900K house--Subzero or JennAir?

lauribelApril 18, 2014

We are renovating our kitchen in a neighborhood of houses in the 800K-1.1M range. I'm not a brand snob--have had GE and Kenmore all my life--but now that we're doing a 100K reno I want to make sure we do the kitchen justice. Also looking at resale in 10-15 years. JennAir fridge has a great look, but I keep wondering if we'll regret not putting in a SubZero. I do love the idea of less food spoilage. Is it worth the price? Many people in my neighborhood say yes. Thoughts? Also, can't decide between 42" or 48". We will have space for the latter but hubby thinks it's ridiculously large. We have two teens so I don't think it is necessarily too large!

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Only you can answer the cost/benefit question as it relates to your needs today. I have a 48 and am glad we didn't go smaller, but that's me.

But if you're talking resale in 15 years the bottom line is it'll be an old and expensive built in fridge either way. While possible that a buyer may be drawn to the SubZ, I recall wanting to look elsewhere back when we were house shopping when I saw a big old expensive maintenance situation in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Good point, jeffjsgirl.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:23PM
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A couple of teens who won't be there for long. I personally wouldn't get a 48" fridge because it'll be mostly empty in a couple of years.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:53PM
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Well there are only 2 of us, and always has been, but we love and use our 48" built in and paneled Jenn-air Fridge.

No it is not empty, we had a large regular depth GE before, and It was always "Crammed Full", and like a loltta folks, things in the back would get "hidden" and usually had to be thrown out. That is not the problem with a built in, and we love the width of both the fridge and freezer sections.

Look, & You will see complaints about the widths of the narrower (less than 48" SxS), and the room, (especially the freezer section), so we love the room in both sides of ours as we are just as likely to get into the freezer as the fridge, and we did NOT want a freezer on the bottom, that is "Usually poorly organized", (see posts about that), and a hands and knees job to access that which is in the freezer~~~we're too old to do that anymore!!!

At the time we bought our JA, it was the top rated fridge for reliability, whilst SZ was last, (evaporator problems). SZ has got better since that time, (2006), but it still will not hold temp as accurately as the JA, as the JA has the variable speed compressor, (specked to +/- 0.5F)~~~try to even find a spec on the SZ!

Any way, +/- 0.5 probably isn't really needed to keep food a long time, and most likely either fridge will keep your food longer than You should keep it (See the USDA Report).

We've had the JA for over 7 years now, and the only problem was an ice maker that died after 5 years. That was replaced by me, (very easy to do~~~Plug in) and the new ice maker cost me $135.

Now compare that to replacing the SZ icemaker ~~ I don't know if it is a DIY project, & what is the cost for an SZ icemaker?.(It is made by Whirlpool) as are the compressors.

We also like the crank up/down shelves in both the fridge and freezer, and in 7 years I've never heard the fridge running, (the Variable speed compressor is very quiet and rarely runs "full on"), whereas the "Old Style Compressors" cycle full on/full off and they have to wait for the temp to get above the "Set Temperature to come on" and stay on until the temp inside the fridge is "Below set temp" to turn off~~~so JA found a better way with the Variable Speed Compressor~~~~~that most "New Fridges" use, cept for SZ (at least according to a "former" Knowlegible poster here in GW.

We have seen posts that they have "Cheapened the JA Fridges" since I bought mine, but I'm not sure "said posters" were looking at the "Top End Models"~~~~as mine is.

Good luck on your "upcoming decisions"!!!


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:23PM
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The difference in resale value between a 10-15 year old JA and SZ don't amount to a hill of beans.

I don't think 48" is too large for two people. 48" JA and SZ are true counter depth so are not as voluminous as the largest freestanding 36" fridges.

But it depends on how you shop. I have 24" fridge tower, a 24" freezer tower, and a 24" chest freezer in the garage. I shop at Costco. Any extra space in the fridge gets eaten up by sodas but usually there is only a six pack or so. The ice maker takes up a lot of room in the freezer. My freezer is always full with fruit from my backyard and stuff from Costco's frozen food section. Sometimes I want to quickly throw some frozen fish into the oven and make a quick salad. Can't cook from scratch every day.

The best thing about SZ and having two compressors is that only one section fails at a time. Having completely separate systems means odors don't transfer from once section to another. A container of minced garlic left slightly open in the fridge don't make your ice cubes taste garlicky.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Even though, based on past performance which might not be a good indicator of the future, the SubZero would still have a lot of life in it when you're ready to sell, it doesn't really matter. Your kitchen will be an old kitchen, and an old SZ is more of "at least we don't need a new fridge" rather than a particular draw.

Choose what works best for you. Deageaux is right about the basic features of an SZ. If that's appealing to you, go for it. If you're happy with the J-A, don't let yourself be pressured into overdoing it. And while the new technology does cut down spoilage, my old Kenmore from grad school could hold produce longer than it should too. It could also freeze it, in the wrong corner, which was annoying and not something an SZ should do, but lots of things kept a long time. :)

One thing they don't say in the advertising is that a lot of produce keep better in the thin plastic produce bags from the store than they do unwrapped, that greens like to be aired out a bit, and generally last better on a shelf than in a drawer, and that produce keeps best in a clean, dry fridge, with no mold growing...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:13PM
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We (two adults) have been happy for 13 years with a 42" GE Monogram side x side w/water and ice door. No problems. No repairs. Looks sleek with its' fitted panels.

