Most New Refrigerators Are Crap

After working at the appliance recycle center (used appliance store) for a few years, I started volunteering to repair appliances at a Habitat For Humanity Resale Store. People would donate used appliances to be refurbished and sold to raise money to help fund building houses for poor people (not so poor that they couldn’t afford the mortgage payments however, which meant that real homeless people couldn’t qualify). In addition to donations of appliances from the general public, the store received appliances from a nationwide retailer of appliances. When a customer bought a new appliance from the retailer and wanted the old one removed, it was donated to Habitat. Appliances that were returned to the retailer as defective were also donated (as a tax write-off). Thus I was in a position for three years to observe the defects that made people purchase new refrigerators and to see the brands with the most factory defects.

In fairness to appliance manufacturers, I should point out that many of the new appliances returned as defective worked perfectly. Either the buyer changed his or her mind and wanted a refund and made up problems or couldn’t recognize a refrigerator that was working properly. Over the three year period at Habitat, I saw at least fifty of these used three-days returns even though nothing was wrong sell for approximately half-price (if they weren’t diverted to the relatives of the store manager who had paid positions in the store). Discounting the phoney returns it was still obvious after a few months that Frigidare had more factory defects than other brands. GE gave Frigidare a run, but couldn’t quite match them for shoddy construction. Even though these two brands accounted for most new defective appliances donated to Habitat doesn’t mean they were the worst built. Obviously, they were being sold more than other brands exposing more factory defects than brands with less market share. The worst built refrigerator in my opinion was Haier, a Chinese company who has a goal of 10% market-share in the US and tried to buy Maytag in 2005. That damn Maytag repairman would have had plenty to do then. I expect that throw away plastic refrigerator I predicted in the last post to be produced by Haier. On the other hand, why should Haier produce a better refrigerator than necessary to compete with the low-quality units with more familiar names.

Quality will continue to decline as long as consumers are willing to accept cheap and shoddy.      


Filed under appliance, refrigerator repair

62 responses to “Most New Refrigerators Are Crap

  1. mark

    hey fridgeman,got a question for you about converting a chest freezer to a refrigerator.this is quite common with the beer kegerator crowd,simply adding an external thermostat.
    this is also being tried by off grid solar folks to make an energy effecient fridge.
    so here’s what I did.
    starting with a 7cu ft chest freezer I removed the metal skin,picked the evaporator coils out of the foam then added 3″ of foam around the sides,top and bottom.I then covered the sides with FRP and reinstalled the coils on the outside of the box. It actually looks pretty cool.
    so did I create a more effecient fridge or did I just waste a bunch of time and money?thanks fridgeman. mark

  2. fridgeman

    Thanks for the comment/question Mark. First my apologies for being away and not responding to questions in a timely fashion. I think your question deserves a blog post as a reply rather than a short comment since “doing more with less energy” is the future.

  3. randy

    Is it true most brands use Brazilian Tecumseh compressors that have a high failure rate? Do you know any brands that use a reliable compressor? My current Maytag lasted just over 3 years. I am discouraged that it sounds like there are no reliable refrigerators being made these days from a refrigeration standpoint. Are we better off with a styrofoam box and dry ice to keep food cool? Thanks. I appreciate your blog and repair info.

  4. fridgeman

    Hi Randy,
    Your questions highlight my own concerns with the deteriorating quality of refrigerators (and all white goods). All of us vaguely understand that when a company that had been making its own compressors in Alabama for forty years closes the plant and moves it to India that the skill and experience of the workforce tends to decline at least in the short term. I try to research these issues on the Internet from time to time (to see who is making what where). I’m not aware of a Tecumseh compressor operation in Brazil, although companies in the global economy buy, sell, and trade each other and brand names at an ever increasing rate. I have seen references to Tecumseh India and stats that says that Tecumseh produces 70 million compressors a year worldwide. Most compressor makers are heading to India or China or at least opening plants there. Danfoss, Tecumseh, Electrolux, Embraco (to become Embraco-Snowflake in China)or disappearing like Americold, the Alabama company that was a division of Electrolux (Frigidaire) until 2002.
    Embraco, a Brazilian company who has the biggest compressor operation in the world, or did a few years ago, and has produced a couple of hundred million compressors is now part of Whirlpool who bought Maytag around 2005. My guess is that your Maytag may have had an Embraco, but who can be certain in this global economy and marketplace where the names change constantly.
    Embraco was a good, well-made, workhorse compressor in the 80s and 90s. Sadly today we are in a situation where the brand tells us a little about the quality inside a product that must be sealed. It is a pot-luck compressor world now.
    Whatever I say today won’t be true in ten years. Frigidaire compressors from the 50s still work just like the GE horseshoe compressors of the 70s, but a GE compressor from the 90s had trouble lasting a decade.
    To mix apples and oranges…the transmissions in a Whirlpool washer made in the 70s were so tough they could be shot with a 357 magnum and survive…by the late 90s GE T-line washers were using a transmission from riding lawnmowers that couldn’t take the strain of washing and spinning clothes.
    A couple of years ago I would have recommended that people buy a Whirlpool since they seemed to be going downhill at a slower rate than most other brands, but today I can’t have any confidence that they are any better than the rest.
    As for your styrofoam box and dry-ice…my current refrigerator is a Kelvinator box with a Whirlpool evaporator, a GE cold-control, and a Americold R-12 compressor charged with R-409. I ‘assembled’ the unit in my garage in 2000 and it has never had a problem. Of course I never tell it that it has parts from seven different scrap refrigerators lol or it might stop working.
    I was planning for my next fridge to be a solar-powered unit built around a Danfoss 12vdc compressor (and a chest-type box), but then I saw that the company was going to India.
    Now my plan is to ‘find’ a forgotten but new Americold 120vac compressor gathering dust in a forgotten corner of a warehouse and use it in a home built box surrounded by six-inches of polyurethane. The rest of the parts I will need are piling up all over America as refrigerators a few months or years old fail. Being certified to handle refrigerants has its advantages.
    The oldest working refrigerator in America was made in 1924. Why do we have to suffer crap that won’t last three years?

