How Much Does Refrigerator Repair Cost?

Is your fridge making loud noises or not staying cold? A refrigerator repair costs between $40 and $1,000, with the national average at $250.

By Katie Flannery | Updated Mar 29, 2022 5:45 PM

Refrigerator Repair Cost

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  • Typical Range: $40 to $1,000
  • National Average: $250

A refrigerator typically lasts for 10 to 15 years—and some can last 20 or more years with proper maintenance. When it comes to refrigerator repair cost, the most common repairs are for a malfunctioning thermostat, frozen coils, failing ice maker, broken compressor or fan, leaks, noises, and door dents. All these refrigerator repairs vary in price depending on the brand, size, and style of the fridge, as well as the cost of labor in your area. If the average refrigerator repair cost works with your budget, it will be considerably less expensive to repair the part that’s broken than buying a brand-new refrigerator. According to HomeAdvisor, refrigerator repair costs can range between $40 and $1,000, depending on the issue, with the national average around $250. Depending on the appliance’s brand, model, and age, replacement parts may be harder to find and can be more expensive. The more common brands of refrigerators are usually more budget-friendly to repair than less common, higher-end brands and models. Always double-check to see if the refrigerator repair technician you hire has experience repairing the brand of refrigerator you have in your home. Some refrigerators require special parts, such as side-by-side fridges or ones with the freezer on the bottom. If you need fridge repairs, you should hire an appliance repair specialist or someone with experience repairing refrigeration systems.

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Factors in Calculating Refrigerator Repair Cost 

A few factors impact refrigerator repair costs. Prices can differ from the national average due to diagnostic fees, materials, labor, and the issue and type of repair needed.

Diagnostic Fees

Diagnostic fees are what a homeowner will pay just to have a professional come to their home and identify the issue. These fees can run from $60 to $100 on average. Some professionals will offer to waive the diagnostic fee if the homeowner hires them to complete the repair. The most common problems that result in fridge repair are noises related to clogged drain lines, faulty thermostats, and dirty coils. These are typically a budget-friendly and straightforward repair.

Materials and Labor

The cost of both materials and labor impact the overall fridge repair cost. Fixing just the parts that are broken is typically more cost-effective than buying a new refrigerator, and repairing the existing parts will be cheaper than ordering replacement parts. Consider the cost of parts, installation, labor, and service fees when calculating repair costs. Depending on the age, model, and brand of the fridge, some parts and materials may be hard to find and can result in higher costs. For labor, some professionals may charge an hourly rate between $45 and $120 and a service fee that can range from $150 to $200. Other professionals may charge a flat rate for the repair instead of by the hour.

Issue and Type of Repair

A refrigerator is made up of many different parts, and any one of them could be the cause of an issue. When something breaks, the cost to repair it depends on what it is, what issue it causes, and the type of repair. Here are some of the most common refrigerator repairs.

  • Rubber door seal: $50 to $440
  • Drip pan: $50 to $200
  • Thermostat: $100 to $440
  • Condenser coils: $100 to $440
  • Defrost motor: $100 to $440
  • Control board: $500 to $800
Refrigerator Repair Cost

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Refrigerator Issues

Even if you think your refrigerator has a minor problem, it’s better to get it fixed quickly instead of waiting until it develops into a bigger issue. Here are some of the most common refrigerator issues and how much they typically cost to repair.

Compressor Issues

The compressor acts like the heart of the refrigerator, circulating refrigerant through the system. Normal wear and tear will cause a compressor to stop working. When that happens, the refrigerator will no longer stay cold, it may become unusually noisy, and ice buildup may appear. Replacing the compressor is one of the pricier refrigerator repairs. Including labor, refrigerator compressor costs can run between $250 and $650, and the price of a new compressor averages between $100 and $500.

Refrigerant Gas Leak

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), refrigerator freon leaks require servicing by a certified technician. If there is a strong chemical smell coming from the fridge, food isn’t staying cold, and the motor is constantly running, there may be a refrigerant leak. A fridge that’s working correctly will not need freon replacement, but if there’s a leak, a professional will know how to put freon in a refrigerator. Expect to pay between $150 and $400 to repair a refrigerant leak.

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Dented Refrigerator Door 

The cost to repair a refrigerator door dent depends on how many and how large the dents are. Smaller dents can run around $100 to repair, and larger ones can cost $200 or more—especially if the dent prevents the door from closing or sealing properly.

Door Seal

If the refrigerator door won’t stay closed or you notice condensation on the outside of the door, the seal may need to be replaced. Damaged rubber door seals can cause the fridge to run more often to compensate for cold air loss. This can tax the compressor and make the appliance run less efficiently, which can result in higher energy costs. Replacing the door seal can cost between $50 and $440.

