Dorm Refrigerators and Fridges

For a college student without a dorm fridge it can be royally painful to keep yourself stocked up on decent food at a reasonable price. There are all sorts of unhealthy food options a lot more readily available than anything that could be considered remotely healthy. The price you pay of eating the ‘convenient’ food can be measure both in pounds gained, and dollars spent.

One way to help trim this problem is to get a dorm refrigerator or dorm freezer for your room. Here a few thoughts about dorm fridges to consider

Size and Style

There are several types of mini fridge ideal for use as a dorm refrigerator freezer. Small portable fridges, compact fridges and bar fridges will all serve that purpose well. A lot of these fridges are only three feet high, and have a small footprint. You can use the top of the fridge for storage of non-food items, so this type of unit is ideal for a small dorm room.

Brands

Haier produces a large range of dorm refrigerators, starting at around one hundred dollars on up. You can get a mini fridge from Haier that is only 1.7 cubic feet. If your available space – and budget – permits, they have a slightly bigger refrigerator that is a tad less than 5 cubic feet in size.

The ever popular GE has a selection of compact fridges with similar sizes to the Haier range. The GE refrigeratorss cost a few bucks more, but you are getting the advantage of a well-established brand.

Danby and Igloo are other well regarded brands; though I would recommend an actual Igloo fridge over the use of an Igloo cooler in your dorm room.

Savings

Yes, you heard me right. Spending money on a portable fridge for your dorm room can actually save you money in the long run. Pizza delivery – and quick trips to McDonalds – gets very expensive very fast. Having decent food available to eat in your room can cut back this expense considerably, always a plus on a college student’s budget.

Healthy Convenience

With one of these useful dorm refrigerators close at hand, you will no longer have to go out trying to find something to eat or drink when you really should be studying for that final or working on papers. No more trudging to the cafeteria, vending machine or fast food outlet to satisfy that late night snack attack.

As you can see, the addition of a compact dorm fridge with freezer to your room has lots of benefits. It may seem difficult to cough up a bunch of cash for something so mundane as one of these mini fridges, but in the long run you will get that money back through the savings you reap!

Originally posted. May 29, 2010

RV Refrigerator

An RV refrigerator is a must have item for anyone who plans to spend any period of time in a recreational vehicle.  While we expect to rough it a little when we choose to travel – or even live on the road full time – we do expect the basic luxuries.  Reliable RV refrigeration is near the top of that list of luxuries.

A motorhome needs to have an RV fridge so that we are able enjoy the benefits of chilled food; even more useful is an RV freezer to allow for frozen food.  With one of these appliances installed our dining options expand enormously – a great comfort for many – and we gain the ability to store leftovers from meals we do not finish.

This is truly a wonderful perk.  When we know we can eat something for two or three days, it is worth out time to take the effort to cook something special two or three times a week rather than it being a daily chore.

Apart from expanding our eating choices, we also gain the capacity to have an ice cold drink of our choice available for consumption as we while away the evening hours.  Relaxing is one of the chief benefits of the RV life, so appropriate beverages are very welcome.

When purchasing RV refrigerators there are many types of fridge you may consider.  I would advise avoiding regular portable fridges designed for stick built house dwellers due to their requirement for mains power.  Also to be avoided are dedicated 12v fridges – while some of these, such as the Engel, are magnificent units they are more appropriate for use as car fridges.

With an RV you have the potential to tote propane around as you travel.  This gives you the ability to operate a 3 way motorhome refrigerator, and I strongly advise you avail yourself of this. When you install a 3 way RV fridge freezer in your motorhome you have an incredibly versatile cooling solution.  Let me briefly explain.

A 3 way refrigerator can be powered by any of the following – mains electricity, propane LPG, or a 12V direct current source.  Between these three options you will have refrigeration at a modern camp ground (mains power), boon-docking on Bureau of Land Management acreage (propane) or driving between the two (12V DC).

No other RV refrigeration solution offers the same level of flexibility.  That is why a 3 way fridge freezer is the ideal solution for your RV refrigerator needs.  When looking for particular units match the dimensions carefully against where you plan to place it in your motor home, and be sure to purchase a trusted brand such as Norcold or Dometic. If money is tight you can often find a bargain by shopping for used RV refrigerators.