    • Bob from Florida


      Have enjoyed you comments concerning modern reigerators and wholeheartedly concur. My Electrolux by Frigidaire has a Tecumseh compressor stamped made in Brazil. It has failed exactly at the five year point negating any warrenty. It’s as if the companies are learning just how long they can make an appliance last up until the day the warrenty expires and then ensuring its failure. GM introduced planned obselecense to America and producers of goods have decided this is the best way to go. I for one will never buy another Frigidaire product as long as I live and will badmouth the product to anyone who will listen. unfortunately as you said it’s not confined to one or even a few companies so my choices are being severely limited. I applaud your Frankenstein Fridge, by the way. Ny grandmother had an old freezer purchased just after WW2 that ran on amonia as a refrigerant. It was running up to the day she passed on and I’m sure it was tossed, but what a lifespan. I’m afraid I don’t remember the brand, though. Keep up the good work. I am about to go shopping for a new top freezer model; Any suggestions?

    • GREG B

      Great article of information.Very thankful to you your A GREAT AMERICAN!

    • I just bought a 1954 General Electric fridge/freezer with the lazy susan interior shelves. Also picked up a 1944 Philco that has the single door with a tiny freezer inside. I don’t know how long they will keep running but they both look new. I hope they run a long time. They seem to get cold fast and I love them both.

  5. James Fleenor

    I have a 10 year old Whirlpool fridge in the kitchen and a 1952 Sears Coldspot fridge in the garage. The fridge in the garage keeps stuff twice as cold as the newer Whirlpool plus the old model only comes on 2 or 3 times a day (it’s got one of those old style latching door handles) and the newer Whirlpool runs alot and has done so since we first bought it. I have been thinking about painting the old 52 Sears Coldspot and putting it in my kitchen and was wondering if using the old Sears Coldspot would actually save me much electricity in the long run and if I should be afraid of the old one breaking down anytime soon. Thanks

    • Ginger

      My coldspot fridge Model #106H7B-D1 probably from 1954/55 needs some parts Do you have any idea where we could find some???
      It is freezing fine…but wont shut off regardless of what temp. setting I adjust to on thermostat dial. Looking forward to hearing from you.

      • fridgeman

        I have been unable to locate parts for this unit Ginger.

      • Ginger, you could use a love temperature switch. I used used a ts-13010 for a fridge conversion and love it.

        All you do is wire the temperature switch to the middle of a short three wire extension cord, program the temperature control for the temperature range that you want, and plug the fridge into the extension cord.

  6. fridgeman

    According to all the government sponsored propaganda, using a 1952 refrigerator may destroy the whole planet. This BS comes from corporate lobbyists working for appliance manufacturers who want you to replace a perfectly good refrigerator and buy their low-quality, failure-prone crap with a warranty that seems to evaporate when problems arise.

    Theoretically a 52 fridge should consume more power than one manufactured in 1998, but the old one might still outlast the new one since it was built by competent workers who gave a damn about quality and craftmanship.

    If this was my decision to make, I would first check out both refrigerators and determine why the old one runs less (or the newer one more). Does the newer fridge have a dirty condenser, defective condenser fan, or defective defrost? All these conditions will make a refrigerator run longer and not cool adequately. Is the older fridge in an unheated space which keeps it from cycling?

  7. James Fleenor

    Thanks for the reply. Well, the old 52 Coldspot is in the garage which I only heat (have a woodburning stove) when I am there working. But back during the hot summer months it would turn on and off probably 5 or 6 times a day. I know the walls of that thing are like 6 or 7 inches thick and full of insulation plus it’s got that latching door. After reading your reply I looked at the newer one in the kitchen in it was a little dirty, the walls are not near as thick, and the doors have one of those magnetic gaskets and the gasket is fine but I noticed the door has a very slight warp in it and when it closes it leaves just a hairline crack right in the middle of the door but just enough for some cool air to escape. That must have been a defect since I bought the thing because it’s ran alot since it was new. I just never noticed it or thought anything about it until now.

