Refrigerator Rants

I have never hated a product so much as I hate the Whirlpool refrigerator (for the record, it is the basic french door model, wrf535smbm00) I bought earlier this year. I finally decided to update some appliances with the money from my tax return turned into Home Depot money with a 10% bonus from H&R Block in some scheme that seems both wrong and irresistible. It was $999 on sale and the dented, tan, 1980’s fridge was retired and a shiny new Whirlpool was nicely set up in its place by two friendly Home Depot delivery guys.

After the delivery, it has all been disappointment. My main complaint is the noise. It runs at 65-70 dB the majority of the time. I am a bit sound sensitive, but I’ve never noticed the roaring hum of the fridges in any of the shitty rentals I’ve lived in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that Home Depot has a 30 day return policy on appliances–this is entirely my fault, as I recall the delivery man pointing out I had 30 days for return, I just didn’t realize at the time it could be for any reason. I have regretted not returning this fridge several times per day for the last 7 months.

It seems Whirlpool doesn’t really think this is a problem, though they’ve promised several times via twitter support and email that they’ll “pass my suggestions on to the design team.” They were equally unsympathetic regarding my discovery of several very small rust spots on the door after just two months. “Cosmetic damages are only covered for 30 days” which makes sense for scratches and dents, but I have to question the grade of their “stainless” steel.

And perhaps many of my complaints are about current refrigerator manufacturing. The new high-efficiency compressors are expected to run a higher percent of the time compared to old ones, even according to Whirlpool’s own website http://producthelp.whirlpool.com/Troubleshooting_Guides/Troubleshooting_for_French_Door_Bottom_Freezer_Refrigerators/Other_Concerns/Motor_or_Compressor_Runs_too_Much (I’m fairly sure when I started complaining about such things in March it used to say it was expected to run 40-80% of the time). Sure, 65 dB isn’t that loud, it’s downright quiet for a dishwasher, but for something that is running the majority of the time and isn’t relying on a lot of mechanical action, it is infuriating.

And though the noise, rust, and indifference by Whirlpool are what annoy me the most, I’m shocked at what is considered acceptable performance in current day refrigerators. Sure, $1000 isn’t high-end for a refrigerator, but a working thermostat would be nice. Instead, all have ridiculous dial/digital systems of setting your coldness from 1-5 and hoping it is cold enough but not freezing. I mean, look at this ridiculous 3-snowflakes recommendation http://producthelp.whirlpool.com/Refrigeration/Full-size_Refrigerators/Product_Assistance/How_to_Properly_Set_the_Controls. Is it still the ’60’s? Obviously, after becoming annoyed with the product I bought a digital refrigerator/freezer thermometer from Amazon, delivered within a day, for $6.99. Why can’t something like that be included in an appliance listed for $1500? Because they don’t want you to know the temperature ranges from 28-52 degrees, even if you don’t open the doors much. Why can’t I just set the temperature? Why is the USDA so vigilant about inspecting restaurants for food held at improper temperatures that I feel it impinges on my freedom to eat delicious food, but not care at all that the majority of Americans are sold refrigerators that don’t even monitor whether they maintain a temperature below 40 degrees?

So please, if you have refrigerator rants of your own, share them here and all over the internet so that consumers have a good idea of what they are getting into. A good refrigerator is unobtrusive, you don’t even realize how central to your home it is until a bad one comes around and reminds you, making your home a less pleasant place.

One thought on “Refrigerator Rants

  1. We’ve had this same fridge for several years. Same part number. Same HD refund deal. I found your rant while searching for some, obviously elusive, cure for the infernal doors being possessed. They both swing around like wildly flailing arms as if the fridge has been on an all night binge and is leaning in 3 directions at once. I’ve given up trying to adjust both the doors and levelers to compensate for it. I think the actual box is twisted. The 20 year old one it replaced stood on the same level concrete slab and tiles without ever needing adjustment when it was unboxed. No I couldn’t agree with you more about this Whirlpool disaster. We’ve hated it from day 2. A few months ago my wife said it was the only item she has ever had any real buyers remorse over. Honestly though, we should just stfu and replace it and move on with our lives but I’m not entirely convinced the next one, for double the price perhaps, won’t have its own faults. And then where do you stop. You can only go through so many thousands of dollars worth of crappy fridges before it starts to really add up. Have you also noticed how you can’t quite pull out the half draws with the opposite door closed. Or how the long, lower draw jams if either of the two half draws above are not entirely closed. Or how smaller items, which inevitably find their way to the back of the shelves, fall through that gap onto the shelf below or even below that. Or how there’s simply no way in hell you can clean the condenser coils underneath. Or how you literally have to remove an entire shelf to get a jug of milk in and out comfortably without the remaining shelves being uselessly shallow and deep. And it pretty much runs all the time now. Haven’t measured the decibels but it’s definitely getting louder and louder. Nah, this model is a POS. I suspect it was a proof-of-concept for a higher end design, and producing and distributing it reclaimed some of the development costs. Even dynamic obsolescence would be ashamed. Somebody needs to remind Whirlpool that you can fleece a customer many times but you can slaughter them only once.

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