The refrigerator compressor is probably the most critical component in any fridge freezer. Unless your refrigerator uses an exotic technology, it is going to require a functional compressor in order to cool. When your refrigerators compressor malfunctions you have a serious situation on your hands!
Depending on what type of fridge freezer you own, sometimes it is better to simply discard your appliance when the compressor goes and replace the whole refrigerator with a new unit. Refrigerator compressors are not cheap, and in lesser refrigerator models they can be a pain to replace.
Cheap refrigerators usually have a one piece sealed cooling system installed where pieces of the compressor cannot easily be swapped out with specialized machinery. If you get a price quote from a refrigerator repairman that puts repairs at $500 or more, I’d be inclined you recommend a full replacement.
A new fridge is going to be more efficient than a refrigerator that is even a few years old – energy efficiency standards in the refrigeration industry move fast – so the cost of replacing will be offset somewhat by lower operating costs in the future.
If you do decide to get the compressor repaired or replaced, you always run the risk that the repair will be done poorly and require additional expensive work. Also, once the first component in a fridge goes out it is often a sign that the unit is on its last legs.
Nevertheless, all that said there are sometimes times when it does make sense to repair. Firstly, if you have a warranty then by all means take advantage of it. Not only will you get a free fix, but you also avoid the heartache of throwing out a very new – still warrantied – refrigerator.
Also, if you have a premium brand like a Thermador or Sub-Zero refrigerator; then it would be madness to discard the unit. Some of these units cost ten thousand dollars or more. For these expensive units it makes a lot more sense to spend a thousand dollars on repairs and maintenance than simply buying another model of a comparable price.
For technical information on different types of compressors I recommend this article – http://www.fridgefreezersite.com/semi-hermetic-compressors/