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Appliance Repair Guide

Fridge Freezer Repair Guide

If your fridge freezer malfunctions or it breaks down and you don’t get it repaired quickly enough, you could find yourself with hundreds of pounds’ worth of spoilt food. An out-of-order fridge freezer really does count as a household emergency.

That’s why our team have put together this guide about how to spot issues with your fridge freezer and what you can do if something does go wrong.


Things to consider when having problems with your fridge freezer

Fridge freezers should last between 9 and 13 years according to manufacturers and experts. If you have had yours for any longer than that, you are far more at risk of a breakdown than somebody who has just purchased a newer model.

The 9-13 years recommendation assumes that you bought a mid-range fridge freezer that comes from a reputable brand and that you bought it new. If you bought your fridge freezer second-hand, then you should assume that it will last 9-13 years from the date that the original owners purchased it (always check with the current owners before making up your mind).

Energy efficiency is also something that gets worse with age. Consumers tests found that 5-year-old fridge freezers consume 10% more energy than new fridge freezers, 10-year-old fridges use 20% more energy, and 15-year-old fridges use 30% more energy.

This means that, even if your fridge freezer is still in good working order 15 years since you bought it, you could still be paying considerably more in your electricity bill than you need to be.


Detecting and identifying faults with your fridge freezer

Here are some of the most common faults that we see with fridge freezers – and here’s what you can do about those faults:


If your fridge freezer is over-freezing

There are many reasons why you fridge freezer is over-freezing. Most often, this happens as the result of your door seal not allowing any air in or out of the fridge freezer. It could also be because the thermostat in the fridge freezer is faulty. If either of these problems occur, you should consult the manual and see if there is an easy fix. This is especially so if the thermostat misbehaving.


If your fridge freezer is not cooling

If your fridge freezer isn’t keeping your food cold or frozen, more often than not it’s because the compressor in the fridge freezer has broken. The only way to solve this problem is to get a professional out for their opinion. If it is the case, you will either have to buy the replacement part and have it fitted or simply buy a new fridge freezer.


If your fridge is leaking water

The reason that some fridges leak water is because the self-defrosting system is broken. The self-defrosting system allows the frozen liquid to defrost and then runs it down through a defrost channel. On its way down the defrost channel, the liquid picks up bits of food and dust which can then cause a blockage. If this continues (say, over the course of a fridge’s lifecycle) the defrost channel can become clogged causing a leak.


If there is lots of ice in your freezer

This can happen for a variety of reasons however it is most likely that your fridge freezer has experienced a fan motor failure. The fan circulates the cold air around the freezer, stopping the water particles in the air from getting stuck and freezing in place. If the fan breaks, you’ll be left with a large build-up of ice in your freezer.

The solution to this problem is to get the fan motor repaired and this is a job which should be left in the hands of a trained professional.


Potential repairs and costs for your fridge freezer

Here is a table to show the typical repairs that a fridge freezer will need at some point and the associated costs:


Repair Average cost Time
Fit and supply thermostat £60-£100 30 mins to an hour
Fit and supply door seal £60-£105 30 mins to an hour
Defroster mechanism or motor £75-£105 1 hour
Repair ice maker £170-£290 30 mins to an hour
Replacement compressor £315-£455 1 hour


Naturally, each of these parts are only needed if they are broken or if they are being temperamental. Unfortunately, you might only be able to identify which specific part is malfunctioning with the help of a professional whose time you will have to pay for.


Should I repair or replace my fridge freezer?

Each fridge freezer is different and depending on which style you own, you might want to repair it rather than buy a new one, and vice versa.

As a general rule of thumb you should:

  • Repair a built in refrigerator whenever possible,
  • Repair side by side fridge freezers if they are less than 5 years old,
  • Repair bottom freezers within a 7 year window and consider them for replacement at any point after that, and,
  • Replace top freezers at any point after 7 years of ownership.

Although replacing an old fridge freezer will cost you more in the short term than repairing it will, you should factor in the energy saving costs of newer models. The energy efficiency of a new fridge freezer will outweigh the cost of a replacement over a repair within a few years of use.


What to look out for in a replacement fridge freezer?

If you have decided that it is for the best that you replace your fridge freezer, then you need to keep a few things in mind.

First, you should always buy a warranty for your fridge freezer – the longer the warranty, the better. This one off cost will allow you a hassle free repair should your fridge freezer break down in the future. However, if the only warranty that’s available is less than 2 years, then avoid it. It is very rare that fridge freezers break within the first two years of purchase.

Second, if you’re able to wait for a sale to buy your new fridge freezer then do it. If you can save a few hundred pounds on the purchase of your fridge freezer, then take that opportunity.