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Refrigerators – the centrepiece of the kitchen

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Pick your perfect fridge

We’ve all walked into the appliance showroom at the local store and had big boxes of stainless steel catch our eyes. Refrigerators are quite simple in function, they keep our food cold. With advances in technology there is now an array of choices in colour, style, features, and sizes. Find the fridge for you by selecting a budget, and knowing the layout of your kitchen. It is important to have a sense of the appliances you want before you embark on a kitchen renovation due to important design considerations.

Colour

There are three main colour options for fridges: white, black, and stainless steel. If you’re buying a fridge as a replacement, colour is usually a simple decision, meaning you pick the colour that matches the other appliances in your kitchen. If you’re buying all brand new appliances the task gets a little trickier.

If budget is an issue, one of the easiest ways to save a few hundred dollars is to opt for either a white or black finish. As an added bonus, black and white fridges are always magnetic (as opposed to stainless steel where it is dependent on the manufacturer), making it easy to turn your kitchen into an art gallery for your kids’ art projects.

Stainless steel? Not so fast!

Stainless steel is an easy choice when you’re after that showpiece look. It’s bright, shiny and can give your kitchen the “wow” factor. You don’t need to have a gourmet kitchen to have stainless steel as it’s no longer limited to high-end models. It can easily be found in a variety of styles and sizes.

Stainless steel is more susceptible to stains and smudges than traditional finishes. With small children in the house the fridge could become pretty dirty, quickly ruining that showroom finish. If you’re purchasing the fridge as a replacement be careful when opting for stainless steel. Different manufacturers could have different finishes. For example, some companies will apply a finish that is resistant to smudging. This changes the look of the stainless steel a great deal. Also, not all stainless steel is magnetic. This is due to the different alloys used in the creation process

Dimensions

Fridges, like all appliances have a set of standard dimensions. The key dimension will be the width of the opening. The standard size ranges are 28 to 30 inches, 31 to 33 inches, and 34 to 36 inches. When measuring the space don’t forget to account for any baseboards that could reduce the size of the opening at the bottom and all the hallways and doors the fridge will go through to get to its new home.

There is a not a lot of variation in the height of fridges. Fridges are usually somewhere between 65 to 70 inches. Naturally, the greater the capacity, the higher the height of the fridge. When calculating the height of your opening, remember that most fridges have a cap that goes over the door hinge. This will increase the height by two to three inches.

There are two kinds of depth for fridges; regular, and counter-depth. Regular depth fridges will be anywhere from 33 to 36 inches in depth, whereas counter-depth fridges can be anywhere from 27 to 29 inches, including two to three inches for the handles. The reduction in depth means the fridge does not stick out of the opening and blends in with the counters. Counter-depth fridges have less capacity than their regular depth counterparts and you will pay a few hundred dollars more.

Models

There are four primary models for fridges: top-mount, bottom mount, French door, and side-by-side. Top and bottom mount refers to where the freezer is located, French door is a bottom mount, but the fridge portion has two doors, and side-by-side has the fridge and freezer beside each other with separate doors.

The models available to you are dependent on your budget and the space you have. A top mount fridge is the least expensive, followed by bottom mount. These models are mostly found in the 28 to 30 inch width category, making them ideal for smaller spaces. The French door and side-by-side model are found exclusively in the 31 to 33 and 34 to 36 inch categories. These model are more expensive and have more features than the top and bottom mounts.

Features

Ice and water dispensers are the two most common features in fridges. This feature requires a water line to be running behind the fridge. The dispensers are almost exclusively found in French door and side-by-side models. However, it is possible to have an ice maker in almost any model of fridge. The ice-maker is additional kit that is purchased. The ice-maker sits in the freezer, water is fed into the unit which produces the ice.

By Ian MacNeil

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