French Door Refrigerators

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sport
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French Door Refrigerators

Post by sport »

Last year, we bought a Whirlpool french door fridge. Recently, we noted that the seal on the right hand door was failing. We contacted Whirlpool, and even though the unit was a few months out of warranty, they paid for the repair (kudos to Whirlpool). This saved me from using the extended warranty offered by my credit card. What is interesting is what the repairman advised about maintaining that seal. He told us that it failed because the left hand door rubbed against it when we opened or that door first or when we closed it last. So, I am posting this as a PSA for owners of such units. Open the right door first and close it last to save wear on the door seal. We did not see such instructions in the owner's manual.
EagertoLearnMore
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by EagertoLearnMore »

Thanks for that information!
I had a French door refrigerator in another house and never had a problem with the seals in many years, but I noticed that the newer Frency door refrigerators are built differently. With the new configuration for the door seals I see exactly what you mean by closing the doors in the correct sequence. Good to know.
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willthrill81
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by willthrill81 »

Good information.

In a similar vein, we've had three dishwashers from two different brands fail completely in the last 7 years, with the drain motor to blame every time. We had to pay for the first two out of pocket since they were out of warranty, but we bought an extended warranty on the third just before the 1 year warranty expired since it was already having issues. Sure enough, it failed a few months later. The repairman told us that the likely problem in all instances was our use of powdered dishwashing detergent, which he said is prone to not dissolving well and causing clogs that strain the motor. So for the last ~6 months, we've been using liquid dishwashing detergent, and it's working well so far, though it is pricier than the powder.
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tcassette
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by tcassette »

willthrill81 wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:35 am Good information.

In a similar vein, we've had three dishwashers from two different brands fail completely in the last 7 years, with the drain motor to blame every time. We had to pay for the first two out of pocket since they were out of warranty, but we bought an extended warranty on the third just before the 1 year warranty expired since it was already having issues. Sure enough, it failed a few months later. The repairman told us that the likely problem in all instances was our use of powdered dishwashing detergent, which he said is prone to not dissolving well and causing clogs that strain the motor. So for the last ~6 months, we've been using liquid dishwashing detergent, and it's working well so far, though it is pricier than the powder.
If a dishwasher drain motor can't stand up to partially dissolved powder, how well will it stand up to food (especially fibrous foods) and grease remnants on your dirty dishes? I think your repair guy was obliquely telling you that the models you have been buying are under-designed. Keep him on speed-dial.
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willthrill81
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by willthrill81 »

tcassette wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:40 am
willthrill81 wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:35 am Good information.

In a similar vein, we've had three dishwashers from two different brands fail completely in the last 7 years, with the drain motor to blame every time. We had to pay for the first two out of pocket since they were out of warranty, but we bought an extended warranty on the third just before the 1 year warranty expired since it was already having issues. Sure enough, it failed a few months later. The repairman told us that the likely problem in all instances was our use of powdered dishwashing detergent, which he said is prone to not dissolving well and causing clogs that strain the motor. So for the last ~6 months, we've been using liquid dishwashing detergent, and it's working well so far, though it is pricier than the powder.
If a dishwasher drain motor can't stand up to partially dissolved powder, how well will it stand up to food (especially fibrous foods) and grease remnants on your dirty dishes? I think your repair guy was obliquely telling you that the models you have been buying are under-designed. Keep him on speed-dial.
I'm not an 'appliance guy', so I don't know. I don't doubt that most appliance brands are not designed well, but I don't know what to do about it. Our other appliances have fared well.
“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
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Sandtrap
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Sandtrap »

sport wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:03 am Last year, we bought a Whirlpool french door fridge. Recently, we noted that the seal on the right hand door was failing. We contacted Whirlpool, and even though the unit was a few months out of warranty, they paid for the repair (kudos to Whirlpool). This saved me from using the extended warranty offered by my credit card. What is interesting is what the repairman advised about maintaining that seal. He told us that it failed because the left hand door rubbed against it when we opened or that door first or when we closed it last. So, I am posting this as a PSA for owners of such units. Open the right door first and close it last to save wear on the door seal. We did not see such instructions in the owner's manual.
Thanks for the great info.
The spring on our left door seal "flapper thingy" just broke with no replacement in sight.
The tip of making it a habit to open the right door lst is a great one.
I'll pass on the info up the "chain of command". :shock: :shock:

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sc9182
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by sc9182 »

Thanks for PSA; appliances and their many-a-parts are on backlogged/back-order delays (and full/above MSRP) due to supply chain issues.

