The Reckoner!

Refrigerator Battle! Should I buy new or repair the old?

I have a dilemma and I hope you Reckonauts will help me make a wise decision. Recently I moved my refrigerator to clean behind it, and ever since I moved it, it is not working properly. It keeps blowing out fuses. It is over 12 years old and the appliance's life these days is about 15 years, I am told.

If I call an appliance repair man, he will charge at least $75.00 for the visit and who knows how much the repair will be or even if it can be repaired. However a new refrigerator is going to cost at least $1,000 or more depending on the kind I get. After the holidays, I'm sort of cash strapped right now and would have to purchase a lower end model that I could afford...but I need a refrigerator that is dependable...I don't want to lose my food or burn down my house....

Do I bite the bullet and buy a cheaper, new one, after all this one is near its end, or do I take a chance on repairing it, hoping it can be repaired and get a few more good years out of it when I might be in a better financial position and able to purchase the one I really want?

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Buy New Now
Get It Repaired
Near its end...
Save money
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Reckoning Comments!

The thing with refrigerators is that they've made vast leaps in efficiency over the past couple of decades, so in many cases, there are significant savings you'll see on your electrical bill if you buy new.  That also means that if you buy an expensive fridge with the intent of keeping it longer, you'll likely end up replacing it on the same schedule anyway, since it'll still be really inefficient 15 years from now when all of our refrigerators are powered by GE-brand Mr. Fusion Domestic Cold Fusion units.

Personally, when it comes to refrigerators, unless you're going really high-end (i.e. Sub-Zero or somesuch), the difference in price between models isn't worth the features that get added.  What do you get for buying a more expensive fridge?  A better ice-maker.  Maybe a slightly better distribution of temperature inside the unit.  A better vegetable crisper.  This has never seemed worth it to me for the extra $400 that marks the difference between a cheapo unit and a mid-grade one.

So, in other words, buy new.

I'm with Dan here - they are really pretty inexpensive in the long run, and cheapo fridges aren't that much different than medium-grade.  

First, though, it may be worth making sure that your move didn't damage something easy to fix - if you are suddently blowing fuses, for example, you could just have a little short that you can isolate and fix by jiggling the wires until the fuse blows.  Be sure to check the wall socket as well.  Good luck!

Actually I was thinking -- it's so freakin' cold, just put a 5-day cooler out on the back porch for the time being.  :)

The Reckoner!