15 year old Fridge, repair or replace?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by paulsiu, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. paulsiu

    paulsiu New Member

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    Itasca, IL
    Is it worth hiring a repair man to fix a 15 year old fridge or should one just buy a new one.

    Paul
  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    You should wait, they are coming out with rebates for clunkers for fridges, dishwashers, stoves, washers and dryers. I think yours would fit at 15 years old and you don't need to turn it in either. There is a link to it here somewhere.

    If you can wait,

    here is part of the article, I didn't copy the site addy I usually do, so I apologize I don't have that, an oversight of mine.

    But, here is part copied,


    By Matthew Boyle Matthew Boyle – Mon Aug 24, 8:08 am ET
    A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers, but it's probably not enough to lift companies such as Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR - News) and Electrolux out of the worst down cycle in the sector's history.

    Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won't have to trade in their old appliances.)

    "These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement announcing the plan. Only appliances covered by the Energy Star seal will qualify. In 2008, about 55% of newly produced major household appliances met those standards, which are set by the Energy Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  3. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    What is your fridge doing or not doing?
  4. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Depends on what it will take to repair it, what you have, and what you really want. I sold my 15 year old fridge, clean and in excellent mechanical condition (energy use was still near the Energy Guide spec.) earlier this year for $200. It was an Amana 22 cu.ft. side-by-side with icemaker/water dispenser.

    The newer fridges are nearly twice as efficient as that one was, but it's hard to justify a replacement on energy consumption with such an expensive appliance. This is especially true if you are upgrading to stainless steel and larger capacity.

    Depending on the repair, you might estimate how long it will last, then decide if it is worth the gamble. I suspect my old one would have worked for another 5 years before some sort of major or PITA trouble developed that would make it unsalvageable or at least undesirable for us. So in essence I got $200 for replacing it sooner with a better, more attractive, and larger model that is saving some energy as well (about $53/year.) I also took advantage of generous 0% financing...didn't need to, but it's nice to accrue benefits while not having paid for it yet.
  5. paulsiu

    paulsiu New Member

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    Location:
    Itasca, IL
    I am not sure, it's my in-law's fridge. I think the fridge freeze stuff on some level and is warm on others. The temperature seems inconsistent. I was thinking of getting them a new fridge for Christmas, but that would be an expensive gift, so one idea was to hire a repair man.

    Paul
  6. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    The one thing when people talk about getting rid of things just because they are no longer energy efficient as new ones, that they are missing, is where and what happens to the old ones when they are discarded? To the landfills. If people are really concerned about the environment they have to consider the gases which is emitted from those places.

    I am like you, everything is so old before it is discarded. It can't be fixed anymore or parts can't be found, like on my 55 year old furnace I had replaced about 4 years ago.

    To replace things just because the given age is 6 years on a water heater is insane, it is leaks, or can't be fixed, okay. Just imagine if everyone did that crap, replaced this at a certain age or that, my word, our planet is already a garbage dump could you imagine how much worse it would be, if it weren't for people like us?

    My water heater is somewhere around 12 years old, and my fridge like yours cited here of your in laws is about 15 years old, too. At least. Still running well. The gaskets needed fixed, and I took my time in replacing them, and they are fine. I sweep the back of the coils every now and then, I guess, if down the road I need to replace it, I will. Back not until, their is a reason to.

    I intend on letting my water heater age gracefully like me, and my 21 year old cat, and when it needs replaced it will then be replaced but, not a day before then. Not just because it is old. Hog wash to do anything other.

    I think it is nice of you to want to do that for your inlaws, that is a nice gift, either way, to buy new or to fix. You must be a nice guy to do that.
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Large appliances tend to end up going to recyclers. You aren't allowed to just landfill refrigeration gear without removing the refrigerant as best I understand. The inefficient device is going to end up disposed of anyway, it's just a matter of when.

    One can fret about the land filled material while emitting an extra 500 lb or so of CO2/year by continuing to operate the less efficient fridge...(not to mention the extra mercury emissions that result when the local electric is coal fired.) Coal fired electric generation emits 2.1 lb CO2/kwh, nat. gas fired about 1.3 lb CO2/kwh per the DOE.

    Consider how much natural gas that thing wasted compared to even the 80% efficiency units of the 1990's. It probably wasn't even hitting 60% efficiency, so each year it was using at least 33% more gas than required for ~13 years. A ccf of nat. gas is equivalent to about 12 lbs/co2.