Originally posted. July 28, 2010

All About Thermador Appliances

Thermador has long been a leading name in the appliance world. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Thermador has been producing innovated kitchen appliances that have changed the way that many cook. Most know Thermador for its oven and food heating technology, but what experience does the company have with making refrigerators and freezers? Should they be trusted with the most vital part of your cooking experience?

 

A Historical Timeline of Thermador Appliances

1916- The Thermador company is launched by William E. Cranston, producing electrical items such as built-in and portable heathers.

1930- 14 years after the initial beginnings of the Thermador company, Cranston decided to merge his own business with another independent company lead by H.H. Fogwell. This merge created the Thermador Electrical Manufacturing Company.

1940’s- The new company pioneers in the market of cooking appliances and evaporative coolers, better known as refrigerators.

1943- Thermador receives the distinguished Army-Navy E Award for their innovations in the installation of cutting edge insulation that withstood drastic temperature and humidity changes.

1947- The first built in wall oven is released by Thermador, an appliance that is installed in many homes today.

1960’s- The company releases matching appliances including stovetops, ovens, refrigerators and freezers. Stoves contain self-cleaning technology and speed cooking features.

1969- Thermador appliances appear in the famous Brady Bunch television show.

1970’s- Thermador refrigeration model sales peak when Julia Child’s revolutionary cooking show uses the appliances exclusively.

1995- Professional stovetops created with sealed burners, the “Star Burner” a revolution in cooking. These heating elements cook evenly, compared to some other stovetop models.

2002- Oven time is reduces by up to 75% with new Jet Impingement Ovens.

2006- Separate refrigeration columns become a feature in new cooling appliances, allowing the fridge and freezer to be installed separately to suit the individual family’s needs. The Freedom Collection becomes a cutting edge fridge technology.

The Freedom Refrigerator and Freezer Collection

While you may have seen many models of Thermador fridges in appliance stores and home departments, the most revolutionary line of cooling appliances is the Thermador Freedom Collection. But why is this appliance line the most noteworthy? With these appliances, you don’t have to be buckled down to a fridge and freezer combo. All different sections of the appliance separate, allowing you to install them wherever works best in your kitchen. You are able to potentially purchase large individual components, which can be a great asset if you are into freezer cooking – a practice that requires a lot of frozen food storage space. With these models, you can even find customized wooden door pieces that can match any décor.

Thermador Kitchen Appliances

With a long history of innovation and a passion for cutting edge technology, Thermador might be the answer you’re looking for. Even though Thermador is famous for their heating appliances, don’t hesitate to turn to them for you fridge and freezers. Lots of models means options to choose from, but the Freedom Collection is a great choice for diversity and unique installation.

 

 

Originally posted. June 11, 2011

Consumer Reports Appliances

Consumer reports magazine is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization with over 3.2 million subscribers. They test over 3,000 products a year to pin point best buys and worst buys. They claim to be 100% unbiased due the fact that they take no outside advertizing. This also means they must charge a nominal fee to provide their review service, $26.00 yearly, $5.95 monthly. A mobile application is also included in the subscription, which can be helpful while out shopping. The website includes a vast inventory of products under the categories of Cars, Electronics, Home and Garden, Babies and Kids, and lastly Appliances. Consumer Reports Appliances include Laundry and cleaning, kitchen, and heating, cooling and air.

Laundry & Cleaning
Laundry and cleaning includes pretty much any cleaning appliance you can imagine including clothes dryers, washers, sewing machines, steam irons, steam mops, vacuum cleaners both wet and dry. In addition to appliances they also include reviews on consumable cleaning supplies. When searching for the best product, you can either enter the make and model you are interested in, or enter specific criteria like size, energy consumption, or specific features. They also feature particular topics of interest in an article like format, for example “Water-saving washers.”

Kitchen Appliances
The appliances included in the kitchen category are even more numerous and include two sub categories. Large appliances are listed as cook tops and wall ovens, dishwashers, freezers, microwave ovens, range hoods, ranges, refrigerators, and wine cellars. Small appliances are listed as blenders, coffeemakers, countertop induction burners, food processors and choppers, garbage disposals,  juicers, thermometers, mixers, slow cookers, toasters and water filters. A nice addition to the consumer reports website is a more holistic view, the Kitchen-Planning Guide, where you can choose your appliances together and compile the best products for your home.