Will your house sell to a big family? I don't think a counter-depth 48" fridge is overkill for a family -- maybe for a small one though.

If you are putting $100K into a kitchen, I guess you aren't planning to sell soon. Is the kitchen renovation overkill for the rest of the house? Ask a Realtor what you'll recoup. (It could, of course, help the house sell *faster* in a buyer's market.)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Dual evaporator fridges will get you the same isolation between compartments as dual compressors for much less money.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:45AM
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I don't have either one, but I have read reviews that stated the SZ's are problematic. Don't recall where now but it was within the last 3 years. I have a Whirlpool made Sears that has been a workhouse for 7 or 8 years. All the features we need except space. Our kitchen would not fit an oversized refrigerator, so the freezer in the garage gets the main load. Not near as handy as a decent sized one in the kitchen. Thus my vote goes to Jenn Air.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:10PM
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I just noticed that your post was back in mid April. I am sure fellow members would appreciate a follow up to your post showing what you decided on and how it all worked out.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:13PM
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I guess it depends on where that $900k house is. Around here, it would get you a 50 year old house, 1350 sq feet, with Kenmore. Get what you like and value, not for resale in 10-15 years -- many appliances these days will be dead by then.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 9:09PM
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I agree with attofarad -- get what you like, since most people will consider 10-15 year old appliances to be near their end of lifespan. I would base this decision first on your personal likes and values, and next on what is "typical" for your neighborhood. If people expect to see built-in fridges and your home doesn't have one, then that could be a barrier to resale. In my neck of the woods, houses in that price range tend to have fairly basic kitchens. Nothing like the lovely kitchens you see on Gardenweb!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:41PM
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Does it matter how much your house cost when considering whether to buy high end appliances like a subzero fridge? I like the technology and engineering that went into a subzero and I would like to purchase one for my kitchen;however, my home cost $300,000. My husband and I plan on staying where we are and don't care whether we are overspending for our neighborhood. We have a Wolf dual fuel with a wolf ventilation hood. The home came with an over the range microwave and we changed it to a ventilation hood. What is everyone's opinion?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 8:18PM
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The value of your home should not withhold you from buying what YOU want. Also using home values in the question is stupid anyway, since the same $300K that gets you something quite nice somewhere will get you a shack elsewhere.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 8:28PM
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hvtech....You hit it right on the nose. I moved from New Jersey to Georgia due to a job tranfsfer. $300,000 in New Jersey, will get you either a small condo/townhouse or a tiny single family home with no extra amenities. In Georgia, $300,000 goes a long way.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 8:48PM
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Charon, I agree with hvtech, it's all relative.
People pay $1.5 million on houses around here just to tear it down and build their dream home.
Get the refer you want, and don't worry about the neighbors or resale....

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 9:35PM
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I don't think it matters that your home is valued at $300,000 and you put in a Subzero (no one is going to not buy a house because it has too good of a fridge). I do think it would matter if your home were valued at $2,000,000 and you put in a Kenmore (only talking resale; obviously, if you are going to live with this fridge for a long time, just get what you want!)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 12:59PM
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Lets get real here it does matter too buyers what they get. Subzero not only has the best built (built in) but also brand recognition for resale. The price difference between subzero 42 and 48 is very low approx 800 bucks and the price from a jennair and subzero is about 2k more for the subzero and the subzero has much more to offer.

Yes, buy the fridge you want in the end but remember your buying an appliance that you want less service hassles over time and best resale. My suggestion if its in you re budget is subzero.

Goodluck and happy shopping.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 2:06PM
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We (two people) have a SZ 632 48-inch side-by-side built-in and it stays full, along with an overflow refrigerator in the basement. I would suggest buying as wide as possible if a built-in, which has shallow depth. Conventional depth refrigerator/freezers, while being more difficult to view what is at the back, have more room and a narrower choice may be adequate.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 11:20AM
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I agree with the folks saying get what you like.
No appliance these days lasts 10-15 years, so you would have a chance to update/upgrade to what the current trend is then.

As an aside, anyone buying a million dollar house typically has the means to update/reno to what their personal preference is anyway and no two people would ever agree.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 12:30PM
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Get what you want. Ten to 15 yrs from now, anything can happen. If it will bring you joy, get it.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 12:39PM
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Thanks for all of the responses. I am going to move forward with what I want. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 1:04PM
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It doesn't matter what you pick now for 15 years down the line. Years ago Viking was the top dog now look where they are...... They are the Frigidarie of the pro brands. Except viking is almost defunct. Wolf and sub have the mass market high end but neither is perfect. If you will live there for 10 -15 year pick what YOU like. Replace them all right before you move to get whats trendy then.........

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 5:47PM
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