How to know when to repair or replace your medical fridge

When storing medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines, having a reliable medical fridge is essential. These specialised refrigerators play a crucial role in preserving the integrity of temperature-sensitive substances. In this guide, we’ll explore how long this equipment should last, and when to consider a medical fridge replacement or repair. 

What is a medical fridge?

Medical fridges are designed to maintain the temperatures necessary to store medical supplies. This can range from medications, vaccines, and blood samples. These refrigerators are equipped with advanced temperature control mechanisms to safeguard the integrity of sensitive products.

Why do I need a medical refrigerator to store vaccines and medicines?

Unlike traditional household refrigerators, medicine fridges are equipped with temperature-sensitive thermometers that keep medical products within their required temperature range. These temperature parameters are usually between +2oC and +8oC, known to medical professionals as the cold chain. Domestic fridges simply do not have this level of temperature control and can easily drop outside of this range when it is being used throughout the day. 

In the rare event that the inner chamber of a medical fridge fluctuates outside of this temperature range, medical fridges are also equipped with temperature alarms to alert professionals to this change so issues can be resolved quickly with minimal disruption. This ensures that the efficacy and integrity of any stored samples can be maintained and monitored at all times. 

How long should a medical fridge last?

The lifespan of a medical fridge can vary depending on multiple factors. However, a well-maintained medical-grade refrigerator from a reputable brand can last between 10 to 20 years. 

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, checking temperature settings, and inspecting seals, can significantly extend the lifespan of your medical fridge. However, even the highest quality medical refrigerators will need to be replaced or repaired eventually. This is why it is important to be aware of the signs so you can be prepared. 

Signs your medical fridge needs attention:

Inconsistent temperature

Fluctuations in temperature can impact the efficacy of stored medications. All CoolMed medical fridges feature external screens. Displaying min/max temperature readings, you’ll be able to notice any inconsistent temperature readings at any time. If you find these temperature fluctuations occurring regularly, this issue should be investigated. 

Unusual noises

Unexpected sounds coming from your medical fridge could indicate an underlying mechanical issue. Unusual noises could be a sign of something malfunctioning, so it is probably best to get this checked out. 

Visible wear and tear

As with any product, general wear and tear is inevitable over a medical fridge’s lifespan. You should inspect the interior and exterior of your medicine fridge for any signs of wear, rust, or deterioration. Cracked seals can compromise the efficiency of the refrigerator, allowing air into the chamber, and causing its internal temperature to fall out of its required range.

When to repair or replace your medical fridge

Frequent breakdowns

If your medical fridge is experiencing frequent breakdowns it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new, reliable unit. Whilst the initial cost of a brand-new medical fridge can be higher than repairs, there is an opportunity to save yourself bigger costs in repair and emergency call-out fees.

Older technology

As technology continues to advance, older medical fridges will become obsolete, lacking the features necessary for optimal temperature control and monitoring. It is essential that you take this into consideration when upgrading your medical fridges so you can ensure that your equipment is always adhering to the latest industry standards. 

At CoolMed, all of our medicine fridges are manufactured using the latest medical refrigeration technology. The i-Cool temperature probe monitors and stabilises drug temperatures, meaning your vaccines won’t fall outside of the cold chain.

Exceeding lifespan

If your medical fridge has passed its average lifespan and is showing signs of deterioration beyond repair, investing in a medical fridge replacement may be a good decision.

CoolMed medical fridge calibration and servicing

Ensuring the proper functioning of your medical fridge is paramount to safeguarding the efficacy of stored medical supplies. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to signs of wear or malfunction can prolong the lifespan of your medicine fridge. 

Why not consider our calibration services to ensure your medical fridge stays in top working order? Carried out by fully trained EBME engineers, our annual medical freezer and medical fridge servicing gives you peace of mind that your products and patients are safe. 

Further, from only £135+ VAT per unit, our calibration services ensure your equipment is in adherence to NHS Green Book 2013 regulations regarding vaccine and medicine storage. During their visit, our expert engineers will also conduct standard maintenance checks to make sure your fridge’s components are in working order and will provide a fully traceable calibration certificate once completed. 

Visit our calibration service page to find out more. 

Get in touch

Keep your medical supplies in optimal condition by making the right decision when it comes to medical fridge replacement or repair. If you would like any more in-depth information from our team, you can call us on 0161 772 5666. Alternatively, you can email us at