Let’s try to ease your task a little and talk about the main characteristics and functionality of modern refrigerators. We hope this helps you make the right choice.
Dimensions of the refrigerator
The size of the refrigerator is of great importance because, firstly, it should fit in the space allocated to it, and secondly, it should store a stock of food for your family for at least a few days.
The width and depth of a standard refrigerator are the same and are 23.6 inches. Previously, refrigerators of such dimensions were the only option available. Today they continue to be the most common ones, but there are the ones with other parameters, which means that buyers have a wider choice. For example, the width of narrow models is reduced to 45-50 cm, and for refrigerators with swing doors and horizontal proximity of cameras (Side-by-Side), it varies from 80 to 120 cm.
The height of most refrigerators is about 150-160 cm. But there are also two-meter “giants” and 50-centimeter “babies” designed for installation under the countertop.
When choosing a refrigerator, especially a large one, one should take into account not only the area of the kitchen but also the dimensions of the doorways, the length and width of all the aisles, the dimensions of the elevator and its doors. Otherwise, an unpleasant surprise may await you and your movers.
The volume of the refrigerator depends on its size: the larger the refrigerator, the more spacious it is. In the technical characteristics of different models, either the general or the useful volume can be indicated. The last indicator correlates with real capacity, and you should pay attention to it when choosing a refrigerator.
Number and location of chambers
The number of chambers in domestic refrigerators can vary from one to six or more. In some models, each of them is hidden behind a separate door, therefore, to find out how many chambers are there, it is not necessary to look inside when in the store.
Single-chamber models have no separate freezer – its role is played by the low-temperature compartment located inside the refrigerator (in some refrigerators even such an imitation of the freezer compartment is missing). The main advantages of single-chamber units are their small size and relatively low cost, so they can often be found in summer houses, student dorms, hostels, motels, and other cheap mini-hotels.
The most popular ones, and therefore the most common ones today are two-chamber models with separate refrigeration and freezer compartments. Such refrigerators are convenient in that they take up relatively little space, but at the same time can be loaded with a large number of groceries.
It has become increasingly common recently to find two-chamber units with a different variation of chambers, for example, with a refrigerator compartment and a “freshness” chamber, but without a freezer.
In multi-chamber refrigerators, in addition to the standard refrigerator and freezer compartments, there are various additional chambers. There can be many options: a wine chamber, a deep-freeze chamber, a moist freshness zone for storing fruits and vegetables, and a separate chamber for perishable foods.
Side-by-side is often called refrigerator cabinets because in appearance they really look like cabinets with double-wing swing doors. They are two-chamber (less often more), but the freezer is not located above or below the refrigerator compartment, but next to it. The dimensions of such refrigerators are significantly larger than standard, so this option is suitable only for owners of very spacious kitchens.
The refrigerator compartment – the most capacious compartment of any refrigerator – is designed to store food that does not need to be frozen. The temperature in the refrigerator can vary from 32 ° F to 50 ° F.
A separate “freshness zone” may be located in the refrigerator compartment. Often it is also called the “zero zone” because it maintains a temperature close to 32 ° F.
The shelf life of products directly depends on the degree of freezing:
- One snowflake (*): the minimum maintained temperature is 21 ° F, the shelf life of the products is 7 days.
- Two snowflakes (**): minimum temperature is 10 ° F, this temperature ensures the safety of products for 30 days.
- Three snowflakes (***): minimum temperature is -0.4 ° F, the shelf life of products increased to three months.
- Four snowflakes (****): the minimum maintained temperature is -11 ° F, you can not worry about the safety of food for up to six months to a year.
Types of refrigerator cooling systems
To remove heat, it is necessary to perform certain work.
There are several types of refrigeration cooling systems:
- compressor (the vast majority of such refrigerators);
- uncompressed – can be absorption or thermoelectric.
The consultants of specialized stores will be able to advise you on which is the best for you.
