Cost to repair fridge
The average cost to repair a fridge is $350
Refrigerators play a key role in most homes, and it can be a big inconvenience when they go out. From the high cost of spoiled food to the price of paying for a repair, homeowners can expect to pay quite a bit out of pocket in the event of an issue.
And while you may be able to fix some things on your own, there are other times when it’s best to hire a professional. We spoke with 18 repair professionals across the country who said you can expect to pay $500 or less for most issues, with the average being between $300 and $500 on a repair. Keep reading to learn more about repairing a fridge, what it costs and when the issue can be solved with DIY.
- Refrigerator repairs may cost as little as $40 or as much as $1,000, but most homeowners pay about $350 for a repair.
- The compressor, coils and control board are the most expensive repairs.
- The best way to save on repairs is with regular maintenance.
Types of refrigerator repairs and costs
Refrigerators are fairly complex, with many moving parts. Your repair costs will vary, depending on the repair, plus the capacity, technology and model of your system.
Coils, located at the bottom of your fridge, are what keep it cold. Sometimes they decrease in efficiency if they get dirty from lack of maintenance. Before you call in a professional, try to clean them. If that doesn’t help, you’re looking at $100 to $450 for a repair.
Fridges use compressors, which need proper ventilation. Mark Morris, an independent master plumber and HVAC technician, says you may just not have enough ventilation around your fridge in some cases, which can affect its cooling efficiency and life span. “Most manufacturers recommend leaving at least one inch of space at the top and back of the fridge for air circulation,” he said.
If you have enough ventilation, but your compressor is still not operating at peak efficiency, your repair could cost between $200 and $650.
The control board is one of the most expensive fridge repairs.
The control board is the brain of your entire system, and the repair cost reflects its importance. You could pay anywhere from $500 to $800 for a repair or replacement, depending on how high-tech your fridge is and what types of features it comes with. The part alone costs at least $300, not including the labor.
If your fridge just randomly stops working one day without many symptoms or warnings, it’s probably your control board.
Removing a door dent costs between $50 and $75 on average. If there are multiple dents or the dent is extra large, you may have to replace the door completely. This could cost upwards of $300 plus labor, depending on the make, model and material.
If your fridge is too warm, check the seal first. This is often one of the first parts of a fridge to wear out from use and is a relatively easy fix. You’ll usually notice if it’s the seal based on how it feels when you open and shut the door. Replacing the seal costs $100 to $350 on average.
Repairing a drip pan costs between $150 and $200. Usually, the cost depends on how easy it is to reach the drip pan. It’s located at the bottom of your fridge under the coils and is designed to catch any drips that come from the evaporation process. In some cases, it’s harder to get to, which will increase labor costs.
Repairing an ice maker can cost anywhere from $200 to $350. But considering that a new ice maker could cost you as low as $75, it may be more affordable to go that route instead.
If the refrigerant leaks, your repair could cost between $100 and $440. Refrigerant is the liquid your fridge uses to help move heat out of the system. If your fridge indicates low levels, there’s a leak somewhere. You’ll never need to add refrigerant to your fridge.
The ideal temperature to set your fridge should be between 35 degrees and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s easy to see why a broken thermostat could play a role in a fridge that won’t stay cold. At $100 to $300 on average, it’s not the most expensive repair, but it’s also not the cheapest either. The repair cost will depend on the complexity of your fridge and where your thermostat is located.
» COMPARE: Best refrigerator brands
Mini fridge repair cost
The cost to repair a mini fridge is similar to that of a regular fridge, between $45 and $120 per hour, plus the cost of parts. You should expect to pay a lower final cost if it’s a smaller fix, like a broken latch or hinge. But if it’s a more complex issue or the tech has to do a decent amount of investigating to find the problem, it could be as high as $450 to repair.
More often than not, it’s usually more cost-effective to replace a mini fridge than pay for a repair.
Signs you need refrigerator repair
If your fridge starts making weird noises or any of these other signs, it’s probably time to call in a repair tech.
