Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace? UPDATED

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cowdogman
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Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace? UPDATED

Post by cowdogman »

[Edit: I added an update to the below on September 10.]

I have a stand-alone Viking fridge paired with a stand alone Viking freezer--both are built In. The fridge is model DFRB304R. They are both approximately 12 years old.

We have had temperature, leaking and ice buildup issues for the fridge for a couple years now.

Just had our Viking repair guy out. He's been out several times over the years and his charges are always reasonable.

Anyway, he says the fridge needs a rebuild. He thinks we are still under the parts warranty, but labor will be about $2,200 + tax. Parts would (without the warranty) be about $800. He says it's an all day job and he will probably do it on a Saturday. I asked him how long the fridge would run after the rebuild and he shrugged.

Options:

1. Do the repair and try to get some more years out of it.

2. Replace it with a new Viking fridge. I'm checking but it looks there is a replacement model that will fit and take our custom panel. $7,610 + tax installed.

3. Keep defrosting every couple months and deal with the occasional leak--until the fridge totally fails.

4. Replace both the freezer and fridge with Sub Zeros--approx $23,00 to $24,000 + tax installed depending on whether we want the more expensive glass doors.

Thoughts? I've kinda ruled out 4, unless it would dollar-for-dollar increase the resale value of the house over the cost of the Viking replacement.
Last edited by cowdogman on Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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walkabout
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by walkabout »

If it were me and if I were happy with Viking, I’d replace for $7600+ rather than repair for $3000.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by j9j »

Definitely not number 4. I doubt that would add much resale value.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Starfox »

I like the sub zero more than viking - if the freezer goes out in 2-3 years will you be happy having two new Vikings or would you have wished to have done two new sub zeros? Really I think it’s just personal preference. If you’ve been having it repaired for a couple years in a row now, I would replace both sides with new unless it’s easy to wait on the freezer side and it has no issues. We don’t like dealing with repairs or having people in the house more than is necessary.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

Thanks walkabout, j9j and Starfox.

I've always preferred Sub Zero/Wolf to Viking. My experience is that Viking charges premium prices for non-premium, defective equipment. We have a Kenmore fridge and freezer in the pantry that we have had zero problems with. But $24K for the Sub Zeros???
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Goal33 »

How important is it to the style of your kitchen to have a cabinet looking panel? You can't just have a "normal" refrigerator?

Based on the price of your fridge, I assume you are making a lot more money than me, so this is probably not at all relevant... but if I was in your shoes... I'd:

1. get a garage fridge for cheap
2. try to the fridge myself (with no time stress, cuz I got a garage fridge :D )

OR

Negotiate with the repair guy. Sounds like it's his Saturday labor, so extra cash. I think 1k is reasonable for that. He knows you're rich, though.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Watty »

I would keep looking for another solution. Even if it required some cabinet work you should be able to find some other high end brand that is more reliable.

In addition to all the money you have spent on this when the repair person has been out "several times" and that would have taken a lot of your time.

I have several brands that I will never buy again because of a bad experience and if I was in your situation I would put Viking on my personal blacklist.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

Goal33 wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:45 pm How important is it to the style of your kitchen to have a cabinet looking panel? You can't just have a "normal" refrigerator?

Based on the price of your fridge, I assume you are making a lot more money than me, so this is probably not at all relevant... but if I was in your shoes... I'd:

1. get a garage fridge for cheap
2. try to the fridge myself (with no time stress, cuz I got a garage fridge :D )

OR

Negotiate with the repair guy. Sounds like it's his Saturday labor, so extra cash. I think 1k is reasonable for that. He knows you're rich, though.
I like the way you think. And I do like to repair stuff myself--or at least try. But wrestling with a built in fridge is not for me (the repair guy says it will need to come out for the rebuild).

I wouldn't mind a non-custom panel. The problem is that these are 30" units, which are pretty rare and the stainless panel units are really expensive. The Sub Zeros I was quoted are stainless panels.

