I've had a death wish for my side by side refrigerator, for the past 13 years.
Take a good look at the picture above. Notice that the left side is not open all the way. Imagine trying to pull out the drawers/baskets and not being able to access anything waaaaaaay in the back.
Why can't I open the left door all the way?
Because of this ... the counter top is too close to the fridge. The freezer handle would bump into the counter, preventing me from full access to the freezer.
After years of cursing and digging in the freezer for long forgotten items, I woke up one morning to a puddle of water on the floor, next to the fridge.
Hmmmm... perhaps some ice cubes fell out of the dispenser and melted. I mopped the water up, only to discover a couple of hours later, the puddle returned.
I opened the freezer, and discovered that all the ice cubes in the bucket had melted ... I touched a couple of items in the freezer. They were cold, but no longer frozen.
*gasp* Could it be?
The lights were on, but the freezer was no longer freezing.
A mixture of panic and excitement swept over me. I couldn't believe this day had finally arrived, but I had to quickly save my food. I grabbed a couple of coolers and began triage, looking at each item and muttering to myself, "Stay ... throw away ... throw away ... stay, what the heck is this?? Hmmmm .... throw away."
I called my mom, who gladly let me use her extra fridge/freezer for my food. I was so lucky to be able to catch the death of my freezer in time to save my food and find a place for it.
For the past two years, I have been drooling over the French door style fridges, as they were so open, roomy, and yes, I could put a full sized baking sheet of anything I could dream of into the fridge. I fantasized of a freezer so organized, I could find anything in seconds.
Let me share with you some things to consider in purchasing a new fridge.
1. Measure, measure, measure. Measure the depth, height, and width of where your new fridge will be. Take note of anything that could change the dimensions. We have molding on the floor we considered removing and a cabinet above the fridge that we could raise.
2. Research, research, research. Consumer Reports is the first place I go to when making a large purchase. Did you know that if you have a library card, you can access Consumer Reports through the library online? That is way cool. Once you have your picks, Google the make/model number and read any reviews available.
3. When shopping, bring a measuring tape and a notepad. Make a note of your top 5 fridge picks and bring it with you.
4. At the store, play around with the fridge. Open it. Close it. Play with the drawers. Imagine what you would put in the fridge and where you would put it. Does it feel awkward? Do the doors completely shut? How easy is it to clean? Can you put tall items in it? A good display fridge will be plugged in, letting you see where the inside lights are and how it lights up the fridge. You do not want any "black holes" in your fridge or freezer where you can't see anything.
5. Ask the sales rep if they are willing to match competitors pricing and if there are any rebates available. Chances are, you will be purchasing an Energy Star appliance, there are rebates available through your electric company.
6. Consider purchasing an extended warranty, especially if you want an ice maker/water dispenser, as those are typically the FIRST things to break. Some warranties will cover spoiled food, up to a certain amount.
After several hours of walking, measuring, playing, we finally found this beauty:
It is not one of my top 5 picks, but it is one that will SWING OVER THE COUNTER. I now have FULL access to that side of the fridge! I am not thrilled that the ice maker sucks up a ton of space in the upper left hand corner, but hubby wanted an ice maker, and he's happy.
The top drawer is a 6" deep refrigerator drawer with dividers. This is where all the "grab-n-go" food will be. Leftovers, carton of eggs, etc. It is very brightly lit and easy to see where everything is.
I love the see through bins. No more peeking in and rummaging to find what I need.
Even the freezer feels spacious. I've added some plastic containers from the dollar store to keep items even more organized and easily accessible.
We encountered a problem. We cannot open this cabinet drawer all the way! The right corner of the drawer bangs into the handle of the refrigerator door. This was something we did not think of when we did our measurements.
No problem. I added a small, round, plastic adhesive button to the corner of the drawer to prevent scratches to the fridge handle and put some dollar store plastic containers into the cabinet drawer that are easy to slide out when I need something. A small price to pay for more open access to the fridge.
Then I remembered a review that I had read somewhere while researching fridges online.
"You will never find the perfect fridge."
That may be true, but I think this fridge is WAY better than my old side by side. Why?
1. It fits in the space that I have. The door swings over the counter! I can fit baking sheets in it!
2. It was on sale, $500 less than anywhere else.
3. The store paid for the sales tax in the form of a gift card. (Tax time promotion)
4. They offered a one time delivery fee for $60, good for one year.
5. They offered a 5 year warranty for $200. After 5 years, if you don't use the warranty, they'll refund $100 back.
6. Through my power company, I will receive a $20 Energy Star rebate and a $30 rebate for recycling my old fridge. They even came and hauled my old fridge away! Bonus!
1. Price. A new fridge can cost the same as buying a small, used car. *gulp*
2. Hubby said the compressor runs a little louder than the older fridge. This was one of the complaints that I read in the online reviews, but we only notice it if it is completely quiet in the house.
To my new fridge: May you live long and prosper.