For years our refrigerator had an issue keeping up – we had to periodically defrost it and let a block of ice melt down from the airflow area (a plastic grate covered it but ice built up which didn’t allow the freezer airflow into the refrigerator).
At some point the refrigerator stopped cooling at all. We got a technician to look at it and it had burnt up much of the back of the refrigerator. He said no way to replace the parts – any repair would also fail, so it was time for a new one. The refrigerator was probably 15 years old at that point.
Our area for the refrigerator is a very specific space which would need cabinets knocked out to adjust the space, which would be expensive. There were 2 models of refrigerators that would fit the space. This was during COVID at its height – so the manufacturing was not happening, and we would be months from getting the new one.
We ordered it to eventually come (and it just came yesterday). During the time without a working refrigerator, I had to buy blocks of ice and put trays under them for the water melt (and drain the water daily or when full), then place them in the refrigerator so food would stay cool, strategically placing the more important items nearer or on the ice. I had to put everything I could into the garage freezer, then cook a lot to use up what didn’t fit from the freezer side. After some pondering, we decided to get a smaller “temporary” refrigerator – buy not rent, then put it in the basement for keeping things we use less often and then able to find things in either refrigerator. That one came within a couple weeks but didn’t have an ice maker. We decided that instead of buying ice trays, we would get bags of ice from the store and replace as needed – that worked out very well – ice cube bags are cheap and no work on our part.
Make sure you keep up with replacing the water filter if you have an ice maker or drinking water flow. If the filter gets old, then you will be drinking bad water and using bad ice. Make sure not to block the area of air flow from the freezer to the refrigerator (and if it does get ice build-up, defrost it).
Clean the refrigerator shelves, trays, drawers, and walls periodically – and after any spill or mess. Leaving it for later will make It harder to clean up. For a full clean, clean from the top down so the messes go down to get wiped up on lower levels.
Keep maintenance on your refrigerator and try to avoid a failure like we had. We don’t know what caused it though. Oh, and the new ones with more features and Internet and such – there is more to go wrong on them. A simple, affordable, reliable one with less features lasts longer without issues. A repair technician confirmed this.