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How To Defrost A Freezer the Right Way

How to defrost a freezer? Ah, this is a domestic challenge that many of us face at home. Whether you live alone or with your own brood, defrosting is part of regular housekeeping. It is the only way to keep your precious freezer clean and functional.

Of course, you can always buy a freezer with an automatic defrost function. But that type is more expensive and consumes more electricity. If you are stuck with a normal freezer, you have to do the defrosting manually. There are many reasons ice builds up inside your freezer, but the fact remains you cannot leave it there. Doing so will ruin your appliance.

Defrosting a freezer is a chore that is not as cool as it sounds, especially if you don’t have the skills. But don’t fret, as this guide will help you face this challenge. With time and practice, you can soon entertain a guest in your home and proudly proclaim that you know how to defrost a freezer. Congrats! Now on to the guide.

What Is Defrosting A Freezer?

Before you learn how to defrost a freezer, you must first know how frost appears inside your freezer. Time for some cool freezer facts!

How Does A Freezer Work?

Consumer-level freezers are sold as separate units or installed inside refrigerators, which is the case in most American households. Whichever type it is, most freezers work the same way.

The cool secret lies in the substance called refrigerant. This chemical substance absorbs the heat inside the container (where you store your food), causing the temperature to drop to freezing degrees. The early refrigerants were flourocarbons/ hydroflourocarbons, but they have been phased out since the 20th century due to its harmful effects to the ozone layer. Modern refrigerants use more eco-friendly chemicals.

spring coil

Image via: Pixabay

Have you seen the coils behind the refrigerator? Inside is the refrigerant working its wonders. It begins as a vapor under low pressure then enters the compressor which squeezes its particles, causing it to increase its pressure and temperature.

This excited refrigerant continues its journey to the condenser coils where it loses its heat but keeps its high pressure. At this stage, the condensed vapor becomes a liquid. This high-pressure liquid enters a small tube, where it drops its pressure suddenly and returns to its gas form. This vapor absorbs the heat, causing the temperature inside to drop, freezing the food inside. The refrigerant then repeats its cycle.

What Is Frost And What Causes It To Form?

freezer

Image via: Pixab​​ay

Unfortunately, refrigeration is not a closed and foolproof system. The temperature inside is not tightly controlled, so fluctuations happen which causes frost to form.

Frost is the “ice” that builds up on the freezer walls and door. In a perfectly controlled environment, these would be ice-free. But each time the freezer door is opened, factors are introduced that affect the system and require users to learn how to defrost a freezer.

Air is obviously warmer outside the freezer. When you open the freezer doors, warm air seeps into the freezer. Because warm air contains more moisture,  it condenses when it hits the coils. The condensed water then freezes due to the temperature inside, resulting in frost.

This ice is not toxic as it is formed from water vapor in the air. However, it is not advisable to eat as food smell can seep into it. The crystalline texture is also different, so it does not feel good in the mouth. Some frost forms like ice shavings, while the rest become solid lumps of ice.

What About Auto Defrost?

Freezers with auto defrost options have fans that keep the warm air and moisture away. (Though this function takes a lot of electricity and makes the appliance more expensive).

This is why you should not open your freezer door wide like you would a window. It is also important to close the door tightly so no air will get inside. Only use the freezer when necessary; take out everything you need in one go.

Why You Should Defrost Your Freezer

One more thing before we learn how to defrost a freezer: a quick science lesson.

Why Do We Freeze Food?

Freezing food keeps it from becoming spoiled or rotten. Low temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria, molds, and fungus. Freezing also slows down the actions of enzymes, which causes food to undergo chemical transformation. Thus, the food keeps its quality and freshness.

This knowledge is an ancient one, as our ancestors made pre-electricity freezers–or cold storage boxes–using ice or snow from the mountains. Using the aforementioned principle of cold-warm air movement, our ancestors kept the warm air from reaching the food by insulating it with ice, which also helps drop the temperature.

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This ancient freezer was done by digging a hole in the ground or using a big earthenware pot. Then the food was placed inside and the container covered with hay, grass, or straw. Then ice taken from the mountains or snowfall was placed on top. The insulation kept the inside temperature low while keeping the warm air out at the same time.

