Choosing a Built-In Refrigerator

Built-In Refrigerators at Arizona Wholesale

Types, Styles, and Look

In the early days of built-in refrigerators there were very few choices. Sub-Zero gets credit for creating this category in the mid-late fifties. It took a while for the category to grow into what it is today. At one point Sub-Zero was synonymous for built-in refrigerator, and even today they are clearly a market leader. However, many other brands now offer a variety of choices in built-in refrigeration. Here are a few:

Bosch, Dacor, Electrolux, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Miele, Monogram, and Thermador

Sub-Zero pioneered the traditional built-in refrigerator which, for our purposes, is a refrigerator with a cabinet depth no more than 24″. Early on the brand offered a choice of stainless steel fronts or models that would accept slide-in cabinet panel fronts to match adjacent cabinetry (overlay models).

Eventually, built-in refrigerators were developed that had hidden hinges and accepted cabinet panel fronts that were flush with adjacent cabinets. These refrigerators were fully-flush “integrated” refrigerators.

Sub-Zero-Fronts

Sub-Zero Fronts

Click below for a short discussion on integrated appliances from Houzz:

INTEGRATED APPLIANCES

Today, column refrigerators with cabinet panels have doors that go from bottom to top (no horizontal panel at the top), and when the doors are closed are truly not discernible from the adacent cabinets.

Columns

Columns

Configurations of built-ins includes side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, bottom freezer refrigrator/freezers, and separate column refrigerators, freezers, and wine coolers. In addition, some brands offer built-in under counter refrigerators and wine coolers; as well as under counter refrigerator and freezer drawers. The configurations for your kitchen are endless.

Click on the link below to review some of the choices in built-in refrigerators on our Houzz page:

Arizona Wholesale Houzz

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New Appliance Ideas that Flopped

*Three Appliance Industry Epic Fails

During a career in the major appliance industry I've witnessed the introduction and growth of many great new products such as microwave ovens, convection ovens, induction cooktops, steam washers and dryers, french door refrigerators, and professional ranges for the home.

There have been a number of product flops, too. Here are three notable failures over the last two decades.

Continue reading “New Appliance Ideas that Flopped” »

Prepare Appliances for Your Vacation

5 Steps to Prepare Your Appliances for Vacation

It's that time of year again. You're getting ready to take your vacation, but you haven't really thought about getIng your appliances ready for your extended absence. Here's a list of what you should do to make sure your appliances will not flood your house, spoil your food, or otherwise create havoc while you're away.

  1. Some appliances, such as your water heater or refrigerator, may have a Vacation Mode. If so, utilize this handy setting. It makes some internal energy saving adjustments.

  2. Run an empty load through your washer and dishwasher. Use whatever cleaner you normally use for cleaning that appliance such as Affresh or LemiShine. For vacations of 2 weeks or longer, prevent odor build up by leaving the door or lid on the washer and dishwasher open while you're away. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. This will keep the dishwasher free from odor, and the rubber seal in the bottom of the dishwasher moist.

  3. Turn off the water supply line to refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher. (I'm paranoid about water leaks).

  4. For vacations that are more than just a long weekend, remove perishables from the refrigerator, and turn the icemaker off. That usually means just lifting the metal bar in the ice maker to its highest/off position. In some refrigerators only the ice bin is accessible, not the ice maker itself. For these models, there will be a separate on/off switch for the ice maker (see below example).

    Refrigerator-Icemaker

  5. Your refrigerator is going to be on while you're away, and it will use more electricity if it is empty. So, if you've removed most or all of the food from your refrigerator, fill a few empty plastic gallon jugs with water, and place them in the refrigerator.

*Most of the tips are for vacations of a week or longer. For those long 3 day week end trips, I'd just turn off the water lines and turn off the ice maker.

For questions about your specific appliance, check your use and care manual. For information about appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more home products consult your designer or builder, then call Arizona Wholesale Supply for an appointment with one of our consultants.


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Appliances that are practical

Intuitive Innovation in Appliances

Major Appliances that Just Make Sense

There's a lot of talk these days about smart appliances. That usually refers to an appliance that can be connected and operated through bluetooth or wi-fi to an remote electronic device such as a smartphone. Most innovative appliances these days, are all about this connectivity. However, most of the great innovations in appliances over time had nothing to do with high-tech designs.

