refrigerator help needed

lizbeth-gardenerJuly 22, 2014

Our refrigerator seems to be dying and I'm unprepared (research) to run out and buy a new one. We are planning a kitchen remodel in the near future, so hate being forced to choose quickly. I do know that I will do a white kitchen, so color isn't an issue, but just need to get up to speed on what brands/features to stay away from and what to look for. Our current one is probably low end (second home) picked up by husband when last one suddenly quit. It's a Frigidaire Galaxy and only lasted 8 years, but sounds like that's getting to be the norm. I'm not thinking SZ, but do want a good sized. What is the advantage of french doors, other than space? Seems I would always be opening wrong door. Am leaning to the bottom freezer. Have had a SxS and hated it-we have stand alone freezer. Have had in-the-door ice-maker and water dispenser and loved both. Seems they are the source of many service calls (not my experience), do the inside water dispensers and ice-makers cause fewer problems? Have read as many posts as time permitted. Am headed to stores to do some up-close examining, but would love any feedback, especially from people who have purchased in the last couple of years. Brands? Features? Warranties?

This post was edited by lizbeth-gardener on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 11:25

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hvtech42

I'm with you, having owned one for a couple years now I've decided I'm not a fan of the french door. The main supposed advantage over just single door bottom freezer is the doors don't swing out as far.

Bottom, freezer single door - I would go with one of the Whirlpool brands. They are the only ones who make this style fridge in the USA anymore. You generally won't be able to get external ice and water dispenser with bottom freezer single door, but you should be able to get one with interior ice maker and water dispenser.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 12:30

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:29PM
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lizbeth-gardener

hvtech42: thanks for responding. When you say Whirlpool brands, is that anything made by Whirlpool? If so, what are the brands?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:38PM
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jwvideo

Main WP brands (besides the obvious Whirlpool and Whirlpool Gold) are Amana, Maytag, Kitchenaid and JennAir.

The advantages of French Door fridges are:

(a) if you need a lot of capacity, you can't get single door bottom freezer fridges with rated capacities over about 23 cu. ft. At that size and below, the single-door and FD models are just different doors hung on the same box. If you need/want more capacity, FD and SxS are about the only choice.

(b) As hvtech says, the FD door swings block less of the kitchen when open (a useful convenience in my narrow, old house kitchen.)

(c) For through the door dispensers (TTDD), you pretty much can't get them on single-door bottom freezer fridges nor on the equivalent sized FD models. My recollection from fridge shopping a couple of years ago was that through-the-door dispensers were only available on (i) the FD models with 26 cu ft capacity or greater; (ii) some of the counter-depth FD models; and (iii) only Fischer & Paykel/DCS had single door counterdepth bottom freezer models with TTDDs.. A search at Sears and AJ Madison sites should tell you quickly if there are others available now.

(d) Some of the FD models have nicer or bigger drawers and bins than what come with some of the single-door versions. Example: full-width "deli" drawers. I found that to be very useful for me on my Kitchenaid FD model because I can use it as an overflow crisper and for cheeses and meats at othertimes. (Be aware that these aren't for everybody; some folks have vitriolic hate for this feature because of the need to open both doors in order to to pull the drawer out. Very much a YMMV thing.)

IIRC from when I was shopping a couple of years ago, there was one Kitchenaid single-door bottom freezer model with this feature but it was not available in any of the other Whirlpool-made bottom freezers. There also was/is a Kenmore bottom freezer with this feature, although I can't tell you at this remove if that particular fridge was made for Sears by LG or Whirlpool.

On through the door dispensers (TTDD) being trouble-prone, that needs to be viewed in perspective. If 15% of them have problems, then 85% do not. In other words, 5 out of 6 TTDDs are not troublesome but 1 in 6 is troublesome. For some folks, those are acceptable odds, for others, not so much.

If you've got time for some reading, there is a long running thread here that focused on FD and single-door-bottom- freezer models. It started a couple of years ago and has had some continuing updates on the fridges that were purchased. I've linked to it below if you have not seen it. If you are in a hurry, this may have more info than you want.

Here is a link that might be useful: Need a new refrigerator, any recommendations on which one?

This post was edited by JWVideo on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 14:03

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:59PM
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annkh_nd

Last year I went from a top freezer model to a french door. I really wanted a single door, bottom freezer, but as JWVideo mentioned, I couldn't find one with the capacity I wanted.

My fridge is at the end of a counter run, no island, so the landing space is next to the fridge. With the FD, I have to go around the open door to put away groceries; a single door would have been more convenient. I ended up sacrificing that convenience for capacity.

Now, a year later, I still love the FD. Perhaps it's just because it's so nice having everything at eye level - we never seem to lose leftovers in the back the way we used to, with the top freezer. I love the freezer drawer - we don't lose things there either.

That's not to say I wouldn't have liked a single door even better, but this is such an improvement over what we had. I didn't want ice or water in the door, so that wasn't an issue for me.

As for "always opening the wrong door" - do you have a chest of drawers for clothes? Do you find yourself always opening the wrong drawer to find your socks, or do you remember where stuff is? I organized our fridge so things are put away in a logical place, and it's pretty easy to put things back from whence they came (like ketchup and mustard in one door, jam and jelly in the other).

Good luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:53AM
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lizbeth-gardener

JWVideo & annkh: Thanks for your feedback. I'm learning much more than I ever wanted to know about refrigerators! We did go shopping to see what was out there yesterday and looked at one independent appliance dealer and Sears. So much to look at and try to absorb in a short time. Sears salesperson wasn't well informed and couldn't find one Kenmore on the floor made by WP-some made by LG, one made in China, Japan, etc. He finally went and asked and came back to say they had none on floor made by WP.

I just found one refrigerator that I was impressed with the quality of the materials, drawers, etc. It was a WPGold FDBF with a separate deli drawer below FD's (no need to open FD's). It also had two of the upper glass shelves hinged in middle, so they could be raised if you had an extra tall item. The layout was impressive to me and seemed well thought out. I believe it was a 28 cu.ft. It did have the TTDD which I'm not sure how I feel about that due to the cost of repairing the control panels, should that be needed. My last Refrigerator that had TTDD was before everything was computerized.

Having put in all the time and research, I may have a reprieve. After the shopping trip, my husband was agreeable to seeing what was wrong with current refrigerator with the thought of buying us more time to decide what we want and then using this as a second fridge in basement if it is not too $$ to repair. The serviceman came and thinks it's just the temperature control unit , so should be replaced in a day or two.
I am glad this has played out like it has, as I knew this was coming and just didn't want to spend time doing the homework/research for all new kitchen appliances. I also dread the thought of the house being taken over by a remodeling crew. This has, at least, caused me to move off square one. I appreciate very much the time people on these forums give in sharing their experience and knowledge to help others learn. Thank You!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:45PM
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