Walk into any kitchen in America today and you will no doubt find a refrigerator, a freezer or some combination of the two. Gone are the days of salting and drying - refrigeration and freezing are two of the most common forms of food preservation.
Most people today have never lived without a refrigerator and there is a good reason why - refrigeration keeps food fresh longer than canned food or any other method used throughout history - and you don't even need any electric can openers to get at the food! It works by bringing down the temperature of food so that less bacteria forms. Less bacteria means food remains unspoiled for longer times than if left at room temperature.
All refrigerators work the same, so when you're ready to choose a refrigerator your decision will be based mainly on design and function.
First you'll want to determine the capacity you'll need. Are you buying food for yourself or a family of six? Your food storage needs will also depend on how frequently you are able to visit a grocery store. If you live close and are in the habit of buying food on a daily basis, your food storage needs will not be as great. If you find you shop infrequently and tend to stockpile, you may want to consider a unit with a larger freezer, or a separate freezer unit altogether.
Next, look for an energy efficient model. Choose an appliance that is EnergyStar rated. These appliances use considerably less energy, and will therefore be friendly on your wallet as well as the environment.
Don't forget to consider where you will place the appliance. If you find you need you need a large or extra large refrigerator, measure the space you have allotted for the appliance first, to make sure it will actually fit. (Remember, you will have to allow sufficient room for your appliance with some extra space on each side and on top.) Bring your measurements with you when you visit the home department store, as it is extremely difficult to judge size by eye alone.
Nowadays there are also a number of refrigerator styles available, so you will also have to decide which of these is right for you. Some models now come with built-in freezers either on the side of the refrigerator or as a bottom drawer. You may find these options more convenient than the traditional cubic box located over the refrigerator.
Consider the storage options inside the refrigerator, such as drawers and shelving, as well as any optional gadgets such as built-in ice makers. If you're on a budget, choose only the ones that are necessary, as each additional option will drive up the cost of your refrigerator.
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