Heating, Cooling & Air
Often forgotten, due to the out of sight out of mind circumstance, the heating cooling and air appliances are actually some of the most important appliances in your home. Consumerreports.org includes reviews of air conditions, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, gas fireplaces and furnaces, humidifiers, pellet and wood stoves, solar water heaters, space heaters and water heaters. The forum feature on the website can be very helpful especially for these appliances, where people can ask questions and have peers and professionals provide advice and experiences.

Since 1936 Consumer Reports has been providing expert buying advice, recommendations and ratings on a wide spectrum of products. Like all products that are reviewed and tested, Consumer Reports Appliances are acutely researched before testing even begins. Data is gathered about consumer demand, and then staff shoppers in 65 US cities purchase the products to be used as test samples. Surveys gather information on experiences from hundreds of thousands of subscribers that is used in the Frequency of Repair and Reliability Reports. Finally state of the art testing equipment, some of it specially designed by Consumer Reports engineers, is used to compare the quality and performance of the product to government, industry and Consumer Report designated standards. So you can be sure consumerreports.org will provide you with accurate and concise information about any appliance you are considering purchasing.

 

Originally posted. May 29, 2011

Finding the Right Ice Cream Maker

When it comes to finding the right ice cream maker, you have many choices to look at.  In fact, the number of options can be a little overwhelming.

While you might think of restaurants and ice cream parlors as the main customers for these appliances, the truth is that there are dozens of homemade ice cream makers to choose from and they can range from as low as $50 or even less up to several hundred dollars for a new model.  One of the best ways to begin your search is to find the companies with the best reputation for making ice cream makers for the home and comparing prices and ratings of each.

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Icecream MakerCuisinart ice cream makers

The Cuisinart ice cream maker line is renowned for making homemade ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt all from one machine.  Their average line ranges from $50 for a very basic Cuisinart ice cream machine and yogurt maker all the way up to $300 for the advertised commercial quality homemade ice cream maker. Depending on which machine is being used and what treat is being made; time can range from a light 20 minutes to a still extremely reasonable time frame of one hour for enjoying frozen treats. The average warranty for Cuisinart ice cream makers vary from 2 years to 3 years depending on the machine.

Rivals ice cream makers

One of the major benefits of looking at a Rival ice cream maker is that there are so many inexpensive models, ranging from $25 to $50.  Many of the designs produced by Rival are not fancy or “commercial grade,” but they are simple, easy to use, and get the job done 1 to 6 quarts at a time.  As with their Cuisinart competitors, the users manuals are available for download online.  The Rivals homemade ice cream makers might look simple with an outside blue bucket and the mechanics located within, but they make delicious ice cream and have a strong reputation among happy consumers.

Krups ice cream makers

Krups International enjoyed a strong reputation for making high quality ice cream makers, so much so that you can still find people searching for these appliances online despite the fact that Krups discontinued these appliances back in 2007!  A Krups ice cream maker even included a little LCD screen to keep track of the progress and let the user know when the ice cream was actually ready, eliminating the guess work.  These included feeder bowls to add ingredients during the process, and it was a little bit of a surprise when the Krups homemade ice cream makers were discontinued.

These are some of the major names out there for homemade ice cream makers, and while they differ widely from one another, all of them have earned a reputation among consumers as companies who create a quality ice cream maker.

Originally posted. May 4, 2011

12v Fridge

If you are in the market for a 12v fridge for your car or off-road vehicle, there are several points to consider before taking the plunge.  I will briefly discuss here some of the more pertinent factors relevant to the purchase of a 12V refrigerator in the hope of making you a more informed buyer.

Compression Or Absorption Technology

The cooling system in nearly all refrigerators utilizes one of two basic technologies: Compression refrigeration or Absorption refrigeration.  Each of these systems has its respective advantages and disadvantages for use in a 12 volt cooler.


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The major advantage of an absorption refrigerator is that these devices can potentially be powered using gas.  If you are considering a 3 way fridge like those used in a caravan for its flexibility (they can be run off 12v DC, mains or LPG) then they will be an Absorption type fridge, as Compression refrigerators cannot run from gas.

