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Double-Door fridges – the chilling facts…

Fridges are a kitchen essential, but they come in a various shapes and sizes, and these days they have a wide range of features, too. Prices can go from a few hundred pounds in to the thousands, so it’s best to do a little bit of research before you spend a fortune on the wrong appliance.

But where do you begin when buying a new double-door fridge? Did you know that there are several types? Well there are. There’s the Double-Door fridge, the French-Door fridge and the Side-by-Side fridge. Let’s take a look at the heavyweight contenders…

The French-Door fridge

These have two narrow doors, split exactly down the middle. Below the doors is a bottom-freezer. The two doors are like traditional French doors, as the name implies. This means that they are good in narrow or cramped kitchens as you don’t have to open a ‘full-size’ door for access. Basically, you are opening a half-width door.

French-Door fridges tend to be slightly higher than side-by-side fridges, so if you have a shelf or a cabinet on the wall where your fridge will be positioned, make sure there’s enough height space. You also need to bear in mind that fridges need space around them for the air to circulate.

French-Door fridges are trendier than side-by-side fridges and so tend to be pricier. They also tend to be more efficient and have more room. But you will have to bend a little to access the freezer drawer. Beko and Rangemaster in particular manufacture great-looking French-Door fridges.

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Side-by-Side fridges

Side-by-side fridges are a different design to the French-Door fridges. They are similarly divided into two, only with a fridge on one side and a freezer on the other. The vertical freezer allows you to see the contents at a glance, and you don’t have to stoop down or empty storage areas to see what you’ve got. Russell Hobbs have some excellent American-style models.

Both the fridge and freezer areas tend to be compact, which means that objects such as a large pizza box may not fit in. It’s something to consider. The shelves enable you to be more organised, so if you don’t want to waste time at your fridge, then a side-by-side fridge could be for you. Take a look at the cool Samsung range for inspiration. Like French-Door models, these are also good in Kitchens with limited space.

Standard Double-Door fridges

These are the more traditional looking ones that usually have a freezer door at the top and then a large fridge door underneath. (Sometimes it’s the other war round!). These tend to be slimmer and can fit in tighter spaces in the kitchen. They are very suitable for small families and tend to carry a smaller price tag. They consume 30% to 40% less power than double door refrigerators, so your electric bills will be lower. Amica and Hoover do great budget-range double door fridges.

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4×4 Fridges

Yes, there are also what are called 4×4 fridges. These have 2 ‘half-doors’ and then at the bottom have a further two-doors. Hoover and Rangemaster both produce great American-style 4×4 models.

Energy stuff

An energy rating is simply a way of measuring and showing how energy efficient an appliance is, according to how much energy it consumes. This lets you know how efficient (or not) they are. They’re rated from G (the least efficient) up to A+++ (the most efficient).

If you are specifically looking for particular features, then there are lots to choose from, including:
• Eco-running mode – save energy while you’re away from home
• Door alarm – the fridge will tell you if you’ve left the door open
• Quick drink mode – the fridge will tell you when your drink is chilled
• Controlled zones – set different temps for different part of your fridge
• Touch-screen – LED displays the info
• Maximum safety ¬- some fridges now have a child lock
• Ice maker – cubes or crushed ice ready when you need it
And there are lots more features. Have a think about what you’re looking for from your new fridge… remember that more features tend to cost more money.

Once you bought your new fridge, the question is; what do you put where? Here is some advice to help you proceed with confidence!

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Top shelf

This area is not as cold as the area at the bottom of your fridge, so it’s best to place foods here that don’t need those extra-chilly temperatures. Restaurant chefs will tell you that ready-to-eat and leftover foods should be placed on the top shelf. They need to be kept away from uncooked meats and anything that may drip on to them if the worst happens.

Middle shelves

As the most temperature-controlled part of the fridge. Eggs can be left here, along with ready meals and smaller-size drinks.

Bottom shelves

The back of the bottom shelf is the coldest spot in the fridge, so this is where you can place perishable dairy products to keep them edible for longer. Never store foods with high-water content here, such as fruits or vegetables, because the water content inside them is likely to freeze, and this will ruin them. Perfect for the bottom shelf is; milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt and sour cream.

The drawers

Use one of these for your vegetables, and another for your raw meats, poultry and seafood. The bottom is the coldest part of your refrigerator and it also keeps meat-juices from potentially cross-contaminating with other food products.

Inside the doors

This is the warmest spot in your fridge, so this is the area you should store cooking oils, sauces, jams and butters as they don’t require super-cold temperatures.
If there is no drawer available for meats, you must seal meats in bags. Never put meats high up in your fridge as they may drip onto other foods.

Mythbuster:

Don’t wait for hot left-overs to cool down before putting them into the fridge. That just gives more time for bacteria to grow at room temperature. Place leftovers straight into the fridge in covered or sealed containers.

Top Tip

Defrost frozen food in your fridge. It acts like an ice-pack to help cool the fridge, so your appliance uses less electricity!

* Prices correct at time of posting.

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