Fridges & Freezers

These two major appliances are consuming energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you’ll be surprised quite how much they can use. There are some simple things you can do to reduce the running costs.

Chest Freezers

Chest Freezers – Cheap & Efficient

Fridges and freezers simply work by exchanging the heat from out of the interior and delivering it to the outside. So, the hotter it is outside the harder the motor has to work.

The positioning is a major issue. Never put your fridge or freezer next to a boiler or close to an cooking appliance. Ensure good ventilation behind your fridge or freezer so that air can easily flow of the grill behind. It’s just like a car’s radiator and needs airflow to efficiently get rid of the heat.

Often people will put a freezer into a garage or even a garden shed. This is fine most of the time but these rooms can, because of low insulation, become very hot in summer and so the freezer has to work harder using more electricity. Many modern freezers do not work well if the room temperature is too low – check the manual or with the supplier before buying. Older freezers are fine in cold sheds, something to do with the gasses used in their system, apparently.

New or Second Hand?

Nothing lasts forever but fridges and freezers are very reliable and older machines can have a lot of life left in them. One of our freezers is almost 25 years old! One the other hand we bought a 6 month old chest freezer for £30 and it died a year later. I’d suggest it’s always worth the risk of second hand.

If you do go for a new one, go for the highest efficiency rating you can afford and with freezers check how long they will hold temperature in the event of a power cut. This can be as short as 8 hours or as long as 80. Ours will hold for 36 hours which is fine as we have a back-up generator if needed.

Defrost Regularly

With freezers, it’s beneficial to de-frost on a regular basis. If it is frosting up too quickly, check the door seal. You can fold a newspaper and shut the door on it. If the paper falls out, there’s a faulty door seal and it will have to be replaced.

Some freezers come with automatic defrosting which is obviously a time saver, but it will cost you 40% more on the bill when defrosting automatically. Although the thermostat has to go in overdrive to get it back to freezing again when defrosting manually, this is still by far the cheapest option. The manual defrost costs less to buy as well!

Keep the Freezer Full

Keep your freezer as full as you can, they generally work more efficiently when full for some reason. If, like us, you use your freezer to store home-grown seasonal foods then there are times when the cupboard starts to look bare. Keep an eye out for bargains in the supermarket at the end of the day on bread and fill the freezer with loaves. Alternatively, put crushed up newspaper or loads of squashed supermarket plastic bags to fill up the empty space.

Chest or Upright Freezer?

There is not a great difference in running costs between an upright or a chest freezer. The uprights are obviously easier to get at things but the chest freezer has the benefit of not letting the cold air flow out when the door is opened.

Chest freezers can be really useful even when they no longer work. They make a great rat proof store for chicken food in the shed or can even be pressed into a new life as a water butt. Throw nothing away until you are sure you can’t use it!

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