Replace your refrigerator using the four Cs
Unless your refrigerator stops running, you might not know if it's time to replace it. It's the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Some common mechanical issues that can indicate a refrigerator needs replacing include a constantly running motor or hot back coils. However, it's important to know that not all refrigerators that need replacing have a mechanical problem. The U.S. Energy Star program says that units made before 1993 use two to three times more energy than new models that are Energy Star certified. So sometimes they need replacing because they are inefficient, energy gobblers.
When looking for a new unit, Amy Clark, who works for Kenmore, says to think about it like shopping for diamonds, with a new approach to the well-known four Cs of shopping for diamonds. The four Cs in refrigeration are capacity, convenience, consumption and color.
Check the "cubic-foot capacity" which is the height, length and width of every part of a refrigerator. The higher the capacity, the more space you have. The Kenmore Elite Signature, for example, boasts 31-cubic-foot capacity — that's enough to hold 486 soda cans. However, keep in mind that the bigger the space, the more electricity you will use. Consider balancing your storage needs with your budget needs.
What to consider:
Bottom freezer units typically have more space for fresh foods than other configurations, but the freezer tends to be smaller. Refrigerators with top freezer configuration are typically more affordable and make it easy to find what you're looking for.
Side-by-side refrigerators have large freezer spaces and make it easier to find frozen items, while the narrower shelves limit the size of items for storing.
French door refrigerators have two doors for the refrigerator compartment with a freezer below. These can easily store larger items like party trays, and pull-out freezer drawers often feature two levels of storage.
As refrigerators always run, they often use more energy than other appliances. Energy Star says top-mounted freezers use 10 to 25 percent less energy than other freezer models. French door refrigerators tend to be more energy efficient because you can open a single door as needed instead of an entire compartment.
Today's appliance colors make it easier to choose one you won't regret in a few years. Amy Clark offers some tips based on Kenmore's available colors:
White is often the most affordable choice.
Black is also affordable, but not for every kitchen design.
Stainless steel is sleek and timeless, but shows fingerprints and does not accept magnets.
Metallic finishes show fewer fingerprints. They cost less than stainless steel — and you can use all the magnets you want.