Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sabbath Mode: Refrigerator Shopping

Since I'm in the market for a new fridge, I've started making my way around the net in search of a good deal. It seems that every good fridge will have some bad reviews, so the trick is to do your due diligence and pick one that will be the least problematic and still have the features you would like. This is a lot harder than it sounds! For example, you may decide that you'll just follow the advice of Consumer Reports, only to find that the "amazon reviews "of that model have many people crying at how bad the customer service and repair issues are. Being a religious Jew throws yet another wrench into this pool of problems. Is there a sabbath mode? Sabbath mode would shut off the electric displays as well as the lights so as not to have any issues of building, creating (completing a circuit) or igniting a fire (depending on the view you follow). The fridge I liked was a Samsung unit Model# RF266ABPN but I'm worried about how to keep the lights off (may have to take them out) as well as the electric display and if there are any issues with the compressor coming on.I read that magnets might take care of the problem as it is magnets that tell the unit that the door is open. Needles to say a sabbath mode fridge makes life a lot easier but they can be costly and there are few to choose from. If anyone has any reccomendations escpecially for a french door bottom freezer model, please let me know. On many models that use a regular switch to turn the lights on or off ,the solution is easy: you can purchase Shabbat switch covers. The Samsung model however, does not work on this premise .

29 comments:

PsychoToddler said...

We just bought a new fridge and I'm sorry to say we have had to resort to Duct tape to sabbath-proof it. I'll send this to my wife--she's the real appliance expert.

Mrs. Balabusta said...

As my husband stated, we just bought a new fridge as the last one barely survived Pesach. I think I spent about 4 hours in Sears, let alone other stores just visiting refrigerators.

First of all, the "capacity" titles are misleading. The Samsung, in particular, is not any bigger but figures the size of the ice container into the total cubic ft. Otherwise the LG and Kenmore Elite are all the same size about.

We were looking at the three door model as you described. With the LG there was no way to disable the lights, The switches were internal and the lights are LED so they are not easily removed. This effectively eliminated the LG.

In my old side by side I had water and ice through the door. On Shabbos we didn't use the ice dispenser but you can reach in the ice bucket and pull out ice. With the 3 door through-the-door the ice bucket is smaller, much smaller, and in a little door with two latches on the inside of the door. Besides the fact that this is very cumbersome to get ice on Shabbos, it eats up space in your refrigerator.

We have had the 3 door Kenmore Elite with thru-the door-water and icemaker but inside the freezer on the bottom since May. Here are the really important things you need to know.
1. THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR DOES NOT CLOSE ON ITS OWN, not even a little. Because of the whole French door thing you have to open and close it like a cupboard. This has resulted in me saying "Close the Frig" about 40 times a day, 80 in the summer. There is an alarm if the fridge stays open too long, but you tape the door switchs and the frig doesn't know it's open.....
2. There is much less door storage space than you think. If you have two gallons of milk, OJ, bottles of wine and grape juice and a pitcher of Koolaid probably one of them isn't going to fit. The wine bottle will not fit anywhere but on the door, unless you want to sacrifice half a shelf. Take a wine bottle with you to the store - I am not kidding.
3. The freezer is good, the ice is excellent. Again, the freezer has to be closed all the way or you get this frost thing going on. It can look like it is closed but it's just almost closed because something on the shelf is in the way. It's a drawer and another drawer. Okay but you have to make sure it is closed.
4. The "Platter" drawer on the bottom is usually wasted space. It gets colder than anything else. Do not put a can of soda in there, it exploded. The eggs froze. We had to turn the fridge to 40 to get the food at the bottom to stop freezing.

I think overall I probably have more room than I did with the side by side, but not so much more. I still play Friday night tetris trying to make everything fit. Kenmore is a good brand and I have been happy with the fridge, it is quiet and the ice is good.

I wish you much hatzlacha, it's not an easy decision.

P.S. As far as I can tell, if you tape the doors, your fridge is in sabbath mode. Everything else is "commentary".

