Monday, 4 October 2010

Not quite Nul Points

A while ago we realised that our old fridge was over 20 years old and the freezer an impressive 30, both made before the idea of energy efficiency ratings had been dreamed up, and actually, both probably pretty inefficient, so we started thinking about replacing them.  This was where things got interesting.

The slots where they lived were barely over 50cm wide, which is quite restricting when you come to buy this sort of whiteware, and it took us months to eventually settle on Lec units from John Lewis.  Last Wednesday we took delivery of a tall fridge freezer and an under the counter freezer, the old ones due for collection on Friday, giving us time to get the new ones settled in and cool before unplugging the old.  The kitchen was a disaster area, of course, but we could live with that for those few days.

Except that when I tried to swap the doors so they hinged on the left, one of the feet would not screw into the hole provided.  The hole had not had a thread tapped into it.  An engineer's visit was arranged for this morning.  I was quite clear about what was required.  The man needed the equipment to tap a thread into the hole.

Later that day it became obvious that the new fridge was not cooling to the required 3 - 7°C.  I put the max-min thermometer in and it showed about 14°C.  I phoned again and informed them of this.  The guy was very reassuring.  The engineer would almost certainly be able to fix it, but in the unlikely event he couldn't, they'd supply a replacement within 3 - 5 working days.

Today the engineer showed up, looked at the hole, tried to clean it out with a screwdriver, tried hammering the foot in (knackering the thread on the foot in the process) and gave up.  He put his hand inside and said it was cool, even if not down to the required temperature.  He didn't believe the max-min thermometer, trusting his own feelings in preference to basic science.  Nope, there was nothing more he could do, he'd order us a replacement.  He was, in a word, useless.  And he wouldn't even refit the power lead I'd cut off the old fridge so I could use that in the interim.  So we get a replacement on Friday, but in the mean time have no fridge at all.

Fortunately John Lewis had failed, too.  The old fridge and freezer were still out in the back yard.  Using a plank from the garage, I dragged the old fridge back inside and it's now in the utility room.  I wiped the worst of the rain off and refitted the wire I'd cut off, but then made my own mistake.  Without giving it time to dry off, I plugged it in and switched it on. 

I could hear a sort of hissing, crackling sound, so quickly unplugged it again, then watched as whisps of what I hoped were steam rose from around the motor. Didn't smell like steam, smelt like burning plastic, but it soon stopped and I saw no flames!  I had hoped that even though it had been rained on, the fact that the electrics were underneath would have kept them dry, but clearly it was not so.

So I'll let it dry out for a bit before plugging it in again.

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