The risk I take with the Viking replacement is that it won't fit with the freezer. There is a "unifying kit," including a 60" grill for the top. I'm afraid the new fridge will show up and "unification" will not be possible.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by adamthesmythe »

That's a whole lotta money for a refrigerator (and I'm talking about 7600 here).

I guess it's too late to go back to a conventional one, where for 7600 you could keep 2 spares in the garage in case of problems.

If you are even thinking about resale...and you expect that you might sell in several years...I might replace the Viking with another as the cheaper option. After trying to fix it myself (I have repaired my refrigerator several times).

Maybe we should start a thread like I've seen recently, where a guy asks why some higher-end product is really worth the money when there are cheaper ones available.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by earlyout »

Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by earlyout »

Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

Watty wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:58 pm I would keep looking for another solution. Even if it required some cabinet work you should be able to find some other high end brand that is more reliable.

In addition to all the money you have spent on this when the repair person has been out "several times" and that would have taken a lot of your time.

I have several brands that I will never buy again because of a bad experience and if I was in your situation I would put Viking on my personal blacklist.
Yep, I will keep looking, but even if I can find a cheaper acceptable option, in the end I would probably just bite the bullet and get the Sub Zeros.

And yes, Viking is definitely on my blacklist.

I suspect we will be selling our house in a few years after my youngest gets out of high school--and so that is a factor too.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

earlyout wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 pm Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
The units are built-in with custom cabinetry around, with a 60" opening. Two 30" inch units are really the only option.

Yes, I really dislike Viking and do not like the thought of giving them any money.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by sport »

Perhaps I am naive, but $2200 seems like an awful lot of money for one day's labor. For 8 hours, that is $275/hour. If that is representative, I should have become an appliance repairman instead of going to graduate school for a physics degree. :shock:
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Goal33 »

Another option is to get 2 "normal" 30" fridge/freezers.

Sell your fancy fridge and freezer for a few k (even noting the issue with the fridge).

https://www.homedepot.com/p/KitchenAid- ... /205947723
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

sport wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:20 pm Perhaps I am naive, but $2200 seems like an awful lot of money for one day's labor. For 8 hours, that is $275/hour. If that is representative, I should have become an appliance repairman instead of going to graduate school for a physics degree. :shock:
Yep, I did the same calculation--and he confirmed it was a one-person job.

Altho he has to order and collect the parts.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by mgensler »

We really like our Sub Zero. Much simpler mechanics than the Thermador. Looking at their site you can get a 24" freezer and 36" refrigerator for around $15,000. Is install really $8,000? Maybe shop around for a lower cost install or just go with stainless steel panels.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

mgensler wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:45 pm We really like our Sub Zero. Much simpler mechanics than the Thermador. Looking at their site you can get a 24" freezer and 36" refrigerator for around $15,000. Is install really $8,000? Maybe shop around for a lower cost install or just go with stainless steel panels.
I didn't see a 24" freezer with stainless steel--just "panel ready." I don't want to have new panels made.

I'll ask our local appliance store.

Good suggestion. Thanks.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by badbreath »

I would look at the Jennair good reliable midpoint and much less the SubZ
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lazydavid »

Goal33 wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:29 pm Another option is to get 2 "normal" 30" fridge/freezers.
If the rest of the kitchen isn't ultra high-end, this is actually a really good option, provided the doors can be reversed.

That said, there's a good chance that a kitchen that has separate 30" paneled refrigerator and freezer is pretty darn high-end, and "normal" refrigerator/freezer units would look incredibly out of place.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lazydavid »

cowdogman wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:56 pm I didn't see a 24" freezer with stainless steel--just "panel ready." I don't want to have new panels made.
"panel ready" just means it takes a panel to provide the look you want. That panel does not have to be wood that matches your cabinetry. If the look you want is stainless steel, well SZ sells a 24" stainless panel for $665 list, and a 36" panel for $875 list.

Here is one of the four available 24" right-hinge panels, as an example: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/store/inst ... oe-kick-rh
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Starfox »

cowdogman wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:18 pm
earlyout wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 pm Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
The units are built-in with custom cabinetry around, with a 60" opening. Two 30" inch units are really the only option.

