Keep Your Fridge Running – A Guide to Choosing the Best Refrigerator Parts
Having a refrigerator breakdown is every homeowner’s nightmare. The inconvenience of not having cold food and drinks is bad enough. But the potential for hundreds of dollars worth of spoiled food is even worse. As fridges age, it’s common for parts to wear out or fail. Replacing these parts can often extend the life of your appliance and prevent costly repairs down the road.
Choosing the right replacement parts for your fridge is key. You want components that will provide optimal performance and longevity. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about selecting the best refrigerator parts.
We’ll overview the main types of parts in a fridge. You’ll learn how to evaluate part quality and what to look for in top brands. We’ll discuss where to buy genuine OEM vs aftermarket components. You’ll get tips for using parts breakdown diagrams and manuals to aid repair. We’ll also cover when DIY repair is practical versus hiring a professional. Let’s dive in!
The Main Types of Refrigerator Parts
Several components work together to keep your refrigerator running efficiently. Here are some of the key parts that may eventually need replacement:
Cabinets and Doors
The exterior fresh food and freezer doors take a lot of wear and tear. Hinges, handles, and door seals are common failure points. Shelving and storage bins inside the fridge can also crack or break over time. Replacing damaged exteriors and interiors can restore the appearance and function of your appliance.
The compressor, condenser coils, evaporator, and cooling fans circulate and remove heat to maintain chill temperatures. Refrigerant lines channel the refrigerant. If any part of this vital system wears out, the fridge won’t stay cold. Compressors often last 10-15 years before needing replacement.
The control board is the refrigerator’s computer – it controls temperature settings, defrost cycles, and all electronic functions. Sensors like thermistors monitor temps. Motors run the fans and compressors. Lights illuminate the interior. The power cord brings electricity from the outlet. Electrical failures can totally disable a fridge.
The water filter cleans drinking water from the dispenser. The ice maker produces ice cubes. Drainage systems remove condensation. Crisper drawers, shelves, and racks organize contents. These components make the fridge more functional and user-friendly.
Knowing the role of each part helps diagnose issues when breakdowns occur. Certain symptoms signal when specific components may need replacement. Being able to identify worn or damaged parts is useful during DIY repairs.
Evaluating Refrigerator Part Quality
Not all replacement parts are created equal. There are a few key factors to consider when determining quality:
Durability and Reliability
Look for sturdy parts built to last, not flimsy components prone to premature failure. They should function reliably without frequent breakdowns. High-grade materials and protective coatings prevent corrosion and wear.
Quality parts optimize the fridge’s energy use. A new compressor or condenser coil can lower electricity bills and meet ENERGY STAR standards. Components like fan motors impact efficiency.
Listen for excessive vibration or humming, which indicates a faulty part. Well-engineered parts reduce noise for quieter operation.
Brand Reputation and Warranties
Stick with reputable brands that stand behind their parts with decent warranties. Lesser-known brands may cut corners and offer little recourse if their parts fail.
Look for durable metals, copper tubing, quality insulation and plastics resistant to cracking or corrosion. Avoid cheaper substitutes prone to failure.
Engineering and Design
Opt for intelligently designed parts that allow for a tight seal, proper alignment, adequate airflow, and precision functioning.
Read feedback from other consumers about their experience with the part’s real-world performance and longevity. This helps identify quality components.
When evaluating part quality, also consider:
OEM vs Aftermarket
OEM parts meet the appliance maker’s specifications. Aftermarket parts are made by third parties to fit various brands. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each later in this guide.
New vs Used
While used parts cost less, their longevity is uncertain. Only consider used components in good condition from a reputable seller.
Analyzing these factors carefully helps you select replacement parts that will provide lasting performance. Now let’s look at some of the top refrigerator part brands worth considering.
Recommended Refrigerator Part Brands
These leading brands produce quality replacement parts for major appliance manufacturers:
OEM Part Manufacturers
OEM refers to original equipment manufacturer. Companies like Whirlpool, GE, Frigidaire, LG, Samsung, etc make parts for their respective appliance brands. OEM parts guarantee an exact fit and optimal functioning. They align perfectly with your fridge’s specifications.
Top Aftermarket Brands
Aftermarket brands don’t make appliances, but produce replacement parts compatible with many models. These popular aftermarket companies offer solid components:
- AppliancePartsPros – Part of the FactoryPlumbing group, they stock 100,000+ parts for most major brands.
- RepairClinic – A trusted online parts retailer with instructional repair videos and live support.
- PartSelect – Owned by Affiliated Parts Corporation, they have a large parts inventory and 365-day returns.
When evaluating aftermarket brands, look for specialized expertise in replacement parts, decent warranties, a fit guarantee, and helpful customer service.
For common refrigerator models like Whirlpool, Samsung, LG, etc, you can easily find quality aftermarket components made by reputable companies. They often cost significantly less than OEM while still offering solid performance.
