What Are the Disadvantages of a Refrigerator?

Lee Morgan

Your refrigerator keeps food cold, preserves it and keeps it safe from dangerous bacterial growth until you have a chance to eat it. Imaging life without one of these appliances in today’s world may be difficult, but all the news on refrigerators is not good news. A few disadvantages exist to owning a refrigerator.

You can't imagine not having one, but refrigerators do have some disadvantages.

Hardly anyone would consider that the downside of having a refrigerator is worse than not having one at all, but there are some “cold” realities associated with the appliance.

Energy Requirements

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the refrigerator is the cost to run it. According to the California Energy Commission website, approximately one-sixth of electricity used in the typical American home is consumed by the refrigerator and freezer, and this is a sizeable improvement over the refrigerators your parents used. Since 1990, refrigerators have become much more energy efficient, using 60 percent less power today than they did back then. Refrigerators are such an energy hog that they come with two kinds of price tags. They have the retail purchase price and the estimation of what they'll cost you to run each year. Often the energy cost is enough to make up for the additional amount you have to pay for better built models.

Disposal Concerns

One of the disadvantages of refrigerators is that they are environmentally unfriendly and dangerous if not disposed of properly. If doors are not removed from old refrigerators with locking doors, they pose a hazard to children who may get trapped inside. The refrigerator also contains refrigerant that can be damaging to the environment because of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) content. This material should be recycled. Otherwise the CFCs can escape into the air. This material is suspected to be the cause of depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.

Common Repairs

Repairs can be a disadvantage of refrigerators because of the many common problems that the appliance can have over its lifetime. While the owner can do some repairs at no significant cost, others may require out-of-pocket expense and payments to repair technicians. A person who owns a refrigerator likely will encounter one of the common refrigerator problems over the life of the appliance. Among the common repairs made to refrigerators include leaks and icing, icemaker malfunction, cooling problems and replaced fan motors. Some owners may not see repairs as a major problem and may never have a serious issue throughout the life of the unit while others may have to fix their refrigerator on a regular basis.