Freezer Repair

Freezer repair costs are usually more expensive than refrigerator repairs since the system is more complex. Repair prices can range between $90 and $650, with the national average at $350.

Ice Maker Repair

Ice maker repairs typically cost around $330. This is one instance in which a replacement might be cheaper than a repair, since a new ice maker costs between $60 and $200. One common issue with ice makers is a frozen hose. If thawing the hose doesn’t fix the problem, a repair or replacement will be needed. If the ice maker is making louder noises than it usually does, it could also be a sign that the ice maker needs to be replaced.

Control Board Issues

The control board is a vital part of the refrigeration process since no part of the fridge can function without it. This makes it one of the most expensive parts of a refrigerator to fix. If the refrigerator has stopped working suddenly, it may have something to do with the control board. Replacing the control board can cost between $500 and $800. Expect to pay more if you have a high-end refrigerator.

Malfunctioning Thermostat 

If the temperature inside the fridge is inconsistent, the thermostat may be the problem. A faulty thermostat can also cause unusual or loud noises from the appliance. Double-check the thermostat setting if you notice the fridge isn’t as cold as it used to be. It’s very easy for the temperature setting to get bumped when moving items in a crowded fridge. It’s recommended to keep the fridge temperature set to 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal food storage. Repairing the thermostat can run from $100 to $440.

Defrost Motor Issues

The defrost motor works when the thermostat temperature is adjusted. If the refrigerator’s temperature stays the same after turning the thermostat up or down, the defrost motor may be to blame. The typical cost of repairs averages between $100 and $440.

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Coils

Refrigerator coils are responsible for keeping everything cold. They circulate the coolant to condense warm air and lower the temperature. They’re typically located on the bottom or back of the appliance, so they can get dirty quickly. Condenser coils can get clogged with pet hair, dust, and lint. It’s recommended to pull out the refrigerator, blow out the coils with compressed air, and vacuum them thoroughly at least once a year. Coil repair can cost $100 to $440.

Drip Pan

The drip pan is found beneath most refrigerators and is the depository for condensation from the defrost motor. If you notice a leak from the bottom of the appliance or if it’s running louder than usual, the drip pan may need repair or securing. It costs between $50 and $200 for repairs.

Refrigerator Repair Cost

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Repairing vs. Replacing a Refrigerator: Which One Is Better?

Typically, most refrigerator repairs will cost less than buying a new one. The rule of thumb is that if the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of purchasing a new refrigerator, you may be better off replacing it. If the compressor needs to be replaced or the fridge is low on refrigerant, labor costs may push the price of repairs beyond what is affordable for an older appliance. Consider the price of labor and materials when deciding if repairing is worth it in the long run. It may be more cost-effective to replace the refrigerator instead of paying a lot of money in repairs for a fridge that may be on its last legs.

Do I Need a New Refrigerator?

A refrigerator will give you a few signs that it’s ready to be replaced rather than simply needing a repair. If the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of a new fridge, it might be time to start looking for a replacement. Here are a few of the most obvious signs that you need a new refrigerator.

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Condensation and Frost

If the refrigerator is covered in condensation on the outside or the inside and there’s frost covering the inside of the freezer, the rubber seal surrounding the door may need to be replaced. If you’re not sure if the rubber gasket is sealing properly, try closing the door on a dollar bill and pull it out slowly. If the dollar bill slides out with no resistance, the seal will need to be replaced. If replacing the seal doesn’t fix the problem, chances are you may need a new refrigerator.

Motor Noise

If the refrigerator’s motor is constantly running, that means it’s trying to regulate continually fluctuating temperatures. A noisy refrigerator can signify that the appliance isn’t working efficiently. Cleaning the condenser coils with compressed air and vacuuming away dust, lint, and pet hair may solve the problem. Another suggestion is to unplug the refrigerator and plug it back into the outlet to see if that fixes the problem. If the fridge isn’t maintaining a constant temperature, a professional should be able to tell you if it’s time for a repair or a replacement.

Overheating

While it’s common to feel warmth emanating from the coils on the back of a refrigerator, feeling excessive heat is not normal. Calling in a professional to inspect the coils should let you know if a coil replacement is needed or if it’s a better investment to buy a new refrigerator.

Food Spoilage

Another sign that a refrigerator is on its last legs is if its food is spoiling quickly. A fridge that isn’t maintaining a cold enough temperature isn’t running efficiently. It will not only cost money to replace the food that has gone bad, but it will also eventually cost more and more to run an inefficient appliance.

