Choosing a freezer for your family plus advantages and running costs of a freezer.

Most people nowadays have a freezer in their home and whether they just cook for themselves or for a large family, they find this electrical piece of equipment a necessity rather than a luxury.

There are advantages and disadvantages of owning a freezer. The main disadvantages are the initial cost of the freezer itself plus the additional cost of running the machine.

On top of this, if there is a lack of space within the home, it may be difficult to find a place for it.

However, as our lives seem to become busier and busier, and we find that we have less time to devote to cooking and shopping amongst other household chores, the advantages of owning a freezer much outweigh the disadvantages, more so than say twenty years ago.

Advantages of a freezer

There are a number of advantages of having a freezer in your home and they mainly relate to saving time and money:
  • Shopping can be done in bulk, which will free up time to do other things plus it will reduce money spent on shopping.
  • Cooking can be done in bulk thus saving time and energy costs.
  • Items that can be cooked from frozen may be kept for "emergencies" when you don't have time to cook.
  • You can buy large cuts of meat, joint them at home and freeze them until needed. Larger cuts of meat are much cheaper to buy than already cut and packaged smaller cuts.
  • If hungry unexpected guests arrive at your house, you will always be able to welcome them and feed them if you have a well-stocked freezer.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables may be frozen when in season and consumed all year round.
  • Food may be frozen until needed and less is thrown out if not consumed by the use-by date, which ultimately save money and time (you would have to go shopping again).
  • The top of the freezer may be used as an extra work surface if needed.

Choosing a freezer

If you do decide to buy a freezer you will have to make sure that you choose the right one for the needs of you and your family.

Basically, there are two main considerations when it comes to deciding on which type of freezer to purchase - the size according to the size of your family and the type of freezer according to how much space you have at home.

There are three types of freezer - the chest freezer, upright cupboard freezer and a combination refrigerator-freezer.

For a single person, a combination refrigerator-freezer may suffice, however for a large family with children, a chest freezer would probably be invaluable.

If you freeze a lot of fresh produce from your garden or buy large joints of meat, you will also require more space than if you just need to freeze ready-made meals or frozen vegetables from the supermarket.

It is true that an empty freezer is more costly to run, but on the other hand, miscalculating or misjudging how much you will use the freezer and purchasing one that is too small for your family's needs, may also be a costly mistake.

To calculate how big a freezer you will need, a rough guide is 2 cubic ft per person plus an extra 2cubic ft. For a family that freezes lots of meat and fresh produce from the garden, allow slightly more per person.

1 cubic ft will store between 20 - 30 lb of frozen food. Therefore, for a regular family of four, you should purchase a freezer that is between 10-14 cubic ft and for a family of four that will require extra room for garden produce; a larger freezer will be required.

Running costs

Did you know that it is actually cheaper to run a freezer than it is to run a refrigerator or a combination refrigerator-freezer? Together a separate refrigerator and freezer will make up around 11% of your yearly electricity consumption, with 7% of that assigned to the refrigerator alone.

The chest freezer type is the most economical to run. It uses approximately 50% less electricity than other types of freezers, although running costs are dependant on a number of factors such as how full the freezer is kept, the location of the freezer, the efficiency of the freezer, how often the door is opened and how much frost builds up.

Freezers that must be defrosted manually, may be slightly harder work but they are better at protecting against freezer burn and they are much more cost effective than frost-free models.

It is also important to check the energy efficiency grade of the freezer before buying, as this will also make an impact on your electricity bill.

The difference in yearly running costs between an A++ grade freezer and a C grade freezer is around £200 ($300 apx) in some cases.

Our other article discusses the three types of freezer in more detail.

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