Average lifespan of a Kenmore refrigerator?

artemis78November 8, 2010

We're debating whether to replace our current refrigerator as part of a remodel, and I wondered if anyone could weigh in on how many years they've gotten out of their Kenmore top freezers. Ours still works fine, though it will be 15 in the spring. However, it would be far simpler to just replace it with the rest of the appliances if we anticipate it dying anytime in the next couple of years (single flat delivery rate, floors already covered, trim is off the narrow doorway, etc.) and it's in the budget to do it if we want to. Our cabinetry is designed for a larger fridge so it will accommodate our old one with no troubles, although our kitchen is now designed for a counter-depth fridge and the old one is 32" deep with handle (which still seems like it's not so bad---only 4" deeper than the one we'd planned to buy!)

Pros to keeping it are that the new appliance standards kick in for 2014, so if we can hold out for a few more years, there might be some new models to choose from. And, of course, it would defer the cost for a few more years and keep this guy out of the landfill a little longer. While this fridge isn't exactly energy efficient, it's not terrible---was one of the top energy-rated models in '96 apparently. Biggest con is living with a fridge that sticks out into the walkway for a few more years, and having to replace it in just a year or two if it breaks would be frustrating.

Are we realistically likely to get at least 3-4 more years out of a '96 Kenmore, or is it close enough to the end of its natural life that we may as well replace it now while we're in appliance-shopping mode? Would love any thoughts---thanks!

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Sears/Kenmore is not a manufacturer, their products are sourced from various other manufacturers (the first three digits of the model number, before the period, indicates the source). It's more the history/reputation of the manufacturer that comes into play in regards to so-called "lifespan" than the Kenmore branding. 110. for example indicates Whirlpool is the source.

That being said, refrigerators can last quite a long time. My grandmother has a Whirlpool that's 26 years old and has had no repairs. I have a KitchenAid (which is also a Whirlpool brand) that's 13 years old and going strong. Replacing an older unit with a new more energy-efficient model surely can save on the operating costs, but the payback may take several years depending on local electric rates.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 2:41PM
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Given the rocky road between now and 2014 you might be wise to choose the sooner the better. As to "new standards" that could be code for smaller appliances, greater expense, combined with more highly stressed designs meant to operate over a shorter life cycle.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:27PM
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I would give serious consideration to replacing it now, or relegating it to garage or basement for backup. My reasons being: 15 is a pretty good run for a fridge, and if you get it now you won't have to worry about finding one to "fit your space." You can design to fit around what YOU want. Also, new models now have many enhanced features and better energy efficiency.

My current Kemore (SXS) is 13 years old and still going strong. Would love to replace it, but am holding on to it for now due to expense of replacement.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:41PM
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Mine is from '92. I think it was built by GE since I remember looking at similar GE models at the time and bought the KM for some additional features (shelves and such). The one it replaced (from the late 70's) was given to a friend who kept it for another 10+years as a beer fridge (freezer wasn't cold enough).

If it is working well, don't send it to the landfill. Sell it, or keep it as a spare. It would make a great beer fridge for someone, and/or an overflow freezer/fridge.

PS: our landfill does appliance recycling.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 8:19PM
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Thanks---Google to the rescue. This is apparently a Whirlpool model with a 106 prefix. Not sure if that helps much, though...

Oh, and our utility company does appliance recycling too, which is what would actually happen to it---they actually pay you for them, provided they're still working.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 1:21AM
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I think the question should be "do we really want a newer fridge?" When I sold my home in 2003, I gave my 1948 Coldspot (the original Sears brand) to Goodwill. It was still functioning just as well as the day i bought it for my dad. It had lost the vegetable drawer though.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Mine last for around 8 years. Talking to my friends and colleges at work the average is between 5-01 years depends on the brand and maintenance. Moving from one apartment can shorten the refrigerator lifespan.

Here is a link that might be useful: refrigerator lifespan

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Kenmore which is usually "Whirlpool", our last one we sold for $350 after having it for 19 years without a single problem with it. Just needed counter depth and stainless otherwise we would still have it today.
Hard to say what a "new" one would last as it appears all manufacturers have lost all desire to produce a solid quality product anymore.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Kenmore isn't necessarily "usually" Whirlpool any more.

Anything nowadays -- Frigidaire, Samsung, LG, GE, Bosch -- may be under the label.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Design cycles are shorter now partly at the behest of ever tightening green nonsense regulations. 7.5 years to 10 years from now should see the vast majority of mass produced large appliances purchased this year expire and head to the recyclers.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:24PM
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My top freezer fridge from Sears is almost 25 years old. I'm not planning to replace it during our upcoming remodel - I don't expect it to last forever, so I'll just keep it until it dies. Same with our range.

And I agree with laat2 - appliances don't last as long as they used to (sickening, if you ask me - we should be able to make things better, not worse, especially for the price). So the longer I can put off an appliance purchase, the better chance it will last as long as we plan to stay in this house (10 to 15 years).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Huh, no idea why this old thread suddenly came back to life--but FWIW, the fridge in question is still going strong three years later! (And it is, in fact, a Whirlpool.) We decided to keep it through our remodel but build cabinetry to accommodate a new standard counter-depth--it turned out that once it was out of its 1930s-era enclosure, it functioned perfectly. The enclosure had not been level (or maybe the house had just settled since it was built; who knows). At any rate, on a new level floor, the fridge is chugging along happily. The freezer light wiring did suddenly stop working last month so we are keeping an eye on the rest of it and do plan to replace it sometime in the next few years, but for now it is serving us well.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:33AM
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