9 Tips for Buying a Refurbished Refrigerator

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Buying a refurbished refrigerator is more budget-friendly than buying new. Here are some tips to help you understand what to look for in a refurbished model.

There are two kinds of “pre-owned” refrigerators – used and refurbished. Refurbished refrigerators are used, but they have the advantage of having been inspected and have worn parts replaced to make sure they are in good working order. You can usually get a decent refrigerator a fraction of the price of a new one. It won't, however, have all the bells and whistles of the latest models.

Here are a few tips for buying a refurbished refrigerator:

  1. Measure: Refrigerators are the most variable appliance in terms of dimensions. Measure the dimensions of the fridge you have as well as all the doorways, hallways, stairways and elevators it may need to pass through to get to your kitchen.
  2. Visit the store in-person: A good place to start looking for refurbished or reconditioned refrigerators is through want ad sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist. However, while there will be some inventory listed online, most refurbishers have plenty of models in stock that aren’t listed. Sometimes it’s best to call ahead if you are buying a particular brand or dimensions to make sure the store carries what you’re looking for.
  3. Model and Serial number. If you find a model you like, find the model number and do some quick research on it. Go onto Consumer Reports (subscription required), repair forums and the manufacturer’s website to make sure there aren’t any glaring problems with the model you’re looking at. You can also see other features the fridge offers such as holiday settings and whether it’s EnergyStar rated and most importantly, how old it is.
  4. Exterior: Refurbished models will still show evidence of use, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with any worn buttons, scratches, etc. If there is a visible mark, ask yourself if it’s something you won’t even notice once it’s in your home and in use.
  5. Durability: Open doors, check the door seal for tightness, check to make sure all interior fittings are there, open and close vegetable and meat/cheese drawers. If you want an ice-maker (and you may or may not), check to make sure the ice-maker is included or can be easily added.
  6. Warranty: One of the advantages of buying from a refurbisher is that they usually offer a warranty (and if they don’t, find another refurbisher). The warranty will vary – anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on the store. Asks what it includes (parts and/or labour).
  7. Service: Make sure the vendor services what they sell. If not, ask if they have a relationship with a service company. Some companies sell appliances that are refurbished by third parties while others refurbish and sell their own.
  8. Delivery: Refurbishers will be able to deliver your new fridge and will also often be able to take your old one. You might want to ask them what they do with your old one and how they dispose of the refrigerants. They are required to send them to a certified decommissioning place to make sure the refrigerants are captured responsibly.
  9. Start-up: Refrigerators need to rest for 8 to 12 hours to let the refrigerants settle, so leave it unplugged for the first day.

For more information on how to buy, sell or maintain a refrigerator, check out our other articles on our Refrigerators page.

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