10 Signs You Need a New Fridge Freezer

A new fridge freezer shelf full of fresh vegetables

The most common signs that it’s time to invest in a new fridge freezer

Your fridge freezer is the heart of your home. It’s there for you all the time. It doesn’t cast judgement when you take out a tub of ice cream and only one spoon, and even keeps your midnight meet-ups a secret. It’s got your back! This guide will help you to return the favour.

Having a fridge freezer that’s not working at 100% isn’t just bad news for your food, but it’s not good for your energy bills either. So, we’re going to look at the most common tell-tale signs that your fridge freezer needs some TLC, or even retirement.

1. Your Fridge Freezer is Getting Old

Having an older fridge freezer isn’t necessarily an immediate sign that you need to replace it. If it’s running well and isn’t causing any problems then you don’t need to replace it. However, if it does begin to develop problems, this may be a sign that it’s deteriorating.

  • Deterioration can lead to spending lots of money on recurring problems. It can therefore be better to invest in a brand new fridge freezer.
  • Although buying a new fridge freezer has a big up-front cost, the running costs may save you some money. On top of no longer needing to keep spending money on lots of repairs, newer models are much more energy efficient!

2. Your Energy Bills are Too High

As mentioned above, newer models are more energy efficient. Older models use more energy to run, making them less energy efficient. As they get older, they will often require even more energy to run as they become less efficient with age.

  • Buying a brand new, powerful and reliable model with a great energy rating will save you money on your energy bills. This is much better than continuing to spend money on a dying fridge freezer!

3. It’s Not Getting Cold Enough

Your fridge freezer is designed to keep your food cold or frozen. So, if it’s not getting cold enough to do its job, or it even feels hot, that’s an obvious problem!

  • There are a few potential reasons that your fridge freezer isn’t cold enough. The simplest reason could just be that it isn’t set to the right temperature. It’s possible that it’s never been quite right, or someone has accidentally changed the setting.
  • On the other hand, the problem could be a little more serious. A common problem that your hardworking fridge freezer can face is an overheating motor fan. One sign that this is the cause is if the unit feels hot or warm around the back of the sides. The good news is that this can usually be repaired or replaced. The not so good news is that this can be somewhat expensive. So, depending on how old your fridge freezer is, it may be more cost effective to replace the unit.
A close up of a fridge shelf with a bowl of eggs and a fridge thermometer reading 17°C.

4. Food Spoils Before Its Use-By-Date

If your food is spoiling before its expiration date, it’s because your fridge isn’t performing properly. One reason for this is because the temperature setting hasn’t been set cold enough. Another reason could be that your fridge is struggling to maintain the right temperature.

This can happen when: 

  • The thermostat has stopped working.
  • There’s a build-up of dust or dirt on the condenser coils. This leads to heat being unable to escape.
  • The condenser coils are unable to cool down, causing the motor to then overheat.

This means that there could be a quick and simple solution to your problem. However, it could also mean a costly repair.

5. You’ve Noticed Some Condensation

Condensation that you find on the outside of your fridge, otherwise referred to as fridge sweat, can be a sign that something has gone wrong. The best case scenario is that you’ve opened the door too frequently on a hot day. If this is the case, the problem will resolve on its own. Otherwise, there’s a different cause.

  • The first thing to check in this instance is if there are any signs of mould or mildew on the seal. You should also check for any gaps or holes. This would indicate that the seal needs to be replaced.
  • If there is nothing wrong with the seal, check that the temperature hasn’t been set too low. If this is fine, the most likely problem is that the fridge isn’t cooling properly. We recommend either calling a professional to inspect and repair your fridge, or replacing the unit.

6. You Have Excessive Frost Build-Up

If your freezer isn’t frost-free, it’s normal to expect a build-up of frost. This will need to be defrosted every so often.

However, if your freezer is frosting up more than usual, or a frost-free model is experiencing frost build-up, there may be a problem.

