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We bought this house 4 years ago and the kitchen was updated by the prior owner about 7-8 years ago. The Fridge is about 12-13 years old and has been acting up. I started looking at replacements and measuring out our current fridge and its 36" x 36".

The two exits to the kitchen are 32" and 31.5" respectively. Meaning they remodeled the kitchen with the fridge in place and added cabinetry and a countertop that essentially imprison the fridge. Even with the doors off. the fridge only drops to 33" x 36"

My inclination was to just take a reciprocating saw to the fridge and curse the prior owner for making me have to get smaller fridge. But, then googling seems to say that's a bad idea (saw is going to bounce around a lot/likely to puncture something with the refrigerant and have it blast off into the house). So I'm at a bit of a loss about how to best handle such a predicament.

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4 Answers 4

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Assuming cased openings, temporary removal of your door jamb should get you there. It's often a matter of removing the casing and detaching one or more sides of the jamb. If you're careful it'll all go back on with little indication that it was ever off.

For more detail, give us more detail.

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    OP may also want to double-check that the kitchen doorway is the only bottleneck. It would be maddening to go through the effort to open up the doorway, only to discover that the front door or the hallway to the kitchen were too narrow as well. If it were my house and I was going through the trouble of removing door casings or jambs, I would seriously consider if it would be possible to permanently widen the door opening before reinstalling the trim. A 32" door just isn't big enough for my tastes.
    – spuck
    Jul 27, 2023 at 15:07
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Repair the refrigerator and then forget about the door problem for another several years.

The idea that newer appliances use less power than the older ones is overblown, if not outright false. Recycling the old fridge costs energy and it probably won't be fully recycled anyway, meaning landfill. The manufacture of the new fridge also costs energy, meaning pollution. And newer appliances have a reputation of not lasting as long, costing you more money in the future. Happy Earth Day. I'd repair it until it can't be.

Source: I have repaired appliances for ~40 years.

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    Especially if the fault is something minor like a relay or thermostat.
    – UmH
    Jul 27, 2023 at 5:07
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    "The idea that newer appliances use less power than the older ones is overblown, if not outright false." The latter even has a name: "planned obsolescence".
    – Trang Oul
    Jul 27, 2023 at 9:50
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    Fridge is one of the few appliances that may be worth replacing for efficiency, because they operate continuously for long periods. According to the specs (I really should measure!), my new fridge was expected to repay its purchase price in under ten years (and probably faster than that, since energy costs have outstripped general inflation). Although I'm not claiming that financial cost exactly represents energy use, it's often the primary motivation as a householder. Jul 27, 2023 at 13:15
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    "The idea that newer appliances use less power than the older ones is overblown": Quotation needed.This MIT paper from 2010 estimates the energy needed to produce a fridge in the single-GJ domain while the usage lifetime consumption is in the dozens. Based on that, the energy production debt would be payed off if the new fridge were perhaps 15% more efficient, which is realistic. Obviously, the footprint of the consumed energy is paramount: If you have your own solar panels you should keep your old fridge. Jul 27, 2023 at 13:40
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    @TrangOul, I believe that much of what's credited to planned obsolescence is actually just due to simple economics and marketing--the cheaper product sells better, resulting in an endless decline in quality of nearly everything. To attribute it to some grand scheme violates Occam's Razor. It's just a side effect that it appears that way.
    – isherwood
    Jul 27, 2023 at 16:02
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Call a fridge serviceman to come and degas it first. Unless you have a very strong reciprocating saw, it is liable to jump or get stuck as go through varying hardness of materials. Some options

  1. Dismantle it by removing all parts systematically until you are left with a shell. Then you can use a hammer to fold the outer body
  2. Remove all glass and plastic bits, protect your floor with a sheet of particle board and use a sledge hammer carefully.

I would go for 1.

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    Also fridges often use flammable gasses, so venting those in the house while some saw is shredding metal might not be a wise idea.
    – Martin
    Jul 26, 2023 at 13:38
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    This gets the old one out. It doesn't get a new one in.
    – isherwood
    Jul 26, 2023 at 13:49
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    That has several obvious drawbacks.
    – isherwood
    Jul 26, 2023 at 14:12
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    @crip659 Should not be an issue with any other standard US kitchen appliance. All standard US kitchen appliances - wall oven, range (cooktop + oven), dishwasher, trash compactor (don't see those much these days but they used to be a big thing) are designed for counter depth which is 24". Add a couple of inches for door handles and clearance, and 30" is plenty of room. Jul 26, 2023 at 14:57
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    The problem is specifically refrigerators because to get your typical "family size" 25 cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator such as this Whirlpool, you end up with 31" - 34" depth. In the old days (and still, with many non-side-by-side) you could easily remove the doors because the doors had to be removable anyway to switch between left vs. right opening. Side-by-side don't have that (at best they have removable handles which can get you an inch or two of extra clearance, which Jul 26, 2023 at 14:59
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Depending on the space available in the kitchen itself, and if you have a reasonably large double glazed window, you may find it possible to remove the window pane then manoeuvre the fridge through the window. Obviously this has a lot of caveats and you would probably need a few strong helpers on either side of the window but as a last resort may be possible.

Please note, this would be for removal only. You shouldn't tip a new fridge onto it's side like this.

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