An ounce of care, prevention, up-keep goes long way during current times.

Similar supply-chain delays (and possibly higher prices) affecting cars/car-parts, many goods, and housing too..
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Never even thought about french door seals, makes sense though.

Asked DW what door she opened first, she said right, but then said she was guessing.

I always open the right door first, as it has more stuff in the shelves than the left door. The left door has much less storage than the right door, as the icemaker chute is in the left door.

Best idea is not to open either door too often. Your waistline will thank you, and apparently your door seals will, also.

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Sandtrap
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Sandtrap »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:48 pm Never even thought about french door seals, makes sense though.

Asked DW what door she opened first, she said right, but then said she was guessing.

I always open the right door first, as it has more stuff in the shelves than the left door. The left door has much less storage than the right door, as the icemaker chute is in the left door.

Best idea is not to open either door too often. Your waistline will thank you, and apparently your door seals will, also.

Broken Man 1999
DWs stuff is on the right side. My stuff is on the left.
Unsure what the protocol is?
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hand
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by hand »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:03 pm DWs stuff is on the right side. My stuff is on the left.
Unsure what the protocol is?
j🌺
So are you saying your wife is always right?
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Ping Pong »

I thought with a FDF, you open whichever side has the food you need. Do you have to open both doors each time now?
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sport
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by sport »

Ping Pong wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:04 pm I thought with a FDF, you open whichever side has the food you need. Do you have to open both doors each time now?
You can open either door. However, on my unit, it you open the left door first, or without opening the right door, it rubs on the door seal on the right door. Since the repair would have cost about $400 for a service call, parts, and labor, it would be good to minimize that problem.
investor4life
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by investor4life »

I recall that the manual for my previous fridge (Kenmore) had some text about opening/closing in the order that OP mentions, mainly to protect the flapper thingy on the left door. My current one (Whirlpool) doesn't seem to have that warning. We've had a few situations where its flapper hasn't closed fully and hits the right door. Never knew it could affect the seal as well. Thanks for the PSA.
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I'll never have another French door refrigerator. I only used one side. (As a tall person, I prefer freezer on the bottom.) I suppose I did not make the effort to retrain myself. I had it only about a year before selling the condo and can't remember the name of the maker. It was only towards the end when I was getting ready to move that I found out it was designed so the left door was meant to close over the right which was the side I always used. Perhaps that is no long an issue since that was seven years ago.
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theplayer11
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by theplayer11 »

water dispenser on my Kitchen Aid is inside on the left, so left door is opened first and closed last many times. That's the price we will have to pay for a clean look, don't care for the look of an outside dispenser at all.
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by surfstar »

FYI, all French door and lower freezer units, along with any that have a built in ice maker, pass-through water/ice, and on - are less efficient than the old top freezer standard designs.

Found out the differences* when replacing ours a couple years ago. Found the cheapest, most efficient and largest (small to 90% of BHs I'm sure) that fit our space. Waited for coupon/CC deals and bought from Sears - $450ish I think. Simpler (more reliable), plus cheaper to purchase and operate.

That's my PSA against French door and other 'fancy' fridges :D

*Great resource to sort by capacity, efficiency, size, etc - we were greatly limited by height and this helped find the largest capacity (20.5 cf from 18.2) without having to modify our cabinets.
https://www.energystar.gov/productfinde ... rs/results
Last edited by surfstar on Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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willthrill81
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by willthrill81 »

