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Thread: Should I get an upright frost free freezer?

  1. #1
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    Should I get an upright frost free freezer?

    I currently own an ancient chest freezer. The hinge which holds the lid open is broken, so getting anything out of it is a two person job (my DH and me).
    I'm getting SO tired of having to unload everything to get at anything and am sure there are some things lurking at the bottom that I have forgotten about.

    I grew with a frost free upright freezer. I'm thinking about replacing our chest freezer. SO I go to my favorite appliance store and talk to them about an upright freezer. So I could make an informed decision, the guy at the appliance gave me the pros and cons of both. He said that when you open the door to a chest freezer, the warm air doesn't go rushing in like it does with an upright. I haven't quite figured that one out yet. He also said that chest freezers and uprights that require manual defrosting maintain a constant temperature of zero degrees. He said the frost free freezers, to maintain the frost free environment, cycle on and off. Because of this he says that food will not store as long in a frost free upright.

    I searched some previous threads and there are a lot of you who have frost free upright freezers so they must not be a bad thing. How long do you keep things in your freezer without the quality degrading?

    I'm REALLY wanting to be able to access things easily but don't want to have to throw a lot of food out because of the frost free status.

    I'm SO confused. What do you think I should do?

    TIA

    Bonnie

  2. #2
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    Bumping......

    someone......anyone.....

  3. #3
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    i may not be the best "someone, anyone" to comment but i have to say a resounding YES to an upright. i HATE my chest freezer after realizing how things get lost in there all the time! at my job in college at a research center test kitchen we had a huge upright and it was FANTASTIC. very spacious and things didn't get lost...now about the frost free..hmmm...not sure about that. but if it was me, i would get it or at least get an upright. now someone else chime in here about the frost free issue....someone? anyeone?

  4. #4
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    I researched a ton when we bought ours.
    We have a chest freezer and I have cool "cages" that I can stack and sort stuff and supposedly keep an eye on.
    The chest freezers are usually cheaper and they are more energy efficient.
    Having said that...if I ever do it again, I'm getting an upright and to hell with efficiency and savings.
    ALthough I've only had to toss out 2 or 3 items, I think uprights are just easier all the way around.
    I would NOT get a self-defrost though because this is like turning it on and off all the time.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  5. #5
    Well, I'm not sure this will help, but we just purchased a manual defrost upright. It was cheaper than a frost-free and uses less energy. I really didn't want a chest freezer for the reasons you mentioned- particularly having to dig around to get things out.

    I had heard the same thing as you about uprights vs. chest freezers. Warm air rises, so I guess with a chest freezer the cold air stays in the chamber. I don't think I fully understand it, though.

    In any case, we're happy with the freezer we bought (a Kenmore)!

  6. #6
    Freezer burn is much more likely with a frost free, as it takes the moisture out to prevent frost. They don't need defrosted very often, and it is really not so bad on a hot day with a good blow dryer! I've had both, and I like the convenience and accessability of an upright, and the better food quality without the frost free.

  7. #7
    I have a frost-free upright (Kenmore) and like it very much. I have heard, as Char pointed out, that food stays fresher in a manual defrost, but I know myself too well and I would never get around to defrosting it myself, so I went with the frost-free. As long as you package things very well (I have a FoodSaver), they will keep quite well and quite long in the frost-free freezer. I have never been unhappy with the quality of the food I freeze or certainly not unhappy enough to have wished that I bought a manual defrost freezer. It just depends on what you think would work best for you. I also try to be good about using things up in a reasonable amount of time.

    I love my freezer. I use it to store my flour and other baking goods that take up too much room in my small kitchen, along with the other obvious things like meats, etc.

    Alysha

  8. #8
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    We have a manual defrost upright. We really only need to defrost it about once or maybe twice yearly. We do this in the dead of winter and just pile the food outside!! If you FILL the freezer (if you don't have food, just old milk bottles filled with water will do), it uses far less electric and also does not build up much frost. I find that my best investment for the freezer was my Foodsaver, since the vacuum packing lets me freeze very long term. I have meat that was frozen over two years and had no freezer burn at all...tasted great!

  9. #9
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    I have an upright Kenmore manual defrost freezer. I think it is about 27 years old now. I defrost twice a year, June and November, and it takes about 2 hours to do. I boil pots of water and set them on the shelves and use my blow dryer. My fridge freezer is frost free and there is a big difference between the quality of frozen food coming from these freezers. The frost free food tends to dry out while the food in the upright looks fresher.

    Vicky

  10. #10
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    I am now on my second upright frost free freezer (first one lasted over 20 yrs - the drain kept getting plugged). Wouldn't have anything else. I've not found any problems keeping items in it a long time. I know I have nuts over 2 yrs old (food saver too).

  11. #11
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    I AM tired of digging things out of the chest freezer. Glad to hear that the manual defrost is not a big deal. Defrosting in the dead of winter when I can put all the food outside sounds like a good idea. I'm checking with my appliance guy to see if he can get a manual defrost upright if I decide to go that way.

    That being said, frost free sounds SO much more convenient and like lindrusso, I'm not sure I would get around to defrosting unless there was so much ice that I couldn't get my food in. How much ice builds up by the time your DO defrost?