    You were 100% right on how things were manufactured back then. Plus the styling and detail of that time period, the 1950’s. People really took pride in their work.

  8. Dear Fridgeman,
    Love your site and this post. My husband and I are searching for a new bottom freezer refrigerator ( 1o year old GE is in decline) and I have severe Arthiritis, bending over to get the milk is killing my shoulders and hips (all of which need replaced/re-replaced). Life goes on, but the fridge must go! We agree we don’t want to buy a poorly made appliance, nothing we have seen is worth the 1000$ or more that they are asking, even at the Outlet (50% off). There is “high end” with too many bells and whistles to break, then there is low end… with cheap looking plastic componets that are supposed to hold 2 gal.s of milk and all my frozen meat? Some how I doubt it. Any suggestions. How to determine which models may actually be good quality. Check consumer reports, looked at Amana, and Kenmoore. Still reading a lot of compliants about breakage within the first 2 years after purchase. Thank you.

  9. Nice blog, fridgeman.

    I recently converted a whirlpool 7cf chest freezer from costco to a fridge, which is doing great, using 6 to 10% of the electricity that was used by the 1988 frigidaire refrigerator.

    Costco only had a frigidaire 7cf chest freezer ffc0723dw this time, which I don’t like at all. It runs very hot on #4, whereas the whirlpool in freezer mode #4 was not every noticable. I am thinking of switching them and doing some tests with the temperature switch – if I get around to it. In the meantime i have turned the frigidaire to #1.

    Unfortunately the whirlpools are not available around here and the only alternative seems to be a ge from home depot.

    • I am a controls programmer and an ex HVAC guy I worked for Coca Cola for almost a decade I fixed ice machines and coke machines. I did residential service and after that I jumped into the Controls field. I will fix all of your problems in regards to temp control. You can buy a digital temp control from Johnson controls that you set a temp into. No 1 through 9 settings you set an actual temp like 38 degrees f or what ever and it cycles the contacts open and closed for you just like a mechanical gas charged sensor. Best thing is you can set the temp and the bias or dead band. Hope this helps I have my hole home on a Honeywell Tridum AX controls systems using Honeywell 6438s Spyder controllers and I use the Johnson Controls temp units on my fridge and my freezer. If you want more info please just ask I love this kind of stuff.

      • john

        My whirlpool 7cf chest freezer to fridge is still working great. There are less expensive temperature controls on ebay in the $20-30 range. Make sure it’s for 110v.

  10. Carole

    Hi Fridgeman,

    I hope you can help me. 7 years ago we purchased a Kenmore fridge from sears model # 25361822100. It is a top freezer bottom refridgerator. For the past 5 days we have been smelling something sour coming from the blowing fan part in the freezer. The entire fridge smells from it. We took out everything and wiped it down first with soap and water and then a second time with baking soda and warm water. We vaccummed the back of the fridge. I pulled the plug for 45 minutes then restarted……it still smells. My fridge even though its old is super clean. I read other posts that said to clean the drip pan, well we dont have a drip pan. There is a pan attached on top of the compressor but thats it. We have no mice EVER, so thats not it. Please help. What am I missing? Thanks. Carole

    • fridgeman


      It seems that you have tried most of the things that I would have considered. The pan on top of the compressor is the drip-pan, but it is unlikely that the evaporator fan in the freezer would circulate odors from the compressor area. The source of the odor is more likely to be inside the unit. I have seen a few fridges with bad door seals condense water which collected beneath the drawers in the refrigerator section leading to odors.

      • I know this post is from 5 years ago but I just had a similar problem and wanted to add my two cents. My fridge was a Kenmore 2003 model 10663142300. Metallic taste and smell all over the food. Washed it thoroughly twice, vacuumed, cleaned drip pan, two boxes of Arm and Hammer and still the smell and taste. A repairman took off the panel in the freezer, examined the coils all of which were cold except the bottom two and concluded the smell was a slight freon leak. Not even 10 years old. Not under warranty. Pathetic.

  11. Pam

    I agree, most new refrigerators appear to be crap. I have a 1983 Kenmore Coldspot and so far, knock on wood, it runs wonderfully well. It’s one that doesn’t need to defrost “no frost” and no water is leaking anywhere so far, etc. Granted there’s no water draining from the freezer pipe to the tray below, but no ice is accumulating and I’ve very little in the freezer so no buildup to drain.

    My question is, all I ever read about on the internet is how bad the new refrigerators are. Are there any out there that people DO like and would recommend, say, if an old one just can’t be repaired? Is it so bad that all the brands fail now to produce a decent product? What are people working with if they do not have grandma’s old frig? I tell you, I’m terrified to buy a new one if I have to right now in case one blows up as in China with the Samsung model there, or Maytag with their massive recall because of a fire. Anybody actually LIKE their new refrigerator?

