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I absolutely love all the friendly and useful advice on this forum! I have a few questions (and hopefully I'll be able to
some wisdom after I've completed this do-it yourself crusade). My first question:
I've boxed in my refrigerator by 2 pull-out pantries (HPO1588) and a refrigerator wall cabinet (WRD3624). There's probably less than a 1/4 inch space above and to the left/right of the fridge. I'm worried about whether the refrigerator needs more room for ventilation, and if there's any danger of overheating. What do you think?
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Check the specs for your specific refrigerator model. If you can't find them in the owner's manual, then call the manufacturer. Different refrigerators vary in the amount of space needed for ventilation, and while some people just jam them in regardless of the manufacturer's recommendations, doing so means risking shortening the life of your refrigerator. The good news is, if you need more space above the refrigerator, you can cut down the cabinet over the fridge to 18" high and exchange your 24" high doors for 18" doors (if that leaves a gap that's too big, you can add some trim that would leave ventilation space while still looking pretty).
Also keep in mind that, in addition to ventilation space, some fridges need space on the sides for the doors to function properly -- particularly if you want the doors to open far enough that you can pull out the vegetable bins for cleaning. Again, the fridge manufacturer should be able to tell you how much space is needed.
I hadn't even thought about access to the vegatable bins... thanks Jen! We had purchased an LG counter-depth refrigerator as an in-store demo model for a discount - so it didn't come with instructions. I just checked around online and found some LG specs that seem to suggest that all my fridge needs is an 1/8" on the sides and 1" on top. Looks like we'll be alright on the sides, but coming up short up above (I think there's about a 1/2-3/4" free space on top).
Make sure that you are very diligent about the regular maintenance of the coils if you're cutting the ventilation specs close...it will make a big difference in the operating efficiency of your fridge.
Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely remember to keep the coils free of dust. Still, I am a bit worried about the 1/2-3/4" clearance above the fridge... hopefully that'll be adequate for ventilation.
thank you for this thread. i was in denial about my clearance so this thread prompted me to download my manual and look it up. whew! i only need 1/2 in on top and in the back. good news for me since i have an inch on top and 1/2 on left and right.