    I have a foodsaver and use it mostly for packing meats. Soups I put in gallon freezer zips. Other things I put in freezer containers (like applesauce etc.) Breads I wrap in foil and then in a freezer bag. I also store a LOT of grains, flours etc for baking.

    Boys03, when you vacuum seal nuts, do you do it if the bags? Don't they get crushed or do you freeze them first?

    If I could create my "perfect" freezer, it would be upright, self defrost WITHOUT the cycling on and off. (Are you wondering what color the sky is in my world?)

    Thanks for all your help. You guys are a GREAT resource.

  12. #12
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    I have an upright manual freezer which is 40 years old and still going strong. Doubt the new ones will last that long.

    A few months ago we had our electric company serviceman here to service one of our other applicances and I asked him about the frost free freezers. He stated it would be best to get an upright manual freezer. Runs on less electricity. Frost Free are not that dependable. Although I hate to clean mine as I usually have things that need to go in the refrigerator's freezer while I'm cleaning it and usually there is not enough room, I would get another manual again.
    * I ONLY FAIL IF I GIVE UP *

  13. #13
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    The fuller you keep the freezer, the less you will have to defrost. Also, I have gotten into the habit of putting soups and delicate into foodvac bags, freezing and then sealing. I have found they last much longer when frozen than in containers. I have had no problem with nuts. I even freeze blueberries on cookie sheets then vacpac with no problem! My manual defrost upright is a Kelvinator, is quite old and has never had a problem.

  14. #14
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    Hopefully I can clear up some of the "I don't really understands". Basically what is happening in an upright freezer when you open the door, cold air sinks and warm air rises. So the cold air sinks down onto your floor and the room air comes back in to replace it. With a chest freezer think of it as a bowl of cold air. Unless you tip it, it can't run out.

    As for manual vs. frost free. My two cents says to go with the manual for two fundamental reasons. 1) the previously stated energy savings. A manual defrost freezer is much cheaper to operate. Outside of heating and cooling your home, your refrigerator and freezer are the biggest energy hogs there. 2) reason 2 is a result of reason 1. To defrost, a freezer actually will temporarily reverse its cycle (like a heat pump that cools your house in the summer and heats it in the winter). As a result, you pay to heat the coils of the freezer and then evaporate the melted frost and then pay to cool it back down. In the mean time you have put your food throught the same cycle, thus impacting its shelf life.

    As for defrosting, my wife and I have developed a 15 minute method that makes it simple. 1) turn thermostat off 2) empty contents (use this as an opportunity to find lost treasures, etc. 3) With two of you, get two portable hair dryers and on high heat start at the top of the freezer box and work your way down melting the ice (place beach towels in the bottom to catch the water) 4) as ice chunks are loosened, pick off and collect in bucket 5) dry with towel 6) replace and organize food 7) reset thermostat (very important).

    Just my two cents
    Richard

  15. #15
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    the nuts are already hard so they don't get crushed. I also freeze fresh cranberries in the bags and blueberries, but I freeze the berries first.

  16. #16
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    Just bought a frost-free upright and I LOVE it! I had to have a vertical type freezer because stacking isn't an option with some of the things I'm putting in it, and it's great to just open the door and see what you have w/o having to rummage around.

    I just got rid of the manual defrost refrigerator a year or so ago and even if manual defrosting is only required once or twice a year, no way was I willingingly inflicting that on myself again. Yes, it's drier in there but so far I haven't seen any problems with the food going in there.

    However, I have learned that the "vapor lock" on the freezer door is powerful on the model I have, and I have to remember to brace the door open while I'm loading or unloading. If the door goes shut between "loads" it takes some real yanking to get it open again right away!

  17. #17
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    Agian, THANKS for all the information.


    Richard, thanks for clearing all that up. You explanations were EXCELLENT! And thanks to all for the defrosting tips should I decide on frost free.

    Shitzux2, what brand of frost free freezer do you have that has such an incredible vapor lock?

    Now to continue pondering.......

    Bonnie

  18. #18
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    By the way Alysha (and TOTALLY off the subject) I LOVE Janet Evanovich's books. I'm getting ready to start Ten Big Ones and just KNOW that quote is about our friend Lula.

    What a hoot!

    Bonnie

  19. #19
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    I think it's the Frigidaire 20-cu-ft. commercial model. Got an incredible deal at Best Buy -- about $170 off with the sale that was going on in August and the free delivery.

    It seals so tight when the door closes that even my husband has trouble getting it open again right away. If it sits a few minutes before you try opening it again, it opens easily enuf but when it goes closed, it means to stay that way for a bit.

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by RPM
    With two of you, get two portable hair dryers and on high heat start at the top of the freezer box and work your way down melting the ice
    Richard several years ago I purchased a freezer defroster unit. I can't even remember what catalogue or the exact name of this thing. But it has coils and you plug it in an outlet and place in the freezer. Makes quick work of any built up ice. This still may be around in some of the catalogues if anyone is looking for another quick help item.
    * I ONLY FAIL IF I GIVE UP *

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by shihtzux2
    I think it's the Frigidaire 20-cu-ft. commercial model. Got an incredible deal at Best Buy -- about $170 off with the sale that was going on in August and the free delivery.

    It seals so tight when the door closes that even my husband has trouble getting it open again right away. If it sits a few minutes before you try opening it again, it opens easily enuf but when it goes closed, it means to stay that way for a bit.
    This is the same for mine and it is Kenmore.

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