Is it worth trying to fix a broken fridge?

Is it worth getting a technician to try fixing a fridge that won’t cool? My 12 year old Fisher and Paykel fridge freezer has stopped working. Fisher and Paykel want $140 to send a technician to diagnose the problem, but a day after making the service request, they still haven’t called me back. I’m starting to wonder, is it even worth the service call-out, or are they just going to tell me it’s dead anyway? Anyone have experience or advice on this?


Hi @lanternberry and welcome back

It may be a faulty thermostat or electrical fault that can be easily fixed or It may be a faulty compressor or de-gassed due to a leak as well, usually with the callout fee you get some amount of time included in that price. Considering how much it would cost to buy a new one this $140 will give you some idea if worth replacing or repairing.


I have a FP fridge freezer. Now over 20 years old.
The freezer on the bottom worked fine, but the fridge on the top just wasn’t cooling.
The problem was a little fan at the back had stopped working. I diagnosed that by making the fridge work when the door was open (there is a magnet in the door seal at the bottom, so I could trick the door closed sensor by using a small magnet).
The fan was replaced for a small cost plus the service charge, and the FF has been going fine ever since.
Worth a look.


It’s worth considering the cost of a replacement relative to what you can afford and whether you can survive without the fridge until repaired.

Not all faults are easy or repairs cheap to carry out.
In particular a refrigerant gas leak can be very expensive, or for some not practical. There are some simple basic faults as already mentioned.

When switched on does the fridge compressor start up and continue to run as though the fridge is trying to cool. If there is silence, the good news may be a simple electrical fault. If both the fridge and freezer per your OP are not cooling, if the compressor is heard to be running continuously, it’s most likely due to a gas leak. There are other less likely options.

A service call will give you the best information on which to decide.


We had a Westinghouse fridge that this happened to and found the fan was caked in ice causing it to freeze. If we emptied and turned off the fridge for a day with the door open, the ice melted solving the problem. If it is ice build-up, check the door seals as they may also need replacing.


4 months ago we had a similar experience with our 11-year old frost-free Samsung Twin Door Fridge Freezer with ice cubes and chilled water accessible on the left door. This stainless steel fridge was $2900 when we bought it in 2010. Worked fine till earlier this year when we noticed the ice-cream had melted. Clearly it had stopped freezing and then later we realised that the fridge cooling had also stopped. Called Samsung who referred us to their local agent who when phoned, charged us $150 for a service call. He turned up, checked the fans/compressor/heater/door seals and then said it had a gas leak. Worse, it wasn’t worth repairing as the leak could be anywhere and the company could not guarantee how long a re-gas might last. Checking the internet I found that the old refrigerant it used requires a licence to handle in Australia and so the many “DIY” kits found on Amazon were useless here. To add insult to injury, we had to buy a new model with no trade-in allowance for the Samsung. Talk about a consumer society - what a waste of materials!


Welcome @exie

Aside from how much of the old fridge can be efficiently recycled.

Our consumer products are manufactured down to a price point. The design decisions reduce the cost of materials and manufacturing. Some decisions are based on delivering products that through integration assure initial reliability, and deliver style. The loss is ease of access and repairability.

In the commercial world (our family used to manufacture and sell ice), everything is designed to be accessible and repairable. Many older fridges (1960) were built using similar principles. The finished products were also expensive relative to the labour cost to repair.

Self inflicted is our obsession with changing styles. Something manufacturers encourage with the resulting churn assuring an ever expanding market.

There is no price put on carbon, recycling, or obsolescence. If a basic fridge cost $4,000-$6,000 it would not only be worth repair. The engineering and design would assure a long life, and for the worst outcome economical repair.

Unfortunately the very expensive fridge brands seem no more reliable or repairable?


Worth considering - my 17yr old one died - I lashed out with a new one - and, though the same size, costs a little less than ½ to run. It was also superbly clean, brighter lights, and works better than the old one ever did - and is quiet.


My late mother had an Australian made Kelvinator fridge which she bought in the 1980’s and it was an absolute dog with no repairer in Townsville or Brisbane able to sort the piece of junk out satisfactorily.