Yes, I really dislike Viking and do not like the thought of giving them any money.
Quick question which I think will help...what is expected sale price of your home?

In my opinion based on where we live in the suburbs with 5000sqft luxury homes on 10000-15000sqft lots selling for $1.0-1.3m+, if your home would sell for $650-850k then built-in Viking/thermador is expected, if more then sub zero.

In other real estate markets we have been in, a 3000sqft condo selling for $2m would have Viking/thermador and it would only be the $3m+ homes with sub zero. Basically it’s market expectations and personal preference.

With you selling in a few years, you can decide to match real estate expectation or go “higher end” based on your personal preference. The nicer the home relatively speaking to the competition, the faster the sale imo.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lthenderson »

I used to work for a high end appliance manufacturer. You are paying a premium for some of the outer pieces, design, badging, etc. but the working internals, the moving parts if you will, are almost always from the same box of parts that ordinary cheap lines use. Everyone just orders the same part with their part number printed on the widget and install it in their machine. But if you compare the specs, there is no difference between them. So this is a long way of saying that I wouldn't expect a $23,000 refrigerator to last any longer before it breaks down than a $800 refrigerator.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Goal33 »

Starfox wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:17 pm
cowdogman wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:18 pm
earlyout wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 pm Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
The units are built-in with custom cabinetry around, with a 60" opening. Two 30" inch units are really the only option.

Yes, I really dislike Viking and do not like the thought of giving them any money.
Quick question which I think will help...what is expected sale price of your home?

In my opinion based on where we live in the suburbs with 5000sqft luxury homes on 10000-15000sqft lots selling for $1.0-1.3m+, if your home would sell for $650-850k then built-in Viking/thermador is expected, if more then sub zero.

In other real estate markets we have been in, a 3000sqft condo selling for $2m would have Viking/thermador and it would only be the $3m+ homes with sub zero. Basically it’s market expectations and personal preference.

With you selling in a few years, you can decide to match real estate expectation or go “higher end” based on your personal preference. The nicer the home relatively speaking to the competition, the faster the sale imo.
My million dollar house didn't even come with a fridge! What a rip!
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Wow. We did a remodel and got a Samsung fridge with touchscreen for around 2.5k.

Is the kitchen new? Are you ready for a remodel where you could remove the need for fancy fridges?

Same applies to built in microwaves. I wanted one. Wife said no. We have a regular microwave in a nice cavity, which has added storage benefits. Holding microwave paraphernalia etc.

I digress. Point being, if you had the chance, would you buy something else? Perhaps you have that chance...
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:15 pm
cowdogman wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:56 pm I didn't see a 24" freezer with stainless steel--just "panel ready." I don't want to have new panels made.
"panel ready" just means it takes a panel to provide the look you want. That panel does not have to be wood that matches your cabinetry. If the look you want is stainless steel, well SZ sells a 24" stainless panel for $665 list, and a 36" panel for $875 list.

Here is one of the four available 24" right-hinge panels, as an example: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/store/inst ... oe-kick-rh
Thanks! I'm leaning toward this option. I think the $23-24K is driven by the fact that Sub Zero no longer makes the 30" fridge only/freezer only units and so I was quoted the price for two 30" fridge/freezer units. The 36" fridge and 24" freezer option is not only cheaper, I think it will be more useful--at least for our food needs. I plan to give Sub Zero a call today.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:30 pm I used to work for a high end appliance manufacturer. You are paying a premium for some of the outer pieces, design, badging, etc. but the working internals, the moving parts if you will, are almost always from the same box of parts that ordinary cheap lines use. Everyone just orders the same part with their part number printed on the widget and install it in their machine. But if you compare the specs, there is no difference between them. So this is a long way of saying that I wouldn't expect a $23,000 refrigerator to last any longer before it breaks down than a $800 refrigerator.
Totally agree. We have a Kenmore fridge and freezer in our pantry and they are going strong (and keep a constant temp) 12 years later.