One cheap 12v refrigerator good for those on a budget is the Koolatron KWC-4 Coca-Cola Personal 6-Can Mini Fridge. This highly decorative fridge can conveniently cool half a dozen cans of soda to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient air temperature.

However, if you plan to run your 12v fridge freezer off  DC all the time, rather than using LPG propane, you should definitely lean towards purchasing a compression refrigerator.  This type of unit has several advantages absorption units’ lack.

Firstly, while both technologies can be setup to utilize 12v DC, a compression model will use a lot less power than a comparable absorption.  This will make a huge difference when you are parked and have the 12 volt fridge freezer powered from your vehicle.  An absorption fridge will draw down the car battery quite rapidly, with a well-chosen low amperage compression fridge it may be possible to leave the unit plugged in several hours with minimal impact to your battery charge state.

In fact, a compression 12v fridge can be so energy efficient is it possible to rig yourself up a setup using solar panels to keep it running indefinitely.  Given the price of solar power, the fact that this is considered an option speaks volumes to the efficiency of these 12v refrigerators.  Particularly noteworthy for their cooling efficiency are the 12v Danfoss compressor fridges.

A second drawback to absorption units is the issue of leveling your portable fridge.  They really need to be maintained very close to level in order to work correctly.  If you take your vehicle off-road you may well be deliberately seeking out ‘non-level’ terrain.  12v DC Compressor refrigeration shine under these conditions.

Fridge Or Fridge Freezer

If you want a 12v freezer, you should probably again opt for a compressor unit.  Absorption 12 volt fridges can usually cool only a certain number of degrees below the ambient temperature and thus makes for a poor 12 volt freezer.  With a properly equipped compressor fridge freezer temperatures are possible.

Choosing A Brand

There are several manufactures of 12v fridges suitable for use in vehicles. Norcold, Waeco and Engel are all well regarded model lines,  Engel and Waeco refrigeators in particular have a very good reputation for ruggedness and durability. Engels Engel AC/DC Fridge Freezer – Engel MT45F-U1 is a very well regarded 12v fridge freezer that gets rave reviews. The firm Novakool has a line of 12v marine refrigerators intended for use on a boat.

When shopping around you will notice these 12v compressor fridge models are generally significantly more expensive than a similar 12v absorption model; and you may be tempted to purchase a cheaper 12 volt refrigerator freezer absorption model.

However, when buying a 12 volt cooler a budget model may be more trouble than it is worth.

If you are looking for a true 12v fridge intending to use it solely with a 12 Volt power supply, it is almost certainly worth the extra expense for the compressor type of 12 volt refrigerators.

Originally posted. June 13, 2010

Black And Decker Refrigerators and Freezers

It is a surprise to many that Black and Decker refrigerators and freezers are available.  This brand is more associated with power tools and lawn care than refrigeration.  These cheap refrigerators and freezers will never be mistaken for high-end appliances, but they are very good option for people seeking a small refrigerator at a low price.

Black And Decker Fridges

The Black and Decker BCF27 is a 2.7 cubic ft. capacity mini fridge with freezer.  The small freezer compartment is sized to fit an ice cube tray, but little else.  This tiny refrigerator manages to make room in the door for 2-liter soda bottles, quite impressive given its diminutive size.

Black and Decker BCF27

A little larger is the BCF31 3.1 cu. Ft. mini fridge freezer.  The setup of this unit is similar to the BCF27 but also incorporates a can dispenser – the ‘dispense-o-can storage’ system.  The reversible door on this unit makes it easy to install in any location, and it is a great candidate for use as a dorm refrigerator.

A third offering is the Black & Decker NuCool fridge, with a tiny 1.7 cubic foot capacity. Sold at Walmart and Best Buy, these devices are available in a wide variety of bright colors, from pink to purple to blue.  This model is very unusual in that is operates without either a compressor or refrigerant coolant, but the reviews as a whole are very positive.

Black And Decker Freezers

Black and Decker also market some small chest freezers for home use.  The BFD53 has a capacity of roughly 150 pounds of frozen food, and incorporates a security lock to prevent unauthorized access.

The larger BFD70 can hold 200lbs of food, and includes two removable vinyl coated freezer baskets to help keep the contents organized. Both models include an easy access defrost drain suitable for their manual defrost design.

