Can this fridge be saved?

The house was built new in 1995 or perhaps 1996. The refrigerator is original equipment. At present, it’s the only major appliance that has not been replaced (except the cooktop, which I sorta wish would die as I would love an induction cooktop, but it’s being contrary).

We had it serviced once, when the icemaker quit working. I forget what the problem was - clogged line or something.

It’s a GE Profile side-by-side and probably the nicest of the appliances that came with the house. The other day, we noticed that the front part of the dividing section was hot to the touch. Then it cooled off. Then it got hot again - and it was clear the thing was on longer cooling.

We threw out a lot of stuff (including some fancy sausages :(). We salvaged some chicken breasts that were still frozen solid, and some cheese etc. in the refrigerator section; all of which are in a spare standalone freezer in the basement.

We have GE service coming Wednesday. GE, vs a third-party place, because they claim they have trucks stocked with all the needed parts - and having a recent dishwasher repair take three trips largely for that reason, I want it dealt with.

What is the likelihood it can be fixed for 500-600 bucks? A new one would be 1200 or more - LOTS more if we want something nicer than what we have now (I’ve got my eye on a French-door type with a bottom freezer, and those start at 2K).

When my refrigerator stopped cooling, it turned out to be that the defrosting heater in the freezer had failed. The part was inexpensive but melting the accumulated ice and snow off was a pain. The kitchen floor was soaked the next morning. Installing the part was probably less than ten minutes.

However, the entire back wall of the freezer was clearly iced over so maybe your problem is more serious. I mostly agree with your $500 repair threshold, only I may draw the line a little lower at $400. 23 years is a pretty good run.

Also, I’ve been considering a stand-alone induction cooktop. It’s mostly so I can cook things in the basement or outside during the summer so the range doesn’t heat up the air conditioned kitchen.

I used to be a landlord to stundent properties with used fridges. The rule with fridges was, whatever the issue, empty and leave unplugged for 24hrs, then plug it in and see if works, before calling a repair man. I forget who taught me this, but they were right! Easily 80% of the time it completely resolved the issue.

I just shared this with a friend who called asking for a serviceman reference, she was understandably sceptical. But called me a day later to say it had worked a charm. It costs nothing and is a pretty easy first effort.

Just a suggestion based on my experience, good luck!

Something to keep in mind: Refrigerators today are drastically more efficient than older ones. I don’t know where you draw the line however. I do know that replacing my roughly 1970s vintage refrigerator with a larger 2010s vintage one cut my electricity usage nearly in half. Here I found some charts online.

On the other hand, you are unlikely to be able to find a refrigerator that will last for 40 years any more.

Bumpdate: The thing was still cooling - though not much. We put a pitcher of tea in the freezer and after 24 hours there was barely a layer of frost on the top. The fridge side, not so much. Interestingly, I had actually noticed it humming a bit louder than usual the day before this all started.

Possibly the compessor motor or something. I scheduled a GE repairman to come out tomorrow - but a friend went to a Habitat ReStore and found us an almost completely new top of the line Samsung fridge - retails for about 2200 - for 700 bucks. They actually had a card for someone who could truck it over here for 100 bucks, and another 25 to haul the old one to the dump (or if he wants it to play with, he’s welcome to it). That’s about what the repair vs replace cutoff was in my mind; I had a mental image of the part being 500+ dollars.

So if we get 2-3 years out of this, we’ll be a bit ahead. There are some mixed reviews on this one - a smallish percentage of people LOATHE LOATHE LOATHE it, most like or love it. Consumer Reports gave it a good (not excellent) rating.

Oh yeah: it’s a bottom-freezer, French door model - with the multifunction drawer in the middle that can be set to temps from regular fridge to just-under-freezing. I expect we’ll mostly keep yogurt, fruit and lunchmeat in there - which will save a lot of opening of the main doors.

Good luck with the Samsung. You may need it. I bought a new one 18mos ago. Luckily I bought extended warranty. They replaced it once and been here 2 more times for non-cooling issues. It’s an expensive, fancy-schmancy piece of junk. The little pull out drawer in un-usable. Cute but worthless.

Everything I’ve heard about Samsung fridges is negative. Repair shops refuse to work on them. There’s a reason there’s a brand new Samsung fridge at ReStore for $700.

Don’t do that.

Ugh. Well, it’s already en route. If we can get a year out of it, it’ll be worth it…

I keep onions in the mid-drawer. It’s not cool enough for anything else.

When I was doing “assisted sales” at Lowes, Samsung were the most likely to be returned. They couldn’t find anyone who could fix them.

Could the order be cancelled, and/or the fridge returned?

My local ReStore does returns; yours might too.

Chiming in to diss Samsung.
I have lost two Samsung appliances in the past year: a dishwasher, and in the past two weeks my fridge. The dishwasher was less than 6 years old, the fridge was nine years old.

(They’ve been replaced with a Bosch and an LG, respectively).

Note that new appliances are more efficient because the motors are smaller, so new fridges or freezers run all the time, even if they are quieter: this may or may not be a problem for you depending on how often you are in your kitchen.

When it comes to review sites you are most likely to get reviews from people who had horrendous problems with their appliance, and very few reviews from those whose appliances work without problems.

I’ll see about checking the temperature on ours. We plan on using it for stuff like yogurt and lunchmeat.