Refrigerator Repair Cost

The average cost of repairing a refrigerator runs between $140 and $200.

In this guide

Cost factors
Common problems
Labor
Maintenance
Replacing vs repairing a refrigerator
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to repair a refrigerator?

A refrigerator is a necessity in modern households. When yours goes on the blink, you’ll need to eliminate the problem as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your ability to enjoy a meal can be greatly hampered.

Common problems involve a refrigerator that is not running, or has a freezer section that won’t stay cold. Nationwide, the cost to repair these issues runs between $140 and $200.

Cost factors

Lesser-known refrigerator brands may have a lower initial price tag , but when it comes time to have any repairs done you might spend more because parts are harder to find. Some repair parts are also more expensive because fewer numbers of them are mass produced. You might also experience a scarcity of parts for older models and, in some cases, you could be restricted to using only second-hand parts. Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that some parts of a refrigerator are more costly than others. If you need to replace the condenser, you will pay significantly more than if you only need to switch out the seals. Replacing the condenser can run between $200 and $300, while door seals are normally a DIY project that can be taken care of for under $40.

Common problems

The chart below describes many of the most common problems people have with their refrigerators, along with the suggested remedy. Costs are also listed for easy comparison.

ProblemRecommended solutionCost
Refrigerator section is too coldReplace gaskets 1, circulation fan, or main board

$20-$250

Refrigerator or freezer section is too warmReplace coils or thermostat 2$100-$200
Refrigerator or freezer compartment is too coldAuto defrost is not working. Defrost unit by hand or replace defrost motor$100-$200
Water pools underneath the refrigerator

Replace the door seals, hoses, or drip pan

Unclog the evaporator defrost drain

$130-$200
Fridge is not running

Make sure unit is plugged in

Check that the receptacle’s breaker has not tripped.

Have the coils cleaned

Change the condenser fan

$140-$200
Freezer compartment is too warm

Turn up temperature controls

Defrost or change out compressor or condenser fan.

$140-$300
Unit runs more often than usualInstall a new evaporator fan motor$200-$250
Refrigerator is too noisy

Clean the condenser coils

Change out the compressor

$200-$300
Ice maker will not make ice

Thaw hoses to clear the lines

Repair or replace the icemaker’s motor

$300-$330


Labor

Refrigerator repairs are complex and should therefore be performed by a trained, certified technician. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) offers certification, as does the Institute of Appliance Service Technicians (IAST).

Your geographic area will affect labor costs. For example, technicians will charge more for a house call if gas prices in your city are very high. Companies will also charge more for traveling outside their service area. A contractor’s service area is generally between 20 and 50 miles. In addition, local environmental laws can affect disposal and licensing fees, and might therefore drive up the cost of labor. For example, in some areas technicians need a license to handle refrigerant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that labor rates increase by around 7.5 percent whenever a government license is required.

The majority of refrigerator repairs can be performed in two hours or less, assuming that parts are at hand. Technicians may have to order parts for older models, in which case you might have to wait a few days for repairs to be fully completed. If a second trip is required, you should not have to pay an additional house call fee. Most repair companies charge a service fee for making the call. A service call can run anywhere from $70 to $120, depending on where you live. The service call fee is normally applied toward the first hour of labor. What this means is that if the repair takes one hour or less, you will not owe any additional money for labor.

Recognizing the urgency of refrigerator repairs, many contractors offer emergency repair service. Expect to pay a higher charge for labor if you call at night, on weekends, or holidays. Most companies will charge anywhere from 10% to 20% on top of their normal fees. As such, you could pay between $110 and $300 per hour for emergency service.

Rather than billing by the hour, some companies assess a flat rate for certain repairs. Others will charge an hourly rate for repairs. Hourly rates generally run between $100 and $250 per hour, while flat rate repairs might be anywhere from $150 to $300, depending on how complex the problem is. Moreover, you could be charged a diagnostic fee just for having someone look at your fridge. A diagnostic fee can be anywhere from $50 to $90. Most companies will waive this fee if you allow them to perform the work.

Maintenance

Clean your fridge’s condenser coils at least twice each year, or more often if you have indoor pets. Keeping your condenser coils clean will help your condenser operate at peak efficiency. Clean the condenser fan to keep blades moving freely. Remove the lower back cover and use the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and small particles. This can help you avoid needing repairs, while ensuring your unit operates as energy efficiently as possible

Keeping the inside clean will prevent damage to your drawers and shelves. Remove leftovers and food that is past its expiration date at least weekly, and then wipe down interior surfaces. Take out all shelves and drawers so you can fully clean the interior two or three times each year. Wash those shelves and drawers in warm soapy water. While cleaning the interior, wipe down the door seals to prevent dirt, grease, and food spills from damaging them. Use only a damp cloth or warm soapy water to remove stubborn spills. Avoid household cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, as these could actually cause the rubber to break down.

Remove the grill and clean off any dust or pet hair by washing it in a solution of warm water and mild detergent. This will prevent dirt from getting into the coils. Make sure the grill is completely dry before placing it back on your fridge. While you have the grill off, check the condition of your water filter. Be sure to change the filter whenever it becomes clogged. Reduced water flow is a telltale sign of a clogged filter. If your water filter is not located inside the grill, look for a panel on the top of your refrigerator section.

