The refrigerator is one of the most essential appliances in our homes, without it, modern life would be virtually unimaginable.
Therefore paying close attention to these signs will help you detect whether your refrigerator is dying and in need of repair before it’s too late.
Note: some of the issues outlined can be easily resolved with an experienced repairman who will properly assess the situation and notify you if you should repair or replace the appliance.
1) Condensation buildup (outside the fridge)
Have you noticed that your fridge door seems to be “sweating?”
This is one of the most common signs a refrigerator is dying, and it’s usually a problem with the gasket or seal.
Refrigerator door seals are crucial for keeping cold air in and warm air out.
If there is a tear or break in the door seal, cold air will leak out, leading to spoiled food, excess energy usage, and inflated electric bills.
Depending on the age of the fridge and level of damage, door seals can usually be replaced.
You can buy a gasket repair kit, or have a professional perform the repairs.
2) Excessive heat from the motor
If you notice that your kitchen is excessively hot and there are no appliances running, place your hands behind your refrigerator close to the coils and check to see if they are overheating (don't touch the coils!)
If they are uncomfortably hot this may be a sign of your motor producing excessive heat and may need to be replaced.
3) Food going bad too quickly.
If you keep noticing that food goes bad before its printed expiration date, the fridge probably isn’t able to maintain a cold enough internal temperature.
This could be the result of several possible problems. Sometimes the refrigerator is just old, or there’s a specific problem with the motor or the gasket.
Whether you need to repair or replace the fridge will depend on the root cause of the temperature problem.
4) If you hear your fridge running (it’s extra noisy)
The motor on your fridge should occasionally make a little noise when it’s running.
However, if your fridge is always annoyingly loud, it usually means the motor is being overworked.
The motor is necessary for regulating the internal temperature of the fridge, but it shouldn't need to constantly run at full speed.
If your fridge is excessively noisy then it means there is an issue with the motor and it needs attention.
5) Excess frost/ your freezer is freezing over.
If your refrigerator or freezer seems to be building up excess frost, this can also indicate a problem with the internal temperature.
Again, you may need a professional to assess the cause of the damage, but it’s definitely worth investigating to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse.
6) There’s water on your floor.
If you notice water on the floor, be sure to call a repair company right away.
Another sign that your fridge is leaking is ice buildup on your walls or the back of your fridge.
Both ice on your walls and water on your floor can lead to water damage, so you’ll want to get this problem fixed right away.
Many leaks aren’t bad enough to cause water to seep out onto the floor in front of your fridge, causing them to go unnoticed. To prevent this, consider pulling your fridge out once or twice a year to clean under it and to check for possible leaks.
Note: When it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace your struggling refrigerator, consider the following:
- Cost of repairs vs. cost of a new fridge – First, get a quote or two from a professional regarding the possible repairs on your fridge. Then research current refrigerator options to find a fridge that matches your household needs. If the cost of repairs is more than 50 per cent of the cost of a new fridge, consider replacing the fridge.
- The age of the fridge – built-in fridges, fridges that are two years old or less, side-by-side fridges that are five years old or less, and bottom-freezer fridges that are seven years old or less may be worth repairing.