$2400 to repair refrigerator, is that too much?


Premium Member
Aug 15, 2019

We have an large, older GE Monogram side by side refrigerator/freezer, model no. ZISB420DMB, 42"x 84". It had been working well for 13 years until yesterday, when the temperature went way up in both the frig (64 degrees) and the freezer (44 degrees). We called for service. The first guy said we need a new compressor but no OEM unit is available in stock, so he would have to search for an after market unit. We called another guy, who said the compressor is fine but there must be a freon leak, he would need to run gas with dye through the refrigerator, find and fix the leak, and replace the evaporator and dryer -- total cost $2400.

Both guys are A rated on Angie's List and appear to reputable, but with 2 completely different diagnoses and such a high price, just thought I'd ask if this sounds right. What do you think?

We could opt to buy a new unit, but this one is built into cabinetry and would be difficult to remove, and I'm not sure this is a standard size so that the new one would fit into the opening and look right. It seems the comparable new GE unit is over $8000, some other brands seem to be less. Is it a reasonable decision to repair the old one instead of buying a new one?

Any info or thoughts would be appreciated.
I'd call GE at 1-800-432-2737 and have a GE authorized tech come out since you are getting two different opinions. Plus you don't want to spend $2400 is that guy is wrong, money down the drain you know what I mean?

Thank you for the reply, I will call GE. Since I wrote my original post, a third serviceman came to check our fridge. He says I need a new compressor (he showed me substantial corrosion) and some related parts, will take 3 hours of work, total price $1800. Still seems rather high as the compressor is available online for around $430, but I suppose not too bad if it saves me $8000 for a new fridge.
On built-in refrigerators the price for labor will always be much higher, as the compressor is on top and much more difficult to access and weld there.

I called GE and another guy came, the fourth guy to look at my fridge. He said it needed a new compressor and quoted me $2000 for the job. I showed him the $1800 estimate from the other guy and he agreed to match it. So I hired him and he replaced the compressor. After he was done, he said it would take about 3 hours for the unit to start cooling, I paid him and he left. Four hours later, no joy, no cooling at all. I called him and he said he would come back today, let's hope he can get it right.

He did not install the OEM GE compressor, which is sold online for around $430. Instead, he installed a SUPCO 836L, https://www.supco.com/web/supco_live/products/SPC836L.html, which sells online for about $140. Is SUPCO a decent brand?

So the guy came back and said there is cooling but the problem is that the freezer fan is not working. He says he will "only" charge me the $300 "cost" of the fan, nothing for labor. This does not seem quite fair to me, he said the problem was the compressor, it was not, and shouldn't he have checked the fan? Also, the fan is apparently available online for $63.25.

What do you folks think, is he being straight with me?
He should of replaced the compressor with the OEM GE one, I would not trust SUPCO, it's a aftermarket compressor.

Was the freezer fan working before? I hope you had the tech charge your credit card so you can dispute the charge. Something is very odd here.

Thanks for the reply. I do not know for certain whether the fan was working before, but I'm guessing it was not. Shouldn't a professional serviceman have checked whether it was working? Seems he just assumed the compressor was the problem.
Interesting, yes all 4 techs are all incompetent if they can't figure out the fan was not running. Good Lord!!! :eek:

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