Throw away leftovers and expired food on a regular basis. This will keep your refrigerator and freezer from becoming too full, causing the vents to become covered and restricting airflow. Overfilling can cause your fan motor or fan blades to wear out much sooner because they have to work harder to keep your unit cool. This might also make it necessary to manually defrost your freezer. Most refrigerators these days have an auto defrost feature, however, you could still need to defrost yours by hand if the freezer compartment is solid ice or you are still using an older model.

Replacing vs repairing a refrigerator

When faced with a major refrigerator repair, you may wonder whether or not you are spending your money wisely. Would you get more for your dollar by forking over cash to fix it, or is it a wiser idea to buy a new one? Keep the following things in mind when making a decision.

The average life expectancy of a refrigerator is 13 years. If yours is more than ten years old, it may not have much life left in it anyway. Replacing it might be a better option, particularly if it requires major repairs. In addition, it is possible for your refrigerator to experience more than one problem simultaneously. If that’s the case, you may decide to fix the bigger problem and simply put up with a minor one. For example, you might want to fix a leaking fridge, but forego making icemaker repairs. If your refrigerator isn’t fully functioning even after having repairs, it could be time to consider a new one.

You may wish to upgrade for energy efficiency. Newer models cost less to operate, and might actually save you money in the long run. Consider replacing your refrigerator if you can make up the cost of your refrigerator in energy savings in less than five years. When choosing to buy a new model, don’t forget to calculate the cost of delivery and disposal. Appliance dealers may charge between $50 and $100 for delivery. Some will haul your old refrigerator off for free, while others may charge up to $100 for disposal.

Regardless of energy savings, you should never spend more than half the cost of a new model on repairs. Likewise, if yours has needed several repairs over the past year or so, it could be time to replace it. Some refrigerators are less costly to repair than others. Built-in 3 fridges and traditional models with a freezer compartment on top are generally inexpensive to fix. On the other hand, side-by-side ice boxes tend to cost more, particularly if they also have an icemaker.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Refrigerator repairs should come with a guarantee; however, not all of them are the same. Make sure you know if yours covers parts, labor, or both. For example, many warranties cover the cost of replacement parts, but do not account for labor charges to install them.
  • Knowing as much information as possible will help your technician make an accurate diagnosis. Be sure to provide the make, model, type of refrigerator, and some information about the problem when placing your service call.
  • Ask your service technician about using used or factory-reconditioned parts. Keep in mind that used parts do not normally come with a guarantee. Having used parts installed might also void your warranty.
  • Some refrigerator repairs are easily performed as a DIY project. You can usually replace the water filter, gaskets, and light bulbs yourself. DIY repairs are generally inexpensive, and can save you the hassle of calling a professional repairperson. That doesn’t mean that all problems have a DIY remedy. Repairs such as changing out the condenser, compressor fan, or icemaker motor should all be performed by a professional.
  • Many repairs are covered under a warranty or extended warranty. Some warranties require you to have work done by a factory-authorized repair shop or the dealer who originally sold you the appliance.
  • A builder’s guarantee or home warranty may cover appliance repair. Check coverage details if you have recently purchased a home and received a homebuyer’s warranty at closing.
  • Some minor problems such as condensation on the inside, rattling coming from underneath the fridge, finding that the fridge light does not come on, or that it does not dispense water correctly may have easy DIY solutions, such as replacing the gasket or door cam ($2-$40), emptying the drip pan or replacing clips ($5-$10), replacing the lightbulb ($2-$10), or changing the filter ($20-$40).

FAQ

  • How can you tell if your refrigerator is going bad?

If your refrigerator is nearing the end of its lifespan, you may experience spoiled food because your unit is not getting cold enough. You might also need to defrost more frequently or experience loud noises when it is running.

  • What is the best refrigerator on the market today?

In general, traditional refrigerators with a freezer compartment on either the top or bottom require fewer repairs than side-by-side models that also include an icemaker. Built-in refrigerators also tend to be very dependable when compared to other models.

  • How long does the average refrigerator last?

The average lifespan of a refrigerator is approximately 13 years. It may be time to replace rather than repair your fridge if it is more than 8 years old and requires extensive repairs.

  • How do you know if your refrigerator compressor is bad?

When a compressor is bad, you may notice the coils on the back of your refrigerator are warmer than usual. You may also be able to feel heat coming from them. If a compressor has shorted out, it will sometimes have arc marks or emit a burning smell.

  • Can a fridge be repaired?

In most cases, yes. Even so, it is often more economical to replace rather than repair a refrigerator, particularly if you require a new motor or condenser. Some problems such as replacing the door seal can be performed as a DIY fix, and may eliminate the need for more extensive repairs.

  • How much does refrigerator repair cost?

Refrigerator repairs can run anywhere from $100 to $330. The exact cost will depend on what the problem is; the age, make, and model of your refrigerator; and local environmental and licensing laws.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Gaskets: A seal that fills the space between two or more surfaces that are joined together, allowing a tight seal even when the surfaces do not fit against each other perfectly
2 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
3 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable

Cost to repair a refrigerator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Bethlehem, PA
+12%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Burke, VA
+24%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Coppell, TX
+17%
Dublin, OH
+13%
Edison, NJ
+36%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Georgetown, TX
-5%
Glendale, AZ
-2%
Granger, IN
+6%
Hermitage, TN
+18%
Hilliard, OH
+5%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Maricopa, AZ
-2%
Melbourne, FL
-16%
Morganton, NC
-37%
New York, NY
+77%
Opa Locka, FL
-1%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Snoqualmie, WA
+9%
Stafford, VA
-7%
Tenino, WA
-16%
Vaughn, WA
-33%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources