If You’re Fridge is Running, You’d Better Catch it!

You remember the old crank phone call gag when silly kids called people and asked, “Is your refrigerator running?” When the person on the other line said, “Well, yes,” the response was, “You better catch it before it gets away!” Click.

I know, it was funnier when we were 12 at slumber parties.

If we had gotten that call this past weekend or two other times in the 11 years since we built Our Little House, our answer could have been, “No!” maybe with an explicative thrown in because I personally think having to buy 3 refrigerators in 11 years is a bit excessive.

When we rented our first duplex in 1985, we bought a store brand from Montgomery Wards, along with a 2 year extended warranty. Sometime in the spring of 1988, just after the warranty expired, we went on a weekend camping trip only to come home and find the refrigerator completely warm and all of our food ruined.

I called our local “Monkey Wards” (as my mom used to call the store) to complain and chided myself for going with my husband’s family’s preferred department store instead of sticking with Sears Kenmore, as my parents always had.

Since the warranty had only been expired for a couple of months and the manager agreed that an appliance should last more than 2 years anyway (besides probably feeling a little sorry for a young, newly married couple who just lost their entire refrigerator full of food), he sent out a repairman who replaced the entire compressor for nothing.

Fast forward to July 2007 when we moved to Our Little House. That same refrigerator, then 22 years old, was still going strong and we sold it for $50.

My, have times have changed. In 2008, just 5 years into the life of our Maytag refrigerator here, the freezer stopped working. Now, 6 years later (hey, we got one more year out of the second one!) the Kenmore refrigerator we replaced the Maytag with suddenly quit cooling. The temperature in the fridge soared to 50 degrees on Friday. Dale messed with it and got it down to 40 degrees, but on the lowest cold setting, that’s as low as it would go.

Of course, when we went to shop for new ones, salespeople at Sears (where we had bought both the Maytag and Kenmore) just looked at us blankly when I said these things should be lasting longer than 5-6 years.

It’s not what we wanted to spend our money on during this Summer of Fun, but although some tiny and small house people use coolers, a refrigerator is one of those “must haves” for us.

We were told the best brands are LG and Samsung, but we were limited due to having to have a small fridge for our little space. So, heads up if you’re planning a little house, you will be limited on appliances.

The salesman who talked up this new Frigidaire said power surges are the most common cause of refrigerators going on the fritz in these parts, but didn’t know if we should use a surge protector (or if we can).

At least Dale finally agreed to ditch the black appliances and go with the new non-smear stainless steel, which looks much better with the industrial brushed steel light fixtures in the kitchen.

What do you think the problem with our refrigerators could be, surges or just poor quality anymore?  

You may also like...

16 Responses

  1. Leah says:

    So enjoying your page. Have not convinced the husband to make the jump yet. 😉 I’m not sure but we are considering bosch or sunfrost in the future. I believe their reliability is really good. And sunfrost are extremely efficient. It will remain to be seen what the size options are though. They are exorbitantly high in price, (sunfrost is $3000)but should last the rest of our lives. Replacing a fridge every two years will get costly too. Bosch claims all metal, replaceable parts for most of their appliances. For the record, our first fridge was a used GE. Lasted 20 years! Blessings!

  2. Sheryl M says:

    We truly are a throw away society. It seems that fixing appliances is way more expensive than getting a new one (refrigerators, DVD’s, TV’s, etc). And you’re right about finding an appliance to fit in a small house! When we finally moved here full time and upgrade the refrigerator (so a larger one that wasn’t just weekend sized), it took a lot of shopping / comparisons online to find what we needed. I think in the end we had 3 choices!

  3. Becky Wells says:

    It’s amazing how things aren’t built to last anymore! I finally had to retire my 15 year old coffeemaker a couple of years ago because I couldn’t replace the parts on it anymore and the new one I got was broken within a year. I just keep trying to make the old things last since they are better than the new ones anyway.

    • Kerri says:

      I know, Becky, anytime anything old breaks, it is very frustrating because I know the new stuff will probably not be built as well, made as well or last as long. It’s very frustrating. Corporations truly have made us a throw away society.

