A friend says that his friend (who works at an appliance store) told him that refrigerators after 2002 have an HFC container that is set to expire after five years, and then your fridge stops working until you get the canister replaced. Sort of like a water filter if your filter refused to let water pass through when it expired. On one hand, this seems like a great story to tell someone if you want to sell extended warranties. On the other hand, maybe it is regulation taken to an extreme, if you force consumers to replace the refrigerant every five years it probably won't get to the point where it leaks and it can be disposed of safely. Does anyone know of any evidence for this?

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    Sounds like an urban myth to me. – Daniel Griscom Oct 16 '16 at 2:49
  • Hope it is not true as I have two unit one 6.5 years old and one 8. – spicetraders Oct 16 '16 at 14:46
  • Yeah, that's the biggest evidence against this as far as I'm concerned, there would be far too many people who would have had to do this once or twice for it to be such an unknown process. Unless..."Big Appliance" has succeeded in keeping consumers quiet about it! :/ – mherzig Oct 16 '16 at 16:48
  • I am using a fridge I bought 16 years ago. It functions quite well. It may be time to buy a newer one for efficiency's sake (and give the old one to a student), but since it was among the most efficient available when I got it, maybe not. – keshlam Oct 21 '16 at 15:49
  • @keshlam I agree with your Maybe Not! We have a 25yr old freezer Kenmore which was never labeled energy anything. And a one year old new energy star freezer. Kenmore -20deg+, new one lucky to make -15deg. New one smaller CF, and both use same watts/hr on tester. I have unplugged it and going to donate it, keep the old. – spicetraders Oct 21 '16 at 16:55

Not true in the USA. The refrigerant is all contained within the sealed system: compressor, evaporator, and condenser. While the life expectancy of refrigerators does seem to have greatly diminished in the last decade they rarely fail because of refrigerant leaks. I am a refrigerator repair person and the majority of problems I encounter are defrost, air flow, ice maker, and control related problems.

My feeling is the target life expectancy for new refrigerators is 10-15 years but there will probably be a repair or two needed in that time.

Hope that helps some!

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