Home Renovations: Part 6 – Refrigeration

One of the important considerations when planning our remodel and budgeting process was that we would minimize the cost wherever possible – and that meant re-using most of the appliances in the kitchen. An exception, of course, was to be the new rangetop. We were very keen to move from the electric stove top to use gas instead. Gas is SO much better to cook with, as most professional kitchens are well aware.

That list of appliances to keep included the oven/microwave combo, dishwasher, and refrigerator. That was our plan three years ago in the beginning.

Fast-forward to 6 months ago.

We were getting close to finalizing the plans for the cabinet layout, and my initial idea was to create a 48″ space for the fridge which would have two 6″ spacers to close the space up to a regular (our current) fridge size of 36″. This would help us both save the cost of replacement and allow us to upgrade to a 48″ model when we were able to. I had my eye on the 48″ side-by-side Sub-Zero, but that costs as much as a new motorcycle and after the Texas ice-storm (read here why this is relevant) a couple of years ago combined with an overall materials pipeline slowdown, that meant a 12-month wait for a new one. I was prepared to wait.

Then: it started. The icemaker broke. Well, it wasn’t the first time, and the previous times I was able to fix it by thawing it out or replacing some parts. This time, I couldn’t easily fix it: I started filling ice trays. Soon after, we started to notice puddles on the floor next to it. At first, we thought it was a dropped ice cube, or some spilled water from the spout. But it kept happening. Then our food started to get damp, and the shelves started to mold and remain wet.

We had to clean it out and that meant removing all the food to the spare fridge in the garage (which was not big enough to hold all of it) and into some coolers.

We tried to get it repaired, but the repair service we called said the only way to fix it was to replace it completely (the specific model we had was known to have these kinds of problems, apparently.)

So, I finally got frustrated enough to give in to purchasing a new fridge, but the real challenge was this: do we get an interim one that would be similar to the old one for cheap (well, cheap-ish: nothing worth buying is cheap these days) or do we go for the one that had my eye on?

Turns out, this was a more complex question than we realized. It might seem an easy decision to just get the cheaper stand-in option since the desired end result was over a year away anyhow. But, even the more reasonable models were still clocking in at much more than “throw away” money. We looked around for some used high-end models, but due to the supply issues, those were as much or more expensive than ordering a new one.

Finally, we went to Frederick’s Appliance Center in Redmond. After visiting several major local appliance stores, we were prepared for the same sad story of waiting a year for a new one, but that was not the case here. It seems that the people at Frederick’s plan well ahead. They actually order inventory long before customers demand it. They have a long running supply chain of various models and makes coming in at different times. In fact, if we were ready to install in a week, they just happened to have one similar to our needs in the warehouse right then. Of course, it wasn’t the 100% model I wanted – it had the wrong handles, but it was THERE. Instead, though, I chose to wait since our cabinets weren’t ready. I put in an order to be delivered in the first part of December.

I went with the Sub-Zero I originally wanted as the end result. And yes, that upped the budget by quite a bit.

Now, the cabinets weren’t ready then, so they allowed me to hold the fridge for delivery until it was ready. So, last week, it came.

The unboxing. I love that there are no loose parts or wires on the back.

The installers were amazingly skilled at getting this thing into the house.

Getting it installed required excellent balance and strength.

Finally, the installed fridge fits snugly into its new home. And yes, we are keeping the plastic protection on for the duration of the remaining construction.

I have to say that the installers were AWESOME. They were very knowledgeable and skilled at their jobs, and very helpful.

This model also has a wireless module that gets installed (but is not included) which will be here tomorrow. This is supposed to help keep us abreast of any maintenance issues that might come up.

We had to wait 48 hours to cycle through 2 full bins of ice before we could toss out the old ice trays. Now, we have clean filtered water and ice again. We’ve started moving our cold food back in from the garage. Fortunately (but uncomfortably), we don’t have a lot of fresh food and produce requiring refrigeration right now since we don’t have a kitchen to make it.


Soon, this will change.


At least the old fridge is out of our bedroom now.

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