~Me and my Zanussi~
Some readers may know about my strange living arrangements - that during the week I stay away from home and only get back for the weekends. It has been suggested that this absenteeism is the secret of my long and happy marriage and that might indeed be a factor. In order to work 150 miles away from where I live, I have a flat in Cheshire from which I can get to work in about 45 minutes.
I have no wish to invest too much money into my flat, other than keeping the rain out and stopping the place falling down. Aside from decorating we've made few changes and that means we're making do with the fridge freezer that the previous owners kindly left behind. In all honesty an upright 'fridge over freezer' combi wouldn't ever be my first choice but beggars - as we all know - can't be choosers and thankfully it's a pretty good Zanussi ZRB 2530 which I've now realized must have been a lot more expensive than I'd realised.
It stands in a tall unit from which the doors have long ago been removed and it doesn't fit so it looks rather ugly. I'd rather is stood directly on the floor but I'm in no mood to knock down the unit and remodel. Fortunately I'm quite tall but if my mother came to visit (she's about five foot) I'm pretty sure she'd need a ladder to get anything from the back of the top shelf. In total the fridge freezer is approximately 165 cm tall. It's only 50cm wide though which makes it look rather tall and slim and it's 60 cm deep. I don't know if you are good at imagining volumes - I know I'm not - but the fridge is 145 litres capacity and the freezer is smaller at 85 litres. From the outside, the fridge and freezer look to be about the same size but because the freezer has a lot more insulation than the fridge and contains a lot more of the gubbins of the appliance, a lot of the volume of the freezer is lost to the working parts. My advice if you're browsing fridges is to not be fooled by the outside appearances since freezer space can be deceptively small.
Unfortunately I don't know what the energy ratings on the appliance were but since you can't buy one any more (other than second hand) it's probably not the end of the world that it's missing.
~Living with my cool friend~
As seems to be standard with this type of upright, the fridge is on top and the freezer is below which makes sense since most people use the fridge more often than the freezer and the fridge is then at eye level and bending is minimised. My doors open from the left side but all the work surfaces and the cooking appliances are to the right of the fridge, so it might make more sense to hang the door the other way round for easy access whilst cooking and this could be done if only I could be bothered (or remembered to ask my husband to do it). In all fairness I don't do a lot of cooking at the flat so I am not annoyed enough to want to change things.
The reason I dislike combi fridge freezers of this type is that they almost inevitably end up being compromise appliances - not great fridges nor great freezers and if one part goes wrong the whole thing is pretty much unusable. Older readers from the pre-iPod era will probably remember the old 'music systems' we used to have with record player, cassette deck and audio tuner all in one big box. If one part went wrong, the whole lot took a trip to the skip. The same people who left me the fridge freezer left me a washer drier that didn't dry and not long after didn't wash either. Whilst these combis SEEM like the ideal space saving devices, all too often they don't deliver. Fortunately up to now - with the exception of my defrosting problems - the Zanussi hasn't given me anything more than minor niggles.
The fridge is more than big enough for me on my own especially as I'm only in the flat a few nights a week. I often get back to the flat after the supermarkets have closed so having food in the freezer gives me more flexibility and prevents starvation. In many respects, the freezer is more important to me than the fridge.
The fridge has three adjustable wire shelves and one glass shelf. Two veg trays at the bottom sit under the glass shelf. It's a good way to keep your veg organized and more effective than a single basket where things can hide at the bottom and turn to mush without you realising what they're up to until the whole fridge starts to whiff. I've never had any problems with big temperature differences between top and bottom and never had the 'oops everything's frozen on the top shelf' problem which I get with my home fridge freezer. The door has three shelves - one for large bottles (e.g. coke, fizzy water, wine, milk), the second for smaller items like pickle jars and the top one is for eggs and comes with an egg tray. There's a butter dish on the second shelf which I hadn't even noticed and I've lived here for nearly 4 years. Talk about unobservant. All the shelves remove easily for cleaning.
The freezer has four draws - three that go the whole depth of the freezer and one half depth at the bottom. The top drawer is labelled 'fast freeze' and is best used for putting fresh items in and then moving them down to the lower drawers later.
The downside to an upright freezer is that as soon as you get any frost build-up the drawers don't fit well and it only takes them sticking out a little before the door sticks slightly open and next morning it looks like a winter wonderland in your kitchen. I've been putting off de-icing for a few months but finally bit the bullet this week. Time to call out the huskies.
There's probably a clever way to deice the freezer without turning off the whole appliance (or resorting to a flame thrower or windscreen deicer) but the instructions just say to scrape it with the funny little plastic scraper that I threw away when I found it in a drawer and didn't know what it was. In order to defrost I therefore need to switch off the appliance and the switch is inside the cabinet behind the fridge. I had to get my husband to help - otherwise I'd probably by lying half dead and pinned to the floor under a heavy appliance that's nearly as tall as I am.
The great thing about my Zanussi which sets it apart from most fridge freezers I've had in the past is that it's very sturdy. Nothing is broken and normally something snaps, cracks or gives up the ghost. Considering it's a good few years old I'm impressed that it's still in excellent condition. The frosting problem is annoying but entirely my own fault. If I took better care to close the door properly and tackle the ice as soon as it starts to build, it would be much more manageable.
Cooling Type / Short name: Zanussi ZRB2530W