Kitchens – Appliances & Ventilation


New fitted kitchens & Appliance ventilation

Something that I have been coming across more and more frequently these days when inspecting new homes is the lack of proper ventilation being installed for fitted appliance like a fridge freezer. Either when the home comes with the appliances supplied or the kitchen fitted and spaces stubbed out for the appliances to be fitted in set spaces there seems to be a lack in foresight when it comes to the simple little low costs fitting – ‘A kicker board vent grille’.

As you can see in this image


What is happening is fitters / designers / developers are assuming that when fitted with a space at the rear and opening on top of the fitted kitchen units this is sufficient for the fridge freezer appliance and the air flow over the heat coils at the rear. IT ISN’T! 

Primarily the manufactures installation instructions or guidelines should be followed but these can be basic enough and to simple with the low cost end of appliance such as a Beko or other cheap and cheerful fridge freezer. Much more detail is provided with high end fridge freezer such as a Samsung or Neff appliance. I will detail the info. here as the thermodynamics and physics are applicable to all and blocked air flow and no circulation will cause the same problems I note with all sizes, types and makes and models of fridge freezer.

  • Unrestricted airflow should be allowed over the rear of the fridge freezer appliance. If no grille is fitted to the kicker board of the fitted enclosure and only an opening at the top this restricts the air, temperature of the air available and in some situations I have seen – beside the fridge freezer a Oven or Cooker is installed which heats the air which is passing from bottom to top of the fridge coils and supposed to cool them !
  • Spacing guidelines – Many manufacturers will specify the depth required for the enclosure, i.e. the fridge is 500 mm depth and the enclosure should be no less than 570 mm in depth to allow for spacing and air to pass over the coils. The change in the depth of say 20 mm,  i.e. the enclosure depth of 550 mm will mean a reduction in the energy efficiency of the appliance making the fridge have to work harder (electrically) to perform its job and keep the desired temperature in the fridge & freezer boxes.

It is one of these things that can fall between the lines as the appliances are installed by one company, the fitted kitchen by another and then the builders staff are doing the finishing of the kitchen. As the owner of the shiny new house and fitted kitchen you will be left with the problem which for the most part will remain hidden for many months or years and then your fridge motor will give out, usually when its out of warranty (which of course is voided anyway by the incorrect installation).

So what should you look out for or if you already have taken possession what do you need to fit to your kitchen and where ?  A simple little cheap device – a vent grille for a kicker board which runs along the base of the kitchen units.

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Above you can see the location that the kicker board is fitted to the base of the units which closes in the feet or legs which adjust to level the units. The image below is of the grille fitting itself –


When fitted you are sure that cool air can reach the heat dispersal coils at the rear of the fridge which will keep your fridge freezer appliance running normally, not overworking, not breaking down and most importantly running at the efficiency that it says in the manual. Why buy or get an ‘A’ rated fridge only to block the air and have it running and using the same electrical power as a ‘B’ rated appliance ?

And the overall responsibility in a new home lies with the builder / developer and when inspected by my company Conspect Engineering we would place the requirement firmly at the feet of the builder to put in this 10 euro piece of equipment and ensure the end user isn’t buying problems with their new kitchen.

If you’ve had the kitchen fitted and appliances in your home for a number of years and are suffering break downs or frequent problems with the fridge freezer all we can do is advise you to contact Martin Walmsely for advice as he would be our Appliance repair Guru in the West of Ireland



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