The Two Flaws of our Maytag Refrigerator

When we needed to buy a refrigerator recently we went for the top brand: Maytag.

The day we got it, we noticed that it was looking at us. So I could not help it – I gave it eyes and a tongue.


But its personality is not one of the flaws I am alluding to in the title of this post. There are two flaws with it:

The Ping-Pong Balls and the Freezer

I have always been a stickler when people leave the refrigerator door open when they get something out. Cold air falls down, hot air rises. When you open the refrigerator door, the cold air inside it immediately starts falling out towards the floor, and warm air from the top back fills the refrigerator. The longer you leave the door open, the more air – and energy – you lose.

I have used the thought experiment of ping-pong balls. Imagine your entire refrigerator being filled up to the brim with ping-pong balls. Then you open the door. Immediately, the balls start bouncing on the floor like an avalanche. That is a good way to picture what happens to the cold air inside as soon as you open the doors.

All I would have to say is “ping-pong balls” to whomever the person was that left the fridge open, and they’d get the idea.

A good and efficient freezer design is a tub, where you open the top lid. All the ping-pong balls stay right inside. The cold air can’t rise out to make room for warm air. So I thought our bottom freezer drawer – the mouth with the tongue – would be a great design.

Until I noticed that I get cold feet every time I open the freezer barefoot.


Well, look: What was the genius at Maytag thinking when he designed the drawer not only with the bottom completely open, but the main drawer with a rack, rather than a tub design.

There is no way to open our freezer without losing all the ping-pong balls on the kitchen floor – every time we open it. That is a truly crappy design, and not one you really think about until you use it for the first time with bare feet.

The Drawer Cover that Pops Off

Here is the second flaw: Inside the refrigerator there is a wide bottom drawer with a lid. The drawer is good for cheese, lunch meat, flat stuff in general, and it has a little temperature regulator on the right side to keep it stable. When you pull out the drawer, the lid pops up and opens. The trouble is that the lid comes off about half of the time. The pegs that keep it in place are too short, and as the lid slides back and forth due to the little play it has, it pops off the right or left peg. Then it takes a lot of fiddling to put it back in place.

I checked the forums and found that everyone with a Maytag MFF2558DEM model is complaining about the drawer. Nobody seems to be able to make it work correctly. People hate their fridge because of the flawed lid.

I took a good look and found a solution:


I went to Home Depot and bought four 5/16th washers and placed two inside the pegs on either side. It was a little tricky to get them in there and then pop the lid back in. It’s best to do one side at a time, and be careful because the washers tend to pop out and fall down into the works. However, once in place, the lid is rock-solid. It’s been in there for a week and never popped again.

I am dumbfounded that Maytag would have such an obvious and blatant design flaw that affects the usability of the refrigerator pretty much every time somebody opens the drawer – and get away with it. But apparently they did.

I think I’ll post a link to this solution in the Maytag forums and I’ll be a hero.

And that’s all I have to say about refrigerators for a while. I know you needed to know this.

4 thoughts on “The Two Flaws of our Maytag Refrigerator

  1. Chelsea

    The worst was our dishwasher at my old office. It had a “sleek and modern” design with absolutely nothing on the front. All the buttons were hidden at the very top and invisible once you shut it. The worst part was nobody could tell if the dishwasher was on or off so the cycle would take 2x times as long because everyone would keep opening it when it was running. Sigh.

    You should read the book The Design of Everyday Things.

    1. Hah, we have just such a dishwasher. All the buttons are inside, so once it’s closed, it’s invisible. And yes, I did download the book The Design of Everyday Things – haven’t had the time to read it though.

  2. I am convinced half the articles “designed” have never been used by their designer. The other half are a dream to use and operate. Buyer beware of the difference. My father rarely bought anything (including clothes) that he didn’t have to “operate on” as my mother said. It is one of my life’s joys to be able to do this myself on stuff. Stuff rules; we serve.

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