    Thank you!

    • I like the whirlpool 7cf chest freezer that I converted to a fridge.

      I took back the frigidaire because it was too hot, was noisy and used too much energy. The ge’s have a bad reputation and no return policy. I found a 5.4 cf ice cream freezer that is working well as a freezer.

      Next will be adding radiant barrier foil to the tops, and to the insides of the compressor compartments, in order to reflect heat out, and cold air back in.

  12. Janca

    Hi John after researching and reading about all refrigerators out there I have no idea what to buy??? Currently have an ultra-reliable but very old (1993?) Kenmore 22 side-side, never has broken down or given any problems! However, superficially the liner is pretty funky and externally it is rusting. I was in the market for a RELIABLE, ice-making, side-side 34″ wide max (water dispenser optional). If you had to buy one refrigerator which one would it be??? Or does 1993 win? I was at Sear and liked the Kenmore #59124 21.7 cu but the reviews are scary… also went to best buy and liked the Frigidaire 22.5 cu # FRS3R5ESB also scary reviews… I am open to any stile and brand as long as it is RELIABLE….

  13. I am astonished at the rate at which the US is becoming a third world country. So few appliances, which gobble up the majority of electrical energy produced here, are made here and the imports essentially lack standards against which they are measured. Anyone know about our friends the Germans? How does their compressor (for instance) production quality measure up? I know they are light-years ahead of us as far as alternate energy production.
    Why can’t we simply get what we pay for anymore? Consumer Reports rated built-in refers ($5-8500) and the top rating was an “80”. The best of the best gets a a C+.
    That is simply is outrageous. And beyond embarrassing. It is killing us.

  14. Paula

    I have 3 appliances, from 1991, that I need to replace; refrigerator, dishwasher & microwave. There’s nothing wrong with them but their days are numbered and given the rebates available (cash for clunkers & from the manufacturers) I thought now would be the time.

    I have spent approx. 30 hours in the last 2 weeks trying to find a decent refrigerator. I don’t want anything fancy, just reliable. I thought by narrowing the playing field down 3 refrigerators that my needs, I would then look up their ratings and decide on the best one. OMG, evidently there hasn’t been a decent refrigerator made since 1991. People complaining that manufacturers refuse to honor the warranty and the extended warranty! Refrigerators breaking down on que, just outside of the warranty period. Thousands of dollars spent for a few years of use.

    So now I’m thinking that I’m looking at this all wrong. I should not expect a new refrigerator to last 20 or even 10 years. I should try to find the least expensive, bare bones frig I can find and cut my losses up front, as much as possible.

    With that being said, do you know anything about Sears’ outlet stores which generally have refrigerators at 40% off the list price. Some, they say, are overstocks and must be ordered, some are dings/dents and some are discontinued. Have these appliances been dropped or moved about repeatedly (something that a refrig is not made to do)?

    Is there one manufacturer that makes a decent refrigerator or at least has a decent customer service/repair track record? The thought of replacing 3 appliances and knowing their life expectancy is 5 years or less is mind boggeling.

    I should mention that in 1991 I purchased a KitchenAid refrigerator & dishwasher; and a Magic Chef microwave and gas stove. Never had an issue with the refrigerator (w/inside icemaker), my husband replaced the timer in the dishwasher about 10 years ago, stove never had an issue and microwave – door handle broke about 3 years ago but it’s “power” had diminished.

    ANY comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  15. I love the whirlpool 7 cubic foot chest fridge that I converted to a fridge.

    However, a major reason for fridge failure is the compressor being turned on and off, over and over, especially with not much time in between. Apparently this is very hard on compressors.

    The chest fridge conversion, though having a small compressor, has at least 40 to 50 minutes between cycles, where the compressor is off, and which gives plenty of time for the lines to clear. In contrast, the annoying frididaire fridge went on and off every 3 to 8 minutes, day and night, 24/7.

    Because of this, I feel that any upright is going to have problems. Also most temperature controls are not adjustable. The compressor could run, then run again a minute later if the door was left open. There is not that problem with chest fridge conversions that have a programmed temperature control.

  16. i have a 2003 whirlpool top mounted refrigerator 25 cu feet, and it has stopped cooling, several techs said it is the compressor, others said whirlpool makes the best compressors. can some one tell me about my fridge?

  17. jimbob

    I fix ’em. Anything you buy is only as good as the warranty. Unless you buy a super expensive frige, you will most likely only get a one year warranty, including the compressor, which is the heart of the unit. That tells you all you need to know. Refrigerators are made, like all products, to last through the warranty period. Some fail before hand, but it seems that most last long enough to keep the manufacturer from paying the tab to replace the bad part (built in failure??) — you still have to pay the repairman his charges to fix it. If you have an older frig, and the box is in good shape, it might be a good choice to keep it and pay for the fix, even the compressor replacement. That is still cheaper than buying a new unit that will probably only last a short time past the warranty period. Now, some do last for years, but that is not the trend I have been noticing. And if you buy the extended warranty, you pay through the nose for that, but you do have the extra time frame for warranted parts replacement, even though you may have to pay for the trip and labor to install them.

