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Buying a New Refrigerator.

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by: Charles Kassotis
Going appliance shopping is a lot like buying shoes. Some people hate it, while others savor the opportunity of inspecting various models to find just the right fit for their kitchen and lifestyle. If it has been a few years since you bought a new appliance, and especially a refrigerator, you may want to give some thought in advance to the type of features you want it to have, including size, storage space, compartments, and freezer capacity.

Start by browsing current newspaper ads or local appliance stores for sales or discount items. While it is not always best to buy cheap, it doesn?t hurt to check out the bargain deals first to see if you can find what you want. This also will help you get a better idea of regular prices, available features, and comparison-shopping. You will need to give some thought to design, model, and color, as well. Some shoppers prefer white or black appliances to blend with kitchen d?cor, while others prefer another color that goes with the theme or style of the rest of the home.

When you finally head to the appliance store to check out the various models on display, start by reading the sticker ad on or near each refrigerator. This should tell you how much each unit has of shelf space, for example, as well as other consumer interest information like how much electricity various models will use. Look for the energy saver brand, since energy use can vary widely from one unit to another.

Consider the amount of freezer space you need. If you buy meat or frozen food in bulk quantities, you may want a larger freezer that can hold a lot. Otherwise, though, you may be paying more in energy costs to keep your freezer cold when it doesn?t have very much food to fill it. Find out whether a model is self-defrosting; nearly all are nowadays.

Another thing to keep in mind is how to clean a particular model. Some of the exterior casings are made of a vinyl-type material that seems to absorb grease from adult fingers and dirt from toddler hands. Ask how easy or hard it may be to clean a particular appliance before you buy it. For example, you will probably have to unplug your refrigerator and pull it out to dust or vacuum the refrigeration coils. Make sure you can easily move the unit yourself without getting hurt.

Don't buy more refrigerator than you need. A gorgeous side-by-side ice-maker model might look great in the store, but it could end up crowding your small kitchen or sit around mostly unused if you live alone and don't use it much.

The final steps to making a purchasing decision might rest on the payment options and delivery terms. This would be a good time to ask about product warranties and replacement parts while you?re at it, so you'll know who to call if something goes wrong or a part breaks.

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