June 19, 2019

Consumer must buy new or used when a refrigerator can’t be repaired

Clogged drain; ice cream won’t freeze; water’s leaking onto the floor; the refrigerator isn’t running at all. These are just some complaints a refrigerator mechanic faces daily. When a refrigerator can’t be repaired, though, it’s time to buy another one.

Before doing so, however, the consumer needs to know how much money can be spent, what refrigerator features are desirable, what space is available for a refrigerator, and which unit (top-freezer, bottom freezer, or side-by-side) makes the most of the available space.

Two popular types of refrigerators are the top-freezer model and the side-by-side model. The bottom freezer model is used less often.

“A model that’s self-defrosting is more convenient than manual defrost. There’s no difference in operating costs for the same capacity. Top-freezer models can be found for about $500-$600; side-by-side models usually start at 20 feet (in length) and can cost as much as $2,000,” said Harley Sproul of Sproul’s Appliance Repair in Lincoln.

Sproul, an appliance repairman for 42 years, said, “When purchasing a used refrigerator, prices will vary between dealers. Keep in mind (that) older refrigerators will be phased out. After 1995, the manufacturing of freon has to stop. The only freon used will be what’s available now.”

Keep in mind two things when buying a new or used refrigerator:

When buying new, find out who will service the refrigerator. Does the company have a repair person or do they send repairs away? Ask what the warranty will cover, and how long it lasts;

When buying a used refrigerator, the same tips apply. Know if someone in the area works on the model. Otherwise, you may be looking for another model when breakdowns occur. Know if the refrigerator has had any major repairs. Some dealers give a 30-90 day warranty on parts they’ve replaced.

Clean the condenser coils with a gentle sweep of a whisk broom or a light vacuuming. Defrost manual models often, usually when about 3/4-inch of ice has built up.

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