Pros and cons of frost free freezers

Written by jessica kolifrath
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Pros and cons of frost free freezers
(ice cubes image by sheldon gardner from Fotolia.com)

Frost free freezers were originally designed to keep freezers running efficiently without regular defrosting. Defrosting a freezer typically requires removing all of the food so you can scrape out the frost, which can take up to an hour to do. If you use your freezer to store bulk quantities of food, understanding the pros and cons of a frost free freezer will help you determine if buying one would be a good investment.

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Pro: No Defrosting

Freezers that require manual defrosting may have their benefits, such as lower electricity use and a lower upfront cost. However, if you don't remember to manually defrost these freezers when the frost is a quarter of an inch thick, they will work less efficiently says the Florida Energy Systems Consortium. Frost free freezers don't require this chore, but they still need an occasional cleaning. Food debris and spills can lead to odours that can affect food quality. A frost free freezer can still develop frost on the condenser coils if it malfunctions, so a monthly visual check is also a good idea.

Con: Requires More Electricity

Frost free models can use up to 50 per cent more electricity under normal operation, according to the Colorado State University Extension Office. This is due to the extra heating coils that are part of the freezer. Heating coils in your frost free freezer will cycle on and off numerous times during the day to prevent any frost from forming. Each time the coil heats itself, extra electricity is required. If electricity bills and energy costs are a major concern for you, a frost free freezer may not be the best choice.

Pro: No Frost Damage

Freezer burn occurs when ice crystals form on the surface of food. Frost-damaged food tastes bad and has a poor texture. Frost free freezers prevent ice from forming on any surface in the freezer, notes ABT Electronics, including food. Proper packaging will also help prevent food from drying out or damage by the slight temperature variations caused by the freezer's heating coils.

Con: Higher Price

Frost free models are often more expensive than manual defrost freezers. This is, in part, due to the higher costs of materials and the extra heating coils that these freezers use. Automatic defrosting is also seen as an optional or premium feature, so these freezers can demand a higher price tag than conventional choices. However, many frost free freezers are only slightly more expensive than comparable manual defrost models.

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