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How to Replace a Built-in Refrigerator (In 3 simple steps)

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Replacing a built-in refrigerator is not an easy task, but fortunately, you came to the right place. By breaking this process down into 3 simple steps you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new built-in refrigerator.

Step 1: Figure out what’s going on behind your existing refrigerator.
Step 2: Shop for a refrigerator that best fits your cabinet opening.
Step 3: Hire the right people to help you get the job done right.

Built-in refrigerators are a high-quality choice in your home. They are one of the best ways to increase the value of your kitchen and home. However, they are tricky to replace because they need to be secured in a cabinet opening, also known as a cabinet cutout. This may come as a surprise, but there is no such thing as a standard cabinet cutout. Everyone’s home is different and that’s a major reason why replacing any built-in appliance can be challenging.

Step 1: What’s going on behind your refrigerator?

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If you’re lucky, you have a qualified installer that can pull out the old built-in refrigerator. Removing the old built-in refrigerator is best because you have a clear picture of the true cabinet opening, electrical location, and water line location.

Warning: built-in refrigerators are extremely heavy and should be handled with caution. Some built-in refrigerators are even top-heavy and can topple over if handled incorrectly! If you’re not an experienced appliance installer, you should not attempt to remove the old refrigerator yourself.

If you don’t have someone that can easily remove your old refrigerator, the next-best thing you can do is reference the specifications for your existing refrigerator. For most refrigerators made in the last 20 years, you can find the specs by looking up the model number. If you’re unsure about this process, it’s best to consult with an appliance expert. At AJ Madison, our team does this for clients all day long!

Once you have the specs you should look at 3 things: cutout size, electrical location, and water location. You will then compare these requirements against the specs for the appliance that you want to purchase.

Specs also don’t tell the full story. Although your existing refrigerator was supposed to have a certain cutout, electrical location, and water location, doesn’t necessarily mean that the cutout was created correctly in the beginning. The best way to know for sure what is going on behind your refrigerator is to have the old refrigerator removed before you start shopping.

Step 2: Shop for a refrigerator that best fits your cabinet opening.

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You should be excited about your new built-in refrigerator! In the last five years, the built-in refrigerator market has changed drastically, and for the better. In the past, you had a few options for a given size. Today, nearly every luxury appliance manufacturer has a built-in refrigerator with some really fantastic features.

Comparing the specs of your old refrigerator opening to the specs of a new refrigerator opening can be a difficult task. Finding specs for new products is easy since AJ Madison has specs on every product online. Before you buy, it’s always smart to consult with an appliance expert to make sure that your new refrigerator will fit your space.

For most consumers, the best replacement option is a new version of their old refrigerator. This is because of the cutout dimensions, water location, and electrical location are most likely to be in the same place. This is especially true for brands such as the Sub Zero Classic Series, Jenn-Air, and Viking where the cutout width is slightly smaller than the width of the front of the refrigerator.

Step 3: Hire the right people to get the job done right

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It’s important to understand that with any built-in appliance, replacement isn’t always easy. You might need to hire a carpenter, electrician, or plumber to modify your cutout to fit the specs for the new refrigerator you want to buy.

If you’re not in the process of a full-scale renovation and just need to replace your refrigerator, it’s worth setting up a fit survey. This way you can avoid unwanted surprises and shop for your new refrigerator with confidence.

Need help replacing your refrigerator?