The top mount refrigerator has the freezer at eye level with the fresh food compartment at the bottom. These fridges tend to have wider shelves in both the fridge and freezer sections. Traditionally this has been the most common type of refrigerator, although some of the other styles are becoming very popular.
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The bottom mount freezer is a good option for households that want fresh food selections at eye level. With the freezer at the bottom of the fridge, less energy is used to keep the section cold, and cooling is more consistent and even. This configuration also makes a lot of sense ergonomically, since the freezer is typically used less than the fridge.
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Built-in refrigerators look as if they have been built into a kitchen. These models have a shallow depth allowing them to install flush with your cabinetry. Built-ins are available in the usual white, black and stainless steel colors, but many accept decorator panels. This means that you can insert a panel that features the same finish as your cabinets into the front of your refrigerator to create a custom seamless look in your kitchen.
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The fridge and freezer compartments are adjacent to one another and allow easy access to both compartments. Look carefully at the capacity and flexibility of the interior. In some models, the shelves are more narrow than those found in top or bottom mount models, and may not accommodate larger items very well. If possible, select a model with adjustable bins and shelves so you can customize the layout to suit your needs.
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An increasingly popular style of refrigerator that has dual refrigerator doors and a pull-out freezer drawer for convenient fresh and frozen food storage. This style combines the best features of the bottom mount and side-by-side refrigerators.
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Consider the capacity of your current refrigerator and how well it fits your groceries before you decide to increase or decrease the size of your model.
A good rule of thumb - Two people generally need between 16-20 cubic feet of fresh food storage and you should probably add an extra cubic foot for each additional person in your family.
Be sure to consider both your frozen and fresh food needs when selecting a particular model.
Style and Design
Counter Depth Refrigerators can offer a more shallow profile designed to fit flush with your cabinetry and create a beautiful appearance.
Refrigerator doors may be contoured, hinges may be hidden to given an elegant, contemporary look, or flat doors may offer a modern look.
Exterior colors and finishes typically consist of standard colors such as black, white, and stainless steel. "Clean steel" is a type of finish typically with a stainless steel look that resists fingerprints and is easy to maintain.
Refrigerator trim kits convert your free-standing refrigerator to a built-in look.
- Door-mounted ice makers and water dispensers provide filtered water and ice on demand without requiring the door to be opened.
- Clear shelves and door bins help you see what you have, no matter where it is in the refrigerator, and provide better access to items stored in the back.
- Adjustable glass shelves will provide greater storage flexibility as your needs change.
- Spill-proof shelves capture spills and prevent them from leaking all over the refrigerator.
- Thawing and defrosting capabilities.
- More storage options include wine racks, ice storage bins, and extra wide shelves.
- Fruit and vegetable crispers often feature adjustable humidity controls, and meat compartments may feature adjustable temperature controls.
- Beverage compartments can hold and dispense cans.
- Reheat or keep warm settings: Some models will keep your food warm for up to 30 minutes with no loss of food quality.
- Advanced lighting so you can easily view refrigerator contents.
- Easy access slide-out compartments and bins.
- Dairy/cheese/butter/meat compartments also available.
Measure the space that you have available for your refrigerator. Know the height, width and depth of the area you want the new model to fit into. Note that some depth measurements displayed on websites may or may not include the depth with the door and/or door handles. Likewise, the height may or may not include the height with the door hinges.
Be sure to take into account the clearances you will need in your kitchen to open refrigerator doors to remove pans and shelves.
If you choose a refrigerator with an icemaker or ice and water dispenser, you will need to make sure you have access to a water line from behind the refrigerator for the water connections.
In a typical household, the refrigerator can account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of total power you will use in one year.
New models that are Energy Star certified are extremely efficient.
Refrigerators today typically use 30% less electricity than models built ten years ago. For this reason, replacing an old refrigerator makes economical sense.
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