What is the Average Lifespan of a Refrigerator?

Kitchen with appliances including a refrigerator behind an island with an embedded sink
Have you owned your refrigerator for a few years? Are you unsure how much longer you can expect it to last? Learn the typical refrigerator lifespan so you can plan ahead when the time for appliance replacement looms near. You can even adopt tips to help your refrigerator provide efficient service for as long as possible.

How Long Does a Refrigerator Last?

According to the 23rd annual portrait of the U.S. appliance industry, standard refrigerators usually last anywhere from 10 to 18 years, with an average life expectancy of 14 years. Compact refrigerator lifespan is even shorter, ranging from 4 to 12 years with an average life expectancy of 8 years.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Fridge

As you can see, the potential refrigerator lifespan is quite wide. The longer you make yours last, the longer you can put off paying to replace it. To help your appliance rank toward the high end of its life expectancy, follow these fridge maintenance tips.

Clean the Door Seals

A loose or torn gasket (or one caked with gunk) doesn’t seal tightly. This wastes energy and causes the fridge to work harder, shortening its lifespan.

Make it a habit to clean the gasket with warm water twice a year to remove any residue. Then check the seal for tears and replace it if you find any. Also, try closing the door on a dollar bill. If it slides around easily or falls out, the door isn’t sealing properly, and you need to replace the gasket.

Give it Room to Breathe

Refrigerators function best when they have airflow on all sides. The exceptions to this include zero-clearance and front-vented refrigerators. Unless your fridge is labeled as such, don’t set large, heavy objects directly on top of the fridge, and make sure adjacent counters and cabinets leave one inch of clearance. Proper air circulation can prevent unnecessary breakdowns.

Clean the Coils

Condenser coils filled with refrigerant are what make refrigeration possible. However, when the coils become caked with dust and grime, they don’t run efficiently. This raises your energy bills and can wear out the fridge compressor more quickly.

To clean the coils, first unplug the fridge. Then remove the grille from the bottom front of the fridge. Check to see if the coils are here. If so, clean them with your vacuum’s brush attachment. If you don’t see the coils, they’re located on the back of the refrigerator, and you’ll need to pull the appliance away from the wall to access and clean the coils.

Level the Fridge

Refrigerators are picky and like to sit exactly level. If yours rocks from side to side, it may not close properly, resulting in a strained motor and allowing condensation to enter. Place a level on top of the fridge to see if it’s sitting flat. Try rocking it back and forth to see if you can knock it off balance. If so, there’s an easy way to fix this.

Refrigerator manufacturers know that kitchen floors aren’t always perfect, so most fridges come with adjustable feet. If you discover your appliance sits crooked, twist the adjustable feet until the fridge is secure and perfectly level.

Schedule Refrigerator Repair

Just because your fridge breaks down doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to replace it. Often a simple repair is all it needs to get back up and running. To schedule refrigeration repair, please contact Mr. Appliance® today. As long as your fridge isn’t too close to its life expectancy, we’ll make sure your fridge remains in service for a few more years.