Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To: New Refrigerator and Hostess Tip #5

Sunday = Fun Day 

Not this week, at least. Getting a new refrigerator was not fun.

 Sunday = Nightmare

As you know, we are renovating my brother's house. He inherited some newer stainless steel appliances from my parents house, and so we were getting rid of all his white ones. I also have white appliances at my house (never again!), and our fridge had seen better days. It works perfectly, but the handles and molding have turned a yellow hue, and the front of the left door is rusting to the point that I cannot clean it all off. So, I decided that it would be in our best interest to take my brother's white fridge to replace ours.

Keep in mind, I have never replaced appliances before... I measured the sizes about 20 times, and they appeared to be about the same. The new one is actually a little more shallow than our old one, but about the same size inside. It didn't dawn on me until Saturday that I need to measure the doorways in our house in order to get these in and out... and I came to discover that the only door they will fit through is our front door. If we remove the doors from the fridge first. Not a huge deal, my husband thought. He surveyed our old fridge with his dad and they knew it could be done. So we made plans to bring over the new fridge on Sunday and swap them out.

I got the coolers ready while they went to get the new fridge. I cleaned out our old fridge, keeping only the things we really needed / didn't want to waste from the fridge and freezer, and threw out everything else. I managed to get it all down to two coolers worth, and I added ice, thinking that once we got the new fridge in here, after a couple hours of getting cold, we could just put everything back in. And our coolers are the kind that hold ice for 6 days, so I was confident that our food would be just fine.

Boy, was I wrong! Once my husband and great brothers-in-law came back with the new fridge for our house, I thought I was ready for them. I had already turned off the fridge and had a towel ready in case the old fridge leaked water. We had shut off the water line, and the guys helped pull the old fridge out of the cabinet.

Getting the new fridge out of the truck was a job in itself, and then we had to get it up 4 stairs and through our front door. Brothers-in-law make for great laborers! Once it was inside, we figured out how to connect the waterline, but couldn't plug it in. Why you ask? Because when you transport a fridge, you are NEVER supposed to lay it down in the truck, which is what my husband did, because none of us knew this! Apparently, the oil in the compressor will migrate, and if you plug it in right away, it can cause damage to the compressor and ruin fridge. So we had to leave it unplugged until the oil could migrate back down into the compressor.... overnight....

Food sitting in coolers aside, we now had to get the old fridge out. The old fridge, which at this point had completely defrosted, was leaking water all over my wood floors. The old fridge that is too wide that our front door had to be taken off the hinges in order to get it out (PS- we have a really old, glass paned front door that I had bet on getting broken somewhere in this process). The fridge is still sitting on our front porch, looking trashy, awaiting pickup from our local Habitat for Humanity  Outlet. After we got the front door back on, the water and dirt cleaned up from the wood floors, the waiting process began. And we realized that we had nothing to drink or eat... but here is the newest edition to our kitchen:
New(er), shiny, and white! We plugged it in on Monday morning and let it cool down all day. Monday night I put the food back in it.... luckily with such amazing coolers, our frozen stuff stayed frozen, with the exception of some soft frozen yogurt, and our cold stuff stayed fresh.Here is the beautiful new inside after putting all our food back in:
It actually looks full, but I promise you this shot is deceiving. We don't really have much to eat. Its mostly condiments, beer, bread, and some veggies. But we're not done yet.... the ice maker now does not work, and my husband is convinced that the filtered water tastes funny, even though I replaced the water filter. I had to mop the floor twice last night, and I need to remove some more scuff marks from shuffling refrigerators. So more things to work on as the week progresses, not to mention a trip to the grocery store.

The How To's (& How Not's) to Replacing A Refrigerator:

- Prepare ahead of time.  Research online the process of replacing a piece of equipment to see what is involved, instead of winging it like we did.
- Measure, measure, measure. Make sure the new one fits back into where the old one was, and if it fits through the doorways in your house. Figure out if the handles can come off as well- ours did, but if they didn't, we would have had to clear another 3 inches, which meant the fridge would have to go out through a window.
-If you are getting a slightly used fridge, make sure you have a new water filter and that the ice machine works. Repairs can be costly, so they tell me online after the fact. 
-Anticipate the worst, time-wise. I was lucky with the food, but I can see it going badly and having to throw everything out. Also there is no such thing as a quick switch out when it comes to appliances.
-Have multiple people to help. Luckily my husband has strong brothers who could help lift the fridge and wheel it in on a dolly (also highly recommended). We would not be able to do it with just the two of us. I don't care how if you have no steps or if the fridge has wheels. You need multiple people.

And Hostess Tip #5:
If you want to replace your existing refrigerator, go to your local appliance store, buy a new one and have the store deliver it, set it up for free, and remove your old one. (skip other tips above!)

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