of your refrigerator and reduce unnecessary repair.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs, and inside buying tips for regular, pro, and integrated counter depth refrigerators. Well over 330,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our Refrigerator Buying Guide

Related Articles

Adam Thomashow

Adam Thomashow is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. He has worked in the Appliance Industry for over 7 years. He attended the University of Connecticut for Computer and Electrical Engineering and is an A+ certified computer technician. During his time off, Adam loves to spend time with his toddler. He also enjoys watching baseball and football.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.