Also agree about the parts, but I have had Sub Zeros before and the build quality is much (much) higher than Viking, and the one time we had a problem with a Sub Zero the parts and labor were covered 100% under warranty.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by stan1 »

cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:27 am

Thanks! I'm leaning toward this option.
If you are looking at replacing the whole ensemble (possibly including new panels) you would want to look at Thermador and Miele as well as Sub Zero. Thermador and Miele columns come out of the same factory but there are subtle differences. We preferred the Thermador/Miele design over Sub-Zero. They also still have 30" units. You'd have to look at height carefully too, but it is relatively easy to modify over fridge cabinets for height especially if you are having to get new panels for the appliance doors anyways.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

Starfox wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:17 pm
cowdogman wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:18 pm
earlyout wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 pm Why do you have separate units? A built-in 48" Subzero combination refrigerator-freezer would be a lot less than two units and probably less than two new Viking units. Getting a new Viking refrigerator now just locks you into another Viking freezer unit sometime in the not too distant future since the freezer is also 12 years old.
The units are built-in with custom cabinetry around, with a 60" opening. Two 30" inch units are really the only option.

Yes, I really dislike Viking and do not like the thought of giving them any money.
Quick question which I think will help...what is expected sale price of your home?

In my opinion based on where we live in the suburbs with 5000sqft luxury homes on 10000-15000sqft lots selling for $1.0-1.3m+, if your home would sell for $650-850k then built-in Viking/thermador is expected, if more then sub zero.

In other real estate markets we have been in, a 3000sqft condo selling for $2m would have Viking/thermador and it would only be the $3m+ homes with sub zero. Basically it’s market expectations and personal preference.

With you selling in a few years, you can decide to match real estate expectation or go “higher end” based on your personal preference. The nicer the home relatively speaking to the competition, the faster the sale imo.
You're right. A Sub Zero (or higher) would be expected in our house. When we bought the house 10 years ago I was disappointed that it had Viking, but switching to Sub Zero/Wolf at the time would have been about $40 to $50K--and the Viking units were brand new. I'm the one in the house that does the shopping/cooking and I would much rather be working with better appliances. Maybe it's time to do the switchover.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

stan1 wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:38 am
cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:27 am

Thanks! I'm leaning toward this option.
If you are looking at replacing the whole ensemble (possibly including new panels) you would want to look at Thermador and Miele as well as Sub Zero. Thermador and Miele columns come out of the same factory but there are subtle differences. We preferred the Thermador/Miele design over Sub-Zero. They also still have 30" units. You'd have to look at height carefully too, but it is relatively easy to modify over fridge cabinets for height especially if you are having to get new panels for the appliance doors anyways.
I'll check them out. Thanks.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lazydavid »

cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:27 am Thanks! I'm leaning toward this option. I think the $23-24K is driven by the fact that Sub Zero no longer makes the 30" fridge only/freezer only units and so I was quoted the price for two 30" fridge/freezer units. The 36" fridge and 24" freezer option is not only cheaper, I think it will be more useful--at least for our food needs. I plan to give Sub Zero a call today.
They still make the standalone units. Here are the refrigerators:

https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready
https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready

And here is the freezer:

https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready

But it sounds like the 36/24 setup will actually work better, so you're good to go either way.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

lazydavid wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:46 am
cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:27 am Thanks! I'm leaning toward this option. I think the $23-24K is driven by the fact that Sub Zero no longer makes the 30" fridge only/freezer only units and so I was quoted the price for two 30" fridge/freezer units. The 36" fridge and 24" freezer option is not only cheaper, I think it will be more useful--at least for our food needs. I plan to give Sub Zero a call today.
They still make the standalone units. Here are the refrigerators:

https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready
https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready

And here is the freezer:

https://www.subzero-wolf.com/sub-zero/f ... anel-ready

But it sounds like the 36/24 setup will actually work better, so you're good to go either way.
Well, now I will also be changing appliance stores, as I was told yesterday the 30" standalone units are no longer made.