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Thanks! However as I mentioned the samsung fridge does not have regular switches that you can just tape down.
Good point about the freezer on bottom. I had a maytag with a bottom freezer and you really had to make sure it close all the way otherwise there were issues with frost and using up much more electricity etc.

skleiner101 said...

All Electrolux refrigerators have a shabbot mode! However a comparable Electrolux will run you an extra 1,000 +/-. My wife & I are struggling with a similar issue. You may want to look at the Electrolux 27.8 Cu. Ft. french door.

Anonymous said...

I am also looking for a sabbath mode fridge. I have done my homework. My friend has the Electrolux fridge and the sabbath mode is really easy to use. BUT, Electrolux is not highly rated and at $3500 thats a lot of money for not such a great product. The Kenmore fridge's have the water and ice in the door, but do not have electric panels in the door, so all you have to do is unscrew the light bulb and tape down the button inside the fridge, but they do not come in french door. Good Luck

Jon said...

Got the Samsung fridge to work, Shabbat style (minus the compressor issue, and at the moment, only the "fridge" doors, not the freezer). If you're interested on how, let me know the best way to reach you.

Anonymous said...

I have the Electrolux 27.8 cuft Sabbath mode fridge and it has been a nightmare. The ice maker leaks, and then it broke completely. The doors are not even and it has been repaired 3 times, finally they just refunded my money. I am now looking for a better one myself, but the electrolux is a rip off.

Anonymous said...

We just bought a new fridge, we went with a Kitchen Aid with shabbos mode. Another issue with fridges now is there isn't always a 'button' that the door compresses and depresses for the light.... it's a magnet set within the hardware of the door itself. The problem being that they usually also activate a fan within motor too, and this cannot be disabled without a shabbos mode.
Star K has also just removed it's 'hashgacha' from some Ge appliances, it's worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

WE redid our kitchen and bought all star K recommended appliances and all were the best EXCEPT the fridge. We bought a 3,000 dollar electrolux fridge w/ a shabbos mode to which we have had nothing but trouble. THe ice maker never worked and 3 repairmen later can't fix it. We have to replace it, took the refund and will buy a simple fridge that you can simply unscrew the light bulb and be free of the high tech fridges. It was very disappointed to spend so much from AJ Madison and not one Electrolux tech could repair the unit.
Norfolk, VA

hindi said...

Was wondering about Whirlpool models?

Mendel said...

Jon,

How did you get the samsung to work??
We just got the samsung and could really use your help!!

Thanks,

Mendel

Barak said...

Yes Jon, please post your instructions for the Samsung Sabbath mode.

Thank you.
Barak

Noam said...

I just bought the Samsung fridge with the LED lights, that does not have a shabbos mode. I discovered that if you put magnets, usually fridge magnets do not work, rather heavy magnets- like ones in a kids set- or you can buy them at a store- and place two on top of the fridge, where it says switch, you will need to step on a chair/stool. By doing this, you trick the fridge into thinking that the fridge is closed- thereofre both the light and the the temperature screen remain off. I have not yet figured out how to change the freezer light, but for now I will just not use the freezer.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your recommendation about using magnets on top of the Samsung refrigerator, where it says switch. Is that near the front or the back of the refrigerator, as the back of the refrigerator is not accessible in my case.

Anonymous said...

Frigidaire produces a French door refrigerator with bottom drawer that HAS Sabbath mode, but unfortunately, we had continuous problems with the icemaker screwing up the whole freezer (the tube bringing the water to the freezer to make ice must have a connection problem). We went through 3 refrigerators with PC Richards, and then switched to a GE. The ice maker is working, but it's not a Sabbath mode fridge.

Anonymous said...

i Just bought a Samsung french door Fridge and found that the bottom freezer has a switch on the left hand side about 6 inches inside of the middle portion that needs to be taped down in order to trick the refrigerator into thinking that the freezer door is in fact closed.

Glenda said...

