Service life of a high-efficiency refrigerator?

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My refrigerator is 36 years old. Still going strong, but if you believe published efficiency numbers, it's costing me a hundred bux a year more than it would for a new one. Payback calculations depend on your assumptions for the time value of money and inflation in energy cost. Just looking at the cash flow, the break even point is 7 years or so. Looks marginal, but let's save the planet. Off I went to look at refrigerators.
While chatting with the guy at Sears, he "disclosed" that the smaller compressors run much longer at higher pressure and they only last 6 to 7 years. If true, that negates all the savings.
Is there any relevant data relating to service life of the newer, high-efficiency home refrigerators? mike
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my high efficency fridge is 11 years old and going strong.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Hi, Our is ~14 years old and never had any problem so far. Knock on the wood!
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the first generation had all sorts of troubles with overheating blown compressors.
today reability appears good.
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On Sun, 14 Sep 2008 15:49:55 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

One unit doesn't make for a good arguement.
I'm a landlord and of the 6 refrigerators that I've purchased over the last 7 years, three have developed compressor related problems. One was was a bad compressor start relay PCB - increasingly common, two others were the actual compressor.
Sinee the start relay assembly was not covered by the 5 year compressor warranty, the cost for that repair, about $120, came out of my pocket.
The tenant replaced one bad refrigerator without asking my permission. The 3rd unit had a new compressor relaced under warranty at about the 4-1/2 year point.
Brands included, GE, Hotpoint (same as GE), Roper (made by Whirlpool) and Amana (Maytag then, Whirlpool now).
Thus the compressor reliability rate in my admittedly small sample isn't great.
The above refrigerators replaced old units that were from 20 to 45 years old, including brands like Kelvinator, GE and Amana. None of them ever had compressor related failures. They were basically replaced when the rust got too bad on the cabinets or shelving.
The Kevinator units were amazing. They used a hot gas defrost system versus the typical electric heater in the freezer compartment. The use of hot gas defrosting had to be more efficient since it didn't depend on electrical resistance heating but it was noisy! The timer would call for a defost cycle, the freon gas solenoids would slam shut, reversing the gas flow and causing the compressor to strain like hell for about 20 seconds. Yet, those compressor were still running after 40 years.
Doug
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No it is not really true that the new ones are not lasting as long, in fact I have seen some studies that say they may be lasting longer.
It should also be said that sometimes the estimated savings are ... a little generous. There have also been some changes on how they compute them over the years and different brands are sometimes difficult to compare as they are not using the same yard stick. That said, chances are you will likely save money buying a new high efficiency one over some time, maybe 5-10 years. They are big users of electricity.
I was just researching this myself and was ready to buy a new one, but I have put it off as we may be moving across country in the not too distant future so I have put it off for now.
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On Sep 14, 8:49pm, snipped-for-privacy@columbus.rr.com wrote:

I recently replaced a 23 year old Frigidaire 24 CFT side by side with a new Kitchenaid 25 cft side by side. Prior to doing it, I went to the DOE Energy Star website where they have a savings calculator tool. You can put in the make and model of your current unit, energy cost per KWH, etc, and it will give an estimate of the savings. For mine it had the yearly cost to run it at over $300 vs the new one at $90, for a substantial savings. Being skeptical, I used a kilowatt meter to measure the old one for a couple days and then again on the new one. The old one was actually only using about $185 a year vs $90 for the new one. So, the Energy Star numbers we're spot on for the new one, but way off for the old one. Bottom line, the new one is using around $95 a year less in energy.
Still a decent savings, but way off from what the DOE would lead you to believe and if you're doing cost justification, $95 a year is a big difference from $210. Which leads me to wonder what the Energy Star calculator is based on. Perhaps they are assuming door seals that are leaking badly and God only knows what else to make the numbers come out skewed.
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On Sep 16, 8:16am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You can take a look at Consumer Reports at the library. They recently (as I recall) published information on what Energy Start and other numbers mean and how they are changing. With reading.
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On Sep 16, 8:21�pm, snipped-for-privacy@columbus.rr.com wrote:

they very first high efficency fridges were horrible, compressors failedv a lot.
the manufacturers are doing much better now, if your still concerned get a extended warranty
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Extended warranties are EXPENSIVE. They are SHORT, typically 5 years or less. Tha's a LONG way from the 36 years I have on my currently still-working fridge.
And there's this disturbing paragraph in the warranty:
In the event that a repair part becomes unavailable during the term of this Contract, Electrolux Warranty Corporation shall be excused from performance hereunder, and will refund 100% of the purchase price of the current Service Contract.
That says, "if it costs more to fix than you paid for the warranty, and we choose not to fix it, we'll refund the cost of the warranty." They don't fix it. They don't replace it. They don't give your money back. They just say, "oops, here's your warranty cost back...bend over...sorry for any inconvenience."
They make money on the warranty if it doesn't fail. And they revoke the warranty if it does fail. Where do I get a job like that?
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No, clearly in plain English, it doesn't say that at all. It says if the part beomes unavailable, they refund 100% of the money you paid for the service contract. I'm no fan of extended service contracts, but trying to distort some contract to make it look like it says something different isn't honest.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I'm confused. You disagree, then repeat what I said??? You don't have any recourse if they CLAIM the part is unavailable. Parts that fail frequently WILL become unavailable when they run out of them and decide to discontinue production of the high-failure part... not necessarily in that order. If the damn things were reliable, they'd still have the 5-year warranty. You only shorten the warranty period if you're losing money on it.
It says if

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I don;t see why you're confused. I made it clear that I agree that extended warranties are usually not a good deal for the consumer. I disagreed with you saying that the contract excerpt which you posted says that the warranty company can just choose to not fix something because it costs too much. In plain English, it does not say that. It says if the necessary part is no longer available, then they won't fix it and will refund all your warranty money.

Sure you do. Find out if the part is indeed still available. Easy to do. If it is, then have a regular repair service get the part and fix it. When they won't pay it, you have two choices. If the cost of the repair is less than the amount of the refund and you feel like you are ahead, then do nothing. If the cost of the repair is more than the amount refunded, then send the bill to the warranty company. When they refuse to pay it, take them to small claims for a slam dunk case. Also report them to state/local consumer affairs authorities.

Nonsense. Parts typically get discontinued over time due to declining volume for the part because what they go into is rapidly dwindling. Parts that fail frequently are exactly the parts that manufacturers want to keep making and selling, because there is huge margin in appliance parts. In all my life, I've never seen a suitable replacement part be discontinued in the 5 year period of an extended warranty for an appliance like you are talking about. If there is some extraordinary failure rate or safety issue with some part, I've always seen some alternate part available during the reasonable life of a product. For example, door seals are a frequent failure on refrigerators and I can still order those for a 23 year old Frigidaire refrigerator. Or a few years ago, the thermal fuse on my Insinkerator hot water dispenser blew out. The unit was only a couple years old. The replacement part was a totally different design, but a direct replacement.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You're telling me what usually happens. That's great if it happens to me. I'm telling you that the wording of the warranty neuters it and is unacceptable.
Most warranties have wording like, "If we can't fix it, we'll replace it with an equivalent unit."
This one is more like your car insurance company telling you... "Well, you know that guy you crushed with your car...there are no replacement parts for his missing legs...here's the $200 you paid us for the liability policy...sorry for any inconvenience. Please call this number to purchase a new policy"
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On Sep 16, 7:16am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Perhaps months of 90f were not in your overall figure, or family opening doors.
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Don't know about your house, but I'd say most houses in America aren't 90F for any length of time. So, if DOE is doing that to generate their numbers, I'd say it's not very representative of average use conditions. I'd also be surprised if going from 75 ambient to 90 is going to make a huge difference. The delta between the freezer/ refrigerator and ambient just doesn't change that much.
Speaking of representing actual use, the Energy Star test procedure for refrigerators calls for them to be EMPTY with NO DOOR OPENING. We went through that here a few months ago, and I believe it was Richard that provided the link to the DOE for the actual test procedure.
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Test yours will a kill-a-watt meter, my 19.5 cu ft sears costs about 4.75 a month, a 36 yr old unit maybe be 12-25 a month, nobodys electric rates are staying the same.
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well my 1952 fridge bought by my grasndparents was still going strong when replaced about 1997 when i got married. but it had a rusty case, no ice maker, and was generally plain old. our electric bill went down too.
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mike wrote:

Likely all that means is that like most bigbox places he was leading you to whatever he was told to sell that day.

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Did you know that all new refrigerators sold in the US have only a one year warranty on the compressor? That's not because they last longer, it's because, on average, the compressors last less than five years. Five years used to be the warranty standard until a few years ago. The manufacturers were going broke replacing compressors under the 5 year warranty.
Our high end Jennair lasted 3 years. $ 600 to replace the compressor.
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Walter
www.rationality.net
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