What Happens If We Don’t Remove The Frost?

Woman opening a refrigerator

Image via: Pexe​​ls

Those huge slabs of ice are a nuisance in a lot of ways.

One, frost takes up space in your freezer that can otherwise be used for food. It also makes it harder to close the freezer doors, which will worsen the situation.

Second, it keeps your freezer from working properly. The frost affects the flow of the refrigerant in the coils (attached to the freezer walls). If this happens, despite the presence of ice, the freezer will actually not cool at all. If this continues unabated, the coils and the entire freezer is at risk of breaking down.

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Last, having a malfunctioning freezer will defeat the purpose of using a freezer. The food will not cool down. They are also at risk of contamination. The air inside will become warm and stale, thus turning your freezer into a virtual compost pit.

How To Defrost A Freezer

young woman wearing rubber gloves cleaning fridge

Image via: Free​​pik

Defrosting a freezer isn’t as daunting as it sound to be. Yes, it will take time and effort and it can get messy. But mastering this basic domestic skill will ensure that your precious freezer will keep working and not get frozen for life.

Learn how to defrost a freezer in these easy steps:

  • Empty the contents of the freezer.
  • Unplug the freezer.
  • Keep the freezer door open until the ice melts.
  • Catch the meltwater using a drain system or hose.
  • Wipe the freezer dry.
  • Keep the door open for a few more minutes.
  • Put the food back in.
  • Plug the freezer back in.
  • List Element

Other Tips

  • When emptying the contents, it is advisable to cook or eat them ASAP, as returning them to the freezer will affect their quality.
  • For the food you need to return, you can place them in the fridge or an ice-box to keep them fresh while the freezer defrosts.
  • Before you unplug the freezer, don’t forget to turn the switch off.
  • Some freezers have temperature regulator. Don’t turn it off completely; instead gradual lower the temperature using the dial.
  • If you can, move the freezer away from the socket to keep it away from any spills.
  • When you leave the freezer door open, use a wedge to stop the door from closing again.
  • To hasten the thawing process, you can put a bowl or a pot of hot water inside the freezer then close the door. Don’t use boiling water!
  • If there is a big buildup, you can use a wooden spatula or ceramic knife to chisel the frost. Don’t use metal as it will stick to the cold walls and scratch the interior.
  • For thin frost layers, you can use a hairdryer to melt the ice.
  • Place old towels at the base of the freezer in case the meltwater spills out and floods your floor.
  • If your freezer does not have a catch drain, you can use rags or sponges to soak up the meltwater. You can also use a hose and pump.
  • Gently wipe the sides of the freezer to remove any excess moisture before turning the power back on.
  • Melting the ice takes time, so do other stuff instead of waiting for the ice to melt.
  • Keep the door open for a few minutes after drying so the stale air will come out.
  • The meltwater is not toxic, so you can collect it and use it for other stuff like cleaning or washing.
  • Defrost only if the ice is already 1/4 inch thick.
  • If you can, time your defrost a few days before your food’s expiration date. It is always nice to start “fresh” after every defrost.

Conclusion

3D refrigerator

Image via: Fr​​eepik

Defrosting a freezer is not hard, but it takes patience and skill so it is important to keep your cool, so to speak. As mentioned, learning how to defrost a freezer is a valuable survival skill, at least when it comes to keeping your food fresh and your home clean and maintained.

Happy defrosting!

What is the Best Standalone Freezer You Need in Your Home?

When you need to store frozen goods in something more substantial than your fridge freezer, you’ll need to start looking at standalone freezers. But which standalone freezer should you buy? There are hundreds of brands of standalone freezers from all over the world. And while the most prominent names will be familiar to you, you need to also choose between an upright freezer or a chest freezer, interior lighting, exterior controls, and a host of other options.

Also, you will need to consider what your intended use of the standalone freezer will be. Are you storing meat in it, or prepared foods? Will be it be for the cottage or the home? With so many variables to choosing a standalone freezer, it’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are several features every freezer should have, and these are what you should look for.

