what causes a refrigerator compressor to fail

How Long Does A Refrigerator Compressor Last? Answered

How long a refrigerator compressor lasts might vary depending on several conditions, just like other home appliances do. Every refrigerator needs a compressor, which is a crucial component. For this reason, they are referred to as the “heart” of any and every refrigerator system. They are responsible for moving refrigerant to various refrigerator components.

Most of the physical work in the cooling system of a refrigerator is done by a compressor. The compressor pumps the refrigerant gas through the coils inside the refrigerator. As a result, if they become faulty, everything stops. Fortunately, sudden catastrophic compressor failures are quite uncommon. In this article, you’ll be learning more about how long does a refrigerator compressor last to make plans for when the rare occasion arises when it will need to be replaced.

What Does the Compressor Do?

what does the compressor do

A decent refrigerator can last up to 17 years, but neglecting it can significantly shorten that time. Other failing parts outside the compressor can also be found, lowering repair costs.

In essence, a compressor is a type of pump that tightens the refrigerant vapor (Freon) flowing through the condenser coil system, increasing its pressure and forcing it onto the coils the outside the refrigerator. Fans pull air from the fridge’s borders and blow it over the coils. When the hot gas in the coils comes into contact with the kitchen’s cooler air, it cools and condenses into a liquid. 

The air is heated by the gas, which then dissipates the heat behind the refrigerator. For this reason, the area beneath and behind a refrigerator is frequently very warm. At this point, a different set of fans circulates air within the fridge and freezer through the coils as the high-pressure liquid refrigerant, which is now cooler, flows into them. 

The liquid in the refrigerator absorbs the heat from the air, turning it into a gas that dissipates it outside. The compressor cycles on and off by the refrigerator’s thermostat, sending hot gas back to it to start the process again.

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How Long Does a Refrigerator Compressor Last?

how long does a refrigerator compressor last

The compressor is the most vital component of every cooling system in a refrigerator. The compressor is the most crucial component of a three-part system, which also consists of fans and condenser coils and is used to cool an enclosed, insulated room.

The average compressor lifespan varies depending on the model and its use, but most experts believe it should last between 10 and 20 years.

A conventional refrigerator should live between 10 to 18 years, with an average age of about 14 years, based on the United States Appliance Industry, 23rd Annual report, though some do last even longer.

What Causes a Refrigerator Compressor to Fail?

what causes a refrigerator compressor to fail

Knowing why a refrigerator compressor fails is crucial, given how expensive a replacement can be. Several reasons for compressor failure are listed below:

  1. Inadequate or excessive levels of refrigerant in the system

A refrigerant leak or an inadequate charge from the previous technician could be the source of insufficient refrigerant. The compressor will overwork, trying to distribute inadequate amounts of refrigerant, eventually breaking down. Incorrect charging can also lead to the excess refrigerant, which raises system pressure and causes premature compressor failure.

  1. Inadequate Upkeep

The compressor can become clogged with dust if the coils aren’t constantly cleaned and maintained. It has to work more, which could ultimately fail.

  1. Age

Compressors are home appliances; like any other, they can break down over time. The compressor is more prone to break down if your refrigerator is older than ten years.

  1. Overheating

A filthy condenser coil or an obstruction in the ventilation duct are common causes of this.

  1. Voltage Fluctuations

The compressor may be harmed by abrupt voltage changes (caused, for instance, by a power outage). For this reason, it’s crucial to use a stabilizer with your refrigerator.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace the Compressor in the Refrigerator?

how much does it cost to replace the compressor in the refrigerator

There is a possibility that finding and purchasing a new part for your appliance will be difficult and costly because of its age, brand, and model. Standard refrigerator repairs are more cost-effective than those for luxury models. So, how much will it cost you to replace a compressor in your refrigerator?

However, the price of a replacement compressor varies based on the model of the refrigerator, from $35 to $500. A compressor replacement requires a labor cost that ranges from $250 to $650.