    Totally different issue than replacing something because it is inefficient AND runs poorly (problems the OP is facing with this one.) I agree that unless a water heater is in a death spiral there is little incentive to replacing it. As for the fridge I'm actually wondering how much it might take to repair it, assuming it is repairable.

    At some age one is throwing good money after bad for a device that is unlikely to last more than a few years. Figure out the new fridge purchase cost (with tax, delivery, etc), subtract any credits, subtract sale of previous fridge if possible, divide by life expectancy of the new one, then subtract the cost of the electrical reduction/yr. The result is the cost per year of early replacement. If the repair cost divided by the likely life expectancy exceeds this value, then there is no economic justification for repair (other than lacking the funds to replace.)

    Although the side-by-side I replaced still ran well, I didn't like it because of the same sort of temperature issues mentioned by OP above. Things were too warm in the top half, too cold in the bottom. Only the middle was really safe for most storage. I only put things on the bottom shelf that could stand a freeze, and the top was for stuff that really only needed mild chilling. Never did like the side-by-side design since the height-to-width ratio is too high creating a nasty temp. gradient. (The unit was here when I bought the place.) Didn't end up in a landfill as a neighbor bought it.

    I replaced my reliable and still working old top loading washer with an efficient front loader and have been shocked at how quickly it is going to payoff (about three and a half years.) And that's not even counting the reduced wear and tear on clothes from the agitator.

    There's a big difference between simply wanting something shiny and new, and having good justification to replace a still functional piece of equipment. I hang onto stuff for a long time, until it no longer makes sense to do so. I've still got my 19 year old TV, partially because it uses about half the energy of a comparable LCD/plasma, and partially because I'm tight with a buck.
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Actually, their is one thing I really adhere to and that is not filling up our landfills. That bothers me. I own property in the mountains and about 20 miles from us there is a dump. It is loaded with water heaters, fridges, stoves, bikes, you name it, more of those items than anything else. People use to be able to go and pick out the good stuff, copper, out door chairs, tables, anything that could be reused it worked out well. Then, along comes someone who trips and cuts their leg and it all gets eventually buried. New Jersey has been trucking their garbage down to Pennsylvania for years because the last time I checked, they were filled up. It makes me laugh when the environmentalists want to emit less polution with cars, wants us to buy newer appliances to conserve energy, when the real issue is what the sam hell do we do with all of it? The world is either cementaries or dumps.

    You know, the answer is to use moderation. That pretty much is the key to everything or anything in life. What is the use of tilting the wheel one way, when it is too tilted the other way? Balance and moderation. I guess, just common sense.

    You want to dance you got to pay the fiddler.

    I got a dump about 6 miles from my house, I got one can of garbage per week, probably half full. I never sit out anything which I could donate, give away, or sell. It has to be really unfixeable or can't be reconstructed into anothe use for me to sit it out there; yet, I pay the same amount to haul away that one half filled can that which someone pays to haul away mounds of garbage or it looks like they emptied out a furniture store.

    Talk frugal? I called our township and put my 2 cents worth in. Either charge them more, or charge me less, or allow me to take my 1/2 full garbage can to the dump, and charge me zilnch. Oh, no can do I was told.

    If it weren't for people like me, who doesn't buy anything to live up with the neighbors, and uses whatever until, it is completely used, the world would be full of garbage and the air would be worse than it is. You know how many water heaters sit in the dump? Alot. Same with appliances, it is a sin. If the manufacters do make them so they only last 6 years they should be made to build their house in the dump.


    When our school system started to recycle I had taken the students on a field trip to the dump. It was there I showed them waste, and not caring about the past, present and future. They left the dump with a different viewpoint when they saw with their own eyes, not just on an educational tv show the piles and piles of junk. They saw things which could had been donated, fixed, or even sold! Instead it lays inwait to be buried and maybe, in hundreds of years to rot away. I remember one boy saying, " THE TOILETS!" Alot of toilets. So, when someone complains about a toilet not flushing enough of water, or hard to clean and replace it only for it to end up in the landfill, that is insane. If they sell it, donate to different organization that is great, but to dispose of it is not.

    Same with fridges.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  9. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    I think you have some good points, Cookie, but I think energy effeciency is also important.

