How Much Space Should You Have Around A Fridge

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Did you know it is important for your fridge to have enough space around it? If you are wondering how much space is adequate, we have the answers for you. We consulted with experts who provided the following information. 

When you are installing your fridge, it will need a minimum amount of space around it. The following are the recommended allowances around the fridge:

  • There should be a minimum of 1 to 1 ½ inches on top of your fridge
  • Ensure there is 1 to 2 inches of space at the back of your fridge to allow proper airflow
  • There should be a space between ½ to 1 inch on both sides of your unit

Is it necessary to have sufficient space around your fridge? Keep reading to find out how much room is required, why it is important, and drawbacks when there is a lack of space. Also, we'll cover additional factors to consider so there is adequate space around your fridge. 

Modern kitchen with a refrigerator in the kitchen corner, How Much Space Should You Have Around A Fridge

How Much Space Is Required Around Your Fridge?

In the past few decades, manufacturers have developed refrigerators to allow more air circulation and dissipation of heat. This happened by moving the condenser coils from the back to the base.

In either case, the fridge should not be too close to the walls or any other surface. There needs to be adequate space to establish a good airflow and prevent the warm coils from cooling down. 

The following are the recommendation for clearance space on the top, rear, and back of your fridge:

There Should Be A Minimum Of 1 To 1 ½ Inches On Top Of Your Fridge

White aluminum cabinets, white marble countertop and a double door refrigerator

If you are getting a new fridge, it’s crucial to ensure there is enough space at its top. If the space allotted for your unit has cabinets above; the required space should not be below 1 inch, and can be up to 1 ½ inches. 

You do not have to worry if the cabinets are high above your fridge, as it has enough breathing space. You'll benefit more if there is nothing between your ceiling and fridge.

While it might look like a waste of space, do not store items on top of the fridge. It will hamper proper ventilation and make your unit work harder to keep your food and drinks cool. 

You can trim the cabinets to accommodate the height of your fridge, if there is limited space above. You may have to trim the bottom of the cabinet.

To do this successfully, remove the whole cabinet to reduce its size. You may have to hire a carpenter to do the job for you.

The doors will get removed from its hinges and detached from the wall. After the size gets adjusted, it will need to be reassembled and reattached to the wall. 

Ensure Between 1 To 2 Inches Of Space At The Back Of The Fridge

Do not push your fridge too close to the wall. As earlier explained, the older models had the condenser coils at the back. The newer models have them at the base of your fridge. 

It allows your fridge to cool more efficiently. This means the newer models can have less space between the unit and walls compared to the older models. The recommended space between the wall and the back of your unit should be between 1 to 2 inches. 

There Should Be Space Between ½ To 1 Inch On Both Sides Of Your Unit

Small narrow kitchen with laminated flooring, small fridge and wooden countertop

The sides of the fridge should have enough clearance space so it is ½ to 1 inch away from any surface, like the cabinets. 

Besides allowing the fridge to have enough room for ventilation, the space can allow you to fit a vacuum nozzle or mop when you want to clean the sides.

Also, you can grip it more easily whenever you need to move it to clean the area underneath, for repairs, or for any other reason. 

Additional Factors To Consider To Ensure Enough Space Around Your Fridge

Modern kitchen with wooden countertop, white cabinets and a double door fridge

Beyond having enough room around your fridge for ventilation, you need to have enough space to maneuver it through your home and into its resting place.

It would be absurd to bring a fridge home, but you're unable to fit it in your hallway, or down the stairs to your basement.

So, you could be excited about buying a new fridge, and find the perfect one for your needs. However, will it fit properly in your kitchen?

You probably won't like a fridge that blocks your movement around the kitchen or prevents you from properly opening and closing the kitchen cabinets. What's more, you would like a unit whose doors can open and close with ease.

Below are some factors to consider that ensure your fridge fits adequately in your kitchen:

Kitchen Space

Does your kitchen have much room for the fridge you intend to purchase? As mentioned earlier, you need a minimum of space at the back, top and sides of your fridge.

Using a tape measure, write down the height, depth, and width of the space where you will place your fridge. Do this before you purchase the appliance. 

Also, measure the allowances between your fridge and other features in your kitchen.

Remember to measure doorways, entryways, hallways, or basement doors before bringing the unit into your home. This is to avoid unexpected issues because either the fridge is too big or the space is inadequate.  

By doing this, you will know the size of fridge you need, or you may have to renovate the cabinetry or other parts of your kitchen to accommodate it. 

Don't forget to consider which side of the fridge door opens. If the appliance has hinges on the left, expect the door to open from the right side. In contrast, the door should open from the left if the hinges are on the right. 

You have an advantage if it has reversible doors. You can hinge the door on either side, the left or right. It allows you to fix the door on the side of the fridge that is most suitable for your space. This is handy if you have a kitchen with limited space.

Size Of Your Fridge

Does your kitchen layout allow for a fridge of any size? Some kitchens have enough space, while others are more limited. The size of the fridge you buy depends on whether the allocated space can accommodate it.

Check out this Kenmore fridge on Amazon.

You might be unable to fit a side-by-side fridge like the Kenmore fridge shown above if your kitchen is small. However, a top mount or bottom mount may be the perfect fit. 

Type Of Fridge

As in the previous paragraph, the type of fridge you have will determine if it will fit in your kitchen. 

Have a look at this wine refrigerator on Amazon.

A wine fridge like the one shown above can fit into a much smaller space than a French door fridge. The space available in your kitchen will dictate the type of fridge you can have in your home. 

It is equally important to measure the counter depth, to prevent your fridge from sticking far out beyond your counter. Ensure you can walk past your fridge, and the doors open easily if you have an island in your kitchen. 

Drawbacks From Lack Of Enough Space Around Your Fridge

Contemporary inspired kitchen with beige cabinet and cupboards and black countertop

We see the benefit of your fridge having enough space around it is adequate ventilation. 

But, if the ventilation is not enough, your unit will slowly deteriorate. It could lead to some unfavorable outcomes that include:

Loud Operation

If there isn’t enough space around your fridge, it may produce loud noises. This happens because the hot air does not have much room to move around, making the fridge work harder. 

Compressor May Have Problems Or Fail

The compressor can fail or develop more problems when there is less space than required. This gadget could overheat, making the fridge shut down completely. 

Inadequate Cooling

As seen in the previous paragraph, if the compressor starts to fail, your fridge will not cool properly. This can lead to the refrigeration system breaking down. 

In Closing

Modern kitchen with a refrigerator in the kitchen corner

It is crucial to have adequate room around your fridge for proper ventilation, efficient cooling, and improved longevity, among other benefits. There are drawbacks if you don't maintain the recommended amount of clearance space.

Also, beyond ensuring enough space around your fridge, there are other factors you need to consider. They include having enough room to move the fridge into your home, and fitting the appliance snugly into your kitchen.

Conventional designed kitchen with wooden countertop and a double door refrigerator

Read our previous posts on how far out your fridge can stick out past the counter. Also, find out how to measure the depth of your fridge correctly:

How Far Should Fridge Stick Out Past Counter

Does Refrigerator Depth Include Doors And Handles

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