      • Becky Wells says:

        I agree! Any great ideas on how to reverse the trend? I remember when I could actually fix my car and I still keep trying to fix my stuff!

        • Kerri says:

          I don’t know, Becky. The woman who does my hair asked me the other day why I don’t have a Kuerig. I told her I did not like the excess trash they produce. My husband worked at a landfill for 24 years and we saw how fast – much quicker than they predicted – it was filling up. This woman has 3 children. When I said I’m an environmentalist, she just looked at me like I was from a different planet. I would think most people should be concerned, if not for themselves, but for the future of this planet for their children and grandchildren. I’ve been using cloth bags at the grocery store for nearly 30 years. That’s ONE little change we could all make to reduce waste and I still am usually the lone person carrying my own bags. My husband is very handy, we do fix a lot of things, including our vehicles. All we can do is keep trying to do our part and help spread the word.

  4. Ellen says:

    Sometimes if you have the temperature too low it will “freeze” the refrigerator and you will actually have to turn it off and let it thaw before it will work again. Try running it on a lower setting (especially if its really full of food that’s already cold). Additionally make sure nothing is blocking the air vent at the back. Most refrigerators cool by pulling the cold air from the freezer up into the refrigerator compartment. This vent is what can freeze thereby blocking the flow of cold air and making your refrigerator temperature go up. Give it a try.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Ellen, when the fridge started acting up, it was set on “normal” where it had always been. We only turned it down to see if it would go down more so we could keep our food cold until we could figure out what to do.

  5. I think that appliance manufacturers are conditioning us to accept junk, but still pay premium prices for it. It used to be that when a salesman would try to convince me to buy an extended warranty, I would say that I shouldn’t have to pay extra to warranty a refrigerator that is only one or two years old. I guess they dealt with that by making sure the refrigerators last only a couple of years, give or take, so consumers are forced to buy the extended warranties, or else get used to replacing their appliances every two to three years. They always find a way to milk us.

    By the way, my parents also often referred to Montgomery Wards as “Monkey Wards” and I had no idea it was associated with racial slurs!

    • Kerri says:

      I completely agree. It used to be that the extended warranties were really a waste of money. Today, you’re afraid to buy anything over $500 without it! Since we both come from Kansas City, I wonder if that term is not more of a regional thing. I know some things that are considered slurs in one region doesn’t mean the same in another. I really had never heard of it being used in that way before.

  6. Ouch says:

    Be careful with the “monkey wards” term. I am sure it was used innocently, but it is a derogatory term for people of color.

    • Kerri says:

      Ouch, yes, it was definitely used innocently and I know my mother did not use it in that way. My family just attached funny names to common things (The “Flying Nun” was “The Flying Nut” and “The Waltons” was “The Walnuts” 🙂 ) If this was a term used as a derogatory slang toward any group of people, we did not realize it. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Kerri says:

        Wow. I would have never thought that term to be associated with anything other than an innocent play on the name, Ouch. I looked it up and from Wikipedia: “The brand name of the store became embedded in the popular American consciousness and was often called by the nickname Monkey Ward, both affectionately and derisively.” As I previously wrote, my family’s reference would have been more affectionate. Thanks again for the education. You learn something everyday.

      • Junely says:

        Kerri, I’m over here getting links for your QT ineitvrew on my blog. Seriously, lady, you are one of my favorite people, do you know that? You’ve helped so many other writers with your amazingly inspirational blog! Oooh, that’s totally going in my introduction of your ineitvrew. HEE.

  7. Debbi Flick says:

    In the “Olden days” a refrigerator would last 30 years! We, too,have replaced our fridge more often than we would like. poor quality would be my guess. Nothing is built to last. Our prior NEW one had icemaker,,which died almost immediately. It was replaced, under warranty, died again. Warranty would NOT cover the second one ,even though it was only a few months old. My son is using one his aunt had when she got married,40 years ago! it’s going strong!

    • Kerri says:

      LOL, Debbi, the Olden Days don’t feel so “Olden” when I consider OUR first fridge lasted at least 22 years and was still running good enough to be sold and for all I know, is still humming along! 🙂 Your son should feel lucky to have one that seemingly will not die!