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Make sure the compressor repairman you pick is familiar with your refrigerator brand. Some refrigerators could need specialized parts, including side-by-side refrigerators or those with freezers on the bottom.

How Do You Diagnose a Bad Refrigerator Compressor?

how do you diagnose a bad refrigeratorcompressor

Even though refrigerator compressors last quite a long, there will come a day when the compressor will fail. But how will you diagnose when that happens?

There are signs to look out for and know your compressor is working hard but not getting the job done. If you notice these signs, know you have a bad refrigerator compressor. The rear outside surface of the fridge generates an excessive amount of heat. Food spoils quickly even when you set the temperature to a food-safe setting.

The interior of the refrigerator condenses, although the door gaskets are not broken. The fridge makes a loud noise even after unplugging and plugging it back in. When plugged in, your fridge is silent. Compressors are supposed to make low humming sounds when plugged in as part of their normal operation.

You frequently notice that a thick layer of frost covers the frozen foods you retrieve from the freezer. Your utility bills are shooting up despite no changes in other appliance usages.

Is My Compressor Failing?

is my compressor failing

Compressors eventually quit working, although they typically last a long time. But if it does, how will you tell that the compressor for your refrigerator is failing?

There are red flags to look out for if your compressor exerts excessive effort without achieving the desired results. These signs indicate that the compressor in your refrigerator is broken. The back’s exterior surface of the refrigerator is producing an excessive amount of heat. Whatever temperature you choose for your refrigerator, food will quickly go bad.

Despite having undamaged door gaskets, condensation still forms inside the refrigerator. The refrigerator still makes a loud noise after being disconnected and replugged in. When your refrigerator is plugged in, it is quiet. Compressors, by their very nature, make low-frequency buzzing noises when activated.

Typically, there is a thick layer of frost on the frozen meals that you remove from the freezer. Your utility costs are soaring, although you haven’t changed how you use any other equipment.

Best Refrigerators you can try

  1. COOLULI I10L2W Infinity 0.35 cu. ft. Retro Mini Fridge
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The COOLULI I10L2W Infinity Retro Mini Fridge is small, but it has a powerful punch. This countertop refrigerator is designed to fit in a small area that might not be able to accommodate a full-sized refrigerator but could use a device like it. You can use it to store your tiny water bottles, yogurt cups, skincare goods, or even breast milk, and it can be placed indoors or outdoors. 

It has a movable shelf that significantly increases its 0.35 cubic foot interior and a warming function that instantly keeps hot meals warm. Although other products are quite similar to this one (and are popular among TikTok users), I advise using this one for your compact fridge needs. It is incredibly adaptable and can truly keep things cool—something that other products identical to it may not be able to achieve past 8 or 9 months of use.

After adding room-temperature liquids, the user manual does advise waiting two to three hours for them to chill fully. (You may always pre-chill your products before placing them on the inside to speed up this procedure.) This particular fact, though, shouldn’t worry you. It does not mean the refrigerator is broken. In actuality, the fridge maintains the temperature of your goods without making a lot of noise or consuming a lot of energy. Its frost-free construction also makes it perfect for installation in a basement bar, workplace, yacht, or nursery.


  • It features a warming mode
  • You can use it in different settings
  • It has an adjustable shelving


  • It is sometimes prone to leaks
  • It takes about 3 hours to chill drinks from room temperature.


Well-maintained refrigerator compressors can last for over ten years or even longer. Therefore replacement planning should not begin until after eight years of operation. The efficiency of the refrigerator gradually declines over time. If your compressor is treated to routine maintenance, it will be much simpler to identify problems as they develop and take swift action to resolve them.

Also, if you have disregarded maintenance for a long time, it is crucial to get in touch with experts to examine your compressor. When your refrigerator stops working properly, your compressor probably needs repair because of how important it is to the entire refrigeration system.

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