Let’s now go over where you can purchase genuine OEM parts.
Purchasing Genuine OEM Parts
While OEM parts cost more, they’re engineered to perfectly match your refrigerator make and model. Here are the best places to buy genuine OEM components:
Direct from the Brand Website
Head to Whirlpool’s, Samsung’s, or whichever manufacturer’s website. Most sell their own replacement parts online for MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Ordering direct gives you 100% genuine OEM.
Appliance Repair Shops
Many independent shops stock OEM parts for various brands to service customer appliances. Their parts inventories may offer better prices than brand websites.
Look up dealer locations in your area authorized by the appliance company. Dealers often sell genuine OEM components to consumers and technicians. Their parts departments may yield some savings versus MSRP.
When purchasing OEM, beware of:
Watch for fake OEM parts sold online or elsewhere. Check credentials carefully and inspect packaging for authenticity markers.
So when is paying more for OEM worth it over aftermarket?
For Major Components
The compressor, control board, evaporator, and condenser coil are so vital that OEM is advisable for reliability.
For Uncommon Refrigerator Models
Rarer brands or units may have few aftermarket options. Sticking with OEM ensures proper fit.
To Preserve Warranty
Most warranties require only OEM parts for coverage. Third party components can void warranty.
For universal parts like doors, shelves, handles, OEM isn’t critical. Aftermarket saves money while still fitting common models.
Next, let’s discuss how parts breakdown diagrams and manuals help identify the components you need.
Using Parts Manuals and Breakdowns
When ordering replacement refrigerator parts, you need the correct part numbers and model specs. Parts manuals provide this key information.
Where to Find Manuals
Check the manufacturer’s website using your appliance’s make and model number. Companies like Whirlpool, GE, and Frigidaire have online manuals. Or consult printed manuals from your unit purchase. Appliance parts supplier websites also have repair manuals for many brands.
Parts manuals contain exploded view breakdowns showing all components. This helps visualize how parts fit together and where they’re located.
Detailed parts lists identify every part number, description, and quantities needed. This information ensures ordering the right replacement item.
Manuals include step-by-step directions for properly removing old parts and installing new components. This facilitates DIY repairs.
Some manufacturer and aftermarket parts websites have handy part lookup tools. Simply enter your model number and search for parts. This makes finding part numbers fast and easy.
Using parts breakdowns, lists, and instructions prevents ordering the wrong components. They also aid successful DIY installation.
Now let’s explore whether DIY refrigerator repair is feasible or when hiring a technician makes sense.
DIY Repair Tips vs Professional Help
Some refrigerator repairs are within the DIY capabilities of handy homeowners. But major part replacements often require a trained appliance technician. Consider these factors:
Pros of DIY Repair
- Saves money on service calls
- Convenient scheduling
- Gain appliance repair knowledge
Cons of DIY Repair
- Requires mechanical skills and electrical know-how
- Lack of proper tools and equipment
- Safety risks if improperly handled
Seeking Professional Help
Leave extensive repairs to the experts when:
- Installation involves refrigerant handling
- Electrical troubleshooting is complex
- Parts are hard to access without disassembly
Finding an Appliance Tech
Search for a qualified local refrigerator repair company. Look for certified technicians, experience with your appliance brand, and upfront pricing.
Repair Cost Estimates
Labor averages $70-$100 per hour. Parts like a condenser fan motor cost $50-$150. A new compressor often runs $300-$600 with labor. Total costs for significant repairs can easily exceed $500+.
While minor DIY repairs are doable, extensive part replacement projects usually require appliance technician expertise. Their knowledge and tools help ensure proper installation for optimal performance.
Now let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions about refrigerator parts:
Refrigerator Parts FAQ
How do I find the part number for my model?
Check the user manual or use the manufacturer’s website parts lookup tool with your make and model details.
Where can I buy refrigerator parts online?
Top online parts retailers include PartsWarehouse, AppliancePartsPros, RepairClinic, and PartSelect. Always enter your exact model information.
Is it safe to buy used refrigerator parts?
Only purchase used parts from a reputable seller that tests and guarantees their functionality. Used compressors and control boards are riskiest.
How do I know when the compressor needs replacement?
Signs include not cooling, loud noise, leaking oil, high running temps, or diagnostic error codes. Have a technician confirm compressor failure before replacing.
Should I repair or replace my aging fridge?
If it’s over 10 years old, replacement may be better than costly compressor repairs. Compare repair costs to a new energy-efficient model.
By understanding refrigerator components, evaluating part quality, choosing reputable brands, utilizing parts manuals, and minding DIY repair limits, you’re equipped to select replacement parts that will provide lasting performance and value. Investing in quality components extends appliance lifespan and prevents wasted food from breakdowns. With these tips, you can keep your refrigerator running for years of reliable service.