    I know of some companies like GE for example (it is documented), that just won’t pay a repairman enough to make it worth his while to be their serviceman. A lot of repairmen like me are refusing to be warranty servicemen because they can’t get paid a fair price for our services from some companies. One local company changed brands they sold with their modular homes because GE would not pay a fair price to repair their stuff, which apparently had several refrigerator failures.

    All in all the consumer is being cheated (in my estimation), by these “fly by night companies” who make them, and they are making big bucks on their products to boot. Look for an American made product if you can find one. You may have a better chance of buying quality. But hardly anything is made here. So good luck on that.

    There are other technical reasons that refrigerators aren’t lasting very long. This has to do with the new refrigerants not being as compatible with the lubricating oil in compressors, even though the claim is that the refrigerant and oils are completely compatible. I have seen enough failures to verify this. But thats for another time.

    The anwer may be: Have a good friend who fixes them so that you can get it fixed at a cost saving price. Some answer, huh?

  18. Haier refrigerator died

    My Haier refrigerator died after only 16 months, compressor short cycles for a few seconds, then shuts off, hums again for 3-5 seconds, no cooling inside the refrigerator what so ever, compressor feels hot to the touch an hour later. Only thing left to do is throw it away. Junk. Junk. Junk, Chinese crap.

  19. Joseph S

    I have alerted Folks years ago – that – many well known companies have learned to use the COMPUTER to design ap product ti FAIL when THEY choose. It ensures continued purchase of their high priced junk. And they created JOBS to FIX their crap.
    Welcome to the monsters of corporate America!

    By the way – environmentalists – he by-product of these vermin….we will be filling land fills at an unprecedented rate.

  20. Yvonne

    I paid over 2000 for a profile g1 that is crap. Right now the freezer is hottern than the fridge is supposed to be and the fridge is not safe to use at all.

  21. mike

    You really don’t answer which new fridges are the most reliable… That is what people want to know! They don’t care if your 1957 coldspot has got the best compressor ever made… What good does that do for anyone who wants a good working brand new fridge which is why they come to you and your blog in the first place. Your knowledge is vast, please make it useful which was, I am sure, your original intention.

    • fridgeman

      I respectfully decline to go near the question. Why would you think there is a brand that is superior when the the trend in the past two decades has been declining quality across the board? I feel sorry for anyone who wants “a good working new refrigerator”. Perhaps if people thought about why my 1957 Coldspot had the best compressor ever made they would get a clue why they can’t buy a reliable refrigerator today. My intention here was never to tell anyone what new refrigerator to buy.

      • john

        Can the compressors be replaced with good compressors? If so, where might these be found?

        In lieu of that, converting a chest freezer to a fridge has been working quite well for me. It is very quiet and runs only 6 minutes an hour, saving and extending the compressor life.

      • Pam

        I have a 35 year old Kenmore Coldspot which (knock on wood) will continue to keep working indefinitely. Someone must be out there who rebuilds old compressors. Talk about a cottage industry: you tell people that new refrigerators are crap, so find or keep your old refrigerator and our company will keep it running with rebuilt compressors. Or maybe even new ones based on the old design. Ah, for the good old days when manufacturers cared and were proud of their products.

      • fridgeman

        Hermetic compressors are (or were) complex vapor-pumps that require skilled workers to manufacture. They do not lend themselves to a cottage industry environment.

      • Sandi

        I’ve spent 4 days researching ‘a good new working fridge’ and there are none. All of them are operated by a motherboard which has a high rate of failure. It’s so depressing. I have a 1994 Kitchen a new compressor in ’96 and it’s been fine every since but getting warmer in both compartments when temps hit 85+. I really can’t see spending $1,000+ every 3-5 years which is the rate of fail. I wrote the EPA complaining about their Energy Star because it’s all BS if the darn things fails and gets thrown out. How does that help the environment to fill the land fills with old fridge parts. They say (sure) that old fridges are recycled but I have my doubts! I love what you have to say…it’s brilliant but unfortunately, us laymen can’t make out own fridges…but I really wish I were that talented.

        PS. If some company could make a fridge that people could depend on they could rule the world! lol

  22. Miles

    My Sears refrigerator keeps icing up due to terrible seals. The service guy who came out, under warranty, told me to put vaseline on the seals as, “—-that’s what the company tells us to tell you.” Now it’s worse, after only a year and ten months. It’s no longer under warranty. Is there any place that sells replacement gaskets/seals?

    • fridgeman

      Sad but not surprising. Replacement gaskets/seals are available online and at appliance parts stores. However, the quality of the replacement may be no better than the manufacturer’s part.

