How Many Years Does a Refrigerator Last?

The refrigerator is one of the most vital appliances in your kitchen because it keeps your food fresh. Unfortunately, most refrigerators don't last forever; you can expect one to function properly for an average of 13 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Side-by-side refrigerator.
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A close-up of a stainless steel refrigerator.

All Good Refrigerators Must Come to an End

While you might find harvest gold refrigerators from the 1970s still functioning, the average fridge lasts 11 to 14 years before it breaks down, according to "The Washington Post." Although you can repair a refrigerator to keep it going, "Good Housekeeping" recommends that you do so only if the machine is less than 15 years old and the price of repairing it is less than half the cost of a new one. Those built after 1993 are more efficient than their earlier counterparts and use less electricity. Purchasing a newer model may decrease your power bill because it will run more efficiently.

Maintenance and Disposal

Clean your refrigerator's condenser coils with a vacuum or brush annually to remove dust and pet hair and prolong your fridge's life. While some models' coils aren't easy to access or clean, you can find others easily behind, under or on top of the unit. To dispose of a non-working refrigerator, contact your local municipality to have it removed due to the refrigerant it contains, which is an environmental hazard. Some appliance dealers will remove and recycle your old fridge if you purchase a new one from that dealer.