I’m not sure if this was the right decision or not. Our 15 year old fridge is making whiny noises again. It last did this (and apparently worse) 3 years ago and DH replaced the freezer fan and everything was fine until just now. It’s a pretty quick fix involving buying a replacement fan and other bracket stuff, unscrewing a couple of screws, unplugging a few things, then reassembling with the new stuff.
We initially bought this fridge as our own personal fridge when we were working as graduate resident assistants in graduate school. As such, we did not have much money and bought the cheapest model full-sized fridge at Home Depot (or possibly Lowes). It is enormously surprising that it has lasted this long. (Or maybe not so surprising– the newest version of this model is Sweet Home’s top choice for cheap fridges.)
The freezer fan parts cost $70 including shipping. The replacement fridge we were scoping out costs $800 (on summer sale– regularly it cost $900) and is a little bigger than our current model. Replacing our current model with a similar GE would cost $500 (on summer sale– regularly costs $600). Despite DH not having any income, we can easily handle the replacement costs (unlike, say, getting a new car which would put a real dent in the emergency fund and could potentially affect when DH needed to find a new job or when we needed to cut back on spending).
Also of interest to us is the effect of a new purchase on the environment. New refrigerators are more energy efficient than old refrigerators. But we’d probably get a slightly larger one than what we have now, and a lot of energy goes into actually making a new fridge. So what’s the most environmentally friendly option, I don’t know.
So… some folks would tell us not to be ridiculous and to buy a new unit when the old one starts giving us problems since we can afford it. Others would suggest that we keep repairing it until the repairs get beyond our capabilities. I’m not sure what’s right. I don’t like the hassle of dealing with a dicey fridge, but the track record of repairs so far isn’t too bad. Who is to say that a new fridge wouldn’t be giving us problems in 3 years… not to mention that 3 years is kind of a long time– if I could be sure that my next car problem wasn’t going to happen for another 3 years, I would be ecstatic about keeping my little Hyundai.
Though to be honest, I’m not even sure if I’d be replacing the refrigerator if DH was working and we had more money than we knew what to do with. We tend not to replace things until we have to. I guess we didn’t have stupidly large amounts of income long enough for that habit to change, or maybe that kind of ingrained habit never changes.
How do you decide to replace an appliance?