We often trace the history of modern appliances to the early 1950's when a deluge of convenient major appliances became popular in the post WWII expansion. Automatic washers and dryers replaced wringer-type washing machines and clothes hanging on a line. Frost-free refrigerators, self-cleaning ovens, and dishwashers all began to show up in our kitchens. These were all products that had demonstrable work-saving benefits, and the American public gobbled them up.

In the mid to late 90's, full-sized front loading washing machines took the country by storm. But there was also another appliance that caught the attention of many appliance buyers, The Double Oven Range.

I've always referred to this as the perfect example of “intuitive innovation”. Created by Maytag, and called the Gemini Range, the innovation was evident just by looking at it. In the space below a range's cooking surface, Maytag added a small oven/broiler, with a full-sized oven below the small oven.Viola, two ovens in a range that used to have only one oven and a storage drawer. The Gemini Range was a big success for Maytag, and was soon copied by all the competitors in this category.

Today, you can find double-oven ranges by these major brands: Frigidaire, GE, GE Café, GE Profile, Maytag, Samsung, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid. Of course, all are available at Arizona Wholesale Supply. Ask your builder or designer and call Arizona Wholesale Supply for an appointment today.


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Follow-up on new GFCI code requirement

Remodeling a Kitchen? Think about updating GFCI outlets.

This is an update of a blog I wrote last year regarding new NEC requirements for GFCI plugs as of June 29, 2015.

New Rules on GFCI Receptacles

We purchased an older home recently, and did major remodeling including the kitchen. We had some electrical issues in the kitchen, so I called in an electrician to analyze and fix the problem. Not just an electrician, this fellow was an electrical inspector who did some odd jobs on weekends.

GFCI-Outlet

New GFCI Outlet

He addressed and fixed the main problem I had which related to the lack of adequate power in my kitchen. While he was there, I asked him to install new GFCI outlets in my kitchen. We had a brief discussion regarding the new code, and he informed me that GFCI plugs should not be used for the refrigerator. THIS IS WRONG, and it is widely misunderstood by the trade. The new NEC code which went into effect June 29, 2015 requires the new self-monitoring GFCI's in the kitchen, but does make an exception for a refrigerator in the kitchen. That does not mean that the GFCI is not a good idea for the refrigerator, but an exception is granted where needed (see below). Here's what you should know:

At one time, twenty years or more ago, refrigerators and freezers had large compressors, that had large power requirements when they turned on, a “surge” if you will. Old model refrigerators provided a lot of cooling very quickly, then turned off for a long time, and then kicked back on when the refrigerator warmed up. A refrigerator or freezer kicking on might unnecessarily trigger the circuit breaker and disconnect power to the refrigerator. This could result in food loss or spoilage. However, today's refrigerators have smaller compressors that run all the time at variable speeds, eliminating the “surge” and keeping temperatures even. Refrigerators today pose little risk of tripping a circuit breaker. In fact, if they do trip the circuit breaker, it is likely there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

The real lesson for you is that if you have any electrical work done in your kitchen or baths, it is a good idea to update your electrical receptacles with new outlets that are compliant to the latest NEC requirements.


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Refrigerator Ice Makers and Water Dispensers

Choices Abound for New Dispenser Model Refrigerators

Dispenser-Model-Refer

One of the decisions you'll need to make when selecting a new refrigerator has to do with ice makers as well as ice and water dispensers. Many refrigerators these days come equipped with factory-installed icemakers. Refrigerator models without ice makers may even have connections for ice makers to be added later.

But there are a host of additional decisions to be made with respect to ice makers and water dispensers when choosing a new refrigerator. Let's start with the ice maker itself. Some models have their ice makers located in the door, conveniently freeing up storage space in the freezer…and inconveniently reducing the refrigerator door shelf storage. Other refrigerators free up that door space and put the ice maker in the freezer bin, thereby reducing freezer storage space. What is your preference?

