Love my new, QUIET Sub Zero

maire_cateAugust 22, 2012

After reading so many posts on this forum about annoyingly noisy refrigerators I was really worried when the time came to replace our 25 year old Sub Zero 501R. It was getting a frost buildup inside on the rear panel where the coils are located. We managed to use it for a few months by using a hair dryer weekly to melt the ice but that soon became tiresome. The estimate to repair the leak in the sealed system was around $1100 since it was a 2 man job and the freon had to be recovered. Initially we thought we'd repair it since it had a wood panel that matched the cabinets and a new unit would be taller requiring the removal of the upper cabinet. However we've been in our home for 30 years and now that DH is retired we might be downsizing so replacing the unit made more sense from a resale point.

The new refrigerator is a BI 36R. This model has one large door with 5 shelves and 3 drawers that glide in and out smoothly. It's well lit inside and QUIET. We were concerned about the possible noise level but I can honestly say that we don't even hear when it cycles on and off. Our kitchen is large with a porcelain floor and granite counters and minimal sound absorbing materials.

The BI 36 R is 84h x 36w x 24d while the old 501R was only 74" tall. The 501 freezer is on the opposite wall rather than a side by side install so we didn't have to deal with mismatched units. And it was relatively easy to remove the overhead cabinet and trim the gap between the unit and soffit. Fortunately our cabinet company can mill a new door panel and stain it to match the rest of the cabinets.

I think the 501s were the only counter depth all refrigerator/all freezer units available when we remodeled in 1986. Now the consumer has many more choices and it can become overwhelming. So far we're thrilled with our choice. Now if only it will last another 25 years!

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Vey nice review! Thanks! I wish I could fit an all-fridge in my kitchen, but I can live vicariously through you :))

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Hi maire_cate
Glad to hear you like your new Sub Zero as they are nice machines.
However whoever the service tech was that told you that the refrigerator has a freon leak owes you an appology and your money back!!!
If the unit had a freon leak your refrigerator would not have been frosting up on the rear evaporator cover. It would have had zero frost on the back wall and no need for using a hair dryer to melt the ice. Also if there was a freon leak there would have been no refrigerant to recover since it all leaked out.
At most you had a bad defrost timer, defrost heater, or defrost limit switch. This would have been a 1 man job and cost under $200. to repair. Your description of the issue was exellent and could have been used to semi diagnose the refrigerator over the phone so the tech could bring the right parts to fix it in one trip.
Sorry to give you this bad news but maybe you can get a refund from the service company for botching the diagnosis.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Jakvis - thanks for the info. and you could easily be correct but I sure hope not. It's also possible that I didn't describe the problem in complete detail. I wasn't home while the tech was here so I'm relying on what DH repeated to me. The service tech did call Sub Zero while he was here and described the situation - whatever the problem was required recovering the freon. The tech told DH that the repair itself would only be a couple of hundred dollars but the additional cost was due to the freon recovery and second tech. He even suggested that we consider buying a new unit. We've used the same repair company for 16 years and we've always thought they've been honest and fairly reasonable in their charges. DH originally gave them a $300 check to cover the service call and for the parts that he would have to order. When we canceled the repair they promptly refunded all but $75 to cover the service call. I would hate to think that the tech was incompetent.

I hope I'm not merely rationalizing since this was not an inexpensive purchase - I don't regret replacing the unit because it was definitely showing it's age and the abuse it received from my 4 sons. At the very least if we do list our home potential buyers won't be turned off at finding out the frig is nearly 26 years old and At that point we'll also have to decide if we want or need to replace the freezer - but we have other options if that happens. There isn't a soffit over the freezer and it's at the end of a cabinet run next to a doorway so we could easily opt for a smaller, less expensive unit.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:27PM
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Sorry for the alarm but being in the Appl Serv business myself I'm always sensitive to poor service or sloppy diaganosis as it seems to drag down those of us who take pride of themselves and profession. There may be more to your former refrigerators issue than what was described and my diagnosis may be wrong as it is only as good as an internet diagnosis can be (can't see, can't hear, can't touch)

I know that you will love your new SZ and I hope you get many happy years from it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:24AM
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