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Best Ways to Save with Home Freezers

Updated on June 3, 2013

Small Freezer

Average small freezer
Average small freezer | Source

Freezer Foods

Freezing food can dramatically increase how long foods can stay edible. For example most meat that you purchase at the supermarket is recommended to be consumed by a certain date that is clearly printed on the label. If you do not cook the meat, prior to this date, the chances of the food possibly causing you some kind of digestive issue increase.

For anyone who has eaten something that has not agreed with their stomachs, or had food poisoning, you understand how sick you can become by eating food that is no longer deemed safe to consume.

Freezing food is a great way to help keep food safe to eat way longer than what the package tells you. Sure frozen food has a shelf life too but it is much greater than what you can get by just refrigerating it. Freezers allow us to stock up on that great buy at the store or to preserve some of our home grown foods.

Some households elect to add another freezer in the garage or wherever they can set one up. A second freezer increases how much food you can stockpile for use later. We made the decision to get a second freezer recently and we are excited to put it to work.

We grow a bunch of things in our garden and really struggle to eat or preserve all of it every year. A second freezer was a logical choice for us. Our only stumbling block was what kind of freezer to get and how big.

Tall Freezer

Upright freezers are very similar to the fridge that you have in your kitchen. They vary in size but they are taller than they are wide, earning them their name of being upright freezers.

The biggest advantage to these kinds of freezers is that they are frost free; we will get into what that means a little bit later. Upright freezers also come with adjustable and/or slide out shelves which can make organizing the freezer easier. The inside of the door may have additional space for merchandise too, depending on the model and size. Just like a heavily populated area these freezers take up a smaller footprint because they reach up into the space above them, not branching out occupying more square footage than is needed.

All freezers have a wide selection of sizes which will be measured in cubic feet, with the larger numbers representing the bigger appliances.

The main disadvantage to upright freezers is that they will cost about twice as much as a comparable chest freezer to operate. To help offset this cost shop around for an Energy Star rated freezer. These freezers have been determined to be energy efficient and will help save you money on your power bill.

Small Chest Freezer

A chest freezer is much shorter than their upright relatives. With this shorter size comes an appliance that will take up more space. The larger freezers are about the same size but a chest freezer will look like it is laying on one of its sides.

The biggest advantages to chest freezers are how easy they are to pile up food and how much energy they use. Many chest freezers will only cost a couple of dollars a month to operate; not a bad trade off when you consider how much money you can save on those deals at the store.

The biggest disadvantage to a chest freezer is that they are not frost free. Simply put this means that frost will gradually buildup on the inside of the unit. This frost will decrease how much room you have in the freezer but the bigger problem is the extra frost really hurts your energy efficiency. The freezer still has to keep the food cold but now it needs to keep the excess frost cold too.

The freezer manufacturers recommend, at least once a year but more depending on the model, to completely unload the freezer and let the frost melt. This causes problems keeping the food frozen as well as needing a place to drain the melting frost. These freezers come with a hose hookup location but it makes you think twice about putting a chest freezer anywhere but the garage.

Mini Freezers

Both upright and chest freezers have miniature options available. Fortunately there are many available sizes in both styles so you can get the right freezer for your family and your needs.

A mini freezer might be a nice addition to an outdoor party area like a grill island. Refreshments can be kept on the verge of freezing and the food can be kept at a safe temperature before cooking.

Appliances

Do you have a second freezer at your home?

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Frost Free Freezers

As mentioned earlier selecting a freezer with or without the frost free option will have to be based on what you want to do to maintain the unit. If you are OK taking the time to melt it off, as I mentioned in the chest freezer description above, than maybe a chest freezer is the right freezer for you. However if this sounds like way too much work an upright freezer might work better in your house.

For my family we chose an upright Energy Star rated freezer. We have an old one car garage that has been converted to a storage/exercise room so we are putting it there. With the space having carpet on the floor we felt that putting it there would give us the ability to get something out of it without having to go outside and into the garage. Of course we could have put it in the garage but we didn’t want to deal with keeping it clean, since everything else in there is kind of dirty.

Another reason for selecting an upright freezer for us was because we wanted to put it inside the house. We didn’t want to have a chest freezer in the house because some water would not go where we wanted it to during a defrost cycle. We didn’t want any water getting on the carpet and we didn’t want something that took up too much space, an upright freezer fit that criteria.

Freezer Burn

Just like any food, frozen food has a shelf life too. Some of the older generations will use frozen food, regardless of how long it has been in the freezer, but some foods should be tossed out past a certain date.

Below are just a couple of examples for frozen food shelf life, based on some of the more popular items we have in our kitchens.

Food Shelf Life

Food
Maximum freezer shelf life
Bread
3 months
Chicken
9 months
Fish
4-8 months
Ground meats
4 months
Ice cream
2-4 months
Lunch meat
4 months
Steak
8-10 months

Home Preserving

Comments

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    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Marcy - We got one to help preserve our bounty from the garden. So far we are slowly adding to it but I know we will be throwing a ton of stuff into it very soon.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      My need for a freezer seems to come and go - for a while, it was a huge asset. Then I had a back-up fridge (which I loved) - but when I got to the point of having appliances running that weren't really in use, I got rid of them. They're a lifesaver, though, when your family size needs one!

      Voted up and up!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Timetraveler2 - Actually I did know about freezing milk and butter; my wife has some goat's milk in the freezer right now. I'm not completely sold on how it will thaw though. Thanks for commenting.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 5 years ago

      I have always frozen food, and when I had my big home in the country, I actually had two chest freezers. Now, however, I live in a small condo, so am space limited. However, the closest store is only 5 minutes away, so we shop often and are still able to keep a fair supply of frozen foods on hand. Did you know you can freeze milk and butter? Just a little trick I learned in the country. I liked the stats you gave on shelf life. Thanks for a nicely done hub.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Mmargie1966 - We held off for a while because of the extra utility costs but the energy star appliance helped push us over the edge. Thanks for voting.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      TahoeDoc - We just started getting things put into the one we bought. We don't live in town either so stocking up when we do drive in is something we try to do.

      I have a 15 year old son, I can sympathize on how much kids can eat. Thanks

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Excellent hub! Energy Star was a terrific choice! Voted up and awesome!

    • TahoeDoc profile image

      TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      Love having our chest-style freezer in the garage. It really makes it possible to stock up on food. This is a good thing, too since the nearest Costco (food warehouse) where we can buy food in bulk or larger packages is nearly an hour away. My boys are only 5 & 7. I may have to get a third freezer when they hit their teen years, sheesh, those kids can eat!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      teaches12345 - That is one of the primary reasons we got one. Our teenage son eats like food is going out of style and our daughter has her moments too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I'm glad you liked it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      We had a freezer when our son was small and it really helped with the family budget to stockpile needed items. I think he enjoyed getting the popsicles from there the best. Great post!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      kittyjj - I'm glad you found it useful. We had ours delivered a couple of days ago and my wife and daughter have already transferred stuff into it. Looking at our garden it won't be too long before some of those veggies take up residence inside it. Thanks for commenting

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      I don't have a second freezer at home, but my freezer is full most of the time, especially during summer when my kids love to eat ice cream and Popsicle. A mini freezer sounds like a great idea to have during summer time to keep all those ice cream and Popsicle. Thanks for sharing a useful hub.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      cocopreme - I'm glad this information might be a help to you when you start shopping for a freezer, thanks

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

      Good hub! I have recently started to freeze food. When I cook I like to cook a lot and be done with it. Eventually I will need a new freezer. This will help a lot when I am ready to shop.