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How big of a freezer?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by SolarAndWood, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We are 25 gallons into the strawberry season and the freezer is full. How big of a freezer should we be shopping for? Does chest vs upright make a difference? Brands to stay away from? Age to stay away from on the used market?

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  2. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    size really will be dictated by how much you stuff you plan on freezing. You might want to consider what you'll be filling it with to give you a good sense of how much space you'll need. The chest style allows you to utilize the space much more efficiently, but stuff at the bottom is more difficult to get to. It takes a bit more organizing, although when it's open and you're digging items out the cold air doesn't spill out like an upright. Chest is more energy efficient. For everyday reach in and grab convenience an upright would be practical, though at the expense of some more energy use.

    Ours is a kenmore. It was priced reasonably and we've been running it for 4+ years now in an unheated building and have had no problems.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I like the up-rights just easy to get to every-thing. I would go big and non-plug the other one and use it only when you have to and use the stuff in it first! Then un-plug it again!
  4. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I'm shopping right now too, Solar. Glad you posted.

    I'm considering two small/medium vs one large. I have a large one now (20 cu ft or so) but it cost about $30 a month in electricity(it's 25 years old) so I want to upgrade. We do a lot of cider in the fall the needs to be frozen, but usually empties out quickly. By spring it is maybe a quarter full. Not sure if a I would realize and energy savings by unplugging one for 2/3 of the year. From what I've heard they are more efficient when full, but that may be unsubstantiated info I've received.
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I freeze gallons of milk and or water when it get low on food. Dont know if it works but my dad always done it and checks mine every-time hes over to make sure I am doing the same. :) He is the maintenance POLICEMAN!
  6. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

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    A loaded freezer will stay frozen a lot longer than one that is almost empty. Think of it like a big block of ice vs a small one.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Lukem: You're freezing cider? Is the cider fermented and you're using that trick to concentrate the alcohol?

    I bought a used, modern, upright, frost free, 18-20CF freezer about two years ago and our household power consumption didn't go up. I thought it would but it really didn't, same 100$ average bill as always, maybe it went up a dollar or two. It is in an unheated outbuilding on a 20 amp circuit.

    I would not buy a chest freezer. True, you can pack more stuff in it but you are packing it in a big pile with no access to the inner items. What a mess to try and get to anything and don't forget that you will be bent over reaching down and lifting things all the way up and out of the pit to find your popsicle. Then you need to set all that stuff down on something where it will get dirty and start melting. My wife is 5 feet tall, her feet would be in the air trying to reach a fudgesicle in the back bottom of the pit. No thanks. One more thing to consider is that the chest freezer will burn up more (2x) real estate since the door opens up instead of out into the garage.

    I would get the biggest one you can. All brands seem to be made by the same factory and you can't really fix any of them. Frost free is very nice since you don't have to defrost it but also it allows you to move shelfs around to suit your loads.

    I would rather a single large freezer than multiple little ones. The single will be more efficient since it has less surface area. It will take less space. In a power outage I don't want to have to worry about fudgesicles melting in all 4 freezers.

    I see no good reason that a full freezer is any more efficient than an empty one unless you open it all the time. The mass of the frozen items in a full freezer will make it easier for the freezer to maintain temp so the compressor should cycle less often but when it does cycle it will cycle for longer periods.
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Sadly, there is no alcohol in my cider...just apples. That may be a project for this year though. We freeze it for long term storage as we usually put up about 20-25 gallons.
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Having grown up with a large chest freezer and now using my wife's freezer that she brought into the marriage over 15 years ago . . . I vote for the upright . . . as a kid I remember digging through mounds of meat, veggies, etc. and spending a long time looking for that one item I needed vs. the upright freezer where I typically open the door, spot what I need and shut the door within seconds.
  10. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Never did like the chest type.

    Here's an anecdotal data point:

    Bought a pair of 'Frigidaire' (White Consolidated, made in the USA) FFU17M6AW3 17 cu. ft. non-frost-free uprights from Ra-Lin in 1994. Have been trouble free but need to be defrosted once a year or so, we do it in the middle of winter. Went with two because they went into a cellar with a short ceiling that couldn't accommodate a large freezer.

    Had already bought a pair from Sears but they refused to deliver without me taking a day off to wait for them to show up. Called up Ra-Lin and they took my credit card number over the phone and the freezers were sitting in my garage waiting for me when I got home that night.

    Ra-Lin farms out their warranty work to CountyWide or some such outfit, which worked well for another appliance from them that wasn't so trouble-free. (Infant compressor death on a refrigerator. Was repaired under warranty and has run for ten years since.)

    According to my Kill-O-Watt they draw an average of 60 watts each, or 44 kWh per month. Amazingly this is within a couple kWh of the yellow kWh per year sticker number.

    (One cubic foot equals 7.48 gallon.)

    --ewd
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Freezers and fridges have a pretty high surge wattage load and the frost free type burn up some more power when defrosting but for the huge majority of the time they use a very small amount of power.

    Since 1994, things have gotten even better with regards to power consumption.
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I like the chest freezer, but then again I'm not storing a lot of different items. The trick of keeping the freezer full comes from the fact that a freezer full of air will exchange a lot more than one full of product. Its the only real advantage to the chest, but from what I've seen they use quite a bit less power (unless you never open it to begin with.
  13. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That project has a lot of rewards. Our batch from Fall is ready for bottles.

