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Refrigerator buying guide

GE-Cafe-French-refrigerator-with-built-in-K-Cup-brewer-Cool-Mom-TechRefrigerators have long been thought of as the boxy, boring behemoths of the kitchen, and buying one used to be as simple as choosing between eggshell and off-white. But times have changed, with manufacturers increasingly thinking outside of the icebox to try to redefine what the modern refrigerator is really capable of. Today’s shopper will find an ever-increasing range of color and style options, cleverly-designed units designed to disappear into your decor, and a wide variety of new smart features, including ones aimed at transforming your kitchen itself into an entertainment hub. It’s enough to make you wonder if the ol’ fridge might be going through a bit of an identity crisis.

This reinvention of the refrigerator comes with a daunting new reality: finding the perfect model for your needs and budget is no easy task. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place — a handy overview designed to help you narrow down the countless options and come out confident that the refrigerator you’re buying will give you the most bang for your buck.

In the end, finding the right fridge is all about understanding your own needs and asking the right questions, so let’s get started with:

What type of refrigerator is best for me?

Style-wise, you’ve got four options to choose from, and each comes with its own pros and cons. Figuring out which one is best for you is the first, most obvious step towards making a final buying decision.


Top freezer

When I say the word “fridge,” chances are good that this is the style that pops into your head. With the bottom two thirds dedicated to fresh-food storage and the freezer unit sitting on top, most of us probably struggled to reach the Popsicles in a top freezer unit when we were kids, or we at least used one in our first apartment. Tastes have moved forward since then, so if you’re looking for something modern, high-end, and feature-rich, then a top-freezer model probably isn’t for you. If, however, style isn’t as much of a concern, then you’ll find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus, there are still enough being made to offer a solid variety of choices.

Bottom freezer

If you’re looking for something on the simpler side, and would enjoy slightly easier access to your fresh foods, then a bottom-freezer unit might be right for you. Bottom-freezer units aren’t much different from top-freezer units except for the fact that the freezer is located — you guessed it — on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to hunch over while rooting around for commonly used ingredients. However, it also means that frozen foods will be located down around your ankles — though a majority of models now come with drawer-style freezer doors, which can make getting the ice cream out a little easier. Bottom freezer units tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there’s also less variety of models to choose from.

 

Side-by-side

Side-by-side units split your fridge right down the middle, offering you frozen foods on the left and fresh foods on the right. Some models offer equal real estate for both sections while others allocate an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for an especially narrow freezer section, so frozen-pizza aficionados might want to consider something a little less limiting. Side-by-side units come in a wide variety of models and tend to showcase more features than their horizontally minded counterparts. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also require much less clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow kitchens. Due to the vertical split, you’ll probably want to go with the widest model that will fit into your kitchen, and your budget.

French door

Highly popular, French-door models combine the drawer-style freezer of a bottom-freezer unit with the low-clearance doors of a side-by-side unit. This means that you’ll have a full-width, double-door fridge with plenty of storage space. With your refrigerator door effectively split into two, it also means that you won’t be letting as much cold air out when you’re opening just one door to grab the milk. Some models come with two separate freezer drawers, with the top one located about waist-high. This will keep you from bending down quite as far as you would with a bottom freezer. With the high demand for French door refrigerators, you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top-of-the-line smart features you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your fridge to match your kitchen or even camouflage itself entirely among your cabinets, but be aware that you’ll likely be tacking a few thousand dollars onto the already steep price tag.

REPAIRING A REFRIGERATOR

A refrigerator is one of the few appliances in your home that runs continuously, day or night, keeping your food cold. If you consider how hard a refrigerator has to work, it is actually quite amazing that they break down so infrequently. On the rare occasion your refrigerator does stop working, you may face a high repair bill and the expense of replacing all your lost food. Have no fear! This article is here to tell you everything you need to know about repairing your refrigerator and freezer yourself. You might be surprised to learn that repairs are actually quite easy, requiring only a little knowledge about the appliance and a little patience. Let’s get started with some basic information.

Refrigerators and freezers consist of two basic components: a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. A liquid coolant is circulated through these coils by a compressor and a motor. The refrigerant liquid is cooled in the condenser; it then flows to the evaporator. At the evaporator, the air in the unit is cooled by contact with the liquid-filled coil. The condenser of a refrigerator or freezer is the coil on the outside of the unit; the evaporator is the coil on the inside. The coolant is circulated through the system by a compressor.

Most refrigerators and freezers are frost-free. In this type of unit, a heater is automatically turned on by a timer in order to melt the frost inside the unit. Frost is melted by the heater at several different spots in the unit, starting with the coldest and most frosted areas. When the frost is completely melted, the thermostat automatically switches to a cooling cycle in order to maintain the standard freezing temperature. Because this process is automatic, frost does not build up inside the box.

The unit’s compressor system, which forces the coolant through the coil system, is driven by a capacitor-type motor. Other basic parts of the cooling/defrosting system include switches, thermostats, heaters, condensers, and

fans. A do-it-yourselfer can test and replace many of these refrigerator components. However, there are exceptions, as explained later, that are best left to a professional repair person.

Caution: Before doing any work on a refrigerator or freezer, make sure it’s unplugged. After unplugging the unit, check to see if the motor/compressor has a capacitor; this component is located in a housing on the top of the motor. Capacitors store electricity, even when the power to the unit is turned off. Before you do any work on a capacitor-type refrigerator or freezer, you must discharge the capacitor, or you could receive a severe shock.

 

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your refrigerator!

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