Standalone Freezer FAQ

With all these options and choices, you might be wondering what the best standalone freezer for you is. Go for something that brings value to your life, whether that’s functionality or style or size, but it does have to work, and it has to work for a long time. Whether or not you prefer a white freezer or a metallic sheen is up to you, but you do want your freezer to work consistently.

What standalone freezers are you looking at?

Because style, size, and extra functionality are up to each shopper, the core quality of the standalone freezer is what you should first examine. For this reason, you should stick with freezers that have a reputation for excellence. Most of these freezers are from big brands, such as Whirlpool, Samsung, and Frigidaire. But there are a couple from smaller brands, such as Russell Hobbs.

What core features should every freezer have?

First, every freezer you look at should keep whatever you put in it frozen for as long as it’s plugged into a power source. That means that the freezer doesn’t break down or have random software or mechanical glitches which cause it to fail at its primary task.

Second, the freezer needs to be able to maintain an internal temperature regardless of outside conditions. Whether it’s hot or cold, dry or humid, the inside of the freezer should stay consistent.

How We Reviewed

If your head is spinning as you try to sort out the best way to choose a standalone freezer, you can relax a little. You now know that you need to be looking at freezers which first perform core functions of freezing food consistently and keeping it frozen.

To find the best standalone freezer, compare only the freezers that meet your strict requirements of core functionality. Then look at the extra options each freezer has to find the one that fits your individual needs. There are 10 reliable standalone freezers to consider.

Next, learn a little about where each freezer comes from, its pricing, and what kind of warranty the manufacturer includes. Finally, read some Home Depot customer reviews for each freezer to learn how it performs for real people in the real world.

Top 7 Standalone Freezers

With this in mind, the 7 standalone freezers listed below are the ones you should be considering. Of course, you can probably find a couple of others to add to the list as well, but the ones listed here are available at nearly every major retailer.

1. Frigidaire upright freezer

First up is the Frigidaire frost-free upright freezer. With 13.8 cubic feet of space and three wire shelves, you can store a lot of food in it. The Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW performs its core functions well and even includes “Arctic Lock” walls which keep food frozen for up to two days in a power outage. There is an adjustable temperature control knob and three LED lights inside the freezer.

2. Maytag chest freezer

Next is the Maytag MZC31T15DW chest freezer, which includes a door lock so is most likely intended for garage use. The Maytag chest freezer is fully assembled in the USA and has 14.8 cubic feet of space and two large slide-out baskets for easy organization. These baskets are big, and you can probably store a turkey in them.

This freezer includes advanced foam insulation which helps keep the internal temperature stable despite outside conditions, which is a key component in your freezer search. Also, it features exterior temperature controls, a manual defrost drain, and a 99.9-percent lower global warming potential than comparable models.

3. Danby upright freezer

Next is an upright freezer from appliance superstar Danby. This Canadian company based in Southern Ontario enjoys the largest home appliance market share in North America, and nearly everything they sell gets put together in Canada, the USA, or Mexico.

Which brings us to the Danby DUFM085A2WDD1 upright freezer with 8.5 cubic feet of storage space, three storage shelves and four door shelves, and a mechanical temperature control knob. Also, it has an Energy Star rating for efficient power usage, and scratch-resistant materials keep it looking new.

4. Magic Chef upright freezer

Next is the tiny portable Magic Chef upright freezer. Since the 1850s Magic Chef has been designing and manufacturing appliances, and they still work out of their 150-year old plant in St. Louis, Missouri. This tiny freezer, the Magic Chef MCUF3W2, has three cubic feet of storage space, making it perfect for small apartments or campers.

A reversible door makes it easy to customize to fit your space, and two wire shelves allow you to organize your food inside. The back is flush so that you can put it right up against the wall.

5. General Electric chest freezer

Next is General Electric’s automatic defrost chest freezer. Thomas Edison’s famous company started in 1889 and today is rated by Forbes as the thirteenth largest corporation on the planet. Their chest freezer, the GE FCM16DLWW, is considered garage-ready because of its massive size.