There are even refrigerators that come with 2 ice makers for extra ice when you have parties. Do you often run out of ice? In researching this, I found that one manufacturer offers a spare ice container so that you could remove the ice container from the refrigerator to use as an ice bucket while the spare container allows you to keep making ice while you are using ice from the other container. Handy!

Then there are the dispenser issues. Do you prefer ice and water to be dispensed through an external dispenser, or do you like a refrigerator with doors free from the visual interruption of a bulky dispenser?

Internal-Dispenser

Internal Dispenser

Some people are worried about water leaking from the exterior dispenser and damaging their hardwood floor, and prefer refrigerators with internal dispensers. Others simply like the nice clean look of a refrigerator with no visible dispenser.

Many external ice makers allow you to flip a switch to dispense crushed ice vs. cubed. The choices seem infinite. GE® has a refrigerator that will dispense hot water as well as cold water, and even brew a cup of coffee from an accessory Keurig® attachment.

GE-Dispenser

Of course, the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply will have all the details on the latest refrigerator designs.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Refrigerator Use and Care: Condenser Coils

Cleaning condenser coils on your refrigerator

Refrigerator

Do the refrigerator coils need cleaning

Most of the time, on recent models, you’re not going to need to worry about cleaning refrigerator condenser coils. Here’s what the use and care booklet from my KitchenAid® refrigerator has to say about cleaning the coils.

“There is no need for routine condenser cleaning in normal home operating environments. If the environment is particularly greasy or dusty, or there is significant pet traffic in the home, the condenser should be cleaned every 2 to 3 months to ensure maximum efficiency.”

Instructions to clean the refrigerator condenser coils

First, turn off or unplug the refrigerator. Most often, you’ll find the condenser coils at the bottom of the base grill underneath the refrigerator. Remove the grill and use your narrow vacuum cleaner attachment vacuum underneath your refrigerator and coils as well as you can. You can purchase a special brush to reach the hard to get places (see photo below) from an appliance parts company or directly from one of the manufacturers, GE, Whirlpool, etc.

Coil Cleaning Brush

Coil Cleaning Brush

Below is the link to a Whirlpool video on cleaning refrigerator condenser coils:Next, move the refrigerator out of the way, and clean behind it. Then remove the back cover to the machine compartment to access the machine compartment. Clean any dust in this compartment and the condenser fan blades. Re-attach the cover, plug the refrigerator in and move it back into place.

 

Whirlpool Corp. Refrigerator Condenser Cleaning

For more advice on refrigerator use and care download the free tip sheet from Arizona Wholesale Supply and follow this blog for additional advice on appliance care.

Refrigerator Tip Sheet


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Refrigerator Use and Care: Icemaker Issues

Refrigerator Icemaker Issues

1. Clearing ice that is clogged in your icemaker bin or mechanism.

It is not unusual for ice cubes to occasionally freeze or clump together in a corner of the ice bucket. Don’t use a knife or other sharp metal device to pry the ice from the bin. You might very well damage your ice bin. The easy and simple way to remove clogged ice cubes no matter where they are in the ice bin is to remove the ice bin from the freezer, turn off the icemaker, and let the ice thaw out. This method works well and avoids damage to your ice bin.

2. Too much ice production or icemaker doesn’t shut off. Not enough ice or icemaker isn’t producing ice.

Issues with insufficient ice production can somtimes be caused if the freezer temperature is too high. Make sure the icemaker is holding a temperature near zero. Refrigerators that are out of level can also have reduced ice production because some of the cube molds don’t fill with water.

If your icemaker doesn’t stop making ice when the bin is full, check the shutoff arm. It could be stuck in an open position. Release the lever and remove excess ice cubes. Similarly, if your icemaker isn’t making ice, the shutoff arm could be stuck in the off position.

If the problem isn’t with the icemaker shutoff arm, examine your water supply line for leaks or kinks. Adjust the water valve for more flow if necessary.

Finally, the filter may be clogged and need replacing.

3. Ice tastes bad.

Clean the ice bucket and the ice tray. Test water in water supply line. Replace the water filter if necessary.

