*%#@* Refrigerator, Again - Perspective Please

rococogurlAugust 27, 2014

Our 10 y.o. Viking fridge, the one with the 3rd door recall that was just repaired again and the missing freon that required a $600 repair last year, now is so noisy a guest asked what it was the other day. I believe this is one of the fridges produced after they bought the Amana plant. Single compressor.

Over the years it has become noisier. The sound seems to be coming from a vent grill at the top center back inside the fridge. Sounds like a fan. First it was a whirring sound. Then a low buzz. Then a swarm of bees. Now the swarm sound is so loud at times it's intrusive. But it does go silent for periods.

Two days ago there was a new noise: a grinding sound, sort of like you get when you're trying to start the car when the battery is dead. But that's gone away and hasn't returned -- yet.

DH wants to replace. I'd prefer to wait till it goes and hope that isn't in the middle of a winter. We do have the PO's Kenmore fridge in the garage.

This is a built-in, fully intergrated fridge. Have been through all the options of what will fit: SZ or Bosch French door built in. Bosch is not quite as much (though quite more than I would have expected) but awful reviews including noisy fan. The SZ f/d that would fit gets excellent reviews, my local dealer highly recommends, but it's crazy $$$$.

The retrofit SZ will no longer be flush, as my Vik is -- it will be proud of the cabinet by the thickness of the door + handle and that includes the grill. Doesn't thrill me but I've seen multiple installs in new kitchens done that way and have pix. OTOH, the f/d will be more functional in the current space than the single big door.

I would rather not replace. Any opinions about this noise? Worth repairing? Easy or difficult? Looks to me like the fridge would need to be pulled out or the back interior taken apart somehow to get to that grill area.

As always, this is a domino game. I have a radiant Viking cooktop (replaced twice) with the decals wearing off again. I could go with a Wolf induction and kill 2 birds while the installer needs to be here anyway as induction will require an adjustment on my utensil drawer.

Both of us have accidentally left the cooktop on and I would feel better with one that turned itself off. Fairly sure Wolf will fit in the current cut out in a stainless counter.

This is not fun after only 10 years out. But if there's a major redesign it could be really difficult to replace later.

Another issue are our infamous power outages.The Viking has been pretty tough. I don't need to be paying for controller boards every year if the SZ is more delicate. No idea about the induction but we turn things off when a storm is due.

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This is not going to be a nice reply, but you did ask for someone's perspective. You may want to skip this.

People often buy things only because they're expensive. Everything you mention wanting to have is an extremely overpriced designer brand. There's not one hint of wanting practicality. You can see for yourself in your post that price has nothing whatsoever to do with function, and the repair costs are unconscionably huge.

One plain ordinary appliance you have has been shoved out to the garage, probably because it doesn't have a European brand name on it, and I bet it doesn't have eight hundred dollar repair bills!

There are many refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, and so on that are expensive but without a hint of functional quality. Viking is not any better than cheaper production refrigerators. It's just better looking with extensive cosmetic design work. Viking DOES NOT make better compressors. They DO NOT make better fans. They use frivolously exotic materials just for the sake of using exotic materials. It's all show and no go.

Of course the appliance salesmen recommend these things; they're kin with Ferrari salesmen. This is like someone like buying a new car that HAS to be extremely expensive or else one won't even look at it. Have you noticed that there are few old Ferraris, a totally useless frivolous make, anywhere?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:16PM
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FWIW, I have a single-door builtin Thermador (same as Bosch) and it isn't noisy at all. Once in awhile, we hear ice being made. It was quite a bit less expensive (close to 1/3 less) than the SZ.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:50PM
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cold_weather, evidently you do not read very well. So I will ignore your ridiculous response. I have no idea why you would waste time with such a diatribe. People on this forum regularly buy expensive appliances, including $35,000 French ranges. You haven't been around here very long so if you don't like that there are other places to post.

sj - thanks. I'm still in sticker shock on this. But glad to know the Thermador isn't noisy. I was surprised by the Bosch reviews. And I believe they are made in the same factory, as you say.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:51PM
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cold_weather_is_evil: while some of your comments about high-end appliances are valid, this isn't a case of just the label. This is a built-in fridge - replacing it with a stand-alone fridge would require cabinet work redo or a very ugly appearance.

rococogurl: Whether or not to live with your existing fridge for a while is a matter of your noise tolerance. I have a 33 year old backup fridge in my garage whose compressor has been making a racket for years but it still works fine. I'm not sure I could live with the noise in my kitchen - but in the garage I'm going to keep it until it dies.

A previous car of mine had an A/C compressor that made a loud whining noise all the time. Several times that I stopped at a light, people in the next car would roll down their window and tell me my fan belt had broken. The thing made a racket for years but continued to work fine and was still working when I got rid of the car for other reasons.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:54PM
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"There are many refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, and so on that are expensive but without a hint of functional quality. Viking is not any better than cheaper production refrigerators. It's just better looking with extensive cosmetic design work. Viking DOES NOT make better compressors. They DO NOT make better fans. They use frivolously exotic materials just for the sake of using exotic materials. It's all show and no go."

I'm sure rococogurl has learned that after owning Viking for 10 years and does not need to hear it from someone else. She is interested in REPLACING her current refrigerator. These units are huge and the standard, reliable, affordable refrigerators that you refer to will not fit in that cutout! So therefore, if that's what your suggesting she buy, your reply is useless.

Of course, if you are just ranting about overpriced appliances that aren't that much better than cheaper ones, I feel your pain, but this was not the place for that.