With 15.7 cubic feet of storage space, four large sliding storage bins, and deep-freeze capabilities, this monster is great for meat storage. Also, it includes interior LED lighting, a temperature alarm, a door lock, and an Energy Star rating.

6. Premium curved glass chest freezer

If you want to have that convenience-store look, then you may want to consider a curved glass chest freezer from Chinese conglomerate Precision Trading Corp, which sells appliances in the US under the brand “Premium.”

This 9.5 cubic foot chest standalone freezer features a curved-glass top that slides open, allowing easy access to three-wire storage bins. It keeps food frozen yet has a low energy rating.

Also, there’s an exterior temperature knob on the back of the unit. The Premium PFR950G chest freezer looks just like what you find in the corner store. Also, it comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty and is one of the highest-rated freezers on this list.

7. SPT stainless steel upright freezer

Finally, there’s the small space-saving freezer from SPT. This company is formally called Supentown, based in California. SPT has been around since 2015 and strives to make eco-friendly appliances, so if that’s your thing, then the SPT UF-304SS might be worth checking out.

This small freezer has three cubic feet of storage space with two top baskets and one bottom basket inside. It’s Energy Star rated and runs very quietly. The beautiful dark metallic sheen makes it a fine addition to any home.

Which Is The Best Standalone Freezer?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so too are standalone freezers. All 10 of these freezers perform their core functions very well, although some do so better than others. The best all-around standalone freezer is the Maytag MZC31T15DW chest freezer. This freezer is spacious, well-built, has great reviews, and comes at a mid-range price point. It also has the best warranty in the business, protecting your freezer for up to 10 years.

If a chest freezer isn’t your thing, then the Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW is your best choice. Those in need of a small freezer won’t go wrong with the SPT UF-304SS.

The Best Small Upright Freezer You Want to Own This Year

Have you ever wished you had a small upright freezer under your desk at work to store your lunch, so you didn’t have to put it in the break room? Have a big get together coming up and need more space to store the food that you’re making ahead? Do you just plain need more freezer space, without having much room for more equipment?

If you’ve ever had a roommate eat the ice cream that you’ve been craving for days, you know what it feels like to need cold storage of your own. A small upright freezer could be the perfect solution to these problems.

Buying a small upright freezer eliminates the frustrations of putting your food next to your co-workers smelly fish leftovers. It also eliminates having your food eaten by someone else when you want it the most. A small upright freezer also allows you to store more food whenever you have parties at your home.

The Benefits of Owning a Small Upright Freezer

A small upright freezer is just a freezer on a smaller scale. There are a lot of benefits to owning a small upright freezer. This type of freezer can help you store pre-made meals at work or in case you don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch at home.

If you buy a small upright freezer for your home, it not only gives you more space to store your food for your parties, it also gives you the personal space you desire to store your favorite ice cream treats. If you buy a small upright freezer for your off-campus apartment, you can keep your food from getting into the wrong hands at school.

For a more specialized need, new mothers that are pumping breast milk can freeze the extra baby fuel and store it. Even a moderate amount of breast milk can quickly fill a regular freezer. This is where a small upright freezer can come in handy.

How We Reviewed Each Small Upright Freezer

We reviewed each small upright freezer by looking at each freezer’s space. We also looked at each small freezer’s features.

List of small upright freezers

There is a wide variety of small upright freezers available on the market today. Below is a list of some of the top-rated products we found. With this list, you can narrow down your search for the right one for your home, office, or, your dorm room.

Magic Chef upright freezer

Magic Chef MCUF3S2 3.0 cu. ft. Upright Freezer in Stainless Steel
Buy on Amazon

The Magic Chef upright freezer comes in multiple sizes including 2.4, 3.0, 3.2, and 3.5 cubic feet. This freezer offers many features and comes in stainless steel. Some of the features include a stainless-steel door, manual defrost, and wire shelves. It also has adjustable temperature control. There is a reversible door feature as well as a recessed door handle.

Customers like that it is small and compact. Others also like that it has a good amount of room in it despite its size. They also say that it is easy to clean. Some say that it runs pretty much silently.