This is why I love this forum.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lazydavid »

cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:54 am Well, now I will also be changing appliance stores, as I was told yesterday the 30" standalone units are no longer made.

This is why I love this forum.
Just to play devil's advocate, did you tell them you specifically did not want panel ready units (before finding out you could just buy a stainless panel)? That might explain their answer.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by UALflyer »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:30 pm I used to work for a high end appliance manufacturer. You are paying a premium for some of the outer pieces, design, badging, etc. but the working internals, the moving parts if you will, are almost always from the same box of parts that ordinary cheap lines use. Everyone just orders the same part with their part number printed on the widget and install it in their machine. But if you compare the specs, there is no difference between them. So this is a long way of saying that I wouldn't expect a $23,000 refrigerator to last any longer before it breaks down than a $800 refrigerator.
Are you talking about standalone refrigerators? There are significant performance, longevity and durability differences between regular and built in refrigerators, and the working internals are completely different.

Built in refrigerators are cabinet depth, which is 24", so they can be flush with kitchen cabinetry. Standard refrigerators are all much deeper than that, and are generally between 29" and 35" in depth, so you can't install them flush with kitchen cabinetry. Because of that, their compressors, for instance, are quite different, as is just about everything else about them. Although all refrigerators are designed to keep food cold, that's not all that is needed to keep food from spoiling. I think that all modern built in refrigerators now use dual compressors and air filtration, which makes most types of refrigerated and frozen foods last significantly longer. Dual compressors and air filtration have a number of other benefits, as, for instance, if you put fresh fish in the refrigerator, your ice cream and ice held in the freezer will no longer taste or smell like fish.

From a functional standpoint, an advantage of a built in refrigerator is not just in the way it is designed for a seamless look (you can also have it completely integrated into the cabinetry, where the refrigerator door exactly matches the cabinetry, so that it all looks like one unit), but also in the fact that having a wider and more shallow refrigerator makes it much easier to see and reach things in it than the more narrow and deeper design of standard refrigerators.

Also, modern standard refrigerators are generally designed to last 8-10 years. Built in refrigerators are designed to be significantly more durable, so that they are designed to last at least 20 years, and come with significantly longer warranties. Most standard refrigerators come with a 1 year warranty. Most built in refrigerators now come with 2-3 year full warranties, 5 year parts and labor sealed system warranty, and a 12 year parts only sealed system warranty. These differences account for at least some of the price differences.

The downsides to built in refrigerators are their outrageous up front pricing, as they are all made by a few high end manufacturers.

P.S.
The OP's very expensive quote has a lot to do with the fact that it's not for a single refrigerator. He is looking at columns, which means that he is looking at two separate units. SubZero's columns are, in fact, quite expensive (their dual compressor refrigerators are about $10K less for a 48"), but, depending on his cabinet configuration, there may be several ways around it.
Last edited by UALflyer on Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by UALflyer »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:46 am Wow. We did a remodel and got a Samsung fridge with touchscreen for around 2.5k.

Is the kitchen new? Are you ready for a remodel where you could remove the need for fancy fridges?

Same applies to built in microwaves. I wanted one. Wife said no. We have a regular microwave in a nice cavity, which has added storage benefits. Holding microwave paraphernalia etc.

I digress. Point being, if you had the chance, would you buy something else? Perhaps you have that chance...
If you are one of the few homeowners redesigning a kitchen, the decision on whether to use a built in refrigerator or a standard one tends to come down to the type of house that you own. Built in refrigerators do generally function better, keep food fresh much longer and are built to last much longer, so they tend to be the equipment of choice in higher end houses, and better kitchens is a significant factor that tends to allow you to sell a house faster and for more money. So, with a higher end house, putting in a lower end kitchen can easily end up costing you more money down the road. You don't generally want to overimprove your house for the market, but underimproving it can be just as dangerous.
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cowdogman
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

lazydavid wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:05 am
cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:54 am Well, now I will also be changing appliance stores, as I was told yesterday the 30" standalone units are no longer made.