  • This could be occurring due to a broken seal. If this is the case, the seal can be replaced.
  • If the seal isn’t broken, an excessive build-up of frost could mean a serious problem. We recommend either calling a professional to inspect and repair your fridge, or replacing the unit. However, it’s important to note that they may be unable to fix the problem.
An extremely overly frosted freezer

7. It’s Making Strange Noises

Your fridge freezer shouldn’t be noisy. It is normal to hear a low-level hum that goes by relatively unnoticed, but anything more than that isn’t. So if you hear any buzzing, knocking or banging, you know there’s a problem.

  • Before calling anyone out, we recommend first trying out the old fashioned method of turning it off and on again. Simply turn off your entire unit for 10-15 minutes, keeping the doors closed the entire time. Then, turn it back on and see if the noise continues.
  • If the noise continues, there is most likely a fault with a mechanical part. The common culprits include the condenser fan motor, the evaporator fan motor grommet or the entire evaporator fan motor itself. To fix these, you’ll need to call in a professional.

8. There’s a Funny Smell

Does your fridge freezer stink? There’s a few reasons why you may have some less than desirable smells coming from your fridge freezer. For example, it could just be that the plastic inside of your fridge has absorbed a lot of bad odours over time. You can clean and scrub the inside of your fridge freezer as much as you can, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

  • If the odour smells like strong chemicals or gas, then your fridge freezer could be leaking refrigerant. Inhaling this can be very dangerous! If it’s safe to do so, turn the unit off. Then, get out of your house and call a technician as soon as you can.

There are some steps you can take to combat bad fridge smells:

  • First, check for any rotten or expired food. Failing this, check the drip tray to see if this is the offender.
  • Once you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to also check underneath the unit to make sure no food has found its way under there.
  • If the smell persists, try putting some bicarbonate of soda in a dish and leave it in your fridge for ~3 days. This will absorb any bad odours. This same method can also be done using coffee, charcoal, oatmeal, white vinegar, or sliced lemons.
  • If your unit has condenser coils at the back, check to see that they don’t have any debris on them. It’s possible that the smell could be caused from this debris being heated.
  • If none of these seem to help, it may be time for a new fridge freezer.

9. Your Fridge Freezer is Leaking Water

A leaking fridge freezer is unfortunately a fairly common issue. Particularly if it is a fridge freezer with a water and ice dispenser. The most common causes of this are:

  • A blocked defrost drain. Food particles or other debris can get stuck in this hole, causing water to leak out. To clear this you can flush it out with warm water, or use a pipe cleaner or straightened coat hanger to push it out.
  • If your fridge freezer is connected to a water supply line, it could be that this has frozen or become clogged. You may have to pull your fridge out from the wall to inspect this (if it’s a freestanding fridge freezer). If you’re not confident doing this, you may need to call out a professional.
Leak on kitchen hardwood floor

10. You’re Looking to Upgrade

Sometimes, you may not have an issue, and simply want to upgrade your fridge freezer. There are lots of reasons that this may be the case. Maybe you need a fridge freezer with a bigger or smaller capacity. Or perhaps you’re looking for improved energy efficiency, or additional features that your current model lacks. Whatever your reason, our appliance experts can help you find the perfect fridge freezer for you.

Renovating your kitchen and need all new appliances? Get huge savings when buying multiple appliances through our Multibuy feature. Simply add your desired appliances to “+ My Multibuy” and our appliance experts will get back to you with a personalised quote. Alternatively, give us a call on 0115 965 1937 and we’ll help you put together your very own appliance package.


  • How often should you clean your fridge freezer?

We recommend cleaning your fridge every 4 months, and your freezer once a year. However, any spillages should be mopped up right away, and a check for expired food should happen at least weekly. We also highly recommend wiping down any surfaces that raw meat has come into contact with.

  • How do you check the seals around your fridge freezer?

The paper trick is perfect for checking the seals around your fridge freezer. Simply close the door on a piece of paper, trapping it between the door and the internal unit. Then, slowly pull the paper out. If there’s tension, you know that the seal is working properly. If you don’t feel any tension, the seal most likely has a gap or hole and will need replacing. Repeat this process around the entire seal’s surface.

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