There were some complaints, though. Some say that the freezer had significant frost build-up and the seal around the door breaks easily.

Whynter Energy Star upright freezers

Whynter CUF-210SS Energy Star 2.1 cu. ft. Stainless Steel Upright Lock...
Buy on Amazon

Whynter Energy Star upright freezers come with features such as a sleek stainless steel reversible-swing door and a black cabinet. They also have mechanical temperature control and a temperature range of -10 degrees to two degrees Fahrenheit. These freezers come complete with a cylinder lock and two keys. The lock can come in handy to help you keep your food secure from annoying siblings or co-workers.

They’re available in stainless steel and black as well as various sizes including 1.1, 2.1, and 3.0 cubic feet.

Some people liked that the freezer line is bigger than originally anticipated and that the freezers hold more food than they expected. Others liked that it is a perfect freezer for dorm room use. Still, other customers like the fact that the freezers are very spacious, quiet, and keep their foods well frozen.

There were some complaints, though. Some said their freezer didn’t work for more than a few months, while others say that the freezer they were using lasted only a year.

Midea Compact upright freezer

Midea WHS-109FB1 Upright Freezer, 3.0 Cubic Feet, Black
Buy on Amazon

The Midea Compact upright freezer offers features such as adjustable legs to change the height of the freezer, and an adjustable thermostat, complete with mechanical control. This small upright freezer is available in different colors including black, stainless steel, and, white. There are also reversible doors, separate wire drawers, and, a smooth cabinet finish to make it look even nicer.

Some customers like the amount of food that it holds, and the fact that it runs with very little noise. Others like that it freezes their food very quickly.

But some customers stated that they had a bad experience with customer service.

Kenmore 20202 upright freezer

The Kenmore upright freezer makes it easy to get your frozen treats ready to eat. It features five wire shelves to make organizing your products effortless. The mechanical temperature controls allow for easy adjustment to just the right temperature whenever you need it. It gives you quick and easy climate control with just a click of a knob. This freezer is 5.8 cubic feet.

There is also a reversible door that opens from left to right, or left to right, for whichever way is easiest for you. There is a one-year parts and labor warranty if your freezer breaks.

Some users say they love this freezer and that it runs quietly. Others say that it is just the right size.

Thomson upright freezer

The Thomson upright freezer comes with features such as five wire shelves and adjustable temperature control with three control settings. This freezer also comes with adjustable legs so you can fit it more to your height if needed. It is a good size freezer for garages and basements.

Some customers love that it has adjustable legs and that it is the perfect size for their family. Others love that the freezer stays cold and that there is no frost build up in this freezer.

There were some complaints, though. Some customers gave it a lower rating for various reasons. Some said they bought this freezer and it never got cold..

The Cold, Hard Facts

All of the small upright freezers on the list are great. It all depends on what brand of small upright freezer you are looking for and where you buy it from. Whether you buy one online or in a store (after all the complaints about damage while being shipped, try to get it in a store if possible), getting a small upright freezer can help you in many ways.

Do you have a small upright freezer that you are interested in? Let us know in the comments below.

How Does a Freezer Work: What You Need to Know

Freezers are one of the most important of all kitchen appliances. Without freezers, we’d be back to preserving foods through dehydration, spicing, and canning. But how many people know how a freezer works? Explaining the answer to the question: How does a freezer work? is what we’ve set out to do here!

So How Does a Freezer Work?

A freezer works by compressing and then expanding a substance called a refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and then back again. When this happens, heat is exchanged from the freezer coils to heat-radiating coils on the bottom or back of the freezer. We’ll go into more detail below, but that’s the basic idea behind most home refrigeration units.

There are several ideas that go into understanding the question how does a freezer work. For example, how does a frost-free freezer differ from one without this feature? Or, how can I make my freezer operate more efficiently? Read on, and we’ll answer these questions and more.

The Inner Workings of a Freezer

In a freezer system, there are five basic components: the fluid refrigerant; a compressor with the condenser coils outside the freezer; the evaporator coils inside the freezer; and an expansion device. Let’s discuss these components individually.

