Does your fridge door swing shut or stay open? What's "normal"?

Madeline616November 26, 2012

I've always taken for granted that my (single door) refrigerators have had just a little tension on them, so when I walk away from the fridge, the door swings shut.

My new single door fridge doesn't have any tendency to swing closed--it actually swings open and hits the wall next to it, or just stays in the open position.

It's a small detail, but in reality it's kind of a pain...I'm always leaving it open by mistake or walking back across te kitchen to close it after removing a big pot of soup or something.

The manual doesn't address the door swing. Does anyone know whether there's an adjustment for this, or whether there's a "norm" for the swing on a fridge door?

It's a Viking freestanding, BTW.

Thanks :)

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Refrigerator doors should not self-close unless they have a specific mechanism to do so ... a gravity or spring-loaded cam or some such.

For those that don't, many people purposely adjust the leveling so the unit leans back a little to entice the doors to close but technically that is not correct. Refrigerators should be properly leveled so the defrost condensate fully drains on the designed path ... although a very slight backward lean normally doesn't cause a problem.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:44AM
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My carefully leveled SubZero stays open when opened enough, but closes if only partially opened. I have not looked into the mechanical method, but assume it is part of the hinge alignment.

My carefully leveled Perlick refrigerator stays open when opened enough, but closes if only partially opened. The transition point is a smaller angle than for the SubZero. The reason is gravity acting on a cam on the bottom hinge.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Was the unit installed completely level? Sounds like it might not have been. My built-in KA swings ever-so-gently closed if it I leave it slightly more than half way shut.

Has the noise level gotten better for you?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Thanks for your responses!

I placed a level on top of the fridge, and it's ever so slightly leaning forward (higher in the back). So, when the tech comes out to calibrate my range, I'll ask him to make it a teeny bit higher in the front.

Breezy, you're very kind. No noise improvement yet, but I'm trying to adjust to it. If it's still grating on me in another week or so, I'm going to consider the major surgery of a compressor change. I wish I wasn't so sensitive to things like this, but that whining noise is really unnerving, lol!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Sorry the noise isn't better. I'm very noise sensitive also. Our old fridge bothered me, but not as much as the GE unit in our temporary housing during our whole house reno. I knew I needed a quiet one with our new, open kitchen. I'm so glad my BI KA is almost silent. I know I would lose my mind with another loud fridge in our layout!!

Good luck with a remedy, in whatever form.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:14AM
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My fridge door is not self close nor was the 15 year old one it replaced. If properly installed, I do believe the doors should stay where put. Proper installation and leveling of your model should be detailed in the instruction manual. I would check that to see what is says on how your particular model should be installed.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:54AM
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I've never seen a spring-loaded door on a fridge. But, and we discussed this some months ago, older fridges recommended that they be installed leaning backwards a bit not only so that the doors would close but also so that the condensate from defrosting would drain down the back. Newer fridges don't seem to recommend this any more. The Samsung and LG FD instructions I've seen want the unit to be level left/right and front/back.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 6:54PM
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Interesting topic. My old fridges stayed open for a while, especially at about the 90-degree angle, but a little hip movement and they would close. Loved that, or just was used to it. It's taken me forever (years) to get used to the fact that a slight push to the door doesn't urge the door to gain momentum in that direction. Fridges like to beep at me.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:59PM
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My SZ's door neutral point is around 90 degrees. Smaller angles tend to close on their own, larger tend to open.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:20AM
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We are almost finished with our remodel, but the Liebherr fridge/freezer are mostly in place. The model we got, SB24i1 (Link to web site) has the "soft close" doors on it just like on a kitchen cabinet. So far I can open it to about 30-40 degree's open and it stays there and doesn't shut, but once past there or if I give it a little push it will close itself slowly.

We love the soft-close feature, it is one of the things that sold us on this brand over SZ.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I have a Frigidaire all-fridge and the door will close itself if it's open 45-60 degrees. More than that and it usually stays open. It also depends on how items are stored on the door. I try to put heavier/larger items like milk and juice closer to the hinge with lighter/smaller things farther out.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Thanks for the replies!

Phil, that sounds like a really nice feature. I'll keep it in mind for future fridge purchases.

JScout, do heavier items closer to the hinge make it close more readily, or stay open?

The appliance repairman tilted it back a bit by raising the front legs, so it's been a lot better.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Good question. I'm not sure. I do it that way mostly to protect the hinges. It's a physics thing where heavy things exert more force the farther out they are. Of course my wife is the total opposite and thinks heavy things should go closer to the outside so it would be "easier" to get at. I had her do an experiment where she held her purse in her hand with her arm fully extended. Then she slid her purse up to her biceps and compared the difference. She said the purse felt lighter on the biceps. I'd chalk this up as one of those "it can't hurt" things.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Hi jscout,

Thanks for the response, that's very interesting. Yes, I agree, it certainly can't hurt.

The purse demo supports your case, but I have to admit, like your wife, my gallon jugs are on the end for convenience :-)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:18PM
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