We also have to remember that not ALL high end appliances are rip offs. Many of them are, but there are a few standouts that provide better performance and durability than their lower priced competition. Sadly this fridge did not fit into that category.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:59PM
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My experience includes a fan noise. It was a small fan located in the rear of the refrigerator. Bearings got noisy and I called Sears and the tech easily replaced a cheap part. He said it was good I called because eventually the fan quits and then you lose your compressor. I recommend you call an honest, competent repair shop and see what they say. What have you got to lose? Maybe $75 for a service call if the part can't be fixed cheap. Compare that with any new refrigerator and you are money ahead.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 8:27PM
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One thing you might try (if you haven't already, and I apologize if discussed above--I skimmed the previous posts); try not only vacuuming the external compressor parts, but if possible, disassemble any "housing" that you can, and vacuum in there as well. DH (or sometimes I) vacuum the compressor on top of our KA built-in refrigerator, twice a year generally. We had noticed extremely loud buzzing coming from the fridge at one point, despite this twice-yearly "maintenance" and despite checking to see if it was the ice maker in the freezer (by turning off the ice maker). DH removed the "housing" or "cage" covering some of the components "up top" and vacuumed further inside than he had been able to prior to that. Voila, noise gone. Apparently dust build-up that wasn't removed through routine maintenance (vacuuming) continued to build up, and cause the noise.

HTH my friend!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I would not spend any money on a ten year old Viking fridge .


You'd be better off buying 600 bucks worth of power ball tickets.

Now to the FACTUAL portion of the program for for the cold weather crowd.

Sub zero and Viking are not European brands. Never have been.

Bosch is not an expensive designer brand. They have a new series trying to position themselves there , but they are still an upper middle of the road label like Kitchen Aid, jenn air, and ge profile.

Rocco's old clunker fridge won't have 800 dollar repairs because its worth and replacement value don't match that figure.

You don't see many old Ferraris because they just weren't produced in large numbers. Some model's production numbers can be counted on all of your fingers. There's also the fact that few can afford to buy and own them, and of that crowd - some choose others makes instead.

How'd you guys like you have $12,000+ bill for routine service on your old car ? You know , oil change, break pads , ect.. . Highway robbery right? Call the cops , and the fairness police.

Here is a link that might be useful: What if that jalopy was this one ?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Oh yeah, I also forgot to say, comparing fridges to a Ferrari is ridiculous. No, I don't think Ferrari ever won any awards for reliability. But, do you really think there are that many Ferrari owners use them for as daily drivers? Plus, those who can afford the cars can afford to keep repairing them, and as I said before, those who own a Ferrari most likely own at least a few other cars, so breakdowns are no big concern and they be fixed at their leisure.

Refrigerators, on the other hand, run 24/7 and most people only have one. Also, unlike Ferraris, just because someone owns an upscale fridge brand does not mean they care to or can afford to be frequently pouring thousands into keeping it running.

In short, Ferrari owners do not care that "there are really few old Ferraris." Well duh, there are very few Ferraris in general! Reliability is not a big concern when buying any car like that.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:32AM
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My refrigerator made a whirring, annoying sound after one of our top-to-bottom back-to-front cleaning sessions. Turned out one of the fans had not been reseated quite correctly. That was an easy fix (with breaker temporarily turned off, of course).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Have emailed the repair person Viking sent to fix the door to see what the fix would be.

Will vacuum top behind the grill again, but it didn't change the noise when it was done before.

Many good points.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Oy. Again. Sometimes it's just a lemon. :(

Re the SZ, can you alter the wall behind it so that it sits flush, or will that interfere with the hinges? I'm guessing from your list that Miele and column fridges don't fit. Oh, wait, this is an old house, right? So turning the studs isn't appropriate? Sigh.

I think it's definitely worth the appliance guy seeing if it isn't just a dying fan. Speaking of car metaphors (btw, where I live people do use Ferraris as daily drivers, which I think is a an atrocity on the poor gear boxes), when I was young, after my car met an unfortunate and premature end, I was given my cousin's old car. She had supposedly taken good care of it, but it kept stranding me on the freeway. After any number of systems failures, including electric, brakes and fuel (had to have the gas tank flushed and the carburetor ... rebuilt? (it was a long time ago)), the timing gear almost breaking off (how I wished I'd tried for the next call box because if it had destroyed the engine I would rejoiced in its death), anyway, after many tows (thank you, AAA) and many repairs, I finally had some money, and my father gave me some, and I got my first brand new car. Someone we knew was into cars so I gave the hoopde to her. She loved that car. By the time we'd put half of its blue book value into repairs, it was all better. :) She thought it was a very good car and didn't understand why I was so eager to get rid of it!

Your fridge might be the same. Fix this last little fan (if that's the problem) and it'll turn into a good fridge. :)

I worry about your "hope it doesn't happen in Winter", though. That says, do it now and get it over with before you run into trouble. If there isn't a good as new repair for the price of the tech showing up, it's time to buy a new fridge. And a dedicated UPS to the fridge's circuit so you don't have to worry about it getting fried, or an extended warranty that covers power outages.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 7:59PM
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"btw, where I live people do use Ferraris as daily drivers, which I think is a an atrocity on the poor gear boxes"

Wow. The world never ceases to amaze me.

I won't offer advice, because I don't know that much about the specifics of these fridges other than they have serious issues. I can imagine that like any new product it had some initial problems, which, knowing the quality of Amana's other fridges at the time, probably would have been fixed eventually had they retained control of the line. But I'm sure after they sold it to Viking, the product itself was left to stagnate and in typical Viking fashion, the money was thrown into marketing.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:43PM
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Update: I've now spoken to two techs. Fan is not a difficult fix as I noted above. But the kit and trip fee will come to about $300. I the former Viking tech who worked on the fridge several years back knows what he's doing and can do the repair.

I agree with xedos wholeheartedly about not investing any more in this fridge. But the alternative is a 5 digit purchase and I'm not up for another major investment.

The Ferrari metaphor is apt though this fridge has never been a Ferrari. A Jaguar maybe.

