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When I was modernising my kitchen a couple of years ago I decided I needed an under worktop refrigerator, I already had a massive chest freezer which made the freezer section on my 50/50 refrigerator and freezer pretty much redundant.
Luckily for me my Mother-In Law gave me her old refrigerator that she kept upstairs, just in case she fancied a cold drink in the night!
The refrigerator she kindly gave me was the Hotpoint RLA31, as far as refrigerators go this is nice and modern looking. My refrigerator is white, it also comes in graphite, which would have suited my kitchen better, but I am still more than happy with this one. I can't find the retail price for the refrigerator but I think it cost around £180 when new.
The refrigerator is freestanding and will need to be installed under a work surface allowing plenty of room for ventilation; the refrigerator should be located well away from sources heat or direct sunlight as extreme temperatures will affect its performance.
Once the refrigerator has been installed in its location you will need to level it by adjusting the front feet, you need to allow it to settle for at least 15 minutes before turning the refrigerator on. It is recommended that you leave the refrigerator to come down to temperature before stocking it with food.
So once it is up and running you need to sort out the positioning of your shelves. In the door there is a large shelf running along the top, this has a clear lift up hatch and is recommended for the storing of diary products, this shelf, like the top area of the refrigerator is classed as the cool zone. I removed the clear lift up hatch as I found it just got in the way. The larger shelf at the bottom of the refrigerator is classed as the colder zone and is used for general food storage, I put my cartons of milk and my Brita water filter in here, there used to be a bottle retaining rack in here but that also proved more of a hindrance than help and seemed to collect dirt, so out that came. There are also two small half size shelves; these are handy for storing small jars. All the shelves in the door can be easily removed for cleaning.
The interior of the refrigerator itself has two full size glass shelves and two half size glass shelves; there are plenty of slots in the refrigerator for the shelves to slide onto. I like that the shelves are glass as they are easy to keep clean and I no longer have to balance food on bars. I put the two half size shelves together to make one full size shelf as this is more convenient for me, but the option is handy when I have larger items to store. The central area of the refrigerator is classed as the colder zone for general food storage.
The bottom of the refrigerator houses a large salad draw that runs across the entire width of the refrigerator, the salad draw is made out of clear plastic and can hold a surprising amount of food. Just above the salad draw is classed as the coldest part of the refrigerator.
I find that the 149 litres of storage contained within the refrigerator is more than enough on a day to day basis, but when I am catering for a BBQ or packing the refrigerator up for over Christmas I do find I am lacking in space somewhat.
I find the refrigerator very easy to keep clean as it has no nooks and crannies for food debris to lodge in; I just give it a wipe out each week with a damp clean cloth before I put that week's food shopping away. It always looks and smells fresh, which could be down to the Microban technology that has been incorporated into the refrigerators components during the manufacturing process. Microban is an antibacterial technology that safely complements good hygiene practice.
The interior or the refrigerator is nice and bright; the light from the small interior light is more than enough to see my food by. Another good point for me is that the refrigerator is auto defrosting; auto defrost is where water droplets form on the interior back wall of the refrigerator and then refreeze, as long as the drainage hole at the back of the freezer is kept clear all excess water will drain away.
The door can be positioned for right or left opening using the fittings provided. I have never had the need to turn the door around so I can not comment whether this is a simple task or not.
I do not use a thermometer to monitor the interior temperature of my refrigerator I just take for granted that my food is kept at the correct temperature. Positioned on the front of the refrigerator is the temperature control dial, this can be turned clockwise to make the refrigerator colder or anti-clockwise to make the refrigerator warmer. I keep the refrigerator on number 4, which seems cold enough for me, although it is colder than the recommended setting of 3.
The handle on the outer of the refrigerator is integrated into the shape of the door, making it very easy to open and close. I have had the refrigerator for over 3 years now and would say that it works just as well as the day I was given it. The door seal is still nice and tight and I have never had to replace the bulb.
The energy efficiency rating is A, I have not noticed any major impact on my electricity consumption either way while I have owned this refrigerator.
When new the refrigerator comes with the standard Hotpoint warranty of 12 months parts and labour guarantee and 5 years parts when fitted by a Hotpoint engineer. Replacement parts can be sourced off the internet, a full size shelf costs £16.30 including postage, and a half size shelf is also the same price. A large door shelf can be brought for just under £21. So it is worth bearing that I mind before phoning Hotpoint for replacement parts.
If you get one of these second hand a manual is easily downloaded for free off the internet. Disposal of your old refrigerator should be done in a safe manner by qualified persons.
Overall I find the refrigerator is exceptionally good, my only gripe is that I detest having to crouch down to see what is in the refrigerator, I don't know why it just really bugs me and I do miss my 50/50 refrigerator & freezer as the refrigerator section was at the top.
This is a pretty basic refrigerator, it has no fancy functions, it can not dispense chilled water and ice cubes, it is not retro looking or a funky colour but it does the job for me.
Thank you for reading.
Manufacturer / Short name: Hotpoint RLA31