  23. Lou Anderson

    Wow, I knew appliances had been going downhill but I didn’t know there was nothing left worth buying. I just bought a used upright freezer to replace the 35 yeqr old kenmore in the garage. The old one still cools down to -20f. The new (used) one took two days to get down to -5f. I’ve decided to keep the old one despite a weak door seal and rusty exterior. I may try to “fix” the new one. I hate sending it to the dump. The box is in good condition. I need a new fridge for the kitchen and now don’t have a clue what to buy. Great informative site, lots of good comments.

  24. Tim

    Like many others, my wife & I are looking for a reliable fridge. Seems there aren’t any. We do like the led lighting and some of the styes of the new fridges, but if they don’t last, what’s the point in buying it. We’re looking for a very simple fridge- no ice maker- door alarms, etc. Is it better to just buy something in the middle price range, get the 5 year warranty, and hope for the best??

  25. David F

    Thanks for this information. I have a GE frig, pretty basic, that has probably been in my home for 12-15 years. It is working fine, but there is mold forming around the seals, so I was thinking of replacing it with some type of basic model. Now maybe I’ll just do a real good job of cleaning the thing and keep it a while longer.

    Besides the compressor and other frig parts issues, most new units also have lots of electronics and added features like water and ice dispensers which are breaking more often too. Some friends of mine bought an LP frig a few years ago, and just after the year warranty period passed, the thing died. The repair guy said it was the motherboard and that it was happening at about the same time in many other LP units, and that LP knew the motherboard was faulty but was doing nothing, since most of them were just making it past the warranty period, so not their problem!

    So, I went looking for a basic unit, like you’d buy for an apartment you owned, thinking that a simpler unit will last longer, but now I’m not so sure.

    Besides that, it really bugs me that they only offer one year warranties on new appliances, especially when they should be lasting many dozens of years, but are obviously not. It burns me further that they want me to pay extra for an extended warranty on a crappy-made product.

    In closing I have two questions:
    Are there any basic units you would recommend at this point?
    How do suggest that people get their voices heard? It seems they are largely drowned out by big-bucks advertising. I wish a reputable magazine like Consumer Reports would take up this issue, but I’m not seeing that happening anywhere.

  26. Tom Baldi

    Bought a middle price GE side by side about 12 years ago abd it starting acting up after 1 years. Freezer wouldn’t freeze, but the frige sur would! No temp settings made any difference (it had an icemaker/water through the door option). After a half dozen repair calls (once rhere wer 3 guys here from GE at the same time) they offered me $1200 off this little bigger, top of the line box. Got that and less than 5 years later, the same problems started. No freeze, except in the fridge, and the iceberg at the lower end of the fridge came back on this model, the same as rhe other. Was told they could replace the mother board, but whatever took it out, could take out the new one as well. When those guys left, nothing except the light would work. Opened up the back and they had taped a wire and left it just hanging inside where the motherboard lives. Found that it was a groung and saw the impeint where it used to be, so I re-connected it. Worked fine for a week, then the iceberg came back along with all the probs. Spent over $5,000 for these thinfs that lasted only 10 years. Might as well just rent one for that price. Using my 20 uears old fridge, NO ICEMAKER )which may be the prob) and it’s ugly, but works fine. Still looking for a new one. DON’T BUY GE!!!

  27. Consumer Reports, that traditional bastion of objectivity, has morphed into a worthless editorial rag which offers N-O-T-H-I-N-G that you can’t discern yourself with a bit of critical observation and some difficult questions for the salesperson. Their failure to take a hard line with shoddy manufacturers is just another indicator of their sell-out to this Corporate World. In fact, what do you really know about them? Really? Try to resist the temptation to trust ANYBODY, including what used to be a reliable organization. If ANY ENTITY could potentially answer questions about which brand to buy, it HAS to be CR, but as we all know, they’re in a different business now: selling wood pulp.

    • SJ

      I agree. I also think that Good Housekeeping’s picks are no longer of any use to the consumer as well. Most appliances sold to the middle class fail at alarming rates and I never remember seeing an appliance repairman at my house growing up in the 50’s or 60’s either. Nor do I remember any of the women in my family worrying about their kitchen appliances working or lasting the way we do today. We are over a Corp barrel now and I paid $1500 for a mid level Whirlpool fridge and the door rusted within a week of owning it because I used one of their stainless cleaning products that was recommended to me by their own customer service rep. Affresh…rusted my fridge door! There’s also a consuer who reviewed her Whirlpool fridge with stainless doors that rusted before she even had it delivered to her home. Whirlpool refuses to replace her doors as well. She bought it, had it in storage waiting to more into her new home and it rusted badly while it was there.