I purchased a Frigidaire refrigerator with the Sabbath Mode feature. During Passover the unit was on for 8 days. When I returned home the LED dispalyed showed 77 degrees on both the refrigerator and the freezer. Everything inside was rancid, spoiled and destroyed. The odor was impossible. I contacted Frigidaire immediately and they said I might have programmed it incorrectly or pushed the buttons in an incorrect sequence. An authorized Frigidaire repairman said that the refrigerator should NEVER turn off for ANY reason. He said it might have gone into the "showroom" or "demo" mode in which it "runs but does not cool". WHAT?????!!!!!!
a. The Use and Care manual makes no mention of the danger of the refrigerator turning off if in the Sabbath Mode for an extended period of time,
b. The manual does not mention in any way a "showroom" or "demo" mode or the possibility that it can be placed in this mode in any way.
Frigidaire claims no responsibility in this matter. This is customer service?????? They do not stand behind their defective product at all.
I'd like to know if anyone else has had a similar problem with the Sabbath mode on their Frigidaire refrigerator.

Anonymous said...

Hi Noam,

Will this magnet trick work with any fridge that has Led lights??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice about the magnets. One important clarification. If you only tape one magnet where it says "switch" it will trick the fridge into thinking that the door is open, rather than closed. And with our fridge, if it thinks the door(s) are open, an alarm will start to beep, and the fridge will go into shutdown mode, in which the fridge temp goes up to 46 degrees and the freezer temp goes up to 32 degrees. But when taping down two magnets,the fridge thinks the doors are closed. I bought the magnets at the hardware store, which were about the size of dominoes. But smaller magnets should would work as well.
Another thing: I called Samsung and asked how I could disengage the internal LED lights or the temperature display, which comes on when the doors are opened, and they said it was impossible to disengage these features. So it may be that this magnet trick is the only solution if you can't return your refrigerator. Finally, if you look in Rabbi Blumenkrantz's Pesach book ("The Laws of Pesach"), he discusses which refrigerators don't have these problems. This is in the section on appliances for Shabbos and Yom Tov. It says the GE top refrigerators include the "E", "8", "A", "K", "I", "H", and "F" series. GE side by side refrigerators that have no Shabbos and Yom tov problems include "S", "K", and "J" series.

Hatzlach rabba!

Ben

Haim shababos said...

On Samsung franchise door. U need to put 3 magnets (Home Depot) put them on the top , (where it says switch) and the lights will go off!

Estee Nadav said...

Works on my Kenmore elite! I'm so thankful for this information! Thank you!

Estee Nadav said...

Yes! It works on my new Kenmore elite! Love this magnet trick!

AS said...

@estee Nadav- You are very welcome!

LB Gemach said...

562 254 7756 asap.

LB Gemach said...

Can u take a pic of where the magnets should be placed please and text it to me 562 254 7756

Anonymous said...

Hello everybody, we just got the Samsung stainless fridge. It took a little figuring out. We thought of a simple fix. The lighter magnets did not work well. We went to Home Depot and bought round shiny silver magnets, very strong, about the size of a nickel. They have ones about the same size that are black, but not as strong. Being that it was strong, we also bought Velcro, we cut a little square, about the size of a nickel and stuck it on to the top of the fridge, now we just stick the magents on to the Velcro and pull it off every shabbos. This would be easier to send pics

Eliyahu Ladell said...

B"H
Our new LG fridge, one door, responded to the magnet and became Shabbos Mode

Avi Yunz said...

Hey can you please share the model number of the fridge? Thanks

Anonymous said...

I solved the LG.
Tape the button on top of each fridge door.
Open the freezer and look up at bottom of each fridge door to see the led lights. ONE end of each cover has a small slit. Stick in a sloted screw driver and gently pry open. Grab the LED strip (you may need a needel nose plyer or tweezer) and gently pull the LED strip down. You will now see, dangling the strip and it's connector. Pull it apart and your done.
I then put the LED cover back on.

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