Refrigerator Clearance (gap between the side wall)

SymcorJanuary 23, 2011


I am new to the forum and hopefully some experts can help me out.

I am going to purchase a Samsung fridge (RFG293HARS) and the net width is 35.75. My fridge box is 37.25 width and that will leave me 0.75 on each side. I did some search on the internet and the installation clearance is 1 inch on each side. Should I purchase smaller fridge instead? Is anyone here have the same fridge which can share your opinion here?

Also, when I checked out the LG model, the installation clearance is 1/8 inch only. Why there is a such a big difference?

Thanks in advance

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Maybe the difference could be because of the way the doors are hinged?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 12:34PM
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Are you quite sure about that? The owners manual for that Samsung (you can download it from the Samsung website) lists 2" on one side and 3-3/4 on the other.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:10PM
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link to download:

Here is a link that might be useful: Samsung owners manual

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Thanks everyone above. I think what I want to know is the 3.75 inches min requirement next to a fixed wall (thanks writesblock) is for the door to swing open or the internal cooling system requirement.

Because of the net depth of this fridge (35.63), it will stick out probably more than 6 inches beside the fixed wall. In that case, if the 3.75 inches requirement is only for the door to swing open, it should not matter anymore, right? But if the requirement is for the internal cooling system, that will be a different story ...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 4:05PM
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I believe it's for the cooling system, but that's just a guess. What matters is that if you don't have it, you could be considered to have voided your warranty. Many of the french door models have that 4" side requirement on one side, which makes me pretty sure it's nothing at all to do with door swing, since both doors would have the same req on FD fridges.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 4:41PM
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The 3.75" is for door swing next to a fixed wall. You should be ok for circulation provided there is also some space at the top and you keep the fridge a couple of inches off the back wall. I have the same fridge and a 1/4" on each side - not ideal but fridge seems to work fine though I suspect efficiency of the cooling system is somewhat compromised.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 4:48PM
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The 3" is if you put the fridge in a corner. You would need at least 3-4" to open the door 90* against the corner wall.

If I understand your case, you do not have a corner wall.

That manual is suggesting 2" to the rear, 2" above the top, and 3" to a side wall (either side). If you are putting this back into a corner, you'll need the 3-4" at the side to get the door open. And you'll probably need a bit more to get the drawers out. You are implying that the wall to one side is not a full wall and is not as deep as the fridge (fridge sticks out 6" beyond the wall?). If so, you'll have no problems opening the door. Clearances to the sides for ventilation are not specified, but the implication is that you should leave Something. 3/4-1" should be plenty.

BTW: the 35.63" depth is with the doors and handles. The more important measurment is the case measurement, or 32.9".

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Using a different brand but we were told to have a 2.5"-3" airspace all around, being very careful to have at least 3" above for circulation.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:24PM
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Thanks again everyone. I will for sure have 3" above for circulation. The opening space is 73 inches tall. The fridge will pretty much stick out because of the depth but that will not be my main concern.

Most of the french door model is between 34 - 36 inches depth anyway and I have no extra money to spend on the counter depth for sure.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:58PM
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I, have a Kitchen Aid,french door, that just fit in my space. One day I, came home and the refrigerator temp was was to 50 and the freezer, was up also. I, pulled it out and the temp went back to normal. My husband, fix the space and it works, okay now. It was not getting enough air. We did 3/4 in on each side.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 11:53PM
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Hi Symcor, I have a Samsung french door refrigerator. We have it positioned in a corner with a wall on the right side. In order to easily get into the fridge and to pull out the largest drawer, you need to be able to open the doors to at LEAST 90 degrees.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 2:57PM
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I have a FD Samsung - model 297. It's not counter depth. On one side is a wall and other side a cabinet. The wall also has doors to my pantry. The fridge comes out about 4" beyond the wall and then there is a bifold door to the pantry. when the pantry door is closed, I cannot open the left door of the fridge all the way. However, I can't think of a time where this has been a problem. The drawers still open. Mine has two bins as well as the Cool Select drawer below them. I'm able to open the left bin far enough that I can still see/reach into the bin. Even when I open the pantry door so that the left fridge door opens all the way, the way the bin is designed, it only opens slightly further than when the door isn't open all the way. The Cool Select Drawer opens all the way, regardless of whether or not the fridge door is all the way open - the way it is designed, it's not impeded by the door not being all the way open.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this very well, but basically, with my FD Samsung, b/c the fridge is deeper than the wall adjacent to it, I'm still able to open the door beside it, and even though I can't fully open it, it opens far enough that it doesn't deter me from getting into the fridge or opening all of the drawers/fins with ease. I can post pics if that will help you see what I'm talking about.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:10PM
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Hi fourkids4us,

It will be great if you can post one picture with the fridge open,one with it close and the other one show how much it stick out compare the wall.

I know I may be ask too much but the pictures will answer a lot of the questions.

DreamweaverMAM and fourkids4us, can you also tell me how depth (inch) is your cabinet and the wall, please?

Thanks again

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 7:49PM
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I just measured the distances with my fridge and wall. The fridge, including the doors, is 32" deep, plus it sits about 2" away from the back wall. The wall to the left is 30" deep. The fridge, including the space away from back wall, sticks out 4" farther than the wall. There is about 3/4" space b/w the wall and the fridge.