A cousin of mine who was a qualified electrician who specialised in appliance repairs told my mother that he believed that when it was manufactured, the cavity had not been properly filled with foam, but there was no way of proving it without demolishing it.

I bought a new fridge for my mother and the Kelvinator was relocated to its proper home at the Brisbane tip.

On the other hand, when we had our previous residence built in 1996, we made the mistake of buying Kleenmaid appliances including an Amana two door icemaker fridge made in the US.

Yes, the piece of junk was repairable, on a regular basis, but reliable?

'Tell 'im, he’s dreamin".

I wouldn’t touch a Samsung major appliance with a ten foot barge pole.

I had a seven year old fridge which stopped cooling. A repair man (not from Samsung) just laughed and said “Good luck”. They didn’t have any replacement parts, not even a new plastic door bin which broke when I placed a 3 litre milk bottle into it.

The only response I got from the company rep I spoke to was “Oh well, you’ll have to get a new one”. I did. I bought a Westinghouse French Door model and have had no issues with it at all.


Thanks mark_m,
You know, Fisher and Paykel used to have a great helpline, where they’d troubleshoot whitegoods problems over the phone. Now they just want to send an expensive technician. Sad!

I rang a local repairer and without charging me anything, he asked questions and told me it’s most likely a compressor problem and not worth fixing ($600-800). I’ll be going to him rather than the manufacturer for repairs and advice in future!

My guess is the problem is a refrigerant gas leak. After a few days switched off, I turned the fridge on again. I heard quiet hums and whirrs but saw no cooling at all. Probably something sprung a leak when I moved house a few years ago, and has been gradually leaking ever since.

I guess it’s whitegoods shopping for me! Glad I didn’t waste my money on a $140 death certificate for my fridge, so thanks Mark and everyone else.


There are several answers to your question, depending on how you look at it.

Firstly, are you dissatisfied with you currnent one? If so, then you might consider buying a new one. Have a look at Choice’s Fridge Reviews from February to get an idea of prices.

If you are happy with it, it may be worth the $140 to have it diagnosed.

We have a 20+ year old large size Samsung fridge/freezer that stopped cooling. The repair person diagnosed a faulty thermostat. From memory I don’t think whe had to pay any extra for labour as that was wrapped up in the initial callout fee, so the cost was the callout fee plus the part.

Because we didn’t need a new fridge/freezer we saved thousands of dollars and a lot of time and effort.


Careful how one proceeds with that. A mate has a 22+ year old fridge. He does not send anything to the tip! The fridge stopped cooling gradually over time. His partner went shopping and found one she liked.

He called in a repairman - it was just the fan that died so he paid $280 to get it fixed instead of the $1,300 the target new one would have cost. He was happy. His partner a bit less so.


I have held back on this as I fear I will be told not to recommend self-harm. If thinking of repairing any device that uses mains power do consider if you are capable of dealing with the risks involved. You can electrocute yourself if you are careless or incompetent. That is why there are qualifications for these jobs. This is an example of when repairing was cost effective not a recommendation to DIY.

I was given an old fridge that worked OK but that every few days would trip the circuit breaker and it also piddled on the floor. I wanted to keep it as an extra for feast days and holy days and since its efficiency was not important for running a few days a year I considered repair.

I looked about and found that the evaporation tray for the water from the auto-defrost was plastic and had failed. A new tray was not available and the old one not repairable so I hooked some polypipe on to the drain and led it away which dealt with the leak.

While there I looked for anything that might cause an intermittent short but nothing was visible. But considering the defrost cycle lead me to look at things that happened intermittently. The problem was not related to the power cycle of the compressor as it would cycle on and off OK for days with no problem. What if it was the defrost cycle that caused the short? So I unplugged the defrost element and the problem went away. A car trip to town, $70 for a new element and an hour or so to replace the element and the problem was solved.


My fridge had a defrost thermostat that came slightly apart. During a defrost cycle it would accumulate water vapour that would subsequently freeze, and melt again on the next cycle. Every 4th cycle there would be enough water to trip the safety switch. A cheap repair to the fridge that took upgrading the breaker box from one safety switch for the house to one for each circuit to isolate what was happening.