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Fridge Freezer

Which? surveys show that the most common faults are build up of ice, blocked drain and flooding in unit.

Most early faults and failures can be avoided by better user instruction, simple design changes and testing to meet minimum standards.

In WRAP consumer research, consumers consider reliability, quality and expected life as the top three important product attributes; and 31% of customers surveyed said they bought products because of the brand’s association with reliability.

The cost estimates in this guide assume that the cost price to the retailer are £100 per fridge freezer.

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  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost
Fridge Freezer

Critical components

Thermostat/ controls

  • Failure mode Thermostat or other electronic control faults can lead to temperature variation and poor cooling of contents.
  • Durability features Specification and testing for longer life of components, PCBs and connectors and accessibility for easy replacement.
  • Cost  


  • Failure mode The drain hole can gradually block with debris and ice, causing flooding inside the unit.
  • Durability features Better design of drain channels and the drain hole as well as an external drain pipe that will not freeze. Cleaning instructions should include a remo
  • Cost  

Rear spacers

  • Failure mode Placement too near to a wall or other unit can lead to poor heat dissipation, compressor overload and poor cooling or failure.
  • Durability features Addition of built-in spacers at the rear will ensure better ventilation and longer compressor life.
  • Cost  

Shelves, drawers and trays

  • Failure mode Poor inherent shelf and tray strength, and stress concentrations through sharp corners, can cause cracking and the accumulation of dirt.
  • Durability features Better mould design for strength and easy cleaning, combined with a stronger liner moulding to support them.
  • Cost  


  • Failure mode Poor quality components and manufacture of compressors, without appropriate testing.
  • Durability features Better quality components and construction, with appropriate testing.
  • Cost  

Door and door seals

  • Failure mode Seals can accumulate dirt and mould and splits can occur in the longer term. Hinges and mounts can also weaken.
  • Durability features Anti-bacterial seal coating and removable seals will allow effective cleaning and replacement. Strong hinges and mounts will prevent door droop.
  • Cost  

User guidance

  • Failure mode Inadequate instructions can lead to early failure and returns.
  • Durability features User instructions on cleaning, ventilation and temperature ranges.