There is no one good, clear choice, just pros and cons. Our kitchen has no unbroken wall and opens into 5 rooms. Basically it's a hallway -- downside of converting a center hall colonial to semi open plan. The fridge is on 46" wide aisle.

The best functional fridge style is French door. The best looking option would be the Wolf glass door bottom freezer fridge.

Neither existed when when we did the reno -- at that time the single door bottom mount was newest. The Viking door is 34", a workable length in the space

Every replacement brand has a down side feature. Then there are my preferences. I won't bore everyone with those details. None of those choices improve the looks of the kitchen except for the glass door fridge. The FD fridge would improve function but at the expense of looks. Miele fits best but the door is 4 inches longer than the Viking so functionally, worse.

I also have repair/replacement fatigue. Our entire septic system was a replaced 2 years ago and our whole house was insulated and air sealed. Last year the washer broke and couldn't be repaired; had to replace. This past May we replaced the 25 y.o furnace. Chimney lining comes up next month.

It's been crazy and I'm tired of fixing. I paid for a "top" brand and it's been a joke. My bad.

In retrospect, I should have replaced the fridge last year instead of having the freon replaced. But we'd just replaced the washer and dryer and I knew the furnace was ahead. Then there was the crazy oven repair after the lightning storm a few weeks ago.

Fan replacement should mitigate the noise and reduce the condensation tech says. If not, I'll worry about it next year.

Crazy me, I had thought to replace the radiant cooktop with induction but who knows what fresh hell that would bring.

I'm. so. done. LOL. Let me add, vexing as this is, my sister has had stage 4 cancer over the past year. In perspective, appliance repairs are trivial. But overwhelming at this frequency. So thanks to all for the thoughtful opinions/suggestions.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Fri, Aug 29, 14 at 11:50

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:42AM
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Are you certain you only have a fan repair? If that will resolve the issue and buy you another year or two to recover from your fatigue and make a well thought out decision later, then it's a good investment. No doubt.

The flip side would be if the fridge does die on you and you have to buy something in a pinch (when you are most likely to make rash decisions, settle and/or pay more because you can't shop or wait for a deal) or it dies ugly. We had a fridge burn overnight when I was a kid and that was ugly. And smelly. Only the fact that the fire was contained in the interior kept us from losing the whole house. I am probably quicker to replace a fridge that starts showing signs of dying because of that. The one I had in my utility room started getting louder, running longer and I don't think it was cooling as well. I was so relieved when we got rid of it and am so happy with the replacement.

Whenever you are ready, have you looked at Thermador? They should fit if Bosch and Miele do. I love mine and they fit flush. Awesome performance (food stays fresher longer, etc -- didn't believe it until I saw it), super quiet, good lighting, easy ergonomics. Looking inside a French door model out of curiosity was what made me change my mind on fridge plans.

I feel for you and hope the fan buys you enough time to make a decision you are ready and happy to make. You may even wish you did it sooner, but making a good decision requires being ready for it too.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:17PM
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this fridge has never been a Ferrari. A Jaguar maybe
ROTFLWTT!! I remember those days! Jaguar looked oh, so pretty, but left parts all over the road. Very apt.

I totally get how tired you are of this, but it would be a really good idea to bring yourself to a decision on models now so if you end up needing to leap in and do it this year, you'll know what you want, or at least have a solid base to review your thinking from.

FWIW, re door size, in my kitchen design, I had to make a choice there and there isn't enough clearance to walk by the fridge with the door fully open. Every now and then, I really wish I could while cooking, but for family traffic, they can either go around or wait. It's really no big deal. My aisle is 42", so it might be a half step more across the aisle if you have a landing space there (I hope you do), but unless you have a real bugaboo about the door swing, I don't think you have to limit yourself to the French door. As long as the door can swing freely and doesn't block your access to the counter, it'll be fine.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:09PM
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sj & lascatx - I did look at Thermador french door. For some reason my dealer doesn't carry Thermador. This is best dealer in our area. They remove old fridge at no charge & have installer they work with. Bought my w/d from them -- those were hand-carried into the house. 0 issues.

Plllog: Jaguar XKE. I know you remember.

Agree, it's a good idea to explore what I'd be going for. I spent a huge time on that this week. There is no one clear answer, only options. Each has a down side. Photos follow.

SZ glass door over freezer . Pro: best looking. Con: no door storage so reduced capacity. May not fit flush. $$$$$.

SZ French Door. Pro: Best function since doors are 19" each when open. Con: Must have "standard" install (see photo below). That means thickness of grill, fridge & freezer doors protrude. This looks weird to me. And I don't like FD fridges but cannot say why. $$$$ Unknown: outage resistance.

Miele: Pro: Fits flush. Known quality & power outage resistance. DD has this fridge and it's a beast. Great lighting. Great waranty & proven service. Con: 39" door in 46" aisle. Not as appealing down the line for resale as FD due to door. $$$$ (haven't priced).

Bosch French Door: Pro: Least expensive (though not by much). Con: Unknown quality & outage resistance. Horrible reviews mention fan noise. Ugly handles.

Paring this down here helps. Suppose finalists should be Miele or SZ French door. Having gone down the built in road there is no going back, as Weissman pointed out.

Here are the visuals.

DA Fridge now

Current clearance with door open

"Standard" SZ FD installation which is shown on their website & acceptable to designers but to me it looks like the fridge is falling out of the cabinets (can't take the picky out of the girl).

Another "Standard" installation of SZ FD.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Aren't Bosch and Miele built-ins the same thing with different logos and slightly different interiors?

(OK, OK, and the supposed "high quality" controls that Miele ships from Germany that are installed in only their models, LOL)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 6:34PM
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So, I'm not sure I understand about the SubZero. According to the specs, the glass over/under and the french door install the same. Do you mean because you like the look of the glass door better than French door, you don't mind as much that it sticks out? Because the space isn't deep enough for flush?

