The refrigerator is one of the most crucial appliances in the home. It’s vital since it keeps perishables from spoiling, and freezes foods for later use. We’ve come a long way since the days of the fridge and the separate chest freezer. Today’s choices include the standard fridge-and-freezer combination, dorm refrigerator, and wine chiller. Even though the vast majority of American households have one refrigerator (and oftentimes more), what should you consider when looking for a new one? Recent technological advances and design improvements have given way to a whole new breed of fridge, and if you’re ready to embark on this major kitchen appliance purchase, this is a great place to start.
Size and Storage
One of the first things to consider is refrigerator size. Most refrigerators are 28 to 34 inches deep and typically protrude several inches from the countertop.
Note: Some cabinet-depth or built-in refrigerator models are 24 inches deep. Some customers have their cabinet makers provide custom panels to complete the look, making the fridge and cabinets flush.
But if you opt for the standard-size refrigerator, will you have enough room for it in your kitchen? How big will it be when the doors are closed and will it fit when they’re opened? Be sure to get accurate measurements so you have answers to these very important questions before you begin looking.
But the most important consideration is meeting your food storage needs. Are you the only one in the home, or are you a family of 6? Total storage space is measured in cubic feet, and Build.com offers kitchen fridges that reach total storage space at nearly 30 cubic feet.
Not too long ago, your only option for a fridge-freezer unit was with the freezer on top (also called “top-mount freezer”). This type is still extremely popular, but mercifully, manufacturers figured out we typically go to the fridge more than the freezer. So they began mounting the fridge above the freezer, called a bottom-mount type. Side-by-side refrigerators (the refrigerator and freezer are adjacent) are also very well-received, but could create space issues when both doors are opened. Another distinction is the difference between built-in and free-standing refrigerators. A free-standing fridge is the more popular of the two, and a built-in fridge is specifically designed to have cabinetry built around it for a custom look. Since some storage space is lost because the refrigerator is designed to be flush with the depth of the countertop, a built-in fridge is typically taller or wider to retain that cubic feet of storage.
Built-in units are also designed with specific motors so that they can be installed in a built-in area. It usually has a grill at the top which allows it to “breathe.” Other models accept custom cabinet panels. Build.com also carries other types including French door, under-the-counter, and column refrigerators, as well as beverage centers, ice makers, wine chillers, and undercounter refrigerated drawers.
Refrigerators aren’t exactly energy-saving appliances. They run day and night, they constantly use energy, and when the doors are opened, cold (or freezing) air escapes. But new units are so much more efficient than their predecessors that it’s strongly recommended you replace your existing fridge if it is more than 10 years old. Contemporary refrigerators are doing more for us than ever before, and they’ve never been more energy efficient. Build.com offers over 100 ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerators, so as energy costs continue to rise, it makes sense to look into an energy-efficient refrigerator. Some eco-friendly features include:
- Adaptive defrost control
- Double tub construction
- Foam-in-place door
- Temperature-controlled drawers
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Today’s refrigerators are designed to do much more than just cool and freeze. Features range from the intuitive (adjustable shelves and door bins that allow you to customize its interior) to the obvious (spill-proof shelves) to the decadent (multimedia combinations feature TV screens on the refrigerator face). Other features include elevator shelves, full-extension drawers, pullout and split shelves or bins, through-the-door water and ice dispenser, and water filters.Back to top
Until next time, Happy Home Improving From Build.com, Inc!
by Sean Murphy