10 pitfalls to avoid when buying a refrigerator

PHOTO: Pixabay

1. Not knowing how to determine the actual size of the available space

It is important to find out the actual space which will be taken up by the refrigerator. This is because fitting a bigger refrigerator into an existing opening, without considering the clearance needed around the unit for proper ventilation of the compressor will cause the unit to fail prematurely.

For standard and counter depth units, compressors need to breathe from the bottom of the refrigerator too. Therefore, the maximum available space is the measurement after you have subtracted around 1 inch to 2 inches of clearance between the walls, cabinetry and bottom of the refrigerator.

2. Not understanding the difference between the net and gross capacity sizes

PHOTO: Collate

Refrigerator size is one the most critical decision factor when it comes to choosing the right model for your family needs. Although the capacity required mainly depends on the family size, cooking habits and followed by the space available, there is another important factor you should look out for.

As the refrigerator capacity is measured by net capacity and gross capacity, knowing the difference will make sure that you make the right selection.

Gross capacity includes the exterior of the refrigerator and hence, does not show correctly the amount of actual space inside the unit. However the net capacity, sometimes known as storage volume, is the actual amount of inside capacity for the storage of food.

3. Not checking out the different types of refrigerators

There are generally 6 to 7 different types of refrigerators; mini, counter depth, integrated, top-mount or bottom-mount freezer, side by side and French door refrigerators . Do familiarize yourself with the varying types of refrigerators before deciding on one.

A gentle rule of thumb is that the more compartments a refrigerator has, the smaller is its net capacity when compared to another refrigerator of similar external dimensions. This is due to the additional insulation walls that are built around the compartments.

4. Not getting a right type to fit your family or lifestyle’s needs

PHOTO: Alexis Interior

As there are varying pros and cons for each type of refrigerator, you should consider whether the characteristics of the chosen refrigerator will fit the family lifestyle needs.

For instance, a refrigerator with a child lock feature will be extremely handy if you have little inquisitive kids. Also, if you are the type who entertains a lot, having a built-in dispenser will ensure ample ice-cold water from your refrigerator directly.

5. Not realising that little details make a big difference

PHOTO: GE Appliances

There is a saying that the devil is in the details; and little details such as removable refrigerator shelves, spill-proof corners, speed chilling and even having a coffee brewing system built directly into the refrigerator, might make using the refrigerator a great joy.

6. Not picking a colour/material that is compatible with the interior design

PHOTO: 13th Design Studio

Homeowners tend to forget to ensure that the kitchen appliances look cohesive and seamless with the existing kitchen interior design. For instance, the stainless steel appliances give a modern, sleek touch for contemporary looking kitchen but not the cottage-inspired kitchen.

However, you do not need to resort to using built-in, integrated and overlay refrigerators or use the same brand of the appliance to blend in with the chosen kitchen design. Typically, using a matching finish or material should be suffice.

7. Not choosing those with Energy Labels


The refrigerator is one of the largest energy consumer in your home. Thus, it is very important to find an energy-efficient model to keep your electricity bills low.

To know whether if the refrigerator is built with energy conservation in mind, look out for 3 or more ticks in the Energy Label. Although the energy-efficient models are usually more expensive, the overall running costs are still cheaper in the long run.

8. Not avoiding bargain models which are reaching End Of Life (EOL)

PHOTO: Design 4 Space

There is nothing wrong with choosing refrigerators which are going at great bargain prices. However, the reality is that most stores will retail the outdated refrigerator models at a much cheaper price, to clear the obsolete stocks as fast as possible.

When the refrigerator model has reached its EOL, certain replacement parts may no longer be available anymore.

9. Not considering extended warranty

PHOTO: Collate

Buying an extended warranty helps to cover the refrigerator beyond the standard 1 to 2 years of manufacturer warranty. Therefore it helps to protect you in the event the refrigerator breaks down unexpectedly.

Only consider the extended warranty if it has a comprehensive coverage for mechanical failures, power failures, compressor repairs or replacement of other expensive parts.

10. Not factoring additional costs for disposal and non-lift level delivery

PHOTO: Indifferent Design

There are usually additional charges (around $10 per level) for the refrigerator delivery, if your apartment is located at a non-lift level. Some might also charge a disposal fee of around $20 to $50 for the old refrigerator.

However, you can also contact the Town Council as it offers free bulky household furniture removal service. In fact, each unit can get the Town Council to remove up to 3 movable household items for free monthly.

Usually, the removal service is provided on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2pm – 4pm, except on Public Holidays.

This article was first published in Renonation.