Dieticians confirm that frozen foods are a great alternative to fresh foods as the freezing process effectively preserves the nutrients in the food. Freezing retards the growth of the microorganisms and enzymes that cause food spoilage. For best flavour and texture, home-frozen foods should be used within 6 to 9 months.
A freezer unit allows for bulk storage of perishable food items such as meat, fish, soups, veggies and other food items for weeks or even months and can keep them fresh for extended periods, even in the event of power outage, until you are ready to consume them. This helps families save big on home expenses as they can purchase food in bulk and save excess in the freezer for long term storage. After an initial investment, a stand-alone freezer unit often becomes a necessary and economical option and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.
The 2 major types of freezer are the Chest and Upright Freezers. Below is a comparison of the benefits of each.
Chest Freezer: Box-like design with a top-mounted door (lid). Generally, offers more storage space, so it's suited to storing bulky items, and can accommodate odd sized food items. Because of the abundant space, they are less likely to cause freezer burn but this can also make you lose track of food items in there. Chest freezers are more energy efficient i.e. cold air does not escape easily when the lid is opened, hence food keeps for much longer periods even during power blackouts. They are generally less priced than uprights.
Upright Freezer: Upright Freezers look like the traditional fridge with a front-mounted door. The shape is better suited for most kitchen layouts, as food items can be organised horizontally on shelves, which makes it easier to access stored foods. They are easier to relocate and will generally fit through doorways. However, all the comfort that comes with these freezers come at a price too, as they are usually priced slightly higher than chest models because it freezes faster and consumes less floor space.
Key features to consider when buying a Freezer:
The best features vary with the type of freezer but the most important convenience features are those that help you organize and more readily retrieve foods
• Manual or Self Defrost – Defrosting function helps to save energy. A self defrost freezer automatically keeps ice from accumulating, while a manual defrost freezer must be periodically emptied and turned off to remove any ice build-up by hand.
• Adjustable temperature control* -This feature allows the temperature to be controlled as per the food you want to store, also helps in using the same unit as fridge/freezer.
• Interior and operating indicator light: This lets you know the freezer is working without opening the door, increasing energy efficiency.
• Lock with key for safety limit access to your freezer, protecting children and other at-risk family members.
• Number of baskets or shelves: Baskets/Shelves help organise and store your food effectively. Chest freezers usually have at least one basket, Uprights usually have at least one adjustable shelf.
• Freezer light: The light inside the freezer makes it easier to find food.
• Quick/fast freeze function*:This feature allows the freezer to cool your products fast.
• Alarm for Lid* - This helps with energy saving by giving alarm, if the lid is left open by mistake.
* (may not be standard on all models)
How to determine the capacity or size of the freezer I need?
Chest Freezers capacity vary from 60 Litres to approx. 700 Litres, while the upright freezer capacity varies from 100 Litres to 300 litres approximately. Your choice should depend on available space and family needs. Usually, 1 litre of freezer capacity can store 500 gms or 0.5 KG of food; and food storage requirement for one person is usually 70 litres of storage space. So on average a family of 2 can have a Freezer capacity of 140 Litres.
NOTE: This is just a guide, actual usage requirement might vary depending of quantity of food storage and frequency of replenishments etc.
Practicalities & on-going maintenance
Proper care and maintenance of your freezer will not only improve efficiency and performance, but will save energy, and help your food contents to last longer.
Location of Your Freezer: Placing your freezer directly near a heat source, outside in warm climates, or where the sun will shine on it, will cause it to work harder than it needs to - increasing energy costs. Find a cool, level and dry space, with adequate clearance at the back for good air circulation, and room overhead or to the side to open the freezer door.
Care & Maintenance:
Check the seal occasionally to ensure proper sealing. If the seal is not adequate, the door may require an adjustment or the seal may need to be replaced.
• Defrost and clean the freezer regularly. Ice build-up will lower efficiency.
• Safeguard your small children by keeping freezers locked.
• Vacuum any exposed condenser coils regularly to ensure proper air circulation.
• Keep temperature constant to keep food from spoiling
• Label and date food contents for quick retrieval, and ensure that foods are properly rotated.
Freezer capacity required: A freezer's capacity is measured in litres (L) and tells you how much food can be stored inside it. Whether you are purchasing for a business or for home you will need to consider the capacity of the freezer you require based on the size of your family or number of business customers. This will also affect the type of freezer you choose, as chest freezers are generally available in larger capacities than upright freezers.
Freezer Location: Ask yourself -How much space is available in my home? Freezers should be located in a convenient space that is far from heat sources, including sunny windows, to maintain efficient operation. The space you have available, as well as the width of doorways, may impact the size of the freezer you buy.
Freezer Style & Features: Which style of freezer do you prefer: Chest or upright - which style will fit best in your space? Chest freezer is good for bulk storage, while upright is good for more organised food storage.
*Dependent on model see http://www.thermocool.com.ng/warranty-information for full details