Shoppers with a limited budget looking for serviceable refrigeration and freezer appliances will likely find these Black and Decker fridge freezers a good option.

 

Originally posted. April 19, 2011

Summit Refrigerators

Summit refrigerators come in just about every size and style imaginable. From full-sized stainless steel refrigerators to small undercounter fridges for storing wine or beverages, Summit has a wide range of refrigeration options to choose from. There are outdoor refrigerators, apartment-sized refrigerators, and more than 100 different commercial refrigerators and freezers.

Summit Undercounter Refrigerators

Summit has more built-in undercounter refrigerators than any other company. Each of these small refrigerators can be purchased with one of eight different door finishes, and you can even have them custom painted to match your kitchen cupboards. Summit undercounter refrigerators are available in 20″ and 24″ widths.

Summit Outdoor Refrigerators

Turn your backyard into an outdoor party area complete with a Summit outdoor refrigerator. These fridges are great for anyone who loves to barbecue for friends and family. You can keep your cold ingredients close by so you can get to them quickly instead of having to keep running into the house to retrieve what you need as you are preparing the meal. You can choose from the line of Summit refrigerators, beverage dispensers, freezers, and serving carts that are designed for outdoor use. All of Summit’s outdoor refrigerators are weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about bringing them inside if your party gets rained out.

Summit Refrigerators for Apartments

Summit FFBF240WIf you live in an apartment, you have a limited amount of space for your appliances. Summit’s compact refrigerators for apartments are the same depth as a standard kitchen counter, so they will not take up extra room in your already cramped apartment kitchen. The interior of these refrigerators are designed to give you as much food storage space as possible in the limited space. They have two crispers, a wine rack, glass shelves, and freezer drawers.

ENERGY STAR Refrigerators

ENERGY STAR refrigerators save you money, and Summit offers several models that meet ENERGY STAR standards. The Summit ENERGY STAR line includes undercounter and compact refrigerator-freezers and full-size counter depth refrigerator-freezers as well as undercounter refrigerators designed to meet ADA guidelines.

Appliances that display the ENERGY STAR label must exceed government regulations for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to being better for the environment, these appliances will save you money over the years because they cost less to run.

Commercial Summit Refrigerators

For restaurant or other food service industries, choose a Summit commercial refrigerator from more than 100 models, all of which meet NSF standards for food safety. Summit’s commercial line includes beverage refrigerators with glass doors for selling bottled drinks, juice dispensers, reach-in refrigerators, wine cellars, and beer dispensers. Summit also offers a USB temperature logger that can be installed in any refrigerator or freezer. This device automatically logs the temperature every fifteen minutes and saves the data to a USB drive, which can be plugged into a computer to transfer the temperature data to your PC. This allows you to maintain good temperature control to ensure the safety of the food.

Whether you are opening a restaurant or remodeling your home, Summit has the right solid or glass front refrigerator to meet your needs. Choose the size, style, and even the color you want in a refrigerator that is built to last.

Originally posted. February 3, 2011

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

Bottom freezer refrigerators are an extremely popular fridge freezer style.  They offer a number of benefits that other types of refrigeration appliances do not.

This article explores some of the advantages of bottom freezer fridge freezers.

The primary benefit of one of these refrigerators is that they do not require a whole lot of floor space.  Many modern refrigerator designs – such as the side-by-side and French door refrigerator freezers – are rather wide, and do not easily fit into small kitchens.


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A bottom freezer fridge will usually be narrower than these types of appliances, which makes them better able to be installed into narrow openings against your kitchen wall. Now of course there are other fridges that have a similar width to these units – top mount freezer refrigerators for one – so there must be other additional benefits that explain the popularity of the bottom mounted units.

What bottom mount freezer refrigerators offer that top mount units do not is convenience. Since the refrigerator compartment is elevated in these appliances, it is a lot easier to access the contents of your fridge in a bottom mounted freezer fridge device. Considering that most users will need entry to the refrigerator considerably more often than they do the freezer, this can be a significant advantage.

On a related note, in this type of refrigerator the location of the crispers are a lot more convenient also. When a fridge is resting on the ground, the bottom couple of shelves – which is where the vegetable crispers are normally found – are very low and difficult to get to. When the fridge rests on top of the freezer unit however, the fresh produce stored in the crisper is a lot easier to access and thus a lot more likely to be eaten.

