How big to make a niche for the refridgerator?

Hi,
I'm building the refridgerator niche in my new kitchen. What's the appropriate gap to have on either side? I was going to make it 1/2" on either side, but am now wondering whether a larger gap is needed for venting or for aesthetic reasons.
Many thanks in advance,
Aaron
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1/2 inch is tight but enough if thats all your cabinet plan allows. If you make it wider then go up to the next standard width in case the next homeowner wants a wider fridge, otherwise its wasted for any future fridge. As for the depth it should be about 3 inches deeper than the rated depth so that the door can swing and because the power cord will prevent a full push in, 33 inches deep is common. It can still draw plenty of air from underneth and above.
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Big fridges come in either 36" or 33". Just make it that width. The fridge is usually 1/4'-1/2" less wider anyway. When I did my kitchen, I enclosed my 36" fridge with panels on the side and a 36"cabinet on top, They usually are more concerned with the top clearance than the sides.
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small somewhere for getting the refrigerator in. If everything is real plumb and square you can get by with a very close fit but I like about an inch on each side for maneuvering room.
Don Young
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If you dont own the frige yet and want to save forever in electric costs line the enclosure with foil faced R 7.2" foam insulation up to R 28. I bought the most efficent 19.5 cu ft frige I could research at energystar a few years ago, it was a sears, it also had no back coil that I wanted. A subzero is also easy to imbed in foam. My energy use is the less than the hyped 6" super insulated SunFrost. Keep enough room to get your fingers in to clean and velcro a piece of trim for airtight seal. If you have a coil on the back it may not cool right, even with a bottom coil a open space on both sides at the bottom to the front or the side is needed for enough new air to run it properly. The little sears vented the heat out the front so I was only concerned with enough air volume. 3-3.50 a month was my last test at 12.75kwh with conservative use, but all day use. What you plan into this can save you alot 10-15 a month, add it up over 20 years, and it ups resale value.
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I am wrong on what you will save maybe its 1$ to several dollars a month, but it adds up.
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Aaron Fude wrote:

An interesting potential energy saving concept for a refrigerator with a bottom fan-cooled condenser would be to have a vent grate on the bottom to a basement or crawlspace. Block it in the winter so that the refrigerator will help warm the kitchen, and open the floor and block the front opening in the summer so that the refrigerator doesn't heat the living space. BUT... this may not meet building code requirements and the refrigerator warranty be void if the coil doesn't have sufficient fan forced cooling.
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Standard space for a fridge in a new spec home is 72"H x 36"W.
Dick
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My opening is 36.5 with a fridge that is 35.5W. That leaves 1/2" on either side, which looks fine. I would not leave larger gaps, as then it looks ugly. And you could probably go down to 1/4" per side, but it makes it harder to move the fridge in and out.
Along with width, I strongly recommend looking at counter depth fridges. They can give a close to built-in look, for a fraction of the cost. I just installed a Kitchenaid one. All that sticks out and is visible is the stainless door. Compare that to the typical deal where 3 inchs+ of the fridge plus the door sticks out and you'd never want that again.
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2008 18:07:54 -0800 (PST), Aaron Fude

Depends on the refrigerator. Some vent from the front. Mine has a fan in the back. The manufacturer should have all the specs you need.
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