This is why I love this forum.
Just to play devil's advocate, did you tell them you specifically did not want panel ready units (before finding out you could just buy a stainless panel)? That might explain their answer.
I think that is right, but I just told him I wanted stainless steel doors (I didn't exclude panel ready--I just picked up the phone after the repair guy left without doing any research). We talked on the phone for about 15 minutes, thinking thru the options, and swapped emails afterwards--and so I think the separate panel approach should have come up. He also misquoted the Sub Zero prices during the call, correcting himself at the end of the call by raising the price by about $6K ($3K per unit). Maybe he is new. He was very nice.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by mgensler »

I took a closer look and the Sub Zero Designer Columns sure look the same as the Thermador/Miele Columns. We have the classic Sub Zero at our 2nd home and it has the compressor/coils on top with plenty of room to work on and easy to keep clean. The Thermador columns at our primary home have the compressor under them and are a pain to clean. All the electronics and mechanicals are jammed in a small space. We also had the freezer column go out which was replaced under warranty on the Thermador. The through the door icemaker is junk and has never worked right. Skip that if you can. Maybe your best bet is to find a reputable appliance store that is easy to work with and brand is a second consideration.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by JHU ALmuni »

Get a new one, and possibly try to get $800 credit to apply for the new purchase. Doesn't hurt to try to ask Customer Service...
shell921
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by shell921 »

3 weeks ago I replaced my 11 year old Viking French Door refrigerator. The freezer and refrigerator temps kept fluctuating.
We bought all Viking appliances for this custom house we built 11 years ago. We didn't do enough research-there were and still are
many reports online of bad luck with Viking refrigerators. I bought an LG and I LOVE it! Got a great deal on it as was a floor model that had never
been turned on. Including an extra 3 year warranty and tax and delivery I paid $1678.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by adestefan »

Another option is to modify the cabinetry. This would be a good option if you want to ditch the large columns and add more cabinet space. A good cabinet maker can match any existing cabinetry and will have the experience to blend in regular appliances.

I had someone make me 4 cabinets, an end panel, and two filler pieces that perfectly matched my existing custom cabinets the previous homeowner had built. The originals were solid boxes with solid maple, book matched doors. The things are beasts that weigh a ton. It took them 3 tries in samples to get the color correct, but now you could never tell the difference between what’s new and what was existing.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by MarkerFM »

I think you have gotten good advice regarding going 36/24 instead of 30/30, and you can get stainless doors or panel-ready and stainless panels. The latter is what we did when we renovated our kitchen because the appliances were installed recessed instead of "proud" (i.e. sticking out a bit). Cabinets need a bit more depth to accomplish this.

Your house sounds like it is one where the expectation is for Sub-Zero. If so, you pretty much need to go that direction, particularly if you are thinking of selling in the medium term.

If it makes you feel any better, the Sub-Zero fridge/freezer we put in our new kitchen is night and day better than the Sub-Zero in our summer place. That one is "only" 16 year old. They have made tremendous improvements inside and out.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lthenderson »

UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:24 am
lthenderson wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:30 pm I used to work for a high end appliance manufacturer. You are paying a premium for some of the outer pieces, design, badging, etc. but the working internals, the moving parts if you will, are almost always from the same box of parts that ordinary cheap lines use. Everyone just orders the same part with their part number printed on the widget and install it in their machine. But if you compare the specs, there is no difference between them. So this is a long way of saying that I wouldn't expect a $23,000 refrigerator to last any longer before it breaks down than a $800 refrigerator.
Are you talking about standalone refrigerators? There are significant performance, longevity and durability differences between regular and built in refrigerators, and the working internals are completely different.

