11 Six Things to Consider When Buying a New Fridge and A Death Wish

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!

The cons:

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.


  1. ha ha I have a death wish for my 16 year old fridge too. Too bad the 5 year old dishwasher died instead.

    1. Rachelle, my dishwasher is hanging by a thread! The lights don't work, and the handle is broken, but....we manage to bring it back to life each time!

      That's sad that your dishwasher only lasted 5 years. Remember when major appliances lasted 20+ years? Now, they are all hip and electronic, and ironically, it's the electronic parts that are the first to go...

  2. Thank you so much for this post. You covered so many areas I had questions about. Our fridge does not open all the way on the right side and it drives me crazy. Cleaning it properly is near to impossible.

    I kind of hope ours dies soon but we just had to replace our stove (and we ran a gas line - Hooray) so I'm deferring the death wish for a few more months.

    I'd love if you did a follow up post in a few months on how you like your fridge and maybe what you wish you'd known if you had to do it all again. Not trying to make more work for you though :-)


    1. Nicole, you are so welcome! I've had this fridge for a almost a month, so far, so good. My previous fridge was a Kitchen Aid, so I am hopefully optimistic about this one.

      Your suggestion to do a follow up post is a good one. My readers will be the first to know if there is a problem and if it is covered by warranty, etc.

      Do you love your gas stove? I love mine, except for the cleaning. I'm eyeballing the new induction stoves, but it is good to wait out on new technology to see if it is worth it in the long run.

      Happy Baking!

    2. Oh how funny....that is my old frig and my dream of the French door frig. I live in an old house, i measured the width, height to the front of the cabinets, but alas got the side by side home 2inch difference in the front of the cabinets and the back....frig sits out in kitchen 7 inches. Love your story and can't wait for your class at Honeyville.


    3. Renee, that reminds me, there are Cabinet Depth refrigerators available that are only 30" deep and flush with most cabinets. They are quite a bit more expensive than the standard fridges. Ouch!

      I'm looking forward to meeting you at the class tomorrow!

  3. AnonymousMay 07, 2012

    Frieda, Thanks for this post! I too am waiting for my fridge to die. It is at least 16 and makes a loud POP about 5 times a day. I'm a Kitchen Aid fan and do not ever make a big purchase with out checking Consumer Reports too. Good luck with the new purchase!

    1. I wonder what that POP means? If it means that your fridge is on its way out, you don't want to risk losing your food. If your fridge is that old, it may be time to replace it ~ think of the money you will save in purchasing an Energy Saver fridge. If money is tight, I am sure you will be able to find a scratch-n-dent on clearance or even in the want ads. Good luck!

  4. Hi Frieda, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  5. Congrats on the new fridge! It is so cool that your door swings over the counter-top. Woohoo! We bought a similar fridge (Samsung) about two months ago and love it. I had been hoping that my old fridge, 23 years old, would bite the big one, but it just kept on going. I had seen the Samsung fridge in a store 2 or 3 years ago and knew that it was the one for me. However, the price was prohibitive, so I just kept watching and waiting (I had no idea Kitchenaid made a very similar fridge). Finally my husband found it on-line on sale for $800 off, plus free shipping/delivery, plus its base price was already lower than most retail stores in our area. Score!

    1. Yikes! 23 years?? You are smart to wait for the right price and replace your energy sucking fridge! Samsung was one of my top five, so I'm sure you have a great fridge!


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