There is an extensive selection of Maytag bottom freezer refrigerators available; but odds are all your favorite brand have offerings also.  Amana refrigerators, Fisher Paykel fridges, Whirlpool, the Korean firms LG and Samgung, GE, Bosch and KitchenAid are just some of the brands are available in bottom freezer styles.

You can see a large selection of available bottom freezer refrigerators at Amazon.

Originally posted. December 14, 2010

The Under Counter Fridge – A Great Refrigerator Option

Many households looking for a luxurious yet convenient addition to their kitchen will consider the purchase of a second fridge.  When it comes to choosing a second fridge, an under counter fridge is a very popular choice.

A simple compact fridge or bar fridge can make for a cheap second fridge.  However, if your needs are for a design that smoothly fits into your existing kitchen décor then undercounter refrigeration has a lot of benefits.  Below I will discuss the features of these appliances, and briefly discuss a couple of the available models.

The usual form factor of one of these small refrigerators is a set of drawers – frequently caster drawers.  These under cabinet refrigerators are installed in a space similar to that which built-in dishwashers occupy. With a relatively small foot print, and easy access for children, they can be a very handy addition to the kitchen. If you seek additional freezer space these units are available as under counter freezers also.

The discreet installation beneath the kitchen counter allows the small integrated fridges to seamlessly blend into your room, and project an air of sophisticated elegance.  Available with a variety of finishes, you can choose the traditional white or black front.  You can also opt for stainless steel, or even custom fitted wooden panels.  This is an especially nice option if you have opted for a full sized integrated fridge freezer as your primary appliance; the two integrated refrigerators will complement each other very nicely.

Similarly to the full sized integrated fridges, these under the counter refrigerator units are designed specifically to allow them to be operated flush to the walls under cabinetry by having the ventilation on the front of the unit.  With cheap compact fridges while you need to ensure several inches of ventilation space on each side; which reduces those units suitability for use as compact undercounter refrigerators.

Unfortunately, while very convenient and attractive, you will have to pay a significant sum for a quality under-counter drawer refrigerator.   Most models are in the US$1,500 to US$3,000 dollar price range.  It is the homeowners decision a to whether nor not having a fridge integrated under counter tops is worth the expense.

As mentioned earlier they are of a similar capacity to many mini-bar fridges or compact refrigerators, and those alternatives can make for a cheap undercounter fridge at a very small fraction of the price.  Not however that care must be taken if you choose this route that under the counter refrigerators are adequately ventilated.

Electrolux ICON Professional E24RD75HPS 24

The Electrolux ICON : E24RD75HPS Professional Series Under-Counter Refrigerator Drawers is a good example of a premium under counter refrigerator. This unit has generous capacity and a stainless steel finish. This particular under counter refrigerator has two sliding drawers, and is truly a sophisticated kitchen appliance that will fit well into the most modern designer kitchen.

Thankfully there is a compromise available as there are under counter fridge freezer units available that have a more traditional compact design combined with a ventilation system that allows them to be used flush against walls.  These units are generally priced more than a regular compact fridge, but for significantly less than the upscale drawer type undercounter fridges.

Summit CT66B 5.1 cu. ft. Compact Refrigerator with Adjustable Glass Shelves, Door Storage, Manual Defrost Freezer, Dual Evaporator and Interior Light: Black

The Summit Appliances CT66B Deluxe Under-Counter Refrigerator-Freezer veers away from the drawer design, and is a model that looks more like a compact fridge, but has the ventilation features that allow for safe usage under a counter. This undercounter refrigerator can be a great choice if you do not want to pay the premium for the drawer type units.

Even high end firms like Sub Zero and Viking manufacture quality undercounter refrigerators.

Also something to keep in mind – though this may be less of a concern if you can afford one of these units – is energy usage.  Though relatively cheap to run due to their small size, under counter refrigerators are considerably less efficient than any large American style fridge when it comes to energy usage per unit volume.  That said, at less than US$50 per year to run – assuming your electricity prices aren’t prohibitive – the cost of operating under counter fridges should not be too serious a problem.

Originally posted. July 1, 2010