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Built-in refrigerators are installed within your kitchen cabinets and are meant for a more permanent installation. These units are counter depth and measure 24" to 27" deep. This means they are aligned flush with the cabinets and countertops for a more professional, streamlined look. Built-in refrigerators are usually customizable in design and size. For instance, custom panels may be added to the face of the doors to help the unit blend seamlessly into the cabinets themselves. This makes the appearance of a refrigerator absent in the kitchen. Most built-ins come with a 10 to 15 year warranty and generally last longer than a traditional standalone refrigerators. This being said, built-in refrigerators are much heavier and may require two technicians to service and install. 


French door refrigerators offer a unique design and can be more easily accessible. This newer style is generally shorter in height but wider to provide more storage space. The fresh food compartment is accessed from the upper section by two pantry-style doors. The freezer is located below and accessed by a pull out drawer. Some models may have an isolated zone for different temperature controls. This includes an additional middle drawer located between the fresh food and freezer sections. By having the capability to offset the temperatures, consumers can store items here that may require a higher or lower 38°F setpoint. This space can be dedicated for cheeses, meats, beverages, and or wines.


Side by side refrigerators are generally taller and more narrow. This style features two tall and narrow doors with the left side dedicated to the freezer section and the right side dedicated to the fresh food section. These full-sized doors swing open outward and away from each other. This style allows for better visibility and a more easily accessible freezer section. It also provides more freezer storage capability. The more narrow design is best for those with limited kitchen space. The tall and narrow doors also allows for more storage on the doors themselves. This is ideal for items needing quick access or storage space for taller items. 


Top mount refrigerators are the standard classic design. These refrigerators are best for those who store a lot of freezer items. The freezer is located at the top, above the fresh food section. Hence the name, top mount! The freezer is at eye level, making frozen items more visible. This unit is fairly inexpensive and compact which makes it perfect for small spaces such as apartments or condos. This style also makes for a great backup garage refrigerator. Most top mount refrigerators will come with an ice maker upgrade option and the door swing can be reversed to best suit the consumers' needs.


Bottom mount refrigerators are the exact opposite of the top mounts. These refrigerators are best for those who store a lot of fresh food items. The freezer is located at the bottom and accessed by a pull out drawer. The fresh food section is at eye level, making the fresh food items more visible. This unit is inexpensive and compact which also makes it perfect for small spaces such as apartments or condos. Most bottom mount refrigerators will come with an ice maker upgrade option as well and the door swing can also be reversed to best suit the consumers' needs.


Wine coolers can come in many different sizes. There are two major types of wine coolers. One is under the counter and the other is freestanding. Under the counter wine coolers are smaller and compact. They fit within the cabinet and under the countertop. Freestanding wine coolers are taller units and can fit between cabinets or stand alone by themselves. They typically regulate temperatures ranging from 40°F to 60°F. This allows for perfect temperatures for red and white wines. Some models may include an additional isolated zone for colder temperatures for products such as beer and sodas. 


Electric ranges are derived from the traditional "oven". Having an enclosed cavity that can heat air inside to bake, roast, or broil food while combining a stovetop above that can sear, boil, or fry foods is what defines a range. There are two types of ranges known as conventional and convection.


Conventional ovens feature heating elements on the top and bottom of the oven's cavity. Convection ovens have these elements in addition to a fan that helps circulate the hot air throughout the oven's cavity. This can help dishes placed on different racks bake at a similar rate.


In addition, there are two different range styles. A coil burner range and a glass top range. Coil burners are on the top surface, while a glass top has its burners located beneath the surface. Both, however, require a 240 volt hookup. Models can differ from each other while providing additional features such as self-clean and air fry. 


Induction ranges are a type of electric cooktop that uses electromagnetism to heat the cookware. This essentially turns the cookware into its own source of heat, therefore, allowing for a rapid rise or drop in temperature. This new and improved temperature control can deliver 85% of the energy drawn directly to the cookware. This creates a highly efficient system and results in faster cooking times. The only requirement to this improved technology is the cookware itself. Cookware for induction must be conductive. This means it must be responsive to electromagnetism in order for it to work. Most of these pots and pans will have "Induction Ready" inscribed on the bottom of the cookware itself. 