      Whirlpool’s manual stipulates they don’t cover rusted doors! Just shows you that they know ahead of time, their doors will rust. Whirlpool won’t replace the doors but they sent me one of their products made specifically to repair rust on their stainless steel..go figure. Whirlpool is getting away with selling junk. My fridge is also suppose to be set on 4 but I have to set it on 5 or it gets too warm. A high setting may wear out the compressor and it may have to go even higher in the hot summer.

      A man who works in the steel industry said on Amazon that rusting is caused by a poor quality of stainless steel. It’s too late for me but I try to
      warn people to NOT buy Whirlpool stainless steel appliances or any of
      their appliances, they are not a company with integrity. The fact that they buy up every competing company they can get their hands on and they tried to get the Gov to stop LG and Samsung from being able to sell a % of appliances here in the US just shows you how far they will go to monopolize the appliance industry.

      I’m giving a shout out to Speed Queen laundry appliances made in the US. I bought the washer and dryer and I can’t say enough good things about them. Stainless steel in both with no motherboards… 5 year warranty and affordable. Some owners have had them for over 20 years with no problems. I don’t think that can be said about any other appliance being sold today.

  28. Pissed consumer

    Nice article. Even more relevant today. On the subject of consumers agreeing to buy junk….. The problem is that retailers will sell the junk manufactures produce. Walk into an HHGregg and see f you can find a quality product there. You can’t. Consumers are held hostage by big money that wants record profits. GM cars are perfect example. They had the chance to make good cars after 2008 and they and Chevy and now even Ford have not. GE is made in America now and is one of the worst products.

  29. D. Woods

    I am having a repairman come out tomorrow for the 4th time. I doubt that it will be fixed. I was told by Maytag Corp. that it was going to be there very best. However the temperature fluctuates between 28 degrees to almost 50 degrees. The last thing it froze was a glass bottle of lemon juice that burst and made a big mess. My old Amana that I bought in about 1990 always stayed at 38 degrees. It was still working when we got this new Maytag. It was just looking old and dated and didn’t match our new kitchen. I have little hope about any of the new refrigerators being any good if we replace what we now have.
    I thought Congress was suppose to protect the public from flim flam manufactures that are making today’s appliances.
    I’m ready for someone to make a new looking refrigerator with all the old reliable technology inside. I don’t mind paying for the electricity instead of having to throw out so much produce. How can the frequent manufacturing of appliances and throwing out bad ones to the dump be good for the environment?

    • fridgeman

      sigh…it is called globalization and will only get worse, not better

    • Sandi

      My exact thoughts. I’ve had my own ‘new’ appliance nightmares as well. Two manufactured by Whirlpool. My new Whirlpool range lasted only a year before the Motherboard went crazy and almost set my kitchen on fire because my oven was on roasting a chicken and it locked the door and turned the heat up to 500 by itself. I called Whirlpool and they didn’t want anything to do with it until I asked for Hazard Dept and let them know their appliance could have burned down my house as well as the smoke that filled up my house. The woman said Whirlpool would pay for a new Motherboard. My records showed I’d already gone rounds with Whirlpool regarding my new fridge. I’ll never buy a Whirlpool again.

      Btw, I researched and found that Whirlpool tried to get the Government to stop letting LG (South Korea) sell so many of their appliances in the US because they were too much competition to Whirlpool a US company. My Lowes told me that their customers ask to see the LG fridges not the Whirlpools and they sell more LG’s than Whirlpool. (This was after I purchased my Whirlpool fridge from a small one owner owned appliance store.) I was researching Whirlpool thinking about making a complaint about them to my states Attorney General.

      Maybe if Whirlpool built better appliances, they wouldn’t have to worry about competition. What’s really going to cut into their sales is a bad reputation. My fridge rarely keeps the required temp for cooling and the stainless door rusted after I used their own product called ‘Afresh’ which their Customer Service dept told me to buy and use. Affresh stripped what I think was a protective coating and a metal expert told me it’s not authentic stainless steel. Whirlpool refused to replace the doors on an appliance that was 2 weeks old OR have anyone repair the doors. I found out from Amazon, I wasn’t the only customer who had problems with doors rusting.

      I bought a Frigidaire dehumidifier to replace a Kenmore which was over 12 yrs old and in 10 days the handle broke off the water collection bucket and the appliance leaked water out of the back. The bucket also cracked at the bottom. Frigidaire sent me a refund check and didn’t even want their product returned because they knew it was a lemon! My husband couldn’t stand the thought of another one of our appliances being thrown in a landfill so, he ended up repairing it himself. I’ve seen online complaints of my same issues but Frigidaire doesn’t pull these products from the marketplace.

      All of my older appliances that the new ones replaced were between 12 -17 years old and had few or no repairs in their lifetime. There’s no savings that I can see in our electric bill by buying the newer appliances especially the fridge. That’s supposedly why we’re suppose to upgrade but many people are repairing rather than buying the new crap that breaks early and often. I wish I would have kept my old Kitchen-Aid fridge & had it repaired. It was manufactured before Whirlpool bought Kitchen-Aid and was a quality appliance inside and out.

