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Fridge Freezers buying guide

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Introduction

Most people today wouldn’t think of living without a refrigerator and freezer. Can you picture having to shop for fresh food every day? No way to save leftovers, or even a bottle of milk?

Depending on the size of your kitchen and your household, you can choose anything from a compact refrigerator to a large American style fridge freezer, or practically anything in between. For most families, the popular choice is a fridge freezer, which combines a cool storage area for fresh foods and a freezer sections for frozen foods.

Modern choices include options with a side fridge freezer or stainless fridge freezer. For colour choices, today you can choose from a black fridge freezer or a white fridge freezer, as well as numerous other colour selections.

There are many popular brands, such as the Samsung fridge freezer, Bosch fridge freezer, and Smeg fridge freezer, and they are made to fit any budget. Fridge freezers range from about £150 to over £2500, and Price Inspector can help you buy a cheap fridge freezer in the UK.

Questions to ask yourself when buying a new fridge freezer

  • How large should my fridge freezer be?
    First, you need to decide how much how freezer and fridge capacity do you need, and then determine how much room you have in your kitchen.
    Storage capacity: This is measured in cubic litres. Smaller fridge freezers offer about 120 litres of storage, which is enough for a single user. For a family, storage of 300 litres is usually appropriate, although large families might want more room. Consider how you want the space divided between fresh and frozen. Some people use more fresh produce and limited freezer storage, while others buy bulk quantities of frozen foods.
    Kitchen space: Kitchen space is always at a premium, so consider how much room your fridge freezer will take. There are three common widths (50 cm, 55 cm, and 60 cm), plus a wider range of heights. If space is not an issue, American style fridge freezers tend to be much larger.
  • Do I want a built-in fridge freezer or a free-standing fridge freezer?
    You can choose between a built-in fridge-freezer that hides behind cabinet doors or a free-standing model. This is personal preference, based on your kitchen.
  • What configuration do I want?
    Fridge freezers are available with the freezer on the top, at the bottom, or in a side-by-side arrangement. Side-by-side models conveniently provide multiple small shelves for organization, but it’s difficult to fit large frozen items. Whether you prefer a top or a bottom freezer depends on whether you want to stoop down or reach up.

Optional Features

  • Shelves: These are usually either a wire grid or a glass shelf. Wire grids are cheaper, but glass helps hold the temperature, and food spills don’t drip to lower shelves. Glass is also easier to clean.
  • Controls: Higher-end models may place temperature controls on the outside, so you don’t have to open the door (and let the cold out) when making changes.
  • Reversible doors: Some fridge freezer models let you reverse the direction the doors open. This is helpful for certain kitchen layouts, where it might be impossible to open in a particular direction. It also lets you choose whether you prefer to open with your left or right hand.
  • Thermometer: If the fridge freezer has a digital thermometer, you can be assured that the unit is functioning correctly, and you can more easily adjust the temperature.
  • Thermostats: Fridge freezers either have one thermostat for both fridge and freezer or separate controls for each. Models with one control are cheaper, but there can be times that the freezer is too warm or cold when the fridge is at the right temperature.
  • Fast freeze and Super Cool settings: Fast Freeze helps freeze food more quickly, which helps the food stay fresher. Super Cool helps the fridge handle the addition of large amounts of food at once, super-chilling for a certain period.
  • Frost-free Freezers: With a frost-free option, ice will not build up in the freezer, as cold dry air is circulated inside. You will not have to defrost the freezer, but they are a little more expensive to buy and run, and the fan makes some noise.

Living Green

Refrigerators are the second-biggest user of energy in your home, second to central heating. This is because they must constantly run. Like most home appliances, fridge freezers receive Eurolabel grades for energy efficiency. Fridge freezers are labelled A++, A+, A, B or C, with. A++ being the most efficient and C being the least. Your older fridge freezers might be rated as low as G. The classifications system is broken down as follows:

Evaluation
A Optimum
B Excellent
C Very good
D Good
E Average
F Mediocre
G Poor

As manufacturers improved their energy efficiency, the additional levels of A+ and A++ were added.

Running costs are calculated by multiplying the kW used by the average cost of electricity plus VAT. Individual costs vary depending on how much your local electricity costs. Other factors include how well stocked the fridge freezer is, where it is located, and how well it is ventilated. You can improve the performance by making sure your door seals stay clean, which creates an airtight seal.

Generally, more expensive fridge freezers receive higher Eurolabel ratings because they include more energy-saving features, such as thicker insulation, alarms that will let you know if the door is left open, or automatic door closure.

Modern fridge freezers are free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs), both of which may be damaging to the ozone layer and increase global warming.

Useful tips when buying a fridge freezer

  • Consider your family’s size and shopping habits. This determines how large your fridge freezer should be, and the split between fresh and frozen capacity. Freezing Capacity indicates the amount of food that can be frozen in 24 hours.
  • Choose an energy efficient fridge freezer to avoid high electricity bills.
  • Make sure you measure the available space before buying. Allow a gap of 25 mm on the back, sides, and top. Inadequate ventilation makes the appliance’s compressor work harder, resulting in faster frost build-up and lower energy efficiency.
  • Look for environmentally friendly cooling agents. More manufacturers use natural gases for the cooling agents, which are better for the environment because they do not have any harmful effects on the ozone layer or global warming.
  • All fridge freezers are labelled for energy efficiency, measuring the ratio of energy consumption to volume. A, A+, and A++ are the most energy efficient ratings.
  • Freezers maintain a temperature of –18C °, with a fast freeze setting of –26C°. It is important to keep the freezer temperature steady; every degree below -18°C increases fridge freezer’s energy use by 5%.
  • If you want ice and chilled water dispensers, your fridge freezer must be located within one metre of your water supply. The size of the evaporator creates slightly more background noise.
  • When you are installing the fridge freezer, it must remain upright at all times. Wait at least 6 hours for any gases inside to settle before switching the unit on.
  • Ask your local council how you can dispose of your old fridge freezer. Your old fridge freezer may contain harmful CFC gases; if so, the appliance should be destroyed safely.

Freezer Meals

After you have purchased your new fridge freezer, you may suddenly have more freezer room than before. Your appliance will be more energy efficient if it’s kept full, and one convenient time-saver is to freeze meals for future use. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. For freezer friendly meals, some people will make a double batch at once, and then freeze half. After all, if you have the ingredients handy, it doesn’t take much longer to make two dishes of lasagne instead of one.

Another freezer-meal approach is to not pre-cook the food. Instead, you would simply assemble all the ingredients that can be frozen so they are convenient, but you still cook them fresh. For meat loaf, for example, your freezer bag would contain raw ground beef, herbs, chopped onions, and bread crumbs. Mix them together, put them in the freezer bag, then roll it out flat so it freezes and thaws evenly. When you are ready to cook the meal, simply thaw, mix it with egg, shape into a loaf, and bake as usual.

Whether you are freezing fresh or raw foods make sure to prevent freezer burn by properly storing the items. Items must be carefully sealed so there are no air leaks, such as with aluminium foil and/or freezer bags. Label the item with the contents and date, and periodically review the freezer’s contents to avoid having an item go unused for a long period of time.

If you are unsure whether a food will freeze well, you can easily find information in cookbooks and on the Internet.

Buying Guide to Fridge Freezers
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