The downsides to built in refrigerators are their outrageous up front pricing, as they are all made by a few high end manufacturers.
Yes they are built differently than standard refrigerators but not all built in refrigerators are only made by high end manufacturers. Bosch, KitchenAid, Monogram, GE to name a few all make counterdepth built in models that accept panels at a fraction of the cost of Sub-Zero. I will guarantee that there will be many similar parts between them. There are some build quality differences for sure especially when it comes to the skins of the refrigerator as well as some of the inside pieces that are seen and used daily. Panels will have fully tig welded and polished corners while cheaper models might have folded metal tabs and a screw. But behind the panels where the solenoids, logic boards, compressors, etc are located, there isn't a lot of difference.

The OP may certainly be locked into certain brands of refrigerators due to layout and spacing issues. I wasn't trying to dissuade him from buying another Viking or upgrading to a Sub-Zero. I was just trying to clear up the perception that because it has a Sub-Zero badge on the front doesn't mean the solenoid controlling the water flow will last longer than that in a basic GE model that has the same solenoid.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by UALflyer »

If you're going to be switching to Subzero, do you need to update/upgrade any other kitchen appliances? All the high end manufacturers offer additional "savings" if you purchase their appliance package. Here's SubZero's offer, which consists of either a 3 year warranty extension or $1K off: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/planning-r ... savings-us
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:44 am If you're going to be switching to Subzero, do you need to update/upgrade any other kitchen appliances? All the high end manufacturers offer additional "savings" if you purchase their appliance package. Here's SubZero's offer, which consists of either a 3 year warranty extension or $1K off: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/planning-r ... savings-us
Funny! I was just looking at the Wolf 48" 8 burner range. I had a Wolf 6 burner range in a second home and loved it. Have never used the griddle/grill option when I have had them available and while I may not need 8 burners I have had 6 in use from time to time.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by UALflyer »

lthenderson wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:41 am
UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:24 am
lthenderson wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:30 pm I used to work for a high end appliance manufacturer. You are paying a premium for some of the outer pieces, design, badging, etc. but the working internals, the moving parts if you will, are almost always from the same box of parts that ordinary cheap lines use. Everyone just orders the same part with their part number printed on the widget and install it in their machine. But if you compare the specs, there is no difference between them. So this is a long way of saying that I wouldn't expect a $23,000 refrigerator to last any longer before it breaks down than a $800 refrigerator.
Are you talking about standalone refrigerators? There are significant performance, longevity and durability differences between regular and built in refrigerators, and the working internals are completely different.

The downsides to built in refrigerators are their outrageous up front pricing, as they are all made by a few high end manufacturers.
Yes they are built differently than standard refrigerators but not all built in refrigerators are only made by high end manufacturers. Bosch, KitchenAid, Monogram, GE to name a few all make counterdepth built in models that accept panels at a fraction of the cost of Sub-Zero. I will guarantee that there will be many similar parts between them. There are some build quality differences for sure especially when it comes to the skins of the refrigerator as well as some of the inside pieces that are seen and used daily. Panels will have fully tig welded and polished corners while cheaper models might have folded metal tabs and a screw. But behind the panels where the solenoids, logic boards, compressors, etc are located, there isn't a lot of difference.

The OP may certainly be locked into certain brands of refrigerators due to layout and spacing issues. I wasn't trying to dissuade him from buying another Viking or upgrading to a Sub-Zero. I was just trying to clear up the perception that because it has a Sub-Zero badge on the front doesn't mean the solenoid controlling the water flow will last longer than that in a basic GE model that has the same solenoid.
The above is incorrect. Bosch (as opposed to Thermador, which Bosch owns), for instance, is not a real competitor in the built-in full sized refrigerator market, as Bosch makes no built-in refrigerators larger than 36". As a point of reference, a standard modern built-in refrigerator is 48", and older cabinets were designed for 42" built-ins.

