Angie's List: A new, efficient refrigerator might be cheaper than fixing old one

Save cold cash with a new refrigerator

TAMPA - Your refrigerator is the most used appliance in the kitchen. An aging, inefficient refrigerator consumes a lot of energy. If it's time to replace yours, you can boost home efficiency by purchasing a well-sealed and insulated fridge.

"By getting a newer model you're going to save on energy efficiency, especially if you get an Energy Star rated new refrigerator," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks. "When buying a refrigerator there are a lot of different styles and types you can choose from. First you want to consider what you want in your refrigerator because you could end up paying for lots of bells and whistles that you may never use. Also remember you want to be sure that it matches your current appliances because that is going to help with your resale value."

In fact, a new refrigerator with an Energy Star label uses at least 40 percent less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001. That's a good argument for purchasing a new model. Can you fridge be fixed? Maybe, but it might not be worth it. A good practice in determining whether to repair or replace is to look at how old the refrigerator is and the cost of repair. If it's an older unit (10 years or more) and the cost of repair is half the cost to replace it, you'll probably be better off investing in a new, energy-efficient model.
Angie's List Tips: Buying a Refrigerator

  • Measure the space: Before you go shopping, measure the space available in your kitchen. Allow some space for the air to circulate.
  • What features do you want/need? Today's refrigerators are available in several styles and colors and come with an array of options. Standard models start around $400, but others can be very high tech and push the price tag up into the thousands depending on what features are available.
  • Does it match? Buying a refrigerator that doesn't match your existing appliances could hurt your resale value if you plan to sell you home.
  • Compare models: It pays to comparison shop. Don't be afraid to negotiate on the price either, or haggle on additional fees such as delivery, installation or an extended warranty.
  • Discounted appliances: You could find a scratch and dent refrigerator for hundreds less. Most are brand new and come with a full warranty. Some dings are barely noticeable, but make sure the dents won't prevent the appliance from running properly.
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