Cooktops are considered higher end and slim like. They are built into the counter creating an elegant look. There are three types such as a coil burner cooktop, a glass top cooktop, and a gas cooktop. Both the coil and glass top cooktops require a 240 volt outlet. It can be misleading when the cooktop lights up but will not heat. It is possible for a cooktop to receive 120 volts but not 240 volts. This is enough to power the unit's lights, but not enough for the heating elements. At this point, an electrician may be needed. Gas cooktops, however, only require 120 volts. The heating source is of course gas, therefore, only requiring 120 volts for its power source. 


Wall ovens visually make the kitchen look more professional and are ideal for a larger layout. There are a few different styles of wall ovens such as a single wall oven, a double wall oven, and a combo wall oven. A single wall oven is one unit alone; where a double wall oven is two units on top another. A combo wall oven is a microwave on top a single oven. This style is most common. Because these unit are mounted in the cabinets and are extremely heavy, expect all service providers to charge slightly more. Most repairs are simple but require the entire unit to be removed from the cabinet, therefore, making it difficult. At this point, if not careful, the cabinets can be scratched or damaged.


Gas stoves are a chef's ultimate appliance. You will not see a professional use an electric range EVER. Having an open flame allows for better temperature control and being able to reduce a high flame to a simmer makes cooking more efficient. Don't forgot about the energy savings. Gas stoves consume less energy, therefore, reducing electrical cost. They only require 120 volts to power its electrical components. Gas is not common in SW Florida but it is getting more popular as new communities are developed.


Microwaves are mostly inexpensive these days. Be mindful if you should ever need your microwave serviced, you may have only paid $200 - $300 for it. Repairs typically don't make sense for microwaves due to the cost of repair. The only time I would recommend it, is simply because you have matching appliances and can't find a replacement that has the same look because it is a few years old. 


Dishwashers save us time and hassle in the kitchen, but unfortunately are the most misused appliance. This is not a magic machine that scrubs everything. I highly recommend lightly rinsing your dishes off first to remove heavy sauces and leftover food. A dishwasher will: fill with water, briefly circulate to help clear debris from dishes, drain, fill with water again, dispense soap, wash, drain, fill with water again, rinse, drain, and finally finish with a dry cycle. Most dishwasher have a filter or screen to prevent large debris (such as food) from passing into the sump. This means the left over food sat inside the dishwasher and circulated throughout the entire cycle. Not how I would wash my dishes. 


Garbage disposals are very convenient but can cause a plumbing nightmare if abused. There are a list of items not recommended for a garbage disposal. Remember, if you replace your own disposal, make sure you remove the knock-out to allow the dishwasher to drain through. Failure to do this will prevent the dishwasher from draining and may cause it to leak. 


Top load washers are most common. There are two types of top load washers such as a wash plate style and an agitator style. A wash plate style will have a flat plate inside where an agitator style will have a spiral shaft up the middle. A wash plate will cause the load to go unbalanced quite often. With the agitator missing, clothes will float across the middle and ball up to one side. At this point, the load has become unbalanced. I recommend the agitator style for it helps keep clothes evenly distributed around the basket. 


Front load washer are ideal for those who do a lot of laundry. They are built more sturdy and can take more abuse. In my opinion, they wash better as well. Clothes are tumbled through soapy water to remove dirty and grime. Proper maintenance is required for this type of washer that most neglect or simply don't know.


Electric dryers are sufficient but they need 240 volts to dry. It is possible for a dryer to have power, run, but not dry. If your dryer is only getting 120 volts, all components will work except the heater assembly. You may have an electrical issue with the install, the outlet, or the breaker. At this point, an electrician may be needed. 


Gas dryers are very efficient. They only use 120 volts unlike electric dryers that need 240 volts. This makes their energy rating better than electric dryers. Gas is not common in SW Florida but it is getting more popular as new communities are developed. 

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