    Thanks for the input on the freezers. The past few days I have found the competition for newer freezers on Craigslist to be as competitive as free firewood. I can't believe people hold used appliances for people for a week without any money in their hand.

    Attached Files:

  14. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    Might be a good idea to go look at models in the store to help get a better idea of what will work for you. There's some differences in manufacturers and models regarding storage conveniences like drawers, shelving adjustments etc.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    25 gallons of strawberries is enough to feed an army. I would look at other options like strawberry syrup and strawberry wine.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Last year, we did almost 40 gallons. We have had success with the wine but found that the syrup tends to mold. A friend of mine and I are experimenting with a batch of this now:

    All-Grain - Strawberry Alarm Clock v3.0 (Strawberry Blonde)
    Recipe Type: All Grain
    Yeast: S-04
    Yeast Starter: 1 packet
    Batch Size (Gallons): 5
    Original Gravity: 1.050
    Final Gravity: 1.010
    IBU: 17.1
    Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
    Color: 4.9 SRM
    Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 10 days @ 65F
    Additional Fermentation: Cold Crash 3 days
    Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 21 days @ 70F
    Tasting Notes: Smooth light body with a tiny bit of tartness that gives the beer a crisp finish.

    EDIT: This recipe won a gold medal at Pacific Brewer's Cup 2009.

    I ended up with 4.8 gallons of beer in bottles after this process, although on previous batches where I had pureed the strawberries I ended up spot-on 5 gallons. So, maybe the strawberries soaked up some of the volume? I probably will try to get another .25 gallons boil volume next time to account for this.

    Recipe: Strawberry Alarm Clock v3.0
    TYPE: All Grain

    Recipe Specifications
    ------------
    Batch Size: 5.00 gal
    Boil Size: 6.41 gal
    Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
    Estimated Color: 4.9 SRM
    Estimated IBU: 17.1 IBU
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
    Boil Time: 60 Minutes

    Ingredients:
    ------------
    Amount Item
    5.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
    4.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
    0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 15L (15.0 SRM)
    0.50 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
    0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
    1.00 oz Willamette [4.80 %] (60 min)
    0.50 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)
    4.00 lb Strawberries (Secondary 3.0 weeks)
    1 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale


    Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
    Total Grain Weight: 10.25 lb
    ----------------------------
    Single Infusion, Light Body
    Step Time Name Description Step Temp
    75 min Mash In Add 12.81 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F
    10 min Mash Out Add 8.20 qt of water at 196.6 F 168.0 F

    Sparge with 2.64 gallons 168.0 F water.

    Notes:
    ------
    Base Style Blonde Ale 6B.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree that the upright freezers make getting to things easier but I like the chest freezers simply because cold goes down and heat goes up. This tells me that the chest freezer will not lose much cold air when opened vs. the upright freezer. I also found this to be true when I worked for a dairy delivering to stores. The chest coolers and freezers worked better.

    I also agree with Jay. It is nice to have ice in there for the times when you go without power for a few hours or days. It will help hold the cold longer.

    We have two freezers we bought used and have had both for about 15 years or so. One is Amana and the other is Fridigaire.
  18. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Did some additional research today. Follow-up to the two small vs one large argument, chest vs upright efficiency:

    Same manufacturer and product line:

    24.9 ft3 chest freezer - $47 Yearly operating cost (per the energy tag, $0.0904 kWh)
    19.7 ft3 chest freezer - $39
    13.0 ft3 chest freezer - $30

    20.6 ft3 upright freezer - $74 Yearly operating cost (per the energy tag, $0.1065 kWh)
    16.7 ft3 upright freezer - $65

    So to even things up in terms of size and electricity cost:

    ~20 ft3 @ $0.11 kWh

    Chest = $47.46
    Upright = $76.43

    Monthly difference = $2.41

    ~25 cubic feet chest

    1 big = $47
    2 small = $60

    Monthly difference = $1.08

    Hope this helps somebody.
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Nice Info............
  20. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I'd have to know if they took into account how many times you open and close them. How many times I got 1/2 way up the stairs and realized I forgot something.
  21. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    lol :lol:
  22. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Another vote for the chest freezer for exactly the reason Dennis pointed out & backed-up by the power ratings Luke quoted. Open a chest freezer & very little cold air flows out as it's still contained in there, so much more efficient.
    Obviosly depends on whether you open it twice a week or 10 times a day. Or if you have to climb in there to find what you're looking for!
    I would opt for a chest freezer just big enough for 1 seasons storage (bigger if you plan to expand the garden....) Stuff buried @ the bottom of a huge chest for years is not doing you much good. Fridge/freezer is something worth buying new IMO since cost to operate is high relative to purchase price.
  23. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the input. Picked up this 5 yo 15 cu ft Frigidaire commercial chest unit I found on Craigslist. Just in time too, we picked 6 more gallons of strawberries last night and had no where to go with them.

    Attached Files:

  24. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I know where to go this winter! Thanks for posting.........lol :lol:
  25. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Bring the mill Jay. I am having our Ash taken down over the next few weeks.

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