jwvideo et al: clearance above 71 5/16" refrigerator & sxs vs cd

SparklingWaterApril 5, 2013

Any idea if a 71 15/16" fridge will fit in a true 72" space if the floor perfectly level? On first blush, sounds like it will, but in reality, will it? It's on rollers. Compressor ventilation is through bottom, lots of rear room behind box and adequate side room for 36" wide fridge).

Secondly, does a SxS CD need less clearance (due to offset doors) to open than a FD?

Thank you very much.

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Dunno. There are a lot of "it depends." And I'm not talking about diapers and senility, thank you. :>)

First thought: is the whole cabinet 71 and 15/16ths or will your fridge be one of the current crop with the max height is for the doors but the rest of the fridge is not so tall? If so, you might be able to work that space with the fridge sticking out an inch or two into into the room. Some new fridges have doors that are a bit taller that the fridge-box. Almost like a false-front on an old-west building. For instance, on my new KA, the tops of the doors are almost exactly 70." The tops of the hinges are about 69 and 1/2" and the actual top of the rest of fridge is 68 and 3/8." If were trying to set it into cabinetry, I could fit it into a 70" tall space if the doors were about an inch proud of the cabinets. If your proposed SxS is similarly designed (and many seemed to be when I was looking last fall), you might well have enough clearance for venting, as discussed below.

BUT, if the main box of the fridge is 70 and 15/16" tall, don't try this unless you can cut some venting slots in the surrounding cabinetry. That front vent on the CD unit is not the same as the louvered system on a built-in unit. At least on every fridge I've ever seen (other than a Sunfrost, that is), the front vents on freestanding fridges are only part of the venting system. It allows air flow for evaporation tray (for any moisture that drains down in there) while also providing make-up air for venting the machinery in the back. The main venting on freestanding fridges is almost always at the back of the fridge.

Because of that, almost every manual will tell you that you need clearance at the back and the top. For my FD Kitchenaid, the manual specs a minimum back and top clearance of 1/2" FWIW. Read the manual for your proposed model to find out what the minimum clearances are. .

If you can't put vent slots in the cabinetry, I've heard of people using small, quiet computer fans to route hot fridge air out of cabinets but I have no first hand knowledge of this.

If you can figure out how to vent the unit, the top clearance is still very tight. Like the thickness of credit card tight. Even if your house is new and museum-quality furniture-grade perfect, it may not be so in a few years. It is not just the floor that needs to be (and stay) pefectly level. Your cabinets cannot buldge, swell, shift or move in any way. Never seen a house where that doesn't happen to some degree. Personally, I'd be thinking about some cabinet modifications.

Your question about doors is probably covered in the manual, too. Different fridges spec different side clearance requirements.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 13:43

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Thanks, JWVideo. You made excellent, appreciated points. 72" is the full refrigerator, i.e. covering the hinges in this CD.

I also feel it's cutting ridiculously close with a big down size. No worries need be introduced given other viable options. I'm trying to keep the fun in our kitchen remodel as much as possible.

Thank you so much for your timely response.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I would read the installation guide. As stated, many require an inch all around minimum. Some require more.

As to the doors, once again it depends on the model. Sometimes you can eyeball this in the store by seeing the unit side by side with other units. Then see if it bangs into anything when you open the doors, and how far you need to open them to pull out drawers.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Weed makes good points. I would add that you should read both the installation manual and the Use manual. Sometimes one will have info not in the other, which was the case with my fridge.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:28PM
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