The Miele and SZ do sound like the best choices to suit you, and probably Miele the most, other than your concerns about the door. I just checked. Mine is 12" from the island at its most extended. Seven inches is very tight. But, practically, do you think it's really that big a difference? From French door, yes, but when you've opened both doors and are standing in the middle, can anyone get by anyway?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 9:02PM
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gurl - if you do decide to replace - all the fully integrated models will be flush like your current unit. SZ fully integrated model too. Standard built ins will be all over the map in terms of depth. Your pictures show this, but that's not a fully integrated model.

My neighborhood has more than a few Ferraris that are driven on a daily basis too. Lamborghinis, and Mclarens also. The world is a big place , and you really shouldn't expect your experiences to be applicable everywhere - even if you are smart and well traveled.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 9:16AM
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My cabinet is 24" deep. I cannot do SZ fully integrated.That requires 26" deep -- see link.

The Miele does, however, install flush in a 24" cabinet.

I can do SZ glass door or french door built in with "standard install." That means the grill and both fridge and freezer doors would be proud of the cabinets. Long photo on link shows close up of how this looks -- which SZ promotes.

Yesterday, I was watching a video about how to check the door seal of your refrigerator. I've been noticing a lot of condensation. The fridge door failed that test -- just noticed the gasket is torn.

So now it's a fan replacement and a fridge door gasket replacement (if that's possible). The largest crisper drawer no longer functions smoothly. I will live with that (replacement is $350).

Not trying to get down more on this fridge. But noticed yesterday the white coating on the freezer basket and rust has appeared. Expect I could remove, scrape and spray.

Will have another conversation with repair guy.

This has all been very helpful to me; thanks again. For replacement the SZ French door is looking like the best solution overall. What it comes down to is accepting the standard installation look to gain 26" space in the aisle which, indeed, is space enough for someone to pass when the fridge doors are open. That is not possible now.

But I must call SZ next week to discuss outage resistance as well as SZ dealers in the area to see what they say.

Here is a link that might be useful: Built In vs Fully Integrated

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:39AM
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RG--so sorry to hear you're experiencing yet more Viking issues. I, too, went down the one-way BI fridge road, but with a super-ebay-deal KA. Way more $$ than I'd ever thought I'd spend on a fridge, although I love it. Would have loved a fully integrated model better except for the price tag.

Anyway, FWIW, here's my fridge aisle. When open, my 36" top fridge door makes this aisle nearly impassable. Not ideal, but I'd do it again to gain those inches on the island. Here's what my 10" aisle looks like with door open. Three more inches (so down to the 7" you'd have) wouldn't bother me at this point. I really dislike FD fridges though so that colors my judgement. :)

Yes, the door is dirty from my little people's bitty fingers.

In your shoes, I think I'd replace now with some time to scour for deals, floor models, etc.

Good luck to you! And I'm very sorry about your sister. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 3:32PM
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Breezy, curious what you don't like about FD? Trying to understand my reluctance.

I've only had 2 single door/bottom freezer which I loved and 2 sxs which I detested. One of them is the current garage fridge from PO. Kenmore 20+ y.o. but still quieter than the Viking and no issues with the gasket. I'd say LOL but it's too sickening.

Appreciate the kind words about my sis. She needs all she can get.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 5:33PM
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You started with the f/d will be more functional in the current space than the single big door, and ended with For replacement the SZ French door is looking like the best solution overall. What it comes down to is accepting the standard installation look to gain 26" space in the aisle which, indeed, is space enough for someone to pass when the fridge doors are open.

It sounds like you have your answer there. Function is trumping the other considerations. Since you know about your power issues, you should be able to create an installation that doesn't blow the SZ. If SZ and the dealers don't have info for you, try people who work on computer installations. You're basically protecting a computer in the SZ, and it can be done.

Many good wishes for a quiet life where all are well and nothing breaks...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 5:34PM
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Why don't I like FD? I lived with a 36" GE in our temporary house for a year during our whole house reno. No matter how hard I tried to organize that fridge (and I was by far the primary user), 90% of the time I would have to open BOTH doors to get what I needed. I can't work in confined environments and need to see what's in the fridge. Both doors open. And, therefore, both doors to shut afterwards. Frustrated me constantly. Too much labor when I'm rushing around the kitchen. My single door KA is so nice. With one door opening motion, I can see everything inside.

All of this may not be an issue for you. Some people love them, but I suspect most of those folks have never experienced the joy of single door, bottom freezer though. Best of all worlds IMHO.

In my busy 4-person house, the fridge door is only opened fully for a few seconds at a time. Anyone wishing to pass through the blocked aisle in those few seconds can wait or go around the other way into the kitchen. It's only a minor inconvenience once every few days, really. Even when we entertain, which is often, the potential for a blocked aisle is minor.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 5:54PM
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^Yes, yes, 100 times yes! I have had all types and single door bottom mount is the way to go. I hate side by sides, and I have a french door now which I like much better than side by side but not as much as single door. The issue for many people is that single door bottom mounts just don't come in higher capacities.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I have to agree with Hvtech on that, but since you came into this with the idea that FD would be "more functional" for you than single upper door, you must already dislike having the big door in the way.

If you change your mind, however, you can use organizer bins to make the glass front door as accommodating as the solid door. They'll help keep it looking tidy too.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 7:44PM
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FWIW we've got the SZ integrated 36" with the double drawers on the bottom. Looks to be a less clearance at the end of the island with the door open than your current one. It's only been a few weeks, but so far so good. It's really pretty. :)

We weren't prepared for the lower amount of door storage, but we really like how wide and shallow the fridge shelves are. Everything is a trade off.