There are still models with a manual defrost system among modern refrigerators. But the units that shamelessly exploit human labor are being replaced by new technology that can defrost itself.
Drip Defrosting System
Frost also freezes on the evaporator of the refrigerator with a drip system, but this structural element is hidden from the user’s eyes, so we don’t even know about it.
Water vapor condenses on the back of the refrigerator compartment, and this moisture can turn into ice.
However, the compressor is turned off at certain intervals, which allows the ice and frost to melt, and the water droplets that have formed drain down the chamber wall into a special pan, which is located directly on the compressor, and under the action of its heat, the accumulated water evaporates quickly. The user’s task is simple – make sure periodically that the drainage hole through which meltwater flows into the sump does not clog.
No Frost Defrosting System
If the refrigerators use No Frost technology, then the frost frozen on the evaporator is melted periodically when the heater turns on. There is also a fan in such models that drives the flow of cold air, thereby equalizing the temperature inside the chamber and drying it, so that the water does not freeze on the inner walls of the refrigerator.
In addition, there are options for refrigerators with a drip defrosting system in the refrigeration compartment, and No Frost in the freezer. The use of a drip defrosting system in the refrigerator provides less impact on the shrinkage of products.
In units with the Full No Frost system, frost forms neither in the freezer nor in the refrigerator compartment – each chamber has its own fan for supplying chilled air. The No Frost system greatly simplifies the life of the user, however, this technique also has certain disadvantages, such as additional noise from the fan, quick-drying (weathering, withering) of fresh products due to the presence of cold dry air flows, increased consumption electricity, high price.
It should be noted that although refrigerators with No Frost or with a drip system do not require manual defrosting, once a year this procedure is better to be done for preventive purposes.
Additional functions and characteristics of refrigerators
Refrigerator energy consumption class
According to the amount of energy they consume, all refrigerators are assigned energy efficiency classes marked with Latin letters from A to G. However, you will no longer find refrigerators corresponding to the last four classes on the market, but there are super-economical models marked with A +, A ++ and A +++.
A good refrigerator is a silent refrigerator. The noise level of most modern refrigerators does not exceed 40 dB. Such noise is almost inaudible, or at least it does not cause discomfort.
The climate class determines the maximum ambient temperature at which the refrigerator is still able to qualitatively perform its main task of preserving food. There are several climatic classes – N, SN, ST and T. Refrigerators of class N (normal) work stably at ambient temperatures from 60° F to 90 ° F. The SN class (subnormal) is designed for a temperature range from 50 ° F to 90 ° F, the ST class (subtropic) – from 64 ° F to 100 ° F. And finally, models of class T (tropic) are able to function at temperatures from 64 ° F to 109 ° F.
Super freeze (quick freeze)
In this mode, the freezer operates at maximum intensity, and the temperature quickly drops below -11 F, and in some models even below -22 F.
It is better to activate this mode in advance, a couple of hours before restocking the freezer. A return to the normal operating mode of the refrigerator will occur automatically only if your unit has an automatic shutdown for quick freezing. Owners of low-cost models will have to turn off super freeze manually.
Those who often leave the house for a long time, going on a business trip or vacation, should like the refrigerators in which there is a “Vacation” mode. This mode saves energy and should be activated when the owner does not need to actively use the refrigerator.
The freezer will work as usual, but the temperature in the refrigerator compartment will be maintained at about 59 ° F, which is enough to minimize the likelihood of mold and unpleasant odors, but not enough to store food. Of course, all products with short shelf life must be taken out of the refrigerator compartment.
Automatic ice maker
In some modern mid-range and high-price refrigerators, there are built-in ice makers.
The appearance of the refrigerator, hidden or protruding handle, design, color, the material of the refrigerator, the number of shelves and drawers – this is everyone’s personal choice, so proceed based on your preferences.
If you do not want the refrigerator to spoil the style of the kitchen, choose the built-in model and just hide it in the kitchen cabinet.
We hope that this article has made the task of choosing a refrigerator for your home a little easier.