When my wife and I bought our first house almost a decade ago (wow, has it been that long?) appliances weren’t at the top of our necessity list when placing our final offer (although the hot tub did convince me). We came from a tiny apartment with no dishwasher, a range that smelled like a gas leak and a fridge that sometimes kept things cold… all in a kitchen that might have been smaller than a twin sized mattress. So any appliances were an upgrade to what we were accustomed to. Fast forward to present day with a growing family (bambino #2 is on the way!) and we’ve finally figured out what does and does not work in our kitchen. So when my friends at Home Depot asked me if I wanted to team up for an appliance upgrade post I jumped at the opportunity. Before this experience, I could not have told you that more consideration and planning goes into an appliance upgrade than a car purchase (who knew). Luckily, I’m here to walk you through it!
This post has been sponsored by The Home Depot and is part one of a two part series.
A Planned (Kitchen) Attack
When you’re replacing existing appliances in an established floor plan, it’s not as easy as just pointing to a fridge and saying “that one please!” Aside from the obvious budget, there are plenty of other important factors like dimensions and space to consider. Our current fridge sits obtrusively between the doorway to the kitchen and a counter top next to our oven. The refrigerator even blocks the light switch for the room (thank you Smart Home upgrade for assistance there!). When it comes to replacing an appliance suite I absolutely recommend starting with the refrigerator because it is 100% the elephant in the room that will determine the rest of your appliances. In our case, I had everything all picked out… until I measured. Guess how many refrigerators are wider than the space we have allotted for our fridge space (or even the door way to our kitchen)? Easily 75-80% of them! So step 1, measure once, measure twice and then measure again and start your search with those parameters in place. Don’t get blinded by the new fancy finishes like GE’s Black Slate until you know the appliance will actually fit. Oh and… a refrigerator with a K-Cup dispenser? You temptress you.With your fridge picked out, the good news about a gas range or oven is that they are fairly standard in size with most models. You get about 30″ of clearance in width with a little variance on the depth. The real moment of truth comes down to how far the handle sticks out and does it impede the opening and closing of other appliances or drawers. In our case, the oven door had to be opened in order to get into the drawer that holds our oven mitts. So while it was annoying… it wasn’t a deal breaker. While you’re at it, don’t forget that you’re probably going to need a range hood or an under cabinet mounted microwave to ventilate your cooking surface. If you were worried, most of these appliance brands typically have a matching product line.But now we come to the kitchen layout paradox that is probably more unique to us than helpful to you, but bare with me a sec. Have you ever seen a tiny dishwasher before? And no, not the time you put your toddler to work washing dishes and had a good laugh at their cuteness. Legitimately, a tiny dishwasher. We have one in our house. The unit is 18″ across and it best serves a household consisting of an old lady and her 15 cats. Definitely not a growing family. We have this beautiful kitchen with stamped tin back splashes, granite counter tops… and a mismatched tiny dishwasher shoved in the corner. Our realtor laughed when she saw it, but we were excited for a kitchen with an actual dishwasher.The funny thing is… a full sized dishwasher would have absolutely fit in the space. Someone blocked off part of the under counter frame, shaved down a drawer and then haphazardly installed the pint sized cleaner (that would tip out if you had a loaded top rack extended). The width needed to accommodate a full-sized dishwasher is 24″. I popped the filler board out and measured the space… 24.75″. Little dishwashers were more expensive when this was installed!!! What were they thinking?? Thunder Cats are go. We’re getting a new big boy dishwasher!
Way Out Of Line
With the tangible shiny things out of the way, let’s talk about the less obvious factors that lie hidden in your home: utility lines (and no, not the power lines running to your house). While it’s extremely important to know where to shut off your breaker, water line and even gas line, it’s the connections from those main sources of utilities to your appliances that will cause your biggest headaches.For us, we were lucky, our home had already been converted for a gas range, so a new oven install would be as easy as disconnecting the old unit and swapping it out with the new one (or so we thought, more on that in a minute). If we were making the jump for the first time to gas we would have to check with the city first for permits AND hire a professional to install the new hook up. That’s no small task and something that would need to be set up and completed WELL in advance.What was that I was saying about swapping out the appliances above? APPARENTLY a rule was passed in the municipality where I live that requires a permit to swap out gas appliances. Literally disconnecting the hose from one gas stove and connecting it to the new one. Something I could easily do myself, but because of safety issues and liability, a permit and a professional were required. Luckily my friends in the Home Depot appliance department were a HUGE help in getting this resolved quickly.We’ve talked fire, but what about water and ice? Short of using an old ice tray, Elsa’s frozen fractals and water from the dispenser don’t magically appear, so you need to keep that in mind with your set up.
There’s a thin water line that probably runs to a connection under your sink all the way to the back of your refrigerator. Push the fridge back too far by accident and you might damage it. A pin sized puncture is enough to flood an entire basement when you’re away on vacation (ask my parents). On top of that, there’s a limited distance a water line is allowed to be run before a professional is supposed to become involved. It’s also strongly recommended to be replaced with every new install. Given the L-Shape of our kitchen and the distance from our sink to refrigerator… we exceeded that limit…
Think you’re done with water lines? Not yet. If you’re updating your dishwasher (yes please) given updates to plumbing codes, chances are you’ll need to replace those lines as well (yes, “lines” plural). New hot water goes in… old dirty dishwater goes out. Make sure you have access to both for updates!
Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
With the initial hard work completed, delivery day should be a breeze. I had several calls with Home Depot to confirm my order and then set up a time that would work best for my drop off. Before the delivery team arrived, I pulled out the old appliances and cleaned out the largest habitat of dust bunnies I had ever seen and the most random collection of “stuff” our cats had batted under the fridge and stove. I also went through the refrigerator and cleaned out the frozen food that had been hiding in the back unseen for the last decade and put the rest in coolers shortly before everything arrived.
In under an hour our old appliances were unhooked and removed and the new appliances were brought in and set up. For only a $15 fee, Home Depot will haul away your old appliances for you… or you can be like us and have them put on your front porch and play “sell them online” roulette like we are currently experiencing… still. Nothing says classy like appliances sitting on your porch for several weeks… except maybe a toilet sitting in your front yard. Happens more than you’d think…Alright, so the moment of truth… which appliances did we pick and how do they look in the kitchen? For that you’re going to have to travel over to The Home Depot blog and check out my post over there. Goodbye worn out stainless steel and hello… To Be Continued On The Home Depot Blog
*This post has been sponsored by The Home Depot. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product in exchange for my experience. My opinion is my own.