I can't imagine it wouldn't be flush for you, if you wanted to go that way.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 8:18PM
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I have the 36" Sub-Zero fridge and I love it so far. As the posted above me stated I love the wide shelves. Like you I have 24" cabinets so I have the standard installation. I think it looks beautiful and I love how much space I have between the door and the island. It's not ever in the way!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 11:22PM
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I hear you plllog and breezy and you make a good point. Thanks for the pic RH -- your kitchen looks great and the fridge is a showpiece with your cabinets for sure.

I'm down to 3 options. Each has pros and cons. I have no idea what i want.

If any of you appliance gurus have comments on the relative merits of Miele vs SZ, please hold forth. There was a previous thread on this several years ago, which I've read.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:17AM
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gurl - your are right. I had forgotten those old Amana built ins were shallower than everyone else's.

Are you certain that your cabinets are only 24" deep and not 24 3/4 " or 25" WITH the doors/drawers ???

That would be the standard depth that most manuf. make them to. Think yours are custom so anything is possible there.

I'd have to double check , but I don't think Miele's fridge is going to be flush at a depth of 24" The applied panel will protrude at least 3/4" from the 24" - that's the unit's depth.

Same as all of the cousins built on that platform.

Re: miele vs. sz - choose the one that has the best interior configuration and adjustable to you. They are both great units backed by fine co.'s.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:46AM
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xedos -- Absolutely sure of measurements. I pulled the Viking specs to double check. Custom cabinets.Depth is 24". Current fridge is SS so it's not panel-to-panel flush. But flush for appearance.

Miele spec for the KF1911 shows box depth of 23-1/2" plus door + handle. It would be comparable to current fridge.

Both SZ show overall 36 x 84 x 23-7/8". Then it gets tricky because standard installation calls for 35-1/2" width and top view profile shows slight overlap. So unclear whether cabinet box would need a 1/4" strip on each side or whether the front covers the difference. Top view on install diagram seems to suggest that front frame covers. That calls for 24" d. Do you happen to know how this works?

For SZ to fit flush it would need 26-3/16" deep cabinet -- that's very clear and N/A. I could not have that.

With standard install, thickness of grill and doors plus handle stick out. I have flush inset cabinets so it's much more prominent than if I had overlay.

Excellent dealer has an installer capable of altering cabinets if necessary. That's extra, of course. Joy.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 15:51

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:32PM
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My Miele columns were designated as flush integrated at 25".

I chose Miele instead of SZ because of size issues. I also really like the interior, and I hated the Thermador enough not to even consider it, though it's the same box and general arrangement.

Having had both, I don't think there's a functional difference, assuming Miele makes the one you're looking at. I think when I was shopping 5-6 years ago, their similar model was made by someone else (and I don't mean the BSH factory that someone recently told us was started by Miele and sold to Siemans). With Miele's name and service behind it, though, and probably some of their own guts, I don't know that it would matter either way.

I'm as happy with the Miele as I would have been with SZ.

Even having it down to the three options is good. You may not have a clear winner until the day you have to order it.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Rococogurl--check the width as well. My SZ 36" FD is built in flush integrated and we needed more than 36" width to enable the doors to open.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 7:51PM
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For my SZ integrated 36" the opening is 36". My end panels are 25".

I've can definitely speak to the tolerances because currently it's not sitting flush because my right end panel is slightly bent in. So it's slightly less than 36" and it's doesn't fit in all the way flush. At 36" w and 25"d, it would.

(The rep from the cabinet co and the KD are coming over tomorrow night to determine who will eat the panel.)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:35PM
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If I were to go with SZ, the only possible installation I can do is a Standard Installation with a built in refrigerator. I have a question about the width because the specs for that installation are contradictory.

As I said to xedos in my post at 12:32. Integrated is not an option and I am not going with panels. I'm going with SS.

Plllog, the specs evidently have changed. No surprise. Miele seems to change everything yearly.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:27AM
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gurl - I know the viking is 24" deep - but I was asking about the possibility of your cabinets ( ref. opening) being deeper. They could be deeper than the fridge without issue.

I think fully integrated models shouldn't be ruled out. Just about all of them offer stainless steel panels from the manufs. and you could have stainless doors made up even if they didn't.

I wouldn't cross them off if they otherwise work.

The miele's carcass depth is 24" out in the real world - I don't care what their drawing shows. Same for the T'dor , Gaggenau and Bosch cousins. At minimum a door is 3/4" deep and as a practical matter it's 1". So you need 25" of depth for a flush face plane.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:25AM
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xedos-- cabinet depth is 24" -- verified and reverified.

2 appliance stores today. Have seen all possibilities.

I've eliminated the FD fridges. Doors are too fussy.

Could go with Miele single door/bottom freezer or the same SZ. Doors will be about 3 inches longer than the current door. No floor models available (they were just replaced).

Either will install the same -- they have frames that make the doors sit proud of the cabinet front. I had a conversation with the Miele install group, xedos, they claim that carcass is 23-1/2" per diagram but the frame pushes things forward and finishes the sides. Ditto for SZ.

Miele is a straight install. No cabinet alteration but electrical outlet must be relocated in back.

SZ requires 1/4" strips each side inside the cabinet to center it. No outlet relocation.

Question mark is the water line but I understand they replace that.

Both have frames that cover the sides for a clean finish.

SZ has a prominent grill on top; Miele does not.

SZ appears to have incandescent lighting, top only.
Miele has LED side lighting.

Both have 2 crisper drawers; different configuration.

Both can hold 1/2 gallon cartons on the door.

SZ has 1 extra door shelf & slightly larger ice cube tray
Both require installation fee which varies according to dealer. Both have free delivery and haul away of old machine.

Both give extra year of warranty with certified install.

Both are crazy expensive. SZ is $700 more. Premium could be attributed to additional shelf and choice of handles and then, down the line, the slightly more accessible service should it be required. Miele evidently does not sell as many refrigerators in this area.

