Clever Cooks

A cool investment

My Doctor-Who-obsessed friend needs a fridge for his new abode on Gallifrey. Apart from wanting a stainless steel finish, he’s not sure what he’s looking for.

Costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, a fridge is a big investment, so it pays to get it right. My friend must consider installation limitations, style of fridge, and features.

If he’s mustbethrifty, he’ll also need to think about initial costs, running costs, and the lifespan of the investment.

Initial costs

  • According to Choice’s ‘Fridge and Freezer Buying Guide’, freezer-on-top models tend to be the most economically priced. They also come in the biggest range.
  • There are various government programs encouraging households to go green. The Victorian Government’s Energy Saver Incentive has discounts and special offers on various energy saving products, including fridges, to offset purchasing costs.

Running costs

  • According to energyrating.gov.au, the ‘refrigerator is the single biggest power consumer in many households…Refrigerators and freezers typically make up over 20% of total residential electricity consumption’. Electricity rates are only going to go up, so my friend should get the most energy efficient model that he can afford.
  • When it comes to energy efficiency, not all fridge styles are made equal:

Side by Side refrigerators models are the least efficient

  • Thermostat controls and door alarms are features that will help reduce running costs.

Lifespan

  • A typical fridge lasts 14 years (via eHow.com) but some models break down quicker. My friend should look up related forums, feedback, and reviews to find out common failings such as warranty issues, temperature fluctuations, and peculiar noises. My partner’s old fridge had a faulty compressor. If he had done his research, he would have known not to buy that particular model.
  • How many people will be using the fridge in one year’s time, five years’ time, ten years’ time? Too small a fridge means a second fridge down the track, and two fridges are more cumbersome and costly to run than one. Too big a fridge means space and energy is wasted again. Choice’s ‘rule of thumb is that a family of two needs between 250-285 L of space in a fridge, and you should add 28.5 litres for each additional family member after that. Add freezer space on top of that’ (via ‘Fridge and Freezer Buying Guide’).
  • A good fridge model should be flexible enough to cater for current and future needs. Look for adjustable shelves, removable bins, and reversible hinges.

While fridge-shopping is hardly rocket science (it’s just quantum physics), it shouldn’t be an impulse purchase either. Once my friend starts shopping, sales folk will try to pressure him into buying a fridge straight away. My advice is to take his time. There’s no such thing as a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Impulse buying regrets, on the other hand, are as real as monsters.

22 years and 5 months to go,

M.

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2 thoughts on “A cool investment

  1. TARDIS FRIDGE IS AWESOME. And I feel obligated to tell the story of my thrifty father, who proposed to my mum in 1977 and then said “We can afford a fridge or an engagement ring. Make your choice.” Mum went with the fridge, and we got a new one about a month ago!!

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