We bought a FD fridge with a freezer on the bottom back in 2009. I believe it was a Whirlpool but don't remember for sure. It only had one compressor, so it routed some of the cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator to cool that compartment. Apparently, there was a significant design flaw, and it was not uncommon for the refrigerator compartment to drop below 32 F, freezing the items and ruining many of them in the process. This happened to us multiple times when it was under warranty, and after several repair attempts, the company refunded us the price we paid for it, and we replaced it with a side-by-side model, which is what we've used since, and had no problems.
“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
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sport
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by sport »

theplayer11 wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:57 am water dispenser on my Kitchen Aid is inside on the left, so left door is opened first and closed last many times. That's the price we will have to pay for a clean look, don't care for the look of an outside dispenser at all.
Our water dispenser is also inside on the left. However, we can open both doors when we want to dispense water saving wear of the right gasket. Not having dispensers in the door also gives us more interior space.
Random Poster
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Random Poster »

sport wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:15 pm
Ping Pong wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:04 pm I thought with a FDF, you open whichever side has the food you need. Do you have to open both doors each time now?
You can open either door. However, on my unit, it you open the left door first, or without opening the right door, it rubs on the door seal on the right door. Since the repair would have cost about $400 for a service call, parts, and labor, it would be good to minimize that problem.
Can you share which unit you have?

I’ve got a Frigidaire (came with the house; I never would have bought it) and the right side door has a flapper attached that sorta tucks into and behind the left side door (which houses the in-door water dispenser and ice, so there isn’t a lot of room on the left side of the refrigerator for actual food), but I can’t see how either door rubs against the door seal on the other door.

Maybe if you shared your refrigerator model information I could find a picture of it to visualize what you are referring to.

Thanks.
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sport
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by sport »

Random Poster wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:53 pm
sport wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:15 pm
Ping Pong wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:04 pm I thought with a FDF, you open whichever side has the food you need. Do you have to open both doors each time now?
You can open either door. However, on my unit, it you open the left door first, or without opening the right door, it rubs on the door seal on the right door. Since the repair would have cost about $400 for a service call, parts, and labor, it would be good to minimize that problem.
Can you share which unit you have?

I’ve got a Frigidaire (came with the house; I never would have bought it) and the right side door has a flapper attached that sorta tucks into and behind the left side door (which houses the in-door water dispenser and ice, so there isn’t a lot of room on the left side of the refrigerator for actual food), but I can’t see how either door rubs against the door seal on the other door.

Maybe if you shared your refrigerator model information I could find a picture of it to visualize what you are referring to.

Thanks.
The doors on my unit are opposite from yours. The flapper is on the left door. So, if we open the left door first, the flapper rubs on the seal of the right door. We do not have in-door dispensers, so we have the same interior space on both sides. In fact, we avoided getting the dispensers for that reason. We would rather have the interior space. This looks like the one we have:
https://www.whirlpool.com/kitchen/refri ... 5swhz.html?
mpnret
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by mpnret »

FWIW mine is a GE about 10 years old. Looks a lot like the Whirlpool pictured in the above post. No flapper at all. Both doors have the same style gasket that just barely touch. I think they are magnetic which holds them together. Looks like a decent system. No special order for opening/closing doors and I see no wear at all.
shunkman
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by shunkman »

surfstar wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:08 pm FYI, all French door and lower freezer units, along with any that have a built in ice maker, pass-through water/ice, and on - are less efficient than the old top freezer standard designs.

Found out the differences* when replacing ours a couple years ago. Found the cheapest, most efficient and largest (small to 90% of BHs I'm sure) that fit our space. Waited for coupon/CC deals and bought from Sears - $450ish I think. Simpler (more reliable), plus cheaper to purchase and operate.

That's my PSA against French door and other 'fancy' fridges :D

*Great resource to sort by capacity, efficiency, size, etc - we were greatly limited by height and this helped find the largest capacity (20.5 cf from 18.2) without having to modify our cabinets.
https://www.energystar.gov/productfinde ... rs/results
I love my new French door refrigerator and I don't think it will be less efficient in the long run. I now spend less time finding what I need in the refrigerator rather than being bent over with a fully opened wide door spilling the cold air out. I'll pinch pennies somewhere else. This is my PSA in support of FD refrigerators.
Random Poster
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Re: French Door Refrigerators

Post by Random Poster »

sport wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:51 amThe doors on my unit are opposite from yours. The flapper is on the left door. So, if we open the left door first, the flapper rubs on the seal of the right door. We do not have in-door dispensers, so we have the same interior space on both sides. In fact, we avoided getting the dispensers for that reason. We would rather have the interior space. This looks like the one we have:
https://www.whirlpool.com/kitchen/refri ... 5swhz.html?
Thanks.

So for me and my refrigerator, I’ll now open the left side first and close it last to keep the flapper on the right side from rubbing against it.
Most experiences are better imagined.
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