Fluid Refrigerant

A fluid is a substance without a fixed shape that can flow rather than stay in one place. A fluid refrigerant is a substance that can be compressed into a liquid or expanded into a gas within the temperatures and pressures available in your freezer’s cooling system.

Until a few decades ago, the most common fluid refrigerant was called Freon. But Freon was banned because of its harmful effect on the ozone layer. Today’s most popular fluid refrigerant for freezers and refrigerators is called HFC-134a. This is easier to say than its chemical name, which is 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane. So now you know!

Compressor

Understanding how does a freezer work requires learning what the compressor does. The name alone should give you an inkling of what function it performs. The freezer’s compressor compresses the fluid refrigerant and pumps it throughout the freezer’s cooling system.

The compressor is an electric motor connected to a pump. When it comes on, that’s the humming noise you hear. The intervals between the compressor’s cycling on and off depend on how low you’ve set the freezer’s thermostat. The lower it’s set, the more often the compressor will run.

Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are long, thin tubes that snake around the back or bottom of your freezer. Their function is to radiate the heat produced when your freezer compartment is cooled by the system into your environment.

Evaporator Coils

Your freezer’s evaporator coils are the opposite of the condenser coils. They are thin tubes that wrap around the inside of your freezer compartment. Their job is to take heat out of your freezer compartment and pass it to the condenser coils, where the heat can be radiated away.

Expansion Device

The expansion device (or expansion valve) is a nozzle within the cooling system. When compressed liquid refrigerant passes through the nozzle, it expands back into a gas.

How They Work Together

Now that you understand the components of the cooling system, Let’s look at how they work together to cool your freezer. First, the physics of the heating/cooling cycle.

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The Heating/Cooling Cycle

You may recall that when you spray an aerosol onto your hand, it feels cool. This happens because the pressure inside the aerosol can keeps the propellant in liquid form. When you release the propellant by pushing on the valve, the liquid propellant goes back into gaseous form.

When gasses compress into liquids, they release heat. Conversely, when liquids evaporate into gasses, they collect heat. So the aerosol gas is collecting heat from your hand as it expands.

Making Your Freezer Cold

This expansion/contraction cycle is how your freezer keeps cold.

First, the compressor in your freezer’s cooling system compresses the fluid refrigerant into a liquid. That liquid is then pumped through the condenser coils on the back or bottom of your refrigerator where some of the heat it contains is radiated away.

Now, the liquid refrigerant goes through the expansion device, which causes the liquid to become a gas. This gas is then pumped through the evaporator coils where it collects heat from the inside of your refrigerator compartment. This cools the inside of your compartment down to the temperature you have set the thermostat to maintain.

That’s the basics of how your freezer’s cooling system keeps your food frozen!

Making Your Freezer More Efficient

How can you make your freezer more efficient? This is a good topic to discuss since the more efficient you can make your freezer, the less energy it will use and the lower your electric bill will be. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Clean Your Condenser Coils

Dust is an insulator. The more dust you have on your condenser coils, the less they’ll be able to radiate heat, and the more often your condenser will run. Your freezer’s owner’s manual will tell you how.

Check Its Temperature

Your freezer should maintain a temperature of between zero and five degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and you’re wasting energy.

Don’t Block the Condenser Coils

Make sure you leave some space between your freezer’s condenser coils and the wall. The condenser coils need unrestricted airflow around them to operate efficiently.

Frost-Free Freezers

Most freezers today, especially if they are part of a refrigerator/freezer combination, are frost-free. How does that work, and what does it mean?

Frost-free freezers have a heating element inside them that comes on one to four times per day. This melts frost from both the evaporator coils and the inside of the freezer department. The liquid water then drains out of the freezer to an evaporation tray below the freezer where it evaporates into the air.

If you’ve ever wondered why your ice cubes become smaller over time inside your freezer, now you know.

Conclusion

You now have learned how your freezer, that amazing, labor-saving device, operates. You’ve also learned about how to make your freezer operate more efficiently. Remember, knowledge is power!