Here are some pictures that I hope will help you to understand what I was explaining above.

First is the fridge closed up against the wall. The white doors go to the pantry. I can pop the door inward if I need to open my fridge door as far as it goes, but I have never needed to. I couldn't get a good shot that would show how far the fridge sticks out compared to the wall next to it, but you can go by the measurements above.

This is a picture of the drawer open until it hits the pantry door, which is closed in this picture. Even though it looks funny, I have no problem getting food out from this side of the fridge. On rare occasion, if I need to, I just open the other fridge door to give me more room.

Here is a picture of the left door partially open (until it hits pantry door which is closed) w/fruit bin open. The drawer opens 7.5" with the left door not opened all the way. It doesn't look as if it's open that much, but it is!

And here is the fruit bin with the fridge door open as far as it is meant to open (pantry door popped inward to allow for this). The bin only opens an extra 1.5" so it's really not the big of a deal. 7.5" gives me plenty of room to get out what I need.

Oh my, just noticed the nice handprint from one of my kids on the door in the picture above! :) And here is a picture of the Cool Select Drawer open - it is unimpeded by the fridge doors and opens all the way regardless of whether or not I have the fridge doors open partially or all the way. This is with the doors partially open. Can you tell we eat alot of cheese??

And just to compare, here is the Cool Select Drawer open with both doors open as far as they can go - no difference!

Hope this helps. Sorry I couldn't get a better picture of where the wall ends compared to how much further the fridge sticks out but I couldn't get a good vantage point to take that angle. Good luck with your purchase!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:04PM
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By the way, I forgot to mention, I only have 3/4" on the left side clearance about about 1/2" on the right side. The fridge just fits. The delivery guys didn't seem to think that was a problem. I'm sure they would have said something b/c they refused to hook up my water to our filtered water line - said it had to be copper, not plastic b/c they had problems with plastic leaking. Of course, the MANUAL gives instructions for both copper AND plastic and makes no mention of not using plastic. I had to have our water guy come out and hook it up for us and he said there is no way we could use copper anyway b/c of the type of water we have (well w/lots of iron that we have to have a conditioner to adjust). Of course, our old fridge that we had for nearly 15 years never had a problem with the plastic tubing leaking so I'm not sure what their beef was. It was Sears that I was dealing with, not Samsung.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Hi Symcor,
I have the RFG298AARS. We got it about a month ago--BEFORE doing our kitchen remodel. It fits tightly into the current space, which is not optimally designed for it. Our new layout will give more space, and we bought it with that in mind.

Right now, there is about 1" on the right side between the refrigerator and the wall. There is a door opening to the dining room on the wall several inches in front of the refrigerator on the right side. The molding around the door somewhat inhibits the ability to open the right door the entire way. (This will change in our new design.)If you were to open the door the entire 90 degrees, you could extend the large drawer. It's designed to allow for this. In our situation, it is possible to extend the drawer enough to use it, but it wouldn't be enough to remove the drawer entirely.

On the left side is a counter, which extends around 25" from the wall to the front edge of the countertop. There is almost no space between the counter on the left and the refrigerator, but the refrigerator extends about 9" past the front edge of the countertop. The left door opens with absolutely no problem and it is easy to access things inside on the left.

I hope that helps!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:02PM
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Thanks for the picture, but I do have a question. Base on your measurement above, your fridge including the door is 32" deep but the manual is list as 35.75. That's almost 3 inches difference.

Whatever it is, your pictures are great and thanks so much

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:04PM
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My manual lists the width as 35.75" not the depth. The depth is listed at 33" - perhaps I mismeasured by an inch.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Thank you very much for this thread; I have the exact same question. Your pictures are very helpful!

I also found this thread on Samsung's site very, very helpful: . On page 3 they clarify that the 3.75" measurement is referring to when the fridge butts up to a wall that would eclipse the fridge's ability to open. The additional space requirement is for that opening-reason, not the efficiency-reason. While Samsung's literature does say different things in different places about how much clearance is needed for efficiency reasons -- they say 2" in some places and 1" in others -- this answer states the 1" figure as sufficient clearance.

Another poster mentioned they have even less than 1" with no apparent difficulty. I've read somewhere about someone who had a problem with 2.5" clearance.

I'm not sure what exactly *happens* -- does the fridge need some throughput of air so the motor doesn't heat up, for example? If so then I can imagine your "microclimate" would effect things -- that is, if you manage to get some breeze through the space even if it's in a corner, you might be able to get away with less clearance than an individual who has very, very dead air there (let's say, for example, that you have a monster-vent - perhaps that could generate enough breeze in the side-yard of the fridge to help out with the fridge's efficiency?). I have no idea if this is true, it's just I'm scrambling to account for different personal experiences regarding this clearance. Because it seems as if even Samsung doesn't have a hard-and-fast rule.

Are there any appliance mavens here who can explain (Kas, perhaps?) why exactly that clearance is actually needed? All I ever see referenced is "efficiency" -- that's got to be a heat issue, right? The motor has to work to cool down the internal compartment and in the process it puts out heat. If its surroundings are hot then it will have to work harder to get the internal compartment cooler ... right?

Here is a link that might be useful: Samsung FAQs ... or maybe it's just AQs

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:10AM
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