They have become common in most kitchens, yet continue to cause questions for potential buyers. Refrigerators with elegant French doors are convenient and allow for storing large items, as well as clearly taking inventory of the appliance's contents when both doors are flung wide open.
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There are many pros and cons of French door refrigerators, too. There are a wide variety of styles to choose from when it comes to selecting the best refrigerator for your needs. The added features of the French door style of refrigerator includes drawers, extra panels in doors, ice makers on top, underneath or non-existent and shelving that collapses for storage of oversized items.
It can be a lot to keep in mind, but it's important, considering that the refrigerator is probably one of the most used appliances in the house on a daily basis.
Ice Maker Break Down
The ice maker is often overlooked for all that it does. The hardworking part of the appliance uses a lot of energy to crank out perfect cubes on demand while keeping cool in the process.
Ice makers need power to create all those individual ice cubes. That requires a lot of energy. The ice maker draws power to engage heating elements that prevent all the inner workings from actually freezing up while also maintaining a good flow of cold air circulating.
The water filter is tied to the ice maker. The more modern versions have better filters, which amounts to better tasting water. However, the better-made filters are larger and take up more room.
In the Fridge Ice Makers
The ice maker is a hot little number that needs to keep its contents frozen without affecting the surrounding fresh and packaged foods that line the shelves of the refrigerator. This is a feat of manufacturing.
Ice makers that are inside of the fresh food compartment of the French door refrigerator work hard to keep the ice that is ready for use inside its compartment from melting.
If you don't use a lot of ice, you may want to turn off the ice maker when it is full. This will keep it from overworking, save energy and money in lower electric bills, and keep the ice tasting fresh.
Problems with French Door Refrigerators
They offer much in the way of appearance and space saving, but when it comes to refrigerators, there are French door disadvantages.
All of those extra features can mean more repairs, such as the movable shelving that gets stuck in position or the indoor ice maker that stops producing crystal clear cubes of cold ice. The ice maker can also take up the added room in the fresh food compartment that is an advantage of French door refrigerators.
French door refrigerators can be larger than the space that was carved out for the refrigerator for older homes. French door fridges are also bulky, which small kitchens can get swallowed up by a hulking French door refrigerator.
They aren't as energy efficient as traditionally designed refrigerators due to all the extra features but are Energy Star approved. They will more than likely increase your energy bill.
Ice Maker in Door vs In Freezer
The option of an ice maker in the door vs in the freezer can be perplexing. This is one of the French door disadvantages that many consumers ponder before purchasing a certain style of the kitchen appliance. There are a few things to consider when considering a refrigerator style with the ice maker in the door vs in the freezer.
The ice maker and water dispensers that are installed in the cavity of the door of the refrigerator are the most prone to receive repairs. But the ice maker in the door is also convenient, as your just press a lever and ice tumbles from the interior and water is always at hand.
Newer in-door ice maker models are often designed to be taller to accommodate reusable water bottles and deeper so that small pots or bowls can be quickly filled. But the in-door ice maker option tends to increase the price of the French door refrigerator.
A French door refrigerator with an ice maker in the freezer that is located on the bottom means you have to open the compartment each time you want ice. This can increase the energy the freezer uses if you need to use a lot of ice throughout the day.
Access to Fresh Foods
The French door style of refrigerator allows you to throw the doors open and explore the entire cold contents you have on hand. This allows you to gobble up the goodies before they go bad while buried in the back of the fridge, only to be forgotten. This option also eats up more energy because the doors are propped open, allowing warmer air to move into the cavity of the refrigerator.
The wider doors allow for larger items to be stored without having to be chopped up into smaller storage containers, such as pizzas, sheet cakes or roasts. The newer models of French door refrigerators often have shelving that can be flipped up to accommodate temporary storage of tall items or slid to the side to make room for the occasional bulky item.
The wider style of this type of refrigerator means there's more shelf space, as well as door bins. The door bins are deeper and wider to fit large gallon jugs of milk or orange juice. Having the fresh foods at eye level in a French door refrigerator is always advantageous.
Freezer Advantages for French Door Refrigerators
The freezer drawer on the bottom has the unfortunate moniker of a coffin freezer. Having the freezer on the bottom of the French door refrigerator makes it easier to organize the contents. The freezer compartment slides out and allows you to glance through the items on the shallow top drawer or slide that back to rummage through the deeper sections at the base of the compartment.
The ice maker in the door or fresh food compartment of the refrigerator frees up more space in the freezer. The handy pull out baskets allow you to get in and out for those most used items, such as popsicles and frozen vegetables, without having to push aside large packages of meat that tend to fall to the front of freezers.
The cons of a bottom freezer are that those heavy items, such as frozen turkeys or hams, are at floor level and can be harder to retrieve. The design of having the colder portion of the refrigerator on the bottom means that it is less energy efficient for some models. These styles are also often more expensive than the traditional refrigerator model.
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Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.