Is COVID-19 Causing a Freezer Shortage in the U.S.?

Woman in Mask

If you’ve shopped for a freezer lately, the long waiting list or outright unavailability of the appliances might surprise you. After all, in the U.S., people are used to going to the store and walking out the same day with whatever product they want. But the truth is that people in the U.S. are currently experiencing a freezer shortage.

The problem is, you don’t want your food to spoil, but you also want to stock up. It’s hard to imagine that the freezer shortage won’t affect you in some way. But the good news is, all is not lost.

Before we look at alternatives, you should know why there is a freezer shortage in the first place.

Recommended Read: Learn How to Defrost a Freezer

Why Is There a Freezer Shortage in the U.S.?

Since the lockdowns began, people have been stocking up on food, and the more food they purchase or grow, the more room they need to store it. That increased demand puts pressure on manufacturers to make more freezers to meet consumer’s needs.

For instance, one couple decided to double the size of their garden to prepare for more fallout from the pandemic. And then when they went looking for a freezer to store it all in, sellers told them it could take months to get one.

After months of searching, they finally turned to other ways of preserving their harvest.

Ironically, at the same time that consumer demand for freezer’s increased, the industry implemented a new conversion to hydrocarbon refrigerants.

This conversion helps manufacturers comply with states that have new environmental regulations.

Unfortunately, that meant factories had to retool their assembly lines to meet the new requirements. And that’s right about the time that the lockdowns went into effect.

According to Martin Hartunian, the CEO of ABC Warehouse, the coronavirus makes it more difficult for retailers to fill orders because of supply chain disruptions due to the virus.

It was a perfect storm. The combination of increased consumer demand, new conversion requirements, and COVID lockdowns are to blame for people’s inability to buy a freezer.

Woman Shopping
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

What to Do About the Freezer Shortage

Now that you know why the U.S. is experiencing a freezer shortage, you can begin to make other plans to store the extra food you buy or grow.

Here are some tips that will ensure your food doesn’t go to waste.

Order and wait

If you have enough room in your existing freezer, you can always pack it tight and wait until freezers become available again.

That may make it inconvenient when you have to pull out a lot of food every time you want something from the freezer, but it is certainly an option.

If you choose this option, learn to make better use of your freezer space.

For instance, you can break down large packages into small ones by using freezer bags. You may also utilize shelves in your freezer that allow you to stacks items and take up less space. If you have a smaller freezer, like a chest freezer, you will have to learn to be even more conservative with your space.

Repair your freezer

If your old freezer quit working, it may make more sense to repair it rather than waiting months for a new one. Depending on the issue, you may be able to take some simple steps to get your freezer back in working order.

Here is a quick video that outlines six things that could cause a freezer to quit cooling. This video will allow you to troubleshoot your freezer before calling out a professional. Who knows? You may be able to buy the parts and repair it yourself.

In the above video, one of the elements that you need to troubleshoot is the evaporator coil.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to determine whether or not yours is working. This next quick video will walk you step-by-step through the process.

If you determine that all six of the issues mentioned in the video are not the cause of the problem, it’s time to call out a professional.

Use your homeowner’s warranty or call an independent freezer repair technician and get a quote for the repair.

Recommended Read: How to Flash Freeze

Freezer Shortage? Preserve Your Food Another Way

If you can’t wait to order another fridge and your current one isn’t repairable, it’s time to get creative and look for other ways to preserve your food.

For centuries, people have used alternative methods of preserve food, and those options are still available to us now.

Freezer shortage? That’s okay! Here are a few ways you can preserve your food without a freezer.

Dehydrate your food

One of the easiest ways to preserve fruits and vegetables is by dehydrating them. When you take all of the moisture out of food, it eliminates the chance of developing mold or going bad.

You can dehydrate food in three ways. And as a bonus, when you dehydrate food, it intensifies the flavor. Think those home-grown tomatoes taste good now? Wait until you taste them after you dehydrate them!

Buy a food dehydrator

Food dehydrators are inexpensive and easy to use. Many popular models have round trays surrounding a center bar and use heat and air to remove all moisture from the produce.

