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Tips on How to buy a New Refrigerator

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Home Improvement
Buying a refrigerator is a big investment and one that you don't want to waste your money on. If you are in the market for a new refrigerator what questions should you ask and how should you decide which refrigerator suits you best?

Here are five questions you should review before purchasing your refrigerator:

WHAT ARE THE ENERGY COSTS?

With the cost of energy these days you would do well to look for the new energy efficient models that are available on the market. The energy usage can be as low as 25% of what older models cost to run.

Many countries have a seal of approval for the most efficient models. If you are buying new you may be able to ask for more detailed information about the energy consumption and costs at the store. Be aware that you may even be entitled to a rebate from your utility company when you purchase an energy efficient model.

WHICH STYLE DO YOU WANT?

Depending on where you live you will find that a standard fridge is either under the counter height or full height with a freezer included. Most American style refrigerators include the freezer as either a side-by-side configuration or on top or below the main fridge.

If you do not need regular access to the freezer section you may prefer the lower drawer style, although it has not yet become popular and is usually more expensive. Side-by-side configurations often have extra features such as in-door water dispensers, areas that chill prepared foods or allow for defrosting as well as needing less space for door clearance.

Determine your needs, including amount of storage needed, configuration, ease of cleaning as well as the space you have for the fridge. Take into account the doorways you will need to move the fridge through and the depth of counters and height of overhead cupboards or you just might not get your fridge to fit easily in.

WHICH BRAND SHOULD YOU BUY?

Use consumer reports or your friends advice. Fortunately most popular models rate good to excellent in dependability and use. Your refrigerator should easily last 10 years or more.

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND?

If you are renting, on a tight budget or just looking for a second fridge for the garage you may only need to spend 100-300 dollars for a secondhand fridge. Expect to pay more for secondhand appliances at stores as opposed to private sellers.

Brand new appliances can run from 500 for a basic model up to nearly 4500 for a SubZero fridge. Expect to pay about 1200-1800 for a good model with extra features. Note that some styles and options will up the cost a great deal.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK OUT FOR?

When buying new check out the warranty before you buy. When arranging delivery find out if installation is included, especially if you need hook up for a water dispenser.

When buying secondhand make sure you see the fridge plugged in and in working condition before taking it home. Check the cooling coils are not overly covered in dirt and hair which could cause excess wear on the engine. Most importantly check door seals close tight and that there are no cracks or holes in the interior since these are difficult to fix and will increase the cost of running the appliance.