How to Choose a Freezer

Freezer_cThe choice of a freezer will depend not only on the size of your family and the amount of your home produce but on the space available in kitchen or outhouse. Ideally, the freezer should be within easy reach of the cook, but excessive kitchen heat will put a heavy load on the cooling mechanism. Air must circulate freely round the freezer so that heat can be efficiently removed from the condenser. Dampness will damage both cabinet and motor.

Chest freezers are particularly suitable for locating in a garage or outhouse, and are excellent for bulk storage of such items as meat. Storage baskets make for tidiness, and help to divide food to be used soon from that which is kept for long-term storage. Very large commercial sizes are usually designed as chests, and represent considerable economy in purchasing as they are untaxed. It is important that a chest freezer has a magnetic lid seal and a self-balancing lid.

A combination refrigerator-freezer is ideal for a small family or for one with a big turnover in packed meals or between-meal snacks. The freezer compartment here is on top of the refrigerator.

Upright freezers are very convenient for packing, with separate shelves for different types of food. There may be some slight intermittent rise in temperature in upright freezers as doors are often left open. Upright freezers have their weight concentrated in a small area, and it is important to check that the floor will take the weight of the freezer chosen.

Here is a family-style refrigerator. Its ice-making compartment just under the top surface also has room for small quantities of frozen goods. Above it is an enlargement of the compartment's front door, showing a 'two-star' recommended storage time for frozen foods and the switch which regulates the degree of coldness in the refrigerator itself.

Combination refrigerator freezers are very useful when space is limited as in a town house or flat. Normally, the freezer is on top of the refrigerator, but sometimes they are side by side. In either case the compartments are independent.

Special features to look for

Most freezers have a light which comes on when the electricity supply is connected and switched on; failure of the light means the power supply has been cut off and immediate investigation is necessary. Some freezers have a signal light connected to the thermostat which stays on as long as the cabinet temperature does not rise above a few degrees from the normal operating temperature.

Fast freezing compartments, switches and indicator lights are useful adjuncts to a freezer. Some freezers have a compartment divided by a panel or grid to keep still-unfrozen foods separate from stored foods while they are being processed. Some upright freezers have a shelf for fast freezing which is very useful for processing vegetables, cakes and pies which can be frozen before wrapping The fast freezing switch cuts out thermostatic control so that the motor runs continuously; heat is thus removed from unfrozen food as quickly as possible and the stored foods do not rise in temperature. The switch must be returned to normal running as soon as possible; sometimes the switch is wired in conjunction with an indicator light to show when the motor is running continuously.

Other useful additions to a freezer are storage baskets, which aid tidiness. Locks are useful to avoid pilfering if the freezer is stored in an outhouse; they also prevent children opening the freezer and leaving it open.

Installing the freezer

A newly installed freezer should be washed inside with warm water and dried thoroughly, then set at the recommended temperature for everyday use. The cabinet should be chilled for 12 hours before use.

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