New Frontiers for Refrigerators
They come in more shapes and sizes than ever, and do their job with less energy and greater precision.
Synopsis: With features ranging from LED lighting to advanced temperature-control systems and easy-access designs, today’s refrigerators bring food storage to a new level. Above all, the fridge you buy today is far more energy efficient than the old model in your kitchen. Fine Homebuilding editor Debra Silber explains the new Energy Star standard and what measures manufacturers are taking to make their fridges more efficient, including variable-speed compressors and better insulation and temperature controls. Custom cooling, air filtering, and specialty hinges that let the refrigerator sit flush with kitchen cabinetry are all on the menu. And there’s more, including refrigerator drawers and master suite “morning bars.” If you’re ready to ditch your fridge right now, Silber tells you how to recycle it.
Once upon a time, the kitchen was a place to cook, and the refrigerator was a place to keep food cold and reasonably fresh until you cooked it. But just as we demand more of our kitchens — not only for food preparation, but also for entertaining guests and organizing our lives — we’re demanding a lot more from our refrigerators.
With features ranging from LED lighting to advanced temperature-control systems and easy-access designs, today’s refrigerators bring food storage to a new level. Fridges have an average life expectancy of about 15 years, so chances are a lot of these changes have occurred since you last bought one.
Above all, the refrigerator you buy today is far more energy efficient than the old model in your kitchen. According to Energy Star (www.energystar.gov), the federal program whose label identifies the most-efficient appliances on the market, today’s energy Star-qualified refrigerators use half the electricity of those manufactured before 1993, and 65% less than those built before 1980. Replace a model made in 1990, Energy Star says, and you’ll…