What to BNN do when a fridge goes boom.

In one of our very first entries we shared our concerns about our not very old but not very healthy fridge. I purchased the fridge as a factory second (new, but with a dent in the door) quite cheaply about 6 years ago. It was an ‘off-brand’ fridge, which didn’t mean much to me at the time. I had made a deal with my Year 9 Geography class that year. We were all writing ‘green’ goals each week – long term and short term. I had told them about my low energy rated, very old and leaky fridge. I’d purchased it as a student for $100. I couldn’t have afforded a new fridge when I purchased it, but I knew it wasn’t great for the environment. In my first year of teaching I made the promise to my Year 9 Geography class that I’d save that year to buy a fridge with a high energy rating. So I did. I purchased the seconds fridge from a store in Brunswick which specialised in white goods with minor aesthetic faults. They were almost all off-brand white goods, inexpensive but with contemporary energy and water ratings. It seemed like a good deal at the time.

Part of the reason this fridge didn’t last as long as I’d have hoped was because I moved several times in the last 6 years. Every time you move furniture and electronics there is the risk of damage. Fridges, like pianos, don’t like being moved. Ours started making strange noises after the second move.

The other reason the fridge didn’t last long was explained to us when we purchased our new (to us) fridge a few weeks ago. Off brand, inexpensive fridges are designed to last ‘for the term of your lease’. They are made for students, people who are transient and don’t want to be saddled with moving their white goods with each new share house or rental. It made me incredibly sad to hear that, and even sadder that I’d fallen for the trap. These fridges look good on the surface. They’re inexpensive and, on the surface, environmentally aware. In reality they’re poorly made, “disposable” and an incredible tax on our environment and our landfill.


One Friday afternoon, a few weeks ago, I opened our fridge and realised that the entire top shelf was filled with mould. This literally happened over night – the mould that is, we knew the fridge was on the out and out for at least a year. Even though we knew in January that this as a likely scenario, and lots of people had given us suggestions then on how to approach this issue, we were totally unprepared.

In our old life we would have jumped in the car on Saturday morning, driven to our local shopping centre, gone into a major electronics store and purchased the best priced new fridge we could find, to be delivered that afternoon. (Admittedly, I would have spent Friday night scouring reviews on the web and searching for the best rated product.)

In our new life I searched the web for a reconditioned fridge store in the south eastern suburbs. There was one, Blue Ribbon Appliances in Frankston, and it happened to be open on a Saturday. We could only hope that it was a reputable business and had decent fridges at decent prices. We didn’t have a lot of options. We arrived at 9am Saturday and were greeted by an amiable elderly gentleman who explained their stock and left us to explore and choose. We were already delighted to not be pushed or harassed as we browsed. While we checked out the stock he put through a phone call to the owner to check if he could deliver that day. He could. We had lots of choice in a fridge of the size we required. What’s more, they only stocked fridges they could rely on as they guarantee them for 12 months.

By Saturday afternoon we were installing our new fridge. It’s not particularly old, it’s a great size and energy rated. We paid half what we would for a new fridge, including delivery and taking away the old fridge to recycle. Honestly, it was a pleasurable shopping experience. I don’t say this lightly.

The fridge did have a minor fault – the alarm started going off every 6 hours (including overnight). The owner of the business, who is also the fridge mechanic, came out and repaired it immediately. If the same thing happened with a new fridge you’d possibly face dealing with the manufacturer in a lengthy game of ‘whose fault?’ in order to get the fridge repaired or replaced. True, it might not have happened in a new fridge, but it’s fixed and working beautifully now. The outcome suits us.

Any previous year we would not have taken the bet on a reconditioned fridge. Time will tell if we’ve made a good purchase or not, but right now we feel very positive about how this problem was solved.

[As a side note, this was a great opportunity to clean out the fridge and declutter the stuff that had accumulated on top of and on the sides of the fridge.]


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