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Fridge Freezer Woes And Saving Cash Online
Our freezer packs, we failt to fix it so we hunt the web for bargains
There were unhappy faces around the urban75 office this week when our seven year old fridge freezer - keeper of the vital beer cans and supplies of cheese - went on the blink.
The Servis fridge freezer had been taking a somewhat jazz/funk approach to its duties in recent months, but at the beginning of last week it unilaterally decided to instigate Operation Meltdown.
We called up Servis for assistance and they made us feel as welcome as a bailiff at a birthday party, refusing to offer any practical solutions and unprepared to recommend a single local electrician or business. A cold shoulder to our hot fridge, if you will.
We did however glean the kind of prices we'd be looking at for a repair person to come around and take a look: a hefty £90-£100 call-out charge, wallet-draining hourly rates for the work and anything up to £100 for parts. And with only a three month guarantee on the work, we could be back to square one in twelve weeks.
Time to have a go at fixing it ourselves, we thought.
Our first round of web-sourced DIY fixes all failed miserably. These included (obviously) double checking the mains connection, fiddling about with the thermostat settings, unplugging it for five minutes and even trying a bout of quickly turning it on and off (it worked for someone apparently).
A colleague did report smelling a funny chemical whiff coming out of the freezer a day before, which suggested that maybe our our fridge had decided to offload its ozone-depleting gases without our intervention, but that seemed unlikely so we continued our own attempts at a repair.
Shake, rattle and light blown
Faced with failure at every turn and an expensive brie set to turn liquid, we tried one of the more physical remedies recommended on the web, and that was to give the fridge a good old fashioned thump (this has been known to reset a flaky thermostat).
With no sign of stemming the stream of ice cream fluid dribbling out of the freezer, we tried rocking the entire fridge back and forth but this only succeeded in breaking the last working thing left in the fridge, the internal light.
There was one last solution mentioned on several sites that seemed just a tad over the top: turn the entire fridge upside down and leave it upended for several hours. Not fancying a fridge-spawned hernia, we elected to give this one a miss, but some people swear by it.
Time for a new fridge!
Reluctantly admitting defeat on the DIY repair front, we headed off to the web to find a replacement, spurred on by a growing need for cold beers.
Being gadget freaks (albeit ones with a limited budget) we set about investigating the spec sheets of various keenly priced contenders, and took a trip up to Curry's for a physical investigation of what was on offer.
Half an hour later we'd learnt that:
a) Fridges really are boring things
b) The designs have barely moved on in decades. C'mon Dyson, work your magic! Or Jobsy! Sort us an iFridge.
c) Anything under £300 is exceptionally dull and things only get interesting on the groovy features front above £700.
d) We couldn't afford any of the groovy ones.
After several hours of dedicated refrigerator-based study online we also learnt that twin thermostat fridge freezers are the best, faddy antibacterial coatings are viewed as a mixed blessing, you shouldn't fill fridges to bursting point and fridges with a high energy efficiency rating (A, A+ or, best of all, A++) are the way to go.
Suitably armed with info, we looked for a fridge that was energy efficient, looked good, had twin thermostats, was frost free and reasonably quiet and, of course, had some buttons and lights to entertain us.
A bit above our upper price limit but heartily endorsed by one and all, we took a closer look at the LG GR419BSCA, which sports a shiny stainless steel design, an 'A' energy rating and a cool feature which gets the fridge to bleep at you if you leave the door open. It's also got a 'Magic Crisper' which suggests the involvement of Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee (which would be a bit scary).
We looked at a host of websites to see if we could bump the price down, and found that once we'd taken into account delivery deals and times - and compared charges for picking up and recycling the old fridge (some offer this for free, others charge up to £20) - prices were still a bit more than we wanted to pay.
On a whim, we thought we'd try out one of those voucher sites that claim to save you money by listing all the current discount codes for major retailers.
We always assumed that they'd either be well dodgy or involve a ton of faffing about with registering, but a quick search took us to shop codes.co.uk/ where we were able to slap in the shop's name and instantly be served up with a code for claiming a £30 discount.
We tried adding it at the end of the buying process and - yes! - the discount code worked. Thirty quid saved in about three mouse clicks. Result!
Update: The fridge arrived shortly after we went to press and so far it's doing a grand job.
Unlike our last 'frost free' fridge, this one isn't busy creating a mini winter wonderland in the freezer and we're impressed with the hangover curing icy breeze that hits you in the face when you open the door.
Online voucher sites
www.quidco.com this apparently gives you 3.5% back on “genuine tracked transactions completed wholly online” but requires preregistration.
Spares: find spare parts online
Slightly obsessive fridge-freezer tech site
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