IMO: Gala apples vs Ginger Golds. Either would be good. No idea how I will choose.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Tue, Sep 2, 14 at 21:45

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Tough choices, but at least you've eliminated the FDs. That's progress. Ginger Gold is my new favorite apple, and I live here in apple country. :)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 4:31AM
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I know you said you ruled out integrated SZ, but just for those who run across this thread (or in case you decide to re-consider) they do offer stainless doors and it appears from the dimensions you've posted, they'd fit. They look very much like the Miele. The SZ just has one crisper drawer and two freezer drawers. I was told when I purchased that the integrated SZ was the only one that met new refridgerator requirements and that had LED lighting (of the two SZ models). I didn't see the Miele until we'd already settled on the SZ. I would have given that more consideration if we'd seen it earlier in the process.

(a pic with lots of things to be fixed still)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 8:51AM
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rococogurl, I have nothing to offer but sympathy and admiration for your acceptance that this is indeed a first world problem. I am in your boat, with a beautiful refrigerator fit it into a very specific space -- now in need of its sixth repair after 14 months of ownership. (So all I can advise is that you never, under any circumstance, buy an Electrolux EI23BC35K.). I would probably spend the money and do the repair, all the while keeping a constant check of inventory on your chosen replacement fridge. When my mother's refrigerator died in the dead of winter, she calmly put everything in ice chests and set them on the back porch. "Better the winter, I guess, than the summer," she said. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:18AM
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Also, on the subject of purchasing luxury items, let me add this: when I turned 40 (very unhappily) my wonderful dh went out and bought me a Jaguar XJ. It was an utterly frivolous purchase, and neither of us had ever done such a thing, or driven anything more luxurious than a Volvo. But it was just something I had always wanted, foolishly I admit, and so we did this one crazy thing. We knew they were money pits. And sure enough, the first day I backed it out of the garage, the rear view mirror fell off and hit me in the head. I burst into tears. I just knew it was a harbinger of bad things to come. Things I deserved. But you know what? I drove that car for 150k miles over 10 years, and other than one dealer recall, that was the last repair it ever needed. So you just never know. Most of the time, luxury purchases do pan out and are worth it. So don't beat yourself up over the refrigerator. You never know, you might fix that fan and that might be the end of it. It could be a little bit like my rearview mirror. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:29AM
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In the end, outage resistance was the tipping point.

Miele tech support said due to their firmware, power outages were not a problem unless the unit was without power for more than 4 days. Then the freezer needs to be put into some type of superdrive.

SZ said that even as few as 3 outages a year (common here) would be a "problem" and would weaken the controller board and eventually cause it to fail. And if they happened frequently enough it might affect the warranty as that would not be "normal," though it's normal where I live.

She was very candid about the unit not being very outage resistant, which I appreciate. No way I would go with that one.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 16:03

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 10:43AM
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That's pathetic for a product as expensive as SZ.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Before I read your last post in which you'd made up your mind, I was going to vote for the Miele. The reason? When you said, "Subzero has a prominent grill on top; Miele does not." Nuff said. I never liked that big SZ grill.

I was fascinated by your logical, informed, methodical consensus-taking process. Keep us posted on delivery and installation, and provide pics of course.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 7:30PM
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This has been an interesting and hugely helpful discussion. Thanks to all! Am I right that neither the SZ nor the Miele has gallon storage in the door? I forgot to look specifically when I was at the appliance store today (though it was on my list. Sigh). Without split shelves in the box, it seems like raising the whole bottom shelf to fit a gallon of milk would make the remaining shelves very shallow. I know that the Liebherr will fit gallons in the door, and they're very appealing to the eye, but the repair information makes me nervous.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 2:18AM
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AvatarWalt, I have a Miele column, which is fairly similar to the bottom freezer unit Rococogurl is looking at. Two of the things I was looking for in it were no gallon door shelves and no split shelves in the box. If those are features you like, there are plenty of fridges that have them! But there's plenty of space for a main shelf that will take tall bottles (of which I have many more than would fit in the door anyway) and still have enough height for all the other things. Between the lighting and the glass shelves you can always see into the back. :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 3:32AM
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Avatar -- Miele and SZ only store half-gallon containers on the door. Liebherr holds gallons but the shelf space is very much reduced.

I was warned off them by one of the two repair techs who have done work for me on the current fridge. I have no idea what's happened as I had such a good experience with mine.

GE Monogram has split shelves. The model I saw had SZ flange handles ca 1995 -- looked dated but there should be options. If I recall Breezygirl has a GE -- perhaps she can opine.

This has been a difficult decision. Part of that is simple resource allocation even in first world terms. The other is the entire issue of retrofitting a built-in refrigerator.

The installer recommended by my dealer called last night. We went over the spec sheet together and discussed what I had vs what I would be getting and what was needed etc.

Anyone shopping for a refrigerator today would be very well advised to go slowly. I would never order cabinets before deciding 100% on the refrigerator because that single decision influences cabinet depth and then it's kitchen dominos.

Also, costs of all the built in refrigerators. They appear to have increased at least 30% since 2011 based on prices in a a Consumer's Report fridge comparison from that time.

But I couldn't find 30 percent added value and there are odd things such as a 10K SZ with incandescent lighting. What happens in 5 years when you cannot buy a replacement bulb for that old technology? Water filters that cost $50-$80 to replace annually. There's a slot in the SZ for promotional/use material they provide that would be impossible to keep clean. Miele offers no door handle options.

In some area there are too many options; in others two few. There are some very common sense end user issues that seem to be ignored by manufacturers.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Which fridge is that in the picture? Adjustable height door shelves is a feature from the 1950's, at the latest! I get that having the staggered shelves gives more different heights, but it also cuts done on storage space! That kind of thing may be where the money goes.