To use one, chop your fruit or vegetables so that the pieces are equal in size. Then, lay them out in a single layer on each of the trays. Next, turn on the dehydrator and run it until all moisture is gone from the produce.

That typically takes 5 to 14 hours, depending on the water content in the produce. Properly dehydrated food can last up to five years.

Food dehydrators come in all sizes and prices, so you can find the one that’s right for you. For instance, if you’re looking for an inexpensive, compact food dehydrator, the  Commercial Chef #CCD100W6 fits the bill.

It has five stacking trays and adjustable temperature control that allows you to decide how you dehydrate each type of your produce.

Commercial Chef CCD100W6 Compact Dehydrator, Beef Jerky Maker, Food...
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Use your oven

If you don’t own a dehydrator, you can use your oven to dehydrate both fruits and vegetables.

To do it, cut your product into quarter-inch slices, then place them on a baking sheet. Then, turn your oven to the lowest possible setting and put the baking tray in the oven.

Cook them at this setting until all the moisture is gone. That typically takes six to eight hours.

Dry it outside

When you use the sun to dehydrate vegetables, it will add another level of sweetness to them. Herbs and tomatoes work perfectly using this method.

To dehydrate your produce this way, slice your tomatoes very thin and lay them out on a baking sheet. Then, place a fine mesh over the sheet so bugs won’t attack your goodies!

Next, place the tray outdoors in a sunny spot. Leave the herbs or tomatoes out in the sun for a couple of days or until the tomatoes or herbs dry completely.

Preserve Jars
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Get into canning

People have been preserving food with canning for a long time. Many people are afraid of the process because of old stories about exploding pressure canners, but today’s equipment is safe to use.

If you’re going to can food, it’s vital that you follow the directions on established recipes precisely. If food is incorrectly canned, it can lead to botulism, which can be deadly.

As long as you follow tried and true recipes, canning food is a great way to preserve it for very long periods.

Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
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The most important aspect of canning correctly is knowing which type of canning method to use for each food. Here’s a rundown of each.

Water bath canning

If your food is acidic — think pickled vegetables, tomatoes with added acidity, or sugar preserves — you will use the water bath canning method. To do this, you will need a stockpot with a lid, a rack for the bottom of the pan, and canning jars.

Once you load the canning jars with the ingredients in the recipe, simply submerge the jars into the pot, put the lid on, and let the water boil for the length of time listed in the recipe.

The acidity in the ingredients will preserve the food. And once you take out the jars, the canning lids will seal to the jars, making it possible to store the food for years safely.

McSunley Medium Stainless Steel Prep N Cook Water Bath Canner, 21.5...
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Pressure canning

Pressure canning is not the same thing as pressure cooking. When you pressure can produce or meats, you use pressure and intense heat to preserve the food.

Any food that is not naturally acidic, you must can using a pressure canner. That type of equipment can heat water to a temperature hotter than boiling water, making it impossible for botulism spores to survive.

The types of foods you will use for pressure canning are meats and any vegetables that are not pickled. That list includes soups and broths.

The pressure canner consists of a vent, pressure gauge, and some screw clamps to keep the lid on during the canning process.

Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
  • The only method recommended safe by the US Department of Agriculture for canning vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood
  • Doubles as a boiling-water canner for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, and salsa; Handy as a large capacity...
  • Constructed of warp-resistant heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating; Works on regular and smooth-top ranges;...

To pressure can your produce or meat, it’s essential to follow the recipe exactly. It will tell you how to pack the jars, at what temperature to set the gauge, and for how long.

If you follow the instructions, you can store the cans for years.

When purchasing a pressure canner, look for one that includes the rack and a solid set of instructions. Some, like the T-fal Pressure Cooker #7114000511, even have a recipe book for your convenience.

T-fal Pressure Cooker, Pressure Canner with Pressure Control, 3 PSI...
  • 22 quart polished aluminum stovetop canner and pressure cooker with a deluxe pressure gauge dial
  • Selective pressure control with 3 cooking pressure options: 5, 