My husband and I were working upstairs late one afternoon last month when we heard our daughter, who was doing her homework in the kitchen downstairs, moaning about an awful smell. We both assumed it was more teen-age theatrics, but decided that it might be a good idea to check it out. Was the left-over meatloaf past its prime, did a skunk sneak in the back door? We were curious.
It turned out that our 14-year-old Frigidaire refrigerator was the culprit behind the smell and the sound. Basically, it just died on us. The noise Grace heard was the fridge's last gasp, and the smell was, well, the stench produced by its failed compressor. We tried to resuscitate it, but it was quickly apparent it was a goner. I put all the food on the screened back porch—luckily it was a chilly night—and Joe and I headed to the local appliance store to check out new models.
It was probably one of the fastest shopping trips I've ever made, helped by the facts that my husband is very decisive, and the store was closing in about 15 minutes. In those few minutes both of us had a refresher course in refrigerators and energy efficiency. For instance, we were told that models with top-mounted freezers and without in-door ice makers use a lot less energy than bottom-mount or side-by-side models, especially those with in-door ice machines. Also, and maybe this is sating the obvious, but the smaller 16-20 cubic foot units, are the most attractive in terms of energy efficiency.