Today's project is named: Operation Fridge Swap. This was also last weekend's project. Apparently, replacing a refrigerator is a two-weekend project.
Our kitchen was remodeled maybe 12 years ago or so, with all new appliances installed at that time. When salespeople tell you appliances have about a 10-year lifespan, they're not kidding. Our appliances have clearly been taking their shelf life to heart.
We've already replaced the dishwasher, followed shortly after by the microwave, which started an undeniable trend in our kitchen. I've been staring down the ovens and stove top telling them not to get any ideas. I'm trying to convince them that 12 is the new 2. No need to panic folks.
Last weekend was spent throwing away all our food and transferring anything we could salvage to the downstairs spare refrigerator. Then the task of removing the refrigerator from its space. Talk about dead weight.
Those who know me understand I don't opt for buying a new appliance as my default when something goes wrong. I've fixed more appliances in my life than I care to remember so the first order of business after the smell of rotting food was cleared was to determine if it was possible for me to fix this one. Actually, my mantra is "Anything is possible, that's not the question. The question is should it be done."
In this case, after a bunch of research on the issue, we determined it should not be done. It didn't make better financial sense to fix it than to replace it.
We moved on to the next order of business - locating a new fridge that would fit into the same space as our existing one while also fitting into your budget proves to be an almost impossible task, especially if you want to keep your marriage intact. For the record, the problem in this scenario is me. I hate shopping. We were able to agree on the refrigerator we wanted but the strain was in whether it was actually necessary for me to physically enter a store to look at it after I already saw it online and could purchase it by simply clicking a button.
I finally conceded and we purchased the refrigerator after I entered Home Depot, opened the doors of the chosen unit, and confirmed, "Yep, looks exactly like the one on the internet." Then I watched the salesperson push the button to order it.
In fairness, the listing on the internet had the wrong height posted which I already knew from reading the reviews where people confirmed the correct height. It was another layer of confidence being able to confirm the measurements in the store. You think the manufacturer would be interested in correcting that small detail since it almost ruled the fridge out of our lineup based on the specs they had posted. It would have been too tall and I was already figuring out how to custom cut our space to make it fit.
The other major hurdle was the waterline. It is copper and the dinky shut-off valve that was installed doesn't actually turn off the water all the way. This meant more trips to purchase compression fittings to cap off the line but also, I wasn't going to keep a copper line running to the fridge. I purchased a braided stainless steel line for replacement when that time arrived. And for sure I was replacing the ridiculous shutoff value that was installed - especially since that sucker is directly over my 3D printer station. Water and 3D printers don't go together nicely.
The next decision was whether we were going to cut the copper lines to install the new valve ourselves. This was a hard one. We finally decided we were going to hire a plumber to do it so we could avoid any unexpected problems but also because we hadn't yet established a relationship with a plumber. Our current plumbing scenario is definitely dated and, since the person who built the house had some experience with plumbing, there are a few unique twists in the lineup. I wanted a plumber to come in and walk us through what we had going on, how it all worked, and quote us for a plumbing overhaul.
We chose Jerm's Plumbing since they had so many positive, real-life reviews. I'm very pleased with our choice. They were able to line up service quickly, arriving the day before our fridge would arrive so we'd be set to go with the ice maker hookup. The technician was fabulous and totally knew his stuff. He answered every single one of my questions and helped me fully understand our current system and what our options were for the future. It was top-notch customer service which I appreciate. Jerm's has definitely won over a new loyal customer. Plus, he didn't mind that the kitties were determined to follow him around to supervise his every move.
So, it's Saturday, two weekends later. The new water line is installed along with a shiny new, working shutoff valve. The new fridge will be arriving today and I'm ready to rock-n-roll. I honestly think building an icebox in the backyard and hauling our own ice would have been an easier process but it's done. Unless I'm jinxing it by calling the whole operation a success before the fridge even arrives?
In the end, I'm mostly marveling over how different this process looks when you actually have choices. If I had written this article 10, 15, 20 years ago, it definitely wouldn't look like this. Not even close. It also wasn't that long ago when my only allowed refrigerator was a tiny red cooler.