Refrigerator dies - try to fix or get a new one?

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dgk wrote:

In my area we have used appliance dealers who pickup, deliver and haul off. You may do well to find one in your area, tell him the problem and you could make out with a trade in of your dead fridge. The last repair I priced out for a good customer was $250.00 to replace the computer board in a late model GE fridge that had cost them $1200.00 a few years ago. In their case the repair was worth it.
[8~{} Uncle Monster
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That's probably a sea otter. Are you sure the smoke wasn't just from his cigarette?

The way you describe it, yes.

I get a lot of my advice from parts guys. I'll never forget the one who explained that I didn't need a press to get the lug bolts out of my front wheel hub, or to get them back in, like the shop manual said. He was 100% right, and saved me much time and money.
But this wone seems to have ignored the need for freon, and the need to pressurize the system, and probalby the need to evacuate it first.
Is he saying that freon comes included with the compressor?

I'll have to read the other answers to find out.
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wrote:

Or not. Check the capacitor and I guess the switch, like the other guy said. I've never met you and I shouldn't believe everything you say. :)

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dgk wrote:

Hi, You did not say how o9ld the thing is. Replacing compressor is doable but do you know how to recharge it? Do you have proper tools?
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Your repair guy is a liar. Replacing the compressor is not a diy job. You need a refrigerant recovery machine and tank, and epa license to be messing with and/or purchasing refrigerant, a torch set to weld the new compressor in, a vacum pump to pull the air out and some new refrigerant to put back in. Good luck with all that.
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A Sears guy telling a lie? Imagine that!
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On Aug 27, 7:00pm, "Stormin Mormon"

it pays to be accurate... people that give loopy advice are mostly just ignorant. Not too many lie about such a thing, he had nothing to gain.
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On Wed 27 Aug 2008 09:42:37p, phil scott told us...

I realize that replacing a compressor in a refrigerator is not the same thing as replacing a compressor in a central air conditioner, but we recently paid $860 in labor to have an in-warranty compressor replaced in our central a/c. It was a four hour task that involved recovry of all existing refrigerant, disassembly and removal of the old compressor, installation of the new compressor, recharing the unit with new freon 22, and testing of refrigerant levels and checking of temperatures of both the liquid and gas lines to and from the evaporator unit. Several pieces of spcial equipment were required. Having watched the process, it's not something I'd care to tackle myself. Best left to the pros unless you're a refrigerator guy.
Just my 2 worth.
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Wayne Boatwright

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wrote:

changing a compressor in an air conditioner or refrigerator are just about the same task, bigger compressor in the ac is all... the refrig compressor has more critical moisture and contamination issues though due to its well below freezing temperatures (even a slight trace of moisture inside the system can freeze up the capilary tube...and charging the refrigerant is a lot trickier with a home style refrig)

thats nasty. wholesale on many of the comon type 3 ton condensing units, fan, cabinet, compressor and all is under $1,000 ...in calif. (high priced market) you can get a complete 3 ton add on system, cooling coil, wiring, condensing unit etc. installed... $2500.
Next time get a warranty that includes labor if you can... or skip the warranty all together. I dont buy them myself.

yes, its a high tech job... unfortunately these days performed by some very low tech people..that can and often does ruin compressors. it sounds in your case like the guy may have been competent though.
Phil scott

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On Thu 28 Aug 2008 09:13:35a, phil scott told us...

Yes, the same principle, but as you said, there are other issues.

New house with new A/C (1-1/2 years old). The equipment has a 10 warranty, but labor warranty was only a year. Since the A/C came with the house, there was no option on getting a different warranty on the labor. (I asked when we bought the house.) It's a 5 ton unit. Since it was a fairly new unit, I couldn't see replacing the whole system.

The company who originally installed the system did the replacement. In discussion with the tech who did the work, I learned that they offer a maintenance plan for $225/year that includes two inspections/services per year, and also includes labor for any work that needs to be performed. That would include labor for replacing the compressor. We have taken the maintenance plan for the future.

I totally agree. This guy was good. My dad was an HVAC engineer and I grew up learning a lot about these things. I spent a lot of time with the guy while he was working. I'd ask for him back.
Thanks for your comments, Phil.

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wrote:

5 ton condensing unit new if its low end model will wholesale for 1200 dollars or more... it its high efficiency, seer 12 or 14 a lot higher....
did you see the guy solder in a new drier? thats a grey or blue thing, generally 3 or 4" in diameter, 6 to 10" long... located either inside the condensing unit, or outside in the small copper line.
Your tech guy sounded at least reasonably competent to me... however those driers (they remove acid contamination also) are critical to the compressor lasting more than a few years, the ones inside the unit are often hard to replace so are not replaced..not good. Its also not good to just add a drier on the outside and leave the old one in place ..but its not fatal and would still give you good acid protection.
If he did not replace the old drier, he owes you one.. a new drier is industry std protocol for compressor replacement even if there was no acid or other problem. You can usually see the inside drier by looking down through the fan cowling opening.

given its a replacement compressor thats a good deal...they keep bringing up green flags with me, thats not entirely usual these days.
but make sure you got a new drier. (if any doubt look for dust on the old drier)
Phil scott

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On Thu 28 Aug 2008 12:40:28p, phil scott told us...

Our system is right in the middle, seer 13.

Yes, he did install a new drier inside the condensing unit. The housing of our unit is fairly large with easy access panels. It didn't seem as though he had much trouble working with it. He also replaced a contactor switch and a couple of solenoids, although he said the old ones were probably okay, he wanted to be sure we didn't have a problem. All parts were covered by the warranty.

We're good. Thanks, Phil. You brought up some good points. I'm glad we had a good service tech.

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wrote:

13 seer in a contractor built home is quite unusual, speaks highly for all concerned, as does the installation of a drier and new contactor.. your contractors tech guy is in the top 2% or so... with fair rates considering the quality.
Phil scott
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On Thu 28 Aug 2008 03:02:33p, phil scott told us...

a
Yes, I thought so, too. We'd had not dealt directly with this company before and I was concerned before I actually saw the work being done and conversing with the tech. At the time of the problem we had little choice, but I have since done some research on the company and found that they are highly regarded in the area for both commercial and residential HVAC work.
Finding a good technical person these days is like find a good doctor. After moving to AZ, we went through 5 primary care physicians before we found a really good one and one that we liked. We were lucky with the HVAC company and tech.
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Four hours is a very reasonable time. For all that's got to be done. I do a compressor on small equipment, typically three hours.
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The age of the refrigerator that needs repair should be the deciding factor.
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wrote:

We replaced a 20 year-old unit in June that was working well. Our July electric bill dropped by 22%. Don't know how much is due to the frig, but I suspect most. I'm anxious to see the bill for August. Looks like it will pay for itself in about 2 years.
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wrote:

It was bought in 1999. Years go by fast these days, I thought it was newer. So, does it pay to fix it? I think not. The gasket is getting older, maybe I'll fix whatever is wrong and it something else will go wrong in six more months and destroy all the food again.
This one was already a ton more efficient than the one that it replaced, but I don't think they've gotten any more efficient in the last 9 years so that isn't a factor.
I found a decent Friidaire floor model. Nothing fancy but that means less to go wrong. For $75, it got delivered, installed, and the old one removed. Hopefully this one will be good for at least 9 more years.
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wrote:

You should see a solid reduction in electricity usage. According to PG&E "if it's over 10 years old, it could be using up to three times more energy than newer models".
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