Older, Less Efficient Model

With the advancement in appliance technology, new refrigerators are more energy efficient than older models. If the fridge in your home is between 10 and 20 years old, chances are it’s going to cost more money in electricity bills than a newer model will.

Refrigerator Repair Cost

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Refrigerator Repair Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Suppose you’re handy and have some DIY experience. In that case, you may prefer to tackle some straightforward refrigerator repairs on your own, such as replacing a rubber door gasket, cleaning coils, unclogging a drain line, or cleaning the drip pan. An experienced professional should do more advanced repairs. Freon leaks and other issues that deal with refrigerants require a certified professional as mandated by the EPA. An experienced refrigerator repair technician should conduct repairs on mechanical issues that deal with the motor or coils. Attempting to repair the internal workings of a refrigerator without the required experience can make the problem worse and cost more money in the long run.

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How to Save Money on Refrigerator Repair Costs

Refrigerator repair costs can be high, and the additional fees associated with the repairs can quickly add up. One way to save money on refrigerator repair costs is to hire the cheapest repair technician you can find, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.

  • Get multiple quotes. Be sure to get at least three price estimates from reputable refrigerator repair technicians near you.
  • Repair minor issues quickly. It’s common for homeowners to let minor problems go if it’s something that they can work around. Letting seemingly minor repairs wait can allow them to develop into significant issues that can cost more money.
  • Keep the fridge clean. Cleaning the inside of a refrigerator may be a regular habit for many people, but how often do they clean the outside? Keeping the coils clean and free of dust will keep the fridge running efficiently for a long time.
  • Consider a home warranty. A complete home warranty will cover pricey repairs or a refrigerator replacement.
  • Read the small print. If the refrigerator is malfunctioning due to a manufacturer defect, the appliance warranty may cover the cost of repairs. Be sure to read the warranty carefully.

Questions to Ask a Professional About Refrigerator Repair 

Asking the right questions about refrigerator repair costs can minimize miscommunication and save money. Here are some questions to ask a refrigerator repair professional.

  • Will you provide references?
  • Are your repair technicians licensed?
  • Do you have insurance?
  • How long has your company been in business?
  • How often do you work on refrigerators like mine?
  • What training do your repair technicians have?
  • How long have they been repairing refrigerators?
  • Who will repair the refrigerator?
  • What brand of appliances do you have experience repairing?
  • Do you specialize in specific brands?
  • Is there a fee for a service call?
  • Do you provide a free estimate?
  • Do you provide after-hours emergency service?
  • Do you offer a warranty?

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FAQs

Getting a refrigerator repaired while staying within your budget can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about refrigerator repair costs to help guide you in your decisions.

Q.Is it worth fixing a refrigerator?

Yes. Many times a repair will cost less than replacing the appliance. If the price of repairing a refrigerator is more than half the cost of buying a new one, it may be time to start shopping around for a new fridge. Be sure to carefully consider the price of labor and materials before deciding to get your refrigerator repaired, especially if you have an older model appliance.

Q. Why is my refrigerator running but not cooling?

There are a few reasons a refrigerator is not cooling. Check the owner’s manual to troubleshoot, test the rubber door seals, check the thermostat to ensure it wasn’t accidentally bumped and changed, clean the condenser coils, and look to see that nothing is blocking the air vents. If these solutions don’t fix the problem, call in a professional.

Q. What is the first thing to check when a refrigerator stops working?

If your refrigerator has suddenly stopped working, the first thing to do is check the power cord and make sure it’s still plugged into the outlet. If it is, check the power breaker to see if it’s been tripped. Another thing to do is check the outlet by plugging in a lamp to see if the outlet works properly and check the power cord for damage. If none of these suggestions work, it’s recommended to call a professional to come and look at the refrigerator and assess if it can be repaired. If not, you may have to replace it with a new refrigerator.

Q.What happens when the fridge compressor goes out?

When a refrigerator compressor is failing, there are a few signs. If you notice the compressor clicking multiple times during a short period, that it’s quickly turning on and off, if it’s humming all the time, that it’s louder than usual, or if there are grinding or rattling noises, the compressor may need to be replaced. If there is ice buildup in the freezer or food spoilage, those are also signs the compressor is not working efficiently.

Q. How long do refrigerator compressors last?

A refrigerator compressor typically lasts 10 years or longer with regular maintenance. When something goes wrong with a refrigerator, it’s common for a refrigerator repair technician to check the compressor first since it’s crucial in the refrigeration process.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, Forbes

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