How Long Does a Fridge Last? Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

A new refrigerator is one of the most expensive appliances in your kitchen, so you want to ensure you get a reliable brand that will last you for years.


If you've got an older model or your fridge is on the fritz, you might wonder if it’s cheaper to repair or replace. We’re answering that question here, along with everything else you need to know about how long a fridge should last. This guide will answer all your questions surrounding your refrigerator's care, maintenance, and longevity.


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In this article, we’ll cover:


  • How Long Does a Refrigerator Last?
  • When Should I Replace My Refrigerator?
  • How Do You Know Your Fridge is Dying?
  • How to Extend the Life of Your Refrigerator – Refrigerator Maintenance Checklist
  • FAQs About Refrigerator Life Expectancy

How Long Does a Refrigerator Last?

What is the average lifespan of a refrigerator? A new fridge should last between 10 - 20 years, with an average lifespan of 14 - 15 years. Smaller refrigerators last roughly 4 - 12 years, and the average lifespan is about 8.

How long a fridge will last you depends on the size and model, so you can't solely rely on age. Protecting your fridge with proper upkeep and maintenance will help ensure it runs as long as possible, regardless of the model.

When Should I Replace My Refrigerator?

If you're starting to have problems with your fridge, you may worry that it's time to replace it. But if it's under ten years old, it might be more cost-effective to repair it.

Fridges over ten years old that have any issues might be worth replacing. Putting money into an older fridge might not be worth it, but it makes sense to get a quote from a repair company just in case.

How Do You Know Your Fridge is Dying?

A few telltale signs signal that your fridge is nearing the end of its time, and it might be time to look at getting a new one, might include:


  • It radiates more heat than usual – While it’s normal for a fridge's motor to radiate some heat, if you feel a lot of heat suddenly coming from the back of your refrigerator, that could be a sign that the motor is working too hard.
  • Food spoils faster – If you notice that your food is spoiling faster than usual or before the expiration date, your fridge probably isn’t cooling properly.
  • Frost begins to build up in your freezer – When frost builds up in your freezer, it might indicate a malfunctioning defrost timer, heater, or thermostat.
  • Condensation is on the fridge – Your doors may not seal properly or tightly, or another source of warm air is getting inside the fridge.
  • It’s starting to make a lot of noise – You may have an issue with a condenser fan, the defrost timer, or compressor.

How to Extend the Life of Your Refrigerator - Refrigerator Maintenance Checklist

If you're looking to extend the life of your fridge, there are a few things you can do to maximize how long it’ll last:


  • Clean the coils – Pull out your refrigerator at least once a year to remove any dirt, dust, or pet hair that’s accumulated on the coils. Removing dust and grime will improve your fridge's efficiency.
  • Lubricate the seals/gaskets – You can also make it a point to lubricate your seals and gaskets – this is an easy task that can greatly increase your fridge's longevity.
  • Make sure vents are clear so your fridge has room to breathe – Have space around your fridge and make sure the vents are clear.
  • Perform minor repairs as necessary – Keeping up with regular maintenance will ensure your fridge lasts as long as possible.

FAQs About Refrigerator Life Expectancy

Is it cheaper to repair or replace a refrigerator?

If your fridge is less than 10 years old, fixing it might be worth it. That said, replacing an older fridge with problems can make sense. If you've recently found yourself searching for "how long for a fridge to cool” or “how long does a fridge last,” it might be time...

Is it worth repairing a fridge?

Yes, it can be worth repairing a fridge in some cases. For example, as noted, it's probably worth repairing a fridge under 10 years old. This assumes that the repair cost is reasonable. A good gauge is if the cost to repair your refrigerator is less than 50% of the price of buying a new one, it might be worth it.

Can a fridge last 20 years?

How long do fridges usually last? Each brand and model is different, but if you purchase a high-quality fridge and take care of it, it can last up to 20 years.

How does a refrigerator work?

Refrigerators use pressure, condensing, and evaporation to remove heat and reduce the temperature inside the fridge. Knowing that, how long will a refrigerator last without power? The process of condensing and evaporation stops with a power outage, and food is only safe for up to 4 hours if there’s no power.

Which refrigerators last the longest?

Reliable refrigerator manufacturers include GE, KitchenAid, Samsung, Whirlpool, LG, and Bosch. Some of the consistently highest-rated fridges are:

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If your current refrigerator is ready to be replaced, we’re here to help. We have a huge selection of refrigerators and a price match guarantee, so you can always be confident you’re getting the best price. And we offer fast, hassle-free financing if buying a new refrigerator wasn't a planned expense.

Browse our full selection of refrigerators and freezers today, and as always, let us know if you have any questions.