Fitting a 33" inch deep fridge into a 31" deep space

Buying a new fridge (much easier than cleaning my current filthy semi-functional one, purchased probably–not by me–in the late 1960s maybe) and I got a very good price on a Whirlpool with all the bells and whistles I need. But my old one measures 31" deep, and the new one measures 33" deep, so it’s dicey (cuz you need to pass the fridge to get into the kitchen proper, and there are cabinets facing the fridge door that aren’t moving anywhere.)

BUT (you knew there was a big BUT in there, not counting mine that will be squeezing through the narrow passageway) the old fridge seems to have empty space behind it, 3" or 4" worth of space between the back of the fridge and the wall that appears to be available, which is easily enough space to allow the new 2" deeper fridge to fit and still leave a few inches of space.

Is there a reason that space needs to be 4"? (Actually is there a reason I can’t push my fridge flush with the wall?) If no one comes with an argument why those four inches of wasted space are part of a grand master design, then I’m ordering the 33" deep fridge–so someone stop me if I’m making a terrible mistake.

Another way to pose this inquiry would be: How much space is between YOUR fridge and the wall behind it? Go ahead, measure. I’ll wait.

The back of the fridge has a big heat sink radiator thingy that disperses the heat from the compressor. As long as that isn’t being crushed into the drywall, I don’t see why you need more than 1" of clearance space in the back.

Hmm, my fridge just sticks out however much it sticks out. You can’t put it flush against the wall because the plug is behind it. As long as it doesn’t impede anything like opening doors, I think you should be fine.

However, if you want to know how to fit a 36" WIDE fridge into a 34" WIDE space, here’s how: you have your dad come over with a variety of saws and cut the part of the countertop that hangs over the cabinet space on the left side of the space. You also remove the cabinet door and drawer, and cabinet face. You also need to turn the cabinet face backwards under the sink so you can open your oven door (only halfway tho, because removing the cabinet door under the sink would be nonsense.) Now you have a cut-up countertop, a gaping hole where a cabinet and drawer used to be, and a backwards cabinet face under the sink. But, hey - free fridge!

Good thing I don’t plan on selling my house anytime soon. I’d have to replace the entire countertop and the cabinets under the sink that get mangled every time you open the oven door…

If you go to Whirlpool’s website, look up your refrigerator model, and pull up the Installation Instructions under the “Guides and Literature” tab, it will tell you just how much space your particular fridge needs.

Some newer fridges do not require space behind and can be put flush against the back wall. Our bottom-mount freezer model only has vents on the bottom and not on the back. The manual states that it can be put flush to the wall. I think the plug was made to fit 90º to the wall. I don’t recall offhand, but I can see the full side of our fridge and there is less than 2" of space behind.

If you are buying the fridge new, you should be able to find a PDF of the manual for the model you are considering. Try looking under Customer Service for the manufacturers website.

The out let is usually in the back so you will need room for the plug. On modern frigs the condencer (heat sink thing) is in the bottom. The condencer fan pulls air in on one side accross the condencer coild and out the fromt.

I did go to the website (thanks) and the nice lady told me that 4" sounded a bit much. But she did come up with another sticking point I hadn’t thought of: this fridge comes with an ice-maker and I have no running water on that side of the kitchen (the sink is on the other side). Is this a big deal to have a plumber run some sort of water-line from one side of the kitchen to the other? What exactly does a water-line look like? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one.

The water line is flexible tube about the diameter of a pencil and made of plastic or (preferably) copper. The fridge will probably come with a self installation kit that allows you to poke a hole in a nearby cold water line with a self-tapping saddle valve, but it sounds like you’re going to need to run the line under the floorboards or something, so calling in a plumber is a good idea. It’s an easy job - shouldn’t be more than a hundred bucks.

You have a cellar? It’s no big deal to run a water line to a fridge – usually it’s just a length of copper or plastic tube that’s tapped into an existing water line. It’s only a 1/4 or 3/8 inch line, so you can just drill a small hole in the floor to run the water.

Installing an ice maker supply line, the video.

There are other styles of kits that are just as easy, if not easier.

No cellar (I’m on an upper floor of a high-rise.)

It occured to me that I should measure the width of the doorway leading to the kitchen–looking at my old fridge, they may have gotten it in there via the 31" side!!

They can take the doors off to get it in, remember. (Make sure the fridge doors can open, by the way!)

We had to put mine in by having the boyfriend’s buddies come in and move the upper cabinets. There were just two cabinets (the useless over-fridge ones and a regular one to the left) and we just unscrewed them and moved them over two inches or so. Worked like a charm.

I had to do that, too. It was a new house, and I was surprised our fridge was too tall.

If you are on a floor you can’t get under (say, concrete) - run the tubing UP and either through the ceiling (messy) or along the wall. Avoid the floor - someday, somebody is going to mangle it - the stuff is soft.