Nice refrigerator

A couple years ago my wife and I got tired of our Side-by-Side fridge, because the small shelves resulted in inconvenient access and/or unusable space. We bought a large Kenmore Elite French-Door model from Sears, model 795.71054.010.

We immediately upgraded one of the shelves by buying a split shelf (as an expensive repair part) from the next higher model, a good choice, so we could handle tall items more efficiently.

I was concerned because people had reported problems with the icemaker, but decided to risk it anyway.

The icemaker and water dispenser are in the door of the refrigerator space, not the freezer, so that requires an insulated section in the door and a mechanism to blow freezing air up into that section from the bottom freezer.

That turns out to work well. The one problem that we had was that now and then the ice cubes would stick together and form an arch over the dispenser mechanism, so it couldn’t knock any cubes loose to dispense. The workaround was to open the little door into the ice dispenser section and stir the cubes up with a long spoon or a knife. One clue as to the problemĀ  was that some ice would form on the outer edge of the mechanism (toward the little door), and some water would trickle down and freeze in the little door’s gasket along the bottom.

Eventually the ice maker died, and a new one was sent. The new one is better, in that it never dribbles water where it shouldn’t, and in several months the ice cubes have only arched up and jammed once. I suspect a good practice would be to occasionally use chipped ice, which runs the mechanism in the opposite direction, to help keep the cubes loose.

Installation was a nightmare, but Sears compensated for the trouble by giving us an extended warranty (nice when the ice maker failed). The installers measured our doorways and said the refrigerator was too large, that the wood trim on the doorway would have to be removed. I agreed to do that, and told them to bring the fridge in through the other door (through two rooms). They did that, and by the time they arrived at the kitchen door I had the trim removed. But they said they’d used all the time allotted, and I’d have to get another appointment to finish the installation, and they left. Sears said it would be a week for the new appointment, minimum, which was a big problem, needless to say. We had our food in ice chests for the transition, but not good enough for a week or more!

So I installed it myself. It was awkward for one person, because it had to be lifted 9″ from the family room floor level to the kitchen floor level, and concurrently rotated through the doorway. I maneuvered it onto a strong 3/4″ plywood piece about 4’x5′, and raised that with levers and blocks of wood until it was level and even with the kitchen floor, which made moving the fridge fairly simple since no further lifting was required. Just had to be careful crossing the threshhold and making the turn. So by the end of the evening we had refrigeration again. But the next day I contacted Sears and complained a lot. (The installers had also broken a piece from the door latch–found bits of it where their truck had been parked. So I requested replacement of that as well.) Sears responded by replacing the broken piece, removing the installation charges, and giving us a free extended warranty. Seemed fair enough, though of course I’d have much preferred to just have had the installation done properly.

Anyway, net-net, the fridge has been a significant improvement over our previous side-by-side, and it has mostly worked well, so we’re pleased with it.

It has a new kind of mechanism inside–not a normal rotary compressor. It sounds a little different, but cools well. I suspect the compressor is some kind of acoustic device.

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