      The only older appliance that I still have is my ’03 Bosch dishwasher. The electronics blew after 10 years so, I had it replaced. It’s not a complicated repair but most people will buy a new one but I chose to repair and keep it. It’s a great dishwasher.

  30. nomark

    Just had a LG die 7 years and 25 days after purchase. With a 7 year warranty on the compressor. So I’m stuck. Also the front LED Panel also died just a few weeks before that. It’s like they were designed to just last until the last day of the warranty and then die.

    The problem is the American made products are totally over priced (due to unions, regulation and mandates from the government and environmental wackos) and the cheap imported stuff is junk because those people build to their communist standards not a free market standard. So we the people are caught in the middle. Overpay for something of good quality, or pay “cheap” prices for a disposable product.

    And when I say cheap I’m being sarcastic. They aren’t cheap. I don’t consider a $1200 or $1500 or $2900 for a disposable imported refrigerator as cheap. But they are cheap compared to a $5K to $10K Sub-Zero or Gaggenau, etc.

  31. I have a 1982 Gibson refrigerator that worked fine until last year. The repairman said it was low on freon and added 134A until he said he didn’t want to add more because the A/C current was getting high. After he left It seemed to cool then, but the freezer varied between 5 or 40 degrees F. I started checked and found that the defrost timer contacts were bad and replaced it. It seems to cool fine now, but I’m worried about having too much refrigerant in it. It now makes a sound now when starting as though the coils on the rear are shifting, and htat water is running in an unfilled tube. There is no water in the evaporation pan on the bottom. Should I just accept the additional noises? It’s pulling about 3.5A when the compressor is running.

    • fridgeman

      A 1982 Gibson used R-12 refrigerant. If the repairman charged with 134A the oils are incompatible. Hopefully, he charged with 409A which is compatible with the compressor oil used in an R-12 system. Systems are charged to completely frost the evaporator coils under normal loading. If you see frost forming on the suction line (return line from evaporator to compressor) the system is overcharged. Frosting reaching all the way to the compressor means a danger of liquid refrigerant reaching the compressor. Compressors are vapor pumps and liquid will cause slugging and destroy the compressor.

      • I’m sure it was 134A not 409A. I was surprised as 134A is what is used in my car. Would this be the reason that I now have the sound of a liquid running similar to an open faucet when it starts up? Should I get someone else to evacuate the system and recharge with 409A? Will evacuating remove all the bad oil? I used the yellow pages to select him. How would you recommend that I find someone competent to do the work?

      • fridgeman

        134A replaced R-12 in 1993/94. Because there were so many working R-12 system, an interim blend (composed of three refrigerants) compatible with mineral oil used with Refrigerant-12 was created and designated as R-409A. I think it could be too late to evacuate the system and recharge. In the 90s people converted their R-12 systems to 134A systems with varying degrees of success. All the oil must be removed, a process which usually took up three evacuations. I have never observed an R-12 system contaminated with 134A but I would expect the oil incompatibility to lead to lubrication and compressor failure if a large percentage of the charge is 134A.

      • I still have a 15 oz. can of over 25 year old R12 refrigerant for a car I no longer have. Could that be used? Legally wouldn’t I have to recapture what’s in the refrigerator If I were to evacuate and recharge. I don’t think the fridge would take the full amount in the can. I’m used to recharging a car’s A/C via sight glass and high and low pressure measurements, but on the fridge I only have the tap the serviceman added, and am not sure to what pressure to charge.

      • fridgeman

        Somewhere on the fridge should be a nameplate with refrigerant type and proper charge in oz or lbs. It is impossible to charge a system based only on suction pressure. If you have 15oz of R-12 and the nameplate refrigerant weight is less you could remove charge and weigh in proper charge. Or you can wait and see. I refrain from giving advice on this blog if breaking the sealed-system is involved.

  32. quone

    My fridge makes a loud buzzing/humming sound every once in a while. It used to stop after unplugging/replugging, but last night it went on for hours. After it stopped, it would start again after we opened the door to get something, making me think it has something to do with the cooling system. It’s a GE Profile that’s maybe 10 years old (it came with the house.) I read in these comments to keep the condenser coils clean. I always assumed that that was not an issue anymore because the coils are covered nowadays, but should I remove the back from the fridge to clean them? Might that be the problem?
    Thanks for all the info! I got to this page while looking at reviews for a new fridge and it confirms what I’ve been reading, unfortunately.

    • fridgeman

      Covered condensers have a fan which pull air through a louver in front and exhaust out the back. Over time dust can build up on coil and fan reduceing heat exchange which raises temp in freezer and makes longer run time. As for humming/buzzing…difficult to say without being there. Compressors can hum if the starting relay is bad or if the bearings are failing. Can you locate the area of the humming? Compressors are usually in the rear at the bottom near the condenser fan. A dirty condenser fan can also cause odd noises if debris is making it difficult to turn freely.

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