    As for the toilets, I think in some places it's illegal to reuse toilets (??) and some places do not allow non-low-flow toilets to be installed.

    Jason
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

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  11. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    You've got it wrong, Cookie. The landfill issue as it relates to efficiency is that appliances and vehicles with absolutely terrible efficiency were the norm for decades. Don't make junk to begin with, and there is no need to replace that junk. That's why I'm glad basic efficiency standards have been/are being improved. I'm not concerned about small increments, the ones being discussed are HUGE!

    Plus a lot of this stuff can be recycled for the metals.

    Toilets? These piece of junk early low flush toilets and the old massive volume toilets need to go. I'm about to give three of the early American low flows the heave. If I can find someone who wants them, they are welcome to them, but the performance is atrocious so I doubt there will be any takers. I don't need the water damage that comes from children overflowing them. (Guess what happens to stuff that has to be replaced when that happens?) It is unfortunate that these awful designs were ever produced. I didn't buy them, so don't blame me.

    I'm far less concerned about the landfills than what is going into the atmosphere or drinking water...or the lack of water. (With as dessicated and monitored as landfills are I'm not worried about their impact on the water.) I do think we will end up mining the landfills someday for many things that have been throw-away. Plus, I'm more concerned about the mining involved in producing all that coal. Lots of little hills/mountains are levelled for that.

    If you get your way, you will see those toilets and fridges dotting the countryside instead of in the landfills. Toilets were a common problem when I lived in the South. For awhile it seemed every time I walked down a stretch of rural property I would find at least one broken toilet on it. It became a running joke.
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    You got it wrong in what I am saying. Improve the models to make things right yes, but, also realize that landfills gives off toxins and their is only so much space. What next shoot it on a rocket to Mars? Landfills, are filled up, no more room at the inn. And, we are breathing it, for hundreds and hundreds of years.
    If you can't breathe you surely, don't need water. How long can you hold your breath?

    http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/..._near_a_landfill_and_how_near_is_too_near.htm

    The U.S. population produced more than 236 million tons of garbage in 2003 (about 4.5 pounds of waste per person per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)). All of this waste gets put into landfills, which are decreasing in numbers (from 8,000 in 1988 to 1,767 in 2002) but gaining in size.


    Landfills produce leachate, a toxic liquid squeezed out of the garbage that contains a slew of chemicals.

    Today's landfills are significantly bigger than they were just two decades ago, and increasing numbers are reaching full capacity. When a landfill is full, it gets capped and usually planted with grass, the end result looking like a large, grassy hill, with small chimneys to releases gasses. A closed landfill does not look particularly threatening, but evidence is pouring in that there's more going on than meets the eye.

    How Landfills Work

    Trash is compacted into tight blocks called cells before being deposited in the landfill. It's then covered with multiple layers, including a thick covering of soil, at the end of each day. Once the landfill reaches capacity, it's covered with a plastic material, then soil and grass.

    "Most U.S. landfills are called dry tombs," says Steve Wall of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "Ideally, landfills are carefully engineered and monitored systems that keep household garbage dry so they don't contaminate surrounding water or air."

    Safeguards are in place to keep toxins in the landfill, and out of surrounding communities, however, "people are concerned because trash inside lasts for generations," Wall says.

    Landfills Leak Toxins

    Landfills produce significant amounts of methane gas, along with leachate, a toxic liquid that comes out of all that compressed trash. Leachate is full of organic and inorganic pollutants, including toluene, phenols, benzene, ammonia, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated pesticides, heavy metals and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

    Landfills often have pipes designed to route and collect leachate to keep it from contaminating ground water (which can become your tap water). However, even the best collection systems and landfill liners inevitably deteriorate and leak, according to the EPA:

    "No liner ... can keep all liquids out of the ground for all time. Eventually liners will either degrade, tear, or crack and will allow liquids to migrate out of the unit. Some have argued that liners are devices that provide a perpetual seal against any migration from a waste management unit. EPA has concluded that the more reasonable assumption, based on what is known about the pressures placed on liners over time, is that any liner will begin to leak eventually."

    If and when a landfill does leak, toxins are allowed to escape directly into the environment, where they can contaminate air, water and soil.

    Health Risks Linked to Landfills



    If you have a choice, it's probably best to locate your home at least two miles from a landfill.