» SPOT LEAKS: Best water leak detectors
- Loud noises: Banging, whistling or running too often are all signs that something’s wrong with your refrigerator. If these noises start randomly or continue for a few days, don’t wait to call for a repair. The culprit could be the condenser fan, compressor or ice maker.
- Leaks: Refrigerators leak in two places: the coolant and the water line. Because refrigerant is an odorless gas, you won’t be able to “see” a leak and will instead notice that your fridge isn’t staying cool. But if you see visible water pooling at the bottom of your fridge or on the floor outside your appliance, there could be an issue with your water line or ice maker. If that’s the case, turn off the water to your fridge while you wait for a repair to avoid any more costly damage.
- Not cooling: The biggest sign of an issue with your fridge is that it’s not staying cold enough. But this is also a pretty broad symptom that could mean anything from a loose seal to a bad compressor. If it’s simply not maintaining the right temperature, a technician will have to test a few parts and run some diagnostics to figure out what’s actually the root cause of the problem.
- Excess condensation or frost: Some condensation is normal in a fridge as you open and shut the door. But if you notice an uptick in condensation or frost starting to form on the fridge walls — especially if accompanied by a musty smell — you may have issues with the door seal or thermostat.
- Overheating: If your refrigerator feels hot to the touch, like on the side or back of the fridge, your coils may be working extra hard to keep up. If you notice this, it may be a sign it’s time to get refrigerator maintenance. But if you regularly maintain your fridge, like by cleaning the coils and vents, call in a pro to diagnose the issue.
How long does it take to repair a refrigerator?
It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to repair a refrigerator. If the issue is immediately evident and parts are readily available, a repair tech could be in and out in less than an hour.
However, if they have to spend time diagnosing the issue and locating the right parts, you could be looking at a few hours or even a few days before your fridge is back in working condition.
How long do refrigerators last?
Refrigerators last 12 years on average, although a properly maintained fridge can last upward of 20 years. The best thing you can do to extend the lifetime of your fridge is to clean the coils, seal and inside regularly. And if you do notice an issue, remedy it as soon as possible, before it can cause further damage.
Can I repair a fridge myself?
Being able to repair a fridge yourself depends on the type and severity of the problem. Some minor issues, like replacing a door gasket, can be solved with some basic tools and instructions. However, major issues, such as repairing a compressor or a thermostat, should be left to a professional who has the skills, tools, and parts to fix them safely and correctly.
This is especially true if your fridge is under warranty, either by the manufacturer or a home warranty policy. Repairing it yourself could void either one.
“You should hire a professional to help repair your fridge if you don’t have access to the right tools, you’re dealing with electrical or gas components, or you’re under warranty or insurance that requires professional service,” says master plumber Morris.
Is it cheaper to repair or replace a fridge?
In most cases, it’s cheaper to repair a fridge than replace it. Repairs cost between $300 and $500 on average, compared with the average cost of a new fridge, which is about $1,500. Even the most expensive repair, a new control board, is almost half the average cost of a new fridge.
However, if you have an older fridge or a cheaper model, it may not be worth your time or money as one of our reviewers from Texas noted: “The technician told me … ‘Unfortunately, with the age of your refrigerator, it's not economically feasible to fix it.’ The channel that the air comes from the freezer to the refrigerator was clogged and he said that with one this age, it is the insulation that breaks down in it over time.”
Before paying for the repair, look into your warranty options to see if you’re eligible for a replacement first.
Do home warranties cover refrigerators?
Some companies include refrigerators as a standard part of coverage while others don’t — meaning you’ll have to choose it as an add-on. In general, most components and parts, along with the hardware and water leaks, should be covered. But you may find exclusions for beverage dispensers and the door.
Make sure to read your contract fully to see if your fridge is covered. And if you have more than one fridge, like a garage fridge or a mini fridge, don’t expect that to be included either.
» LEARN: What does a home warranty cover?
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