Readers of what is rapidly turning into the domestic appliance and bed hunt blog will no doubt be on tenterhooks to hear the latest installment in the saga.
This is about the freezer part of the fridge freezer. Naturally like virtually everything else in the flat it comes from my mother’s house so is of a certain age.
I think it was acquired when I was an undergraduate, so that places it well over 20 years old. Ironically the first one we bought – same brand, Electrolux – didn’t last ten years.
One rare day, I was busy cleaning ( I think) behind this first fridge freezer of ours and noticed a gaping hole in the back. Part of the metal had just rotted away. Off we trotted to buy a new one. It was an AEG. Not long after we had that – the door seal went. Fortunately, and to my utter surprise, it was still under warranty so we received a shiny new door at no cost. When we sold our last house in the UK, we left that fridge behind, we’d probably only had it five years. We left it because the guy who was buying our house was being persuaded to leave his fridge behind for the purchaser of his flat etc etc. So hell, what’s a fridge in a house sale?
Naturally when we bought our house in Spain, a fridge was a priority. It packed up last year – probably due to one of the many power cuts as it wasn’t on a surge protector. It had lasted around six years. Although an AEG, the spec wasn’t a patch on the one we had in the UK, and it had a pesky plastic water collector at the back that I kept forgetting to empty all the time.
So then we bought a nice new one from the electrical appliances shop down the road that sells seconds. It had a couple of scuff marks on the outside and cost around 260€. It looks very nice and seems perfectly functional. We also splashed out on a surge protector for it (and every other appliance in the house).
Back to the 20+year-old fridge freezer in the flat. Some time ago we noticed that one of the bread rolls was soggy, thought no more about it, except that maybe something had got knocked over when put in before frozen – soup or whatever.
More recently, one of the rolls taken out of the freezer was rock hard. Not frozen – merely stale. How odd we thought, not being the brightest of new pennies.
At the same time, the few items sitting in the freezer (usually a box of burgers and some mince – all vegetarian) seemed to defrost remarkably quickly. In fact they had very little ice, if any, on them and were quite soft.
We decided it was not working at maximum efficiency and I should really defrost it. That huge chunk of ice that forms at the front of the freezer was clearly impeding the door sealing properly. I had this problem with the previous freezer in Spain, and was amazingly efficient at defrosting that one.
So I carefully defrosted the freezer and washed it out. It looked rather nice and I did think perhaps I should have done this before. Eventually I turned it on. Some hours later – nothing. It was cold, but there was no ice forming. Just droplets of water. Perhaps it was taking its time we thought, and left it overnight. I even filled the ice cube container, just to check.
The next morning, still nothing. I was getting rather disappointed here as I was convinced the only reason it wasn’t working properly was because it needed defrosting.
Eventually I bit the bullet and turned it off. A new fridge freezer was called for. I looked at those exceedingly flash American-style fridge freezers and worked out it would fit neatly-ish into an alcove in the yet-to-be transformed kitchen.
But I also thought the freezer area was too big for our modest requirements and that it would be far too expensive. We decided cheap and cheerful would win the day on this one.
I tripped off down the street to an electrical appliance shop and looked at fridge freezers. Prices ranged from around £330 to £550. That seemed rather dear compared with our good value second bought in Spain.
I learned that the ones with the little freezer compartments on top (which I rather like) have only one motor. The so-called combi fridge freezers have separate motors.
“What’s the advantage of that?” I asked.
Woman in shop clearly thought I was particularly thick (you may also think that after reading how long it took us to work out the freezer was not working), and explained:
“Well, if one motor stops working, you can still use the other part.”
“That’s exactly what’s happened to me, but I’m still having to buy a new one,” I said tartly.
I said I would take Partner up there to make the final decision. When I got back home we discussed it. After all, we hardly use the freezer and the fridge is working – so we don’t really need a new one that urgently – do we? And they weren’t exactly cheap.
We decided the bed hunt would revert to top priority.
“Have you looked up the environmental impact of these latex beds?” asked Partner loftily.
I looked it up and read out some horrific stories of people being affected by disgusting chemicals. I have an annoyingly acute sense of smell and am prone to feeling nauseous even thinking about nasty chemicals. This is the woman who made herself ill by sniffing a few containers of floor cleaner in the supermarket trying to determine which smell I preferred. Partner has sensitive skin, no biological washing powder for him, and is sensitive to a number of obnoxious substances. The Tempur latex bed rapidly fell off the list.
The Thermarests on the floor are really quite comfy when they are blown up regularly. There is just no point rushing these shopping decisions I find.