All You Need to Know Before Buying Fridge and Freezer

by Purvin Arshad

Looking to purchase your first fridge or freezer, perhaps it is a replacement? Regardless, there are many things to consider. From features and size to if you should opt for a split type or separate fridge and freezer? In case of a split, should it be a 50/50 split or something else? Investing in a big appliance means you must be committed because you will be using it every day for a decade or more. You certainly do not want to buy something that does not fulfill your requirements. This article covers everything you need to make the best buy possible.

Differences between a Fridge and Freezer

Keeping fruits, vegetables, and other food items at cooler temperatures keeps can prevent spoiling and maintain freshness. In this regard, a refrigerator (fridge for short) is one of our most convenient household appliances.

At a temperature of about 40°F bacteria start to proliferate quickly. Food kept at this temperature or higher starts to go bad, and if consumed can make you very sick. This is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that the temperature inside a fridge be maintained below 40°F. The temperature of refrigerators ranges between 35° to 38°F (1.7 to 3.3 degrees C). This is below the point where items start to spoil but are not cold enough to freeze them.

The function of a freezer is to freeze food so it can be preserved for a longer period. The freezers attached to a fridge are esigned to mainly make ice. Hence, their temperature is usually around zero degrees or a little below.

The lower the temperature, the slower the growth of bacteria, and the longer the time food can be preserved.

A deep freezer, usually an independent unit, maintains temperatures between -10 to -20 degrees F. In addition to the difference between temperatures, freezers have thicker insulation.

What is the best place to put your Fridge?

The location of your fridge is very important to its optimal functioning. How well it works is impacted by heat. Heat will force the fridge to work harder to maintain the internal temperature, thus potentially shortening its lifespan.

Ideally, the location of your fridge should be as far away as possible from your oven, stove, and microwave. It should also be away from direct sunlight.

You should place the fridge far away from the heat resource.

Refrigerators also need some ventilation at the rear but at the sides as well if the built-in ventilation is located there. Without proper ventilation, the heat generated will collect forcing the compressor will run nonstop. A minimum of 200 m² of ventilation space is necessary for good working efficiency.

It is a good idea to have your fridge situated close to a counter. This allows for quick transfer of groceries and the door is kept open for the shortest amount of time. This will also facilitate when ingredients are being removed for food preparation.

The shorter time the fridge door is open, the less time heat has to penetrate the fridge or freezer and lower its temperature.

Fridges with hinged doors should open in the direction that makes loading and removal of contents easy.

Energy-Efficient Tips for Fridge & Freezer

Believe it or not, that innocent-looking fridge we take for granted is among the top power consumers in your house. It runs twenty-four, seven days in day out. Almost every household has at least one fridge and a vast majority has a freezer in addition to that. This does not mean you can’t improve the energy efficiency of your fridge and freezer.

Improving energy efficiency will also help to better preserve food items and prevent them from spoiling. So there is double benefit save money of energy and food bill!

Invest in new-tech

Technology is changing rapidly and appliances are becoming more energy-efficient by the day. This is why if your fridge or freezer is more than fifteen years old, it might be time to invest in a new one. Granted the initial investment might be high, but you will save money on the day-to-day running.

Give the fridge breathing space

The rule of thumb is to pack your freezer and give the fridge breathing space. The working efficiency of a freezer improves when it is fully packed. If you have extra space, fill it with ice packs. It is a different story with a fridge. Air must be able to circulate to keep things cool. So allow a few centimeters between items to maintain an even temperature. As a guideline keep your fridge at 70% capacity.

Cool food before placement.

Allow piping hot foods to cool down on the counter before placing them in the fridge. This reduces the burden on the fridge or freezer and they don’t have to work on overdrive to cool them down.

Shorten open time

Don’t keep the fridge door open for too long. This allows for cold air to escape and hot air to move in. Now the fridge and freezer will have to start working again to cool the hot air.

Keep an eye on the temperatures.

A fridge or freezer that is too cold is just wasting energy and not cold enough will spoil food prematurely. Maintain the fridge temperature at 5 ºC and that of the freezer at -18ºC.

Ensure that the seals are nice and tight.

Seals that have become cracked with age or loose allow cold air to escape. The appliances then need to work harder to maintain temperatures. A paper test can help you test the integrity of the seals. Place a piece of paper in the fridge or freezer door and close. If you can slide the paper with ease, it is time to replace the seals.

Fridge & Freezer Styles

Before anything else, measure the space you have available for the fridge or freezer. From this deduct the 200 m² from sides that will be walled. You will be left with the size of fridge or freezer you have space for. There are many different styles to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.

French-door

These usually have a drawer-style freezer at the bottom and double half-width doors for the fridge portion. They range from 30 to 36 inches wide. With the freezer section at the bottom, all your food items will be at eye level. The shelves are wide without any divisions or obstructions, so plenty of spacing. This is a good option if you have space restrictions because the half doors and drawers open outward.

french door refrigerator

Side-by-side

In this style, the fridge and freezer portions are split vertically in the middle. One side is the fridge and the other the freezer. The size range runs from 33 to 36 inches. With the same features, a side-by-side fridge costs several hundred dollars less than a French door. The side-by-side, like the French door, is great for narrow spaces as the swing radius of half doors is small.

 

 

side by side refrigerator

Top-freezer models

This is the classic style and regardless of the newer models, it still outsells them by a large margin. They generally range from 24 to 33 inches in width. They come in a range of fridge and freezer splits like 50/50, 60/40, or 70/30. For a 16 cubic foot fridge, the 70/30 split means 70% of the 16 cu. foot. will be fridge and 30% freezer.

These styles do not have extras like ice or water dispensers, which translates to fewer parts to wear down. It is also one of the most economical styles. Since the doors are full width, they require greater clearance space.

Best Time to Buy

You can save a lot of money if you plan the purchase of your fridge or freezer. It is a good idea to window shop and gets an idea of the prices. Narrow down your list of models to two or three you really like and then put them in order of preference.

Then just be patient and wait for spring. Around May is when most manufacturers showcase their new models and significantly cut prices of previous year’s models.

If spring is too far, then there are good discounts at other times during the year. For example, you can pick up exceptional buys on Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday sales.

Conclusion

Before purchasing a refrigerator or freezer, you need to decide the location, measure the space first, so you can find the most suitable size.

Think about the capacity of freezer and fridge, automatic defrosting, external temperature control display, energy consumption, and the budget.

According to the size and habits of your family, determine if you need an ice dispenser or water dispenser. Finally, you have to learn how to use and care fridge and freezer, so you will never have a problem with it.

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