Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jun 5, 2012 06:28 AM

Rebuild or Replace our 14 year- old SubZero?

Our 14 year old built-in SZ 550 refrigeration section no longer cools below 45 degrees. The repairman is suggesting that we rebuild it. Is this ever a good idea? Or should we bite the bullet and replace it? If the latter, with what? We have liked this SZ although it has had its share of (minor) repairs. We are now retired and need to think twice about big expenditures.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That would really depend on the cost. We had an issue with our freezer not working well several years ago (our SubZero is about 20 years old). It ended up being a $100 repair - or about $7,000 or so less than buying a new one. If the repairman is reputable and the cost is reasonable no reason not to get several more years of life out of it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      It ended up costing $800. Warranty is good for a year. A lot less than the $8,000 it would cost new... if it lasts a bit and nothing else big goes wrong.

    2. Did you get a ballpark estimate for the repair?

      2 Replies
      1. re: hawkeyeui93

        They told us it would depend on what went wrong. Best case scenario, a new evaporator @$800. Worst case scenario, a complete rebuild. We dodged the bullet this time, "only" the evaporator needed replacement. What happens next time? Repairman says that SZ are very "fixable" relative to other refrigerators. Will this be like being nibbled to death by ducks?

      2. About 18-months or 2 years ago, we had our 1988 Sub-Zero estimated for repair after looking at all the new Sub-Zero- hey, they certainly looked flimsy compared to our tank. As well, it is built into the wall of cabinets, and would entail problems fititng a new one into the space. But that was not the deciding factor.

        I didn't think twice when the guy gave us a repair estimate aorund $1800. We had another two repairs in the estimate as well: new liner around door, and some sort of hinge to make the door come-to-shut.

        Previously we had not any repairs - that's a record for any refrigerator, I think. We could have dumped it and considered ourselves lucky, but we decided to save it. I didn't replace any of the shelving, though it does looked well-used. But at any rate, it sure is better than the plastic-y looking new shelving.

        Retired, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rella

          Thanks, very reassuring. The repairman intimated as such when he said that our SZ is very fixable and even the new SZ shelves "not as sturdy" as the ones we we currently have.

          Repairmen have said the same thing about how appliances today are no longer built to last. We have a full-size Panasonic microwave that fits perfectly inside of our cabinet. When it stopped working, the appliance repair shop told us this was worth fixing, that the new ones are no longer built as well. With just one repair, it has lasted us 25 years.

        2. I have two Sub-Zeros that were installed in 1978. They have been completely trouble free for 35 years, but the last couple of months they seem to be on their last leg. One fridge is freezing everything. The other one has the opposite problem. Its temperature never goes below 45. However, it occasionally will blow hot air and I've seen the temperature in it get above 80! They are really showing their age, so I think it's time for them to be replaced.

          3 Replies
            1. re: mojobill

              We had nearly 30 good years before ours died. 35 is nothing to sneeze at.

              1. re: mojobill

                Absolutely, but I guess the SZ are worth it for the long run. After our 14 year old had its evaporator replaced, it's been relatively trouble free. The ice maker has not been working properly - makes chips of ice occasionally. But, I suspect this may be a plumbing problem involving the water hook up in the back. Have hesitated bringing a plumber because of the expense and been going without ice.