These days, modern kitchens are designed so that everything from the appliances to the dishtowels has a sleek space. This means that sometimes new appliances can end up tightly wedged into those spaces if they may be slightly larger than the appliances they are replacing. For those who have a kitchen designed with a refrigerator alcove, this can lead to some unique problems.
Refrigerators are designed to have condenser coils that dissipate heat from the exterior of your appliance so the interior stays nice and cool. Over the years, the coils have migrated from the back of the appliance to the base, but both models are still found. By moving the coils to the bottom of your refrigerator, it allows the coils to cool more efficiently and means your refrigerator can be closer to the wall.
Both models of refrigerator coils require the appliance to have some space between it and the wall. Essentially, the coils need to dissipate heat efficiently and you don’t want that heat is released directly onto the drywall. To avoid both refrigerator problems and a build-up of heat on your walls, you need to leave adequate space between the appliance and any surfaces. However, how much space is enough space between a refrigerator and the walls?
For refrigerators, there are clearance recommendations for the top, sides, and rear of the appliance. These include:
- Rear — This is where the most clearance is needed. The refrigerator should be at least two inches from the wall.
- Top — If you have back coils, you will need at least two inches of top clearance to dissipate heat, but for bottom coils, as little as one inch can be sufficient.
- Sides — Regardless of coil placement, the sides require the least amount of space. A half-inch can be sufficient enough.
Once you have your refrigerator placed, you want to make these areas of clearance are kept clean and unobstructed to allow proper airflow.