This is part of an ongoing series on refrigerator use and care. Click links below to related blogs:

Refrigerator water filters

Moisture in the refrigerator

 


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Appliance Tips: Refrigerator Care and Maintenance

Getting Rid of Moisture in the Refrigerator

Occasionaly we get complaints from refrigerator owners dealing with water build-up in the refrigerator. This is usually evidenced with drops or even small puddles of water collecting on top of containers in the refrigerator.

First, let’s recognize that there is no function of the refrigerator’s operation that produces water. A line might run from the sink to the refrigerator and connect to the ice-maker and water dispenser, but this water is not produced by the refrigerator, and it is not the cause of moisture in the refrigerator.

3 Causes of Moisture Build-Up in Your Refrigerator

1. Open Containers or uncovered food

If you put leftovers in tupperware or other refrigerator containers, make sure that the container is properly sealed. Cold air needs to circulate around these containers – not inside them. Do not store food uncovered in your refrigerator unless it is in a designated storage bin.

2. Excessive Opening and Closing

Maybe you’re like me, and you like to take inventory in the refrigerator.

SHE: “What are you doing in the refrigerator?”
ME: “I’m just looking.”
SHE: “What for?”
ME: “I don’t know. Just checking.”
SHE: “Close the door!”

So, if you do that, and your kids do that (all day long during summer break), you are letting the cold air out, and introducing warm, moist air into your refrigerator. You’re making your refrigerator work harder and as that warm air is cooled you could get some water droplets on the top of items stored in the fridge.

3. Defective or Dirty Gaskets

When you’re doing the routine cleaning of your refrigerator, make sure that you clean the gasket on your refrigerator and freezer doors. Check the gaskets for tears or gaps. Use the dollar bill test. Put a dollar bill between the door gasket and the refrigerator cabinet and close the door. If the dollar bill falls out or easily slides up and down, you have an air leak, and may need to replace or repair the gasket.

For more refrigerator care and use tips click on the link below to download a helpful pdf:

Refrigerator Use and Care


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When do you replace your refrigerator water filter?

Refrigerator Water Filters

Are they a ripoff?

I’ve been doing some research on refrigerator water filters in connection with another project, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the results with you. Refrigerators with built-in water filters have become commonplace over the last 20 years.

GE-Water-Filter-1

Refrigerator water filters are mostly carbon block filters. They do a decent job of filtering out larger contaminants and making your water taste good and odor free. They’re a step above the filters used with water pitchers, or attached to your faucet, but not as good as reverse osmosis (RO) systems.

If you have RO water in your house, and supplied to your refrigerator water line, that is great. Remove your refrigerator water filter and replace the filter with the plug that came with your refrigerator, i.e. no more refrigerator water filter. The RO system will provide RO water to your icemaker and water dispenser on the fridge. This eliminates the money spent on refrigerator filters, and assures a decent water flow rate through your refrigerator.

Without reverse osmosis water, you’ll need to pay attention to the replacement of your water filter. Recognize that refrigerator manufacturers DO have a vested interest in selling filters. Filters are quite profitable, and a nice source of added income after the sale. It does seem that more and more refrigerators have water filters that need to be replaced after 6 months, rather than the 1 year filters that used to be more common. .

Most refrigerators illuminate a warning light when the time to replace your filter is about to occur or has occurred. Some refrigerators measure both the flow of water through the refrigerator and track the time between filter replacements and warn you based on whichever comes first.

My new refrigerator has a filter that should be replaced every 6 months. The stated filter capacity is 200 gallons. The cost of a replacement filter is $40 = $80 per year if I replace every 6 months.

I’m fairly certain that 200 gallons of water won’t pass through my refrigerator in 6 months. I’m also certain that this filter will not degrade much in 6 months. How can you tell? Check for reduced water flow or smaller ice cubes. That could mean your filter is clogging up and it’s time for a new one.

GE-Water-Filter-2

Here is my plan:

I’ll replace the filter when I can tell that it needs it based on observable reduction in water flow or at 1 year. That’s twice the recommended time period, but should be OK. This is just a personal choice and not a recommendation of Arizona Wholesale Supply.

Subscribe to this blog or check back often for more informaton as we focus on Refrigerator Care and Maintenance.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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