How Much Does a Refrigerator Compressor Cost?

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated April 22, 2022
a silver refrigerator in a modern kitchen
Robert Kneschke / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • You’ll pay $250 to $650 on average to replace a refrigerator compressor.

  • Looking into some repair options could save you money on the cost.

  • Compressors help regulate the temperature and keep food cold.

  • Damaged compressors might contain refrigerant gases, so this job will take the wisdom of a certified professional.

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When your refrigerator is running perfectly, you probably don’t give its inner workings much thought. However, it contains many parts that you’ll become well-acquainted with if something goes awry. 

A refrigerator compressor is vital to its operation. So if it goes, the price of keeping your milk fresh, veggies crisp, and ice frozen will depend on the type of refrigerator you have.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Refrigerator Compressor?

Depending on the type of fridge, new compressor prices range from $100 to $500. With labor fees, the cost to replace a compressor is between $250 and $650.

Refrigerator Compressor Cost Breakdown

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of saving your groceries. But just to be safe, you might want to move them into a neighbor’s fridge or a cooler. Expect the following refrigerator compressor costs:

  • Used compressors start at $35.

  • New compressors can go up to $500.

  • Labor to repair a refrigerator compressor is $100–$200 per hour on average.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Refrigerator Compressor?

A refrigerator compressor is the electronic pump on the back of the fridge that moves refrigerant through the system. It’s also the part responsible for the humming sound you might hear on quiet evenings. Fixing a refrigerator compressor costs on average $50 to $300.

A sensor in the fridge notices when the temperature gets higher than what you set it to. The compressor starts pulling in the cold refrigerant gas to replace the warm air in the appliance. When the system isn’t working, the leftovers you were looking forward to at dinner aren’t going to be any good. 

You can ask your appliance repair professional to source the part for you or search for your refrigerator model number to find a replacement compressor.

Costs to repair versus replace a fridge compressor compared, with repairing averaging $50 to $300

How Much Does It Cost to Replace or Repair a Refrigerator Compressor Yourself?

Because the damaged refrigerator compressor might contain a build-up of refrigerant gases, this job will take the wisdom of a certified professional. The gases should not escape into the fridge. Additionally, a pro will make sure not to damage freezing components in the compressor repair process. The average cost of labor to repair a refrigerator compressor is $100 to $200 per hour. The job might take a couple of hours.

Troubleshoot the Refrigerator Compressor Problem

To potentially save money on a service call or avoid a refrigerator repair, you can check a few things to see why your fridge might not be cooling before calling a pro:

  • Make sure the fridge has power and that the temperature is set properly (at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit while the freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit). 

  • Pull it away from the wall and check behind. Is the fan clean and are the coils free of blockages? As long as you’re back there, unplug the fridge and gently brush off any dust, dirt, and the usual culprit pet hair and vacuum it up. It’s a good idea to do this every year anyway.

  • Unplug the fridge and remove the service panel for about 20 minutes to allow it to cool and everything to reset and plug it back in.

Still not cooling? To save your cold food, find a top appliance repair service near you.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Repair a Refrigerator?

The cost to repair a refrigerator or freezer averages $200 to $400 but will depend on what is wrong and the parts needed.

Fridge Relay Switch Cost

If the fridge is running, but not staying cool, there’s a chance the problem is simply a faulty relay switch, which can cost $50 to $200 to repair.

Refrigerator Leak Repair

If you notice a chemical smell, you might have a refrigerant leak. This is uncommon and you shouldn’t ever have to replace refrigerant. You should definitely call a refrigerator repair service if you notice a funky smell. Fixing a refrigerant leak costs about $200 to $300.

a refrigerator compressor in a refrigerator
Photo: yevgeniy11 / Adobe Stock

FAQs About Refrigerator Compressor Repair Costs

How do I know if the refrigerator compressor is broken?

If the food in your fridge is no longer cold, there’s a good chance the compressor has gone. Just to be sure, before calling a technician, make sure the fridge has power and that the temperature is set properly (at or below 40 degrees F while the freezer should be at 0 degrees F). 

It’s also a good idea to pull it away from the wall and check behind. Are the coils and fan clean? If so, call an appliance technician.

When should I replace a refrigerator?

If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it probably needs to be replaced. A new fridge costs $1,000 to $1,500. If you have a newer fridge, it’s worth spending a couple hundred dollars on a repair to make it last several more years.

Most fridges have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years, but they can keep humming as long as 27 years.

What are some signs the refrigerator needs service?

When your refrigerator starts making strange noises or isn’t staying cold, it might be time to service or replace. The cost to repair a refrigerator or freezer averages $200 to $330. Common problems include:

  • An overheating fan: The compressor might be too hot to touch or making a weird noise.

  • Problems with the start relay: Usually indicated with a clicking noise and warm air in the fridge.

  • Evaporator malfunction, which might make odd sounds. See why the refrigerator is warm while the freezer is cold.

How can I repair a refrigerator compressor on a budget?

If your refrigerator compressor is out, you have a couple options.

The least expensive option would be to find a reconditioned compressor, which can cost as little as $35. This might keep the fridge going a little longer, but there is a good chance it will need to be replaced again.

The next option is to replace the compressor, which is typically between $300 and $550 for labor and parts.

The most costly option is to buy a new refrigerator, which costs $1,000 to $1,500 on average. This might make the most sense, if your fridge is a decade or so old anyway.

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