Re the price increase, some of it may be demand adjustments. Or it might be increases in parts prices. A lot of weird stuff that happened during the Great Recession is just beginning to show up at the consumer level.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 2:26PM
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The price point, look and layout of the Liebherr are all very appealing, but it's comments like that of your repair tech, rococogurl, that give me pause. Can I ask, plllog, why you prefer no gallons in the door and no split shelves? Maybe we just don't tend to have many tall items in our fridge. Our kitchen is relatively narrow, so we do need to find something that's shallow and mounts flush, so this discussion has been great.

As for options, rococogurl, I've always just had whatever was in the kitchen of the place I rented or bought. Now that I'm actually picking things out, I'm astounded--and a bit alarmed!--at all of the things to consider. Off to learn about baffles vs. mesh range hood filters now. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 3:09PM
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I don't have a GE. My built-in is a KA. I choose it because I got an awesome deal on ebay.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Such a humble brag, breezy. So jealous.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 7:35PM
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I didn't mean to sound like I was bragging. :-/

I hadn't budgeted for a BI, but after I discovered a measuring error I made (acting as GC and home designer at that point) after sheetrock went in, my island-fridge aisle was much smaller than I had intended. The full-size fridge idea was out, and once I started looking at the price of CD units I decided to look for a BI deal. It was still much more money than I ever thought I'd pay for a fridge.

Your situation makes me cross my fingers even harder that my fridge is long lasting. I do not want to contemplate a replacement.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:58AM
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LOL! There's time, Rococogurl. You might get an awesome bargain, too!

Avatar, I didn't want a gallon in door shelf because I don't have gallon jugs. Where you have a gallon in the door, that space is chomped out of the box side shelf. That's all. I don't like split shelves because they eat up space. (They also let gunk spill right into the middle of below.) Same reason why I like extra wide cabinet drawers. Get the hardware that will support it and the 60" wide drawers, is my motto. :) (My largest are 48" because that's all the room I had.) I promise you I wasn't dissing the Liebherr or your desire for gallon door storage and split shelves. Just not for me. Same as my non-gallon jug holding door is not for you. It's just that I'm pretty passionate about refrigerator layout and utility, and, because I had so much difficulty finding something that would work well, I grew to truly hate the ones that are laid out wrong for my household. Hate. Vehemently. But in a well if you like it, be my guest and enjoy, kind of way.

Your question was about how it can hold everything with the tall bottles in the box (and this is info that RG might use). It can. I have the bottom shelf jam jar high, the second shelf coffee can high, and the top shelf just low enough to stack two tubs of cottage cheese. The space between the top and second shelf is way taller than tall bottles. In the bottom freezer version, it would lose a few inches, but still be plenty tall enough. (All the shelves adjust easily--this is just my arrangement.) In that big open space, besides a perpetual bottle of sparkling blueberry juice for little girls, and home infused vodkas for big girls, and the orange juice and milk, and a bottle of wine, there is currently a four quart food service container half full (now) of gazpacho, and a bunch of other stuff. Sometimes there will be a stack of boxes or bags of salad, but when I need the room, I just put them on top of the bottles. :) They like it up there, and don't get in the way. :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 2:20AM
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I purchased the fridge yesterday, plllog and most definitely did not get a bargain.

Hopefully, this refrigerator will work properly, be reliable and won't become some new nightmare so I will be able to forget about fixing or replacing all the sh*t in this house.

I know more about expensive refrigerators than I ever thought I would and it's not a very positive picture.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 9:57AM
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loveswindowsanddogs_gw gw

RG, What did you purchase? The discussion here has been very helpful, especially your pros and cons of SZ, Miele and Bosch. We lurkers learn so much from the experiences and advice of others.

Your thought process and experiences (and that of others) are exactly what I need to help me decide on an integrated fridge/freezer.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 11:17AM
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LovesWindows - I purchased the Miele refrigerator with bottom freezer. The deciding issue was that Miele is power-outage resistant and SZ is not.

Otherwise, there isn't anything I was able to identify that made either one a better choice for my space, nor did I identify anything that justifies the 10% higher price for SZ.

The GE offered a lot of features though I didn't price it because GE is selling their appliance division and I've learned through bitter experience that future service turns out to be 50% of the value.

I did not go into this search with any preconceived notions about what to buy. I do have other major Miele appliances and have been very happy with them so I do admit I trust their quality. However our DD has both Miele and SZ fridges with 0 issues.

I spent a lot of time online but the real info was in the appliance store visits. I went to two and saw all the brands that would fit my space. My decisions were based on my assessment of build quality & features. I ruled out french door refrigerators in part due what clearly would be door issues while they were even more expensive than single-door models.

Having a successfully installed integrated refrigerator is a question of understanding what the expectations are for "integrated" since there definitely are variations for that type of installation.

Fortunately or unfortunately, that doubles the complexity of the basic decision about which refrigerator to buy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele 36 bottom freezer

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:09PM
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Congratulations! May your new friend be an angel of chillery and embrace you with comfort in every cool exhalation.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:43PM
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RG - I've always heard that the door hinges on the Miele fridges are awesome. (only my fellow appliances geeks on this forum would care about a factoid like that LOL.)

Please post pics - and for fun, if you can, even post pics during delivery and installation. If that's a bit much, then at least a pic after installation and loaded with groceries. TIA!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 6:31PM
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My last name isn't Kardashian, shannon, so I cannot promise wall-to-wall coverage. But I will do my best.

Meanwhile, I can provide a showroom photo of the mighty Miele hinges for your enjoyment.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 1:53PM
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May you and your new Miele live a happy, uneventful life.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 2:23AM
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Thanks plllog and breezy, very sweet. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 7:53AM
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loveswindowsanddogs_gw gw


Will you keep us posted? I want a 36 inch integrated refrigerator/freezer and will need to decide fairly soon. The choices are expensive, but not extensive.

I've never had a built in fridge before, so I have to get advice from others on what factors to consider.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 12:41PM
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loveswindows- will do.