    Studies have shown possible increased risks of certain types of cancer, including bladder, brain and leukemia, among people who live near landfills.

    Further, a study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also found that babies born to mothers who live near landfills have a greater risk of birth defects.

    "There was a significantly overall increased risk of neural-tube defects, malformations of the cardiac septa (hole-in-the-heart), and malformations of the great arteries and veins in residents near the landfill sites in our study," the researchers said.

    And, a recent study found that living near a landfill could expose residents to chemicals that can reduce immune system function and lead to an increased risk of infections.

    As opposed to children living in clean areas, the study found that "children living near to waste sites, whether landfills or contaminated bodies of water, are hospitalized more frequently with acute respiratory infections, said Dr. David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, at the State University of New York at Albany. Children living near waste sites also had increased rates of hospitalization for asthma.

    Carpenter said the extent to which toxic landfill contaminants suppress the immune system has been "underestimated."

    "While our specific study focused on air transport of the contaminants, they are also in our food," Carpenter said, "and the effect of exposure should not be different whether it is via food or air. So we really need to get these chemicals out of our environment to the greatest degree possible."

    Ideally, we would all live in pristine environments, free from pollution of all kinds. Realistically, it may be worthwhile to avoid living near landfills, if you have a choice. If you don't, try to stay more than two miles away, as the health effects, at least in the birth defects study, lessened beyond this point.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  13. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Just think cookie....if we put enough stuff in the landfill, then some underpriveleged folks will also be able to buy a house on the NEW mountain! What a country!
  14. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Funny. In NH they actually have a landfill where the boy scounts erected a shed where they put things brought into the landfill and people are able to come and take what they want. This landfill also, once allowed people to take stuff from the grounds, but not no more since someone complained of an injury. So, the stuff their gets buried, copper, metals that can be sold or used. It is a good idea of the shed. I have seen landfills where in the front they will put the larger items, baby carriages,bed frames, bikes, for people to take.

    This is good. It helps those not having to buy those items, or even if they want to take them and resell them at a garage sale, who cares? It is so much better to try to lessen the amount of garbage being buried.

    Really, who wants to have the next landfill in their backyard, when they have to yet, make another one. Their are so many alternatives it is shame on people for not being more conservative, we should leave this world alittle bit better than the day we were born into it. We owe that to the future generations.

    Leave them the essentials, air, water, mother earth in good condition. Imagine generations and generations from now, what those people are going to think of us. And, we should think that, we should care.

    So, what if your toilet doesn't meet what you want right now, if it isn't leaking, if it works, don't add to the heap unless, absolutely necessary.
  15. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    No, not really. They bottle them up pretty tight anymore. Your priorities are reversed on this one. You will waste far more resources to keep some piece of junk. Take that ancient furnace for example. I'll bet it wasted at least 100 ccF of nat. gas a year, perhaps several times that. You could probably recycle the metal in it with the energy it wasted in just a year or two.

    This reminds me of the folks screaming about the mercury in CFL's...when each one reduces the mercury emissions from coal fired electricity more than the mercury within the bulb. That's without even considering other toxins from electricity generation, let alone the CO2.

    I'm not a fan of landfills and think we could do a lot better at reducing waste volume. However, refrigerators, old furnaces, dead water heaters, and toilets are not the sources of the "toxins" you are worried about it. Plus landfills are designed and operated to actually hold the toxins.
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    The proper place for old toilets is to be ground up for new roads.

    With the shortage of water that is usable, it only makes sense to get rid of the old stuff.

    That is why water utilities are giving rebates now to preserve what little water they have left.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  17. Cookie

    Cookie .

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  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I got a house listed one mile from a dump, let me know if you are interested. It has been on the market for 4 years, nice house, too.
  19. jwilson

    jwilson New Member

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    Don't forget the energy it took to make the appliance you're buying new. It takes a lot of energy to mine the ore, produce the steel, fabricate it, ship it around, etc.

    Getting rid of useful equimpment that provides no other benefit other than energy efficiency is for the most part a net energy, and money, loss for a long time.
  20. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    I'm not forgetting it at all. In fact, when you buy something you are paying for that energy. That's why working through the economics is a decent way to evaluate it. Energy is only one part of the cost so if the economic benefits exceed that you can rest assured that the energy balance is heavily in favor of replacement.
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