When it comes to built in refrigerators, Kitchenaid and GE Monogram are actually not that much cheaper than Subzero. On a standard built-in refrigerator, you'll save roughly $1,500 versus a Subzero (that's on a roughly $13K purchase). Kitchenaid, however, has a single compressor and dual evaporators, whereas Subzero has dual compressors and dual evaporators. Further, the issue with Kitchenaid is the fact that they keep changing the internals, so that after the warranty expires, sourcing replacement parts becomes very difficult, which causes a lot of them to become unrepairable. On the other hand, with Subzero, you can easily get replacement parts even for 40 year old refrigerators.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

I've never asked before, do appliance stores do trade ins?
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by lazydavid »

cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 am Funny! I was just looking at the Wolf 48" 8 burner range. I had a Wolf 6 burner range in a second home and loved it. Have never used the griddle/grill option when I have had them available and while I may not need 8 burners I have had 6 in use from time to time.
We have the Wolf 48" 6-burner/12" griddle range and absolutely love it. I would reconsider your opinion on the griddle though. We use ours all the time, more than the burners actually. Literally our only regret about the entire range is that we didn't get the 4-burner/24" griddle model. We've since added a 36" outdoor griddle to rectify this oversight.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by UALflyer »

cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 am
UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:44 am If you're going to be switching to Subzero, do you need to update/upgrade any other kitchen appliances? All the high end manufacturers offer additional "savings" if you purchase their appliance package. Here's SubZero's offer, which consists of either a 3 year warranty extension or $1K off: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/planning-r ... savings-us
Funny! I was just looking at the Wolf 48" 8 burner range. I had a Wolf 6 burner range in a second home and loved it. Have never used the griddle/grill option when I have had them available and while I may not need 8 burners I have had 6 in use from time to time.
We have a Wolf gas cooktop (not a range, as we have a separate built in dual oven), which we really like. The simmering is arguably the best in the industry, but since the simmering function has so many levels on the dial, there's less room on the dial to control the main flame function. So, when it comes to the main flame (as opposed to the simmering function), precise control of the flame takes some getting used to, as you have to use very small movements of the dial. We knew this going in and didn't mind (and adjusted quickly), but it's a common complaint out there, as most people use their main flame more often than they simmer.

I don't know if Wolf's ranges are designed the same way, but you may want to double check and then decide whether it's an advantage or a disadvantage for you.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

lazydavid wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:10 pm
cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 am Funny! I was just looking at the Wolf 48" 8 burner range. I had a Wolf 6 burner range in a second home and loved it. Have never used the griddle/grill option when I have had them available and while I may not need 8 burners I have had 6 in use from time to time.
We have the Wolf 48" 6-burner/12" griddle range and absolutely love it. I would reconsider your opinion on the griddle though. We use ours all the time, more than the burners actually. Literally our only regret about the entire range is that we didn't get the 4-burner/24" griddle model. We've since added a 36" outdoor griddle to rectify this oversight.
Don't you find it hard to keep the griddle area clean? Our range is far from pristine--it gets a lot of use--but a separate plug-in frying pan is what we use--easy to clean.
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Re: Viking Built In Refrigerator--Repair or Replace?

Post by cowdogman »

UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:29 pm
cowdogman wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 am
UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:44 am If you're going to be switching to Subzero, do you need to update/upgrade any other kitchen appliances? All the high end manufacturers offer additional "savings" if you purchase their appliance package. Here's SubZero's offer, which consists of either a 3 year warranty extension or $1K off: https://www.subzero-wolf.com/planning-r ... savings-us
Funny! I was just looking at the Wolf 48" 8 burner range. I had a Wolf 6 burner range in a second home and loved it. Have never used the griddle/grill option when I have had them available and while I may not need 8 burners I have had 6 in use from time to time.
We have a Wolf gas cooktop (not a range, as we have a separate built in dual oven), which we really like. The simmering is arguably the best in the industry, but since the simmering function has so many levels on the dial, there's less room on the dial to control the main flame function. So, when it comes to the main flame (as opposed to the simmering function), precise control of the flame takes some getting used to, as you have to use very small movements of the dial. We knew this going in and didn't mind (and adjusted quickly), but it's a common complaint out there, as most people use their main flame more often than they simmer.

I don't know if Wolf's ranges are designed the same way, but you may want to double check and then decide whether it's an advantage or a disadvantage for you.
I suspect the Wolf will be a big improvement over what we have now.
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