Meanwhile, first decision :

true integrated (fridge/freezer flush with adjacent cabinets with panels or stainless -only handle protrudes

built in with standard installation, meaning door thickness and handle will protrude. Stainless or cabinet panels.

integrated look - a stand aline fridge installed to look as integrated as possible. Usually no cabinet panels available,

Once the decision about specific way fridge should look, there are brands that have various options and cabinet depth specifications in addition to way cabinet panels go on the various units.

Then door style considering placement, hinge clearances, etc.

then as xedos suggesed, interior configuration.

In the 2 stores I was in SZ, Miele, Thermador, Liebherr, Ge and Bosch all make 36" fridges that are built in and integrated capable. Fridge cabinet depths vary from 24" to nearly 27" and there are width variations as well. Not sure about Gaggenau.

You may know all this already but thats how I would go about it. Then rob a bank. The least expensive options should be Bosch and Liebherr but then its a matter of degrees vs build quality. SZ was most expensive across the board though Gaggenau may be a rival for that honor.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 3:53PM
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This may be the wrong thread for this question, but it does relate to picking an integrated/integrated-look fridge. I've been trying to suss out the "right one" among Liebherr and Miele and Thermador -- SZ's standard install still sticks out too much, and the upper grille panel on the GE Monogram not only sticks out but it has such a huge gap that you can see all the mechanicals behind it in a side view, i.e. from our dining room. I still need to hunt down some Bosch examples.

Anyway , on my last couple of visits to the appliance store, the Thermador french-door, which I like, has had quite a bit of condensation, like droplet size in addition to mist, on the lower half of the flapper and on the cabinet where the doors meet at the bottom. Is this something that should give me pause?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 5:34PM
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walt, there are very happy Thermador owners here and I respect that.

This thread started out as a french door maybe situation as that style fridge would have been practical. But I could not find one with stable doors. Every time I closed one side, the other side jumped. I could not see a trouble free appliance with those doors. Granted, I may be overreacting given my history.

i also felt that Thermador and Liebherr were about the same build quality without the same price point.

I have condensation in my current fridge due to the ripped gasket. That seems to be causing the black mold.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 8:57PM
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The new fridge went in this morning. It's sturdy, quiet and seems to have more space than the old one. The installer was very good and professional. It was necessary to remove the baseboard on each side to adjust for the frame to fit. There are a few nicks as a result but I have cabinet touch up.

The only bobble was that a cover piece on top of the freezer frame did not install well. The dealer is ordering a new piece and sending someone to put it on properly. The entire process too about 4 hours today. I cannot imagine how anyone could DIY this. Installation was expensive but it's hard to tell anything happened here.

After all the teeth gnashing about it not fitting flush, it's difficult to tell it's not flush. It's a standard install with a semi-standard look.

So far, this appears to be a much better higher quality version of the same fridge style. It would be hard not to like it.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to getting me through this saga. A special shout out to xedos, plllog and breezygirl. I needed the push to replace, then to go with the single door and not worry about clearance. Turns out, the door is longer but it swings back farther so there's better clearance than before. Funny how what you worry about never happens and what you cannot imagine (bottom of the frame) does.


Old Viking:

Miele Door & Hinges as requested

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Oh, that's splendid! May you be renewed.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 12:31AM
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Wishing you many years of use!!!!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 1:02AM
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Gorgeous! I have fridge envy. I like how the Miele doesn't show a grill on top the way your old Viking did.

I had heard that the Miele fridge hinges were awesome, and indeed, they are.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Glad you got it sorted and are happy.

If that miele lasts you 20 yrs, the cost won't seem so bad them. Like Lizzie's Jag.

Re:size. I think your designer sold you down the river years ago when designing for that Viking. If they had left you 25" to the door faces you would have had more choices today. "Standard" built in dims are generally 36" wide x 25" x 84" tall.

Miele's water filters are going to cost you some steak money too.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 8:43AM
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I hope so, xedos. This was definitely a first-world issue, no question, but ouch.

We had many issues with the cabinet designer. But back in 2003 when the kitchen was planned there were basically 2 high end built in options -- SZ and Viking. Also Monogram. My cabinet dimensions were standard for both at the time.

Cannot fault the fit on this really. Instructions said a 25" cabinet would allow it to fit flush. But having seen the design of the frame, which is about 36-1/4 or so to cover the cut out, I don't see how that would work.What's interesting is that the Miele door is much slimmer than the SZ. It doesn't protrude as much. And having the grill hidden on the bottom makes a difference in the look -- at least for me. It's very neat.

I spoke to the dealer about the water filter. When the time comes, I spend $60 on a bypass. End of story. We have a very good water filter on our well pump so it's not needed on the fridge.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 9:04AM
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That can't be right about the bypass price... I paid $10 for my GE bypass and I thought that was a ripoff (GE is notorious for overpriced parts). I only did it because the filters were a ridiculous $50 each. I know Miele parts are expensive, but there's no way they are charging $60 for a little piece of plastic.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Fri, Sep 19, 14 at 13:22

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 1:21PM
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It's actually $62 hv. I've linked it. But it's a one-time shot.

The HEPA filter for their vacuum is $50 and that's yearly.

If anyone is buying a new appliance from Miele, call them when you register it. They gave me a coupon code for 10% discount on any products ordered online from them -- basically forever.

I'll strike on Cyber Monday in December hoping to do even better.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele bypass filter

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Oops! Never mind

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 2:32PM
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I have an LG French door 2 GE Profiles, 1 Kenmore Elite French door. All have had some issues. But have been very dependable. All going on 7 years. I have a service contract on all appliances, that include all circuit boards. The LG had the circuit board fail, cost part only 822.00 bucks. If you have high end appliances or rental property get a service contract that includes the circuit boards

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 5:16AM
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