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11-08-09 9:42 AM
Aside from a low hum and the odd gurgle, you may not ever notice your fridge. Unless, of course, it stops working...and that’s a real attention grabber! But nowadays, refrigerators are as stylish and technological as they are efficient. At one time, options were limited to black, white, beige or stainless, with or without an ice or water dispenser, side by side or bottom drawer. Not anymore! Refrigerators have improved by leaps and bounds when it comes to efficiency, performance, aesthetics, and functionality. Here are a few refrigeration innovations to consider for your next appliance purchase.
Modern refrigerators are upping the energy efficiency ante. It used to be that an A+ rating was the very best, but now new A+++ ratings are where it’s at, offering 50%-60% better efficiency than A or A+ rated refrigerators. These hyper-efficient models offer optimal food preservation thanks to intelligent electronic controls for precise temperature control, innovative insulation and sealing for maximum efficiency, plus a variety of advanced options such as a freezer evaporator or nofrost technology (depending on the make and model).
How many times have you caught your kids standing in front the fridge, door wide open, “shopping” for a snack? And how many times have you told them to shut the door? The days of this practice are numbered, thanks to high-end fridges with a see-through glass door. Convenient and practical, you can easily see what you have –or have not – when cooking or making a grocery list. The downside is that you can’t hide your old Tupperware or just shove stuff into the fridge for a quick clean-up!
Modern fridges offer a multitude of drawer and shelving configurations. From telescopic drawers to wine bottle racks to expansive, “uninterrupted” shelving (ideal for large platters), today’s refrigeration units have thought of everything to suit every need and lifestyle.
Ice makers and water dispensers are convenient, if not mainstream, features, but why stop there? Some rather exclusive, multi-functional models offer options such as a coffee maker and steam oven. So basically, your fridge could bake breakfast muffins and brew your morning coffee right beside where you keep your cream. Your mornings might never be the same!
And for all of you who simply can’t abide fingerprint marks on your fridge, you can enjoy new fingerprint-proof stainless steel coating, an ideal way to preserve the cleanliness of your fridge...and your sanity!
Modern models are all about maximal interior space in the most compact unit possible. Case in point: a giant corner fridge that takes up only 1 square metre of floor space, but offers the storage capacity of four large refrigerators, all tucked neatly into the corner of your kitchen! Or the split side-by-side freestanding refrigerator/freezer combo, ideal to squeeze through small doorways or down narrow halls. Undercounter refrigerators or freezers are a great option when space is at a premium.
In premium cooling appliances, design is often the deciding factor. White, beige, black, and stainless are so yesterday…today brings a new generation of refrigerators with personality! Bold colours, flamboyant patterns – Union Jack, anyone? – and curved, retro styling make for a cool addition to your kitchen.
Nutrient control – there’s an app for that! And a whole lot more, with refrigerators that are becoming more and more integrated with home entertainment and online tools. Complete with a GNU/Linux touchscreen interface, these “smart” fridges do just about everything but make dinner for you: they compile grocery lists, keep track of fridge inventory, provide meal ideas and recipes based on what you have available, monitor energy consumption, and keep tabs on the family. It used to be that you would scribble a note and stick it on the fridge; well, even fridge messages have gone hi-tech these days thanks to the integrated family message centre!
The Future and Beyond
And who knows what’s next?
How about a “soft” refrigerator that expands to adapt to the amount of contents?
Still very much in the design phase, this far-out fridge features a flexible insulating membrane to keep everything cool.
Plus it’s a snap to move - simply collapse and carry!
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