Subzero Refrigerator: Dissapointed

thinkfoodNovember 10, 2012

We remodeled our kitchen and purchased a side by side 45" Subzero refrigerator/freezer which was installed October 2011. I have had the repair people in to fix it 3 times with no success. The problem is that water droplets form in the middle vegetable drawer especially on the left side and "ceiling" of the drawer. As more water droplets accumulate, the water drips to the bottom, pools and causes the vegetables to rot and mold prematurely. I'm also seeing cheese that is tightly rewrapped form mold more quickly. Anything placed in a plastic bag, e.g., cut melon, lemon or lime halves molds within about 4-5 days because moisture condenses within the plastic bag. Subzero says the problem is caused because I store my fresh herbs (dill, Ital parsley, cilantro) by trimming the bottom and placing in pint mason jars with about 2 inches of water in the bottom. This new Subzero model is apparently engineered to have a very high internal moisture, so the open jars with water and fresh herbs add more moisture which upsets the delicate balance causing water condensation. Subzero has offered to give me my money back and take the refrigerator back, but the kitchen was designed to accommodate the built in model with panel doors. What would you do?

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Have you tried storing your herbs without the standing water? I think the whole point of a sub-zero is superior humidity control to keep your fresh produce lasting longer, so you might find that the mason jars with water are unnecessary.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Honestly, I would replace with another panel-ready fridge. Are you sure it's 45" and not 42" or 48"? See below.
I think you could try out two things first:
What happens if you don't store your herbs in water? Does that fix the moisture problem? If yes, maybe don't store your herbs in water.
How do they recommend you store your herbs? In other words, what happens if you don't store them with water? Does the high humidity preserve them? If no, can you live with herbs spoiling quicker?

Here is a link that might be useful: panel-ready fridges

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:05PM
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I have a new, non-counter-depth, nonpaneled mid-range KitchenAid, so my expertise (and perhaps design sense) could be suspect. :) I don't mean this to sound flippant, but I'm reminded of Antenna-Gate with one of the iPhones. Steve Jobs' solution was, "Don't hold it that way." If everything else about your fridge works, except for the way you store your herbs in water, stop storing your herbs in water. If you use a lot of fresh herbs and they are a vital part of your cooking, could you purchase a mini fridge just for that purpose? It sure seems easier and less expensive than trying to find a comparable replacement for your specific space.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:20PM
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If you need ideas for the herbs I would post on the cooking forum. People there are really helpful.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Three strikes for same problem - check out your lemon rules with your warranty - but before so, try just wrapping herbs in a damp paper towel or nothing at all to see what happens.
We had our Miele DW lemoned - I was not going with another Miele - but everyone loved them and never heard of a lemon- so went with Miele again and have been very happy!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:36PM
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The very first thing I'd do would be to experiment with different ways to store herbs, rather than contemplate replacing the unit.

I have a BI KA fridge and store my herbs either just in a plastic bag or sometimes wrapping them in a moist paper towel in a plastic bag. I've been surprised how much longer the new fridge keeps herbs compared to the ancient fridge we used to have in the kitchen pre-reno. Fresh herbs usually don't stick around too long for me anyway as I use them so frequently, but I like knowing I can leave the cilantro in for a few extra days without harm.

If other herb storage methods don't work, then I'd consider other fridges. Check your specs, see what other BIs fit your space, then call those manufacturers to ask them about your herb storage method and how it would work in their fridges. Good luck!

Oh, you might want to also post your message over in the Appliances Forum. Besides a few appliance repair guys who hang out there, there are some really knowledgeable folks.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I have no experience with SubZero, but plenty with fresh produce storage. Try storing the herbs in water in a wide mouth jar, like a Mason or Bell jar, and keep the lid tightly screwed on. That way, the herbs still have the moisture supply and you can check out the repair person's theory as to the cause of the trouble. What a beautiful BIG fridge! You must be so disappointed.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Stop doing it!

Seriously, I would trying doing something different with the herbs before I'd consider swapping out the fridge.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:21PM
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The question is: Have you verified that it is indeed the water/herbs that cause the moisture and rotting?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I agree with most advice above. First, verify that it's actually true that it's caused by the herb water. Try without for say 2 weeks or so to confirm; use breezy's suggestion of wrapping bottom in damp paper towel in a plastic bag.

The if that's truely the cause, I'd do one of two things: (1) store the herbs differently ... with the more modern fridges it's entirely possible you don't need the water to keep them fresh as long as you did with the older fridge, or (2) add a fridge drawer or smaller beverage fridge for herb storage if you want to continue to store in water.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 3:37PM
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