Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Improvised Shelves for our Frigidaire Refrigerator

Well, this is not necessarily recommended. Ask me in six weeks, or six months, how it's going and maybe I'll recommend it then.
These machines--these Frigidaire Energy Star refrigerators (like the one we purchased at Lowes only four short years ago) are frail. Seriously. All the cheesy, half-ass components that make this feeble milksop of an appliance come to life supposedly work together to make it more energy efficient.
Cheap, frail plastic and glass shelves included.
Of course, the energy efficient aspect of these newfangled appliances are supposed to save us money. That's the sales pitch, anyway. We replace our shabby old energy hungry appliances with new ones (appliance purchases usually indiiate an emergency, so we might well be using our credit card to make the purchase), and we're rewarded not only by a cleaner environment, but with a slightly fatter wallet. Only so far, this particular appliance is begging to be replaced after only four years. That's not less money. That's more money.
Our lightweight glass and plastic shelves are all cracked.
The truth is, we never put anything incredibly heavy on them. Nothing out of the ordinary. A gallon of milk. A pot, cooled, from the stove. I don't know. Maybe a ten pound Turkey in November.
In my right mind, I probably
would have simply forked over the $160 plus shipping for new shelves.
On the other hand, the new ones probably would not have lasted any longer than the ones I ended up replacing with pieces cut with a Dremel Tool from Rubbermaid linen shelves. The top shelf started cracking a couple years after we bought the refrigerator. This week I noticed that all three shelves were seriously cracked, and the bottom one was bowed and ready to cave.
The top shelf
had been duct taped and glued and fitted with various makeshift support systems over these last few months. We had lowered the milk jug from the top to the middle to the bottom shelf. We had moved all the "heavy" items toward the edges.
But the cracking was getting worse.
I'd been online a couple years ago, when the first cracks appeared in the middle of the top shelf, shopping for a replacement. Prices have actually come down since then. The three plastic frames (shelves minus the glass) would have cost about $160 plus shipping.
Our shelves were ready to crash, too. Yet, I couldn't make myself submit to giving Frigidaire any more of my hard earned money for their cheesy, highly breakable stuff.
I'm having a sort of consumer meltdown. I'm tired of lousy products and poor service. I'm recognizing that what we had before the so-called "Consumer Economy" took hold was better -- that the refrigerator we sold not long ago -- the incredibly heavy bastard with the tiny freezer compartment -- the short, fat one from the early 1960s that sat on our front porch and was fired up as a cooler during parties -- was a better deal. That crusty old energy hog was still going strong after almost fifty years. The one we're using now is four years old. Did I have a choice? Could I have shopped for a better refrigerator? I could have spent more. I peeked in some newer, more expensive models and they sported metal shelves. Who knows if spending one or two hundred more for a new refrigerator would mean that the shelves would not crack in two years under normal use.
This product has already been serviced for a defective icemaker. Its warranty is expired. It's time, I guess, to fork over another thousand bucks for a new one.
The idea was making my hands shake. These companies, I swear, do not deserve more of my money.
So I cut three shelves for my Frigidaire refrigerator from $36 worth of Rubbermaid shelving. They fit okay. I had to do some retrofitting to make them work. The plastic sleeve that lines this refrigerator is subtly more narrow in back than in front, so that a perfectly square shelf won't work. Cut it to fit in front, and it scrapes against the sides in back, threatening to crack the obviously feeble eggshell of a plastic lining, A hole in the lining, I'm sure, would be an even bigger pain in the butt to fix. Cut the shelf to fit in back, and it slides off the little supports in front.
That was disappointing.
I experimented a bit more, using a piece of slit rubber tubing from an aquarium pump over the front sides of the new top shelf to help hold it up. That seemed to work okay. On the other two, I wound strips of rubbery shelf liner around the same area, which worked well too and I thought looked better.
So far, so good. The shelves seem sturdy enough, but time will tell.
We're hoping we don't hear a loud crash in the night.
Honestly, the white wire shelves look good in there. Better, we think, that the cheap plastic ones, even before they were all cracked up.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Deconstructing A Mobile Home (Part Six: Almost Gone)

We've been inspired to use much of what we took from the trailer, but not so much these big beams. We wanted them out of the way of the garden. Surprisingly, it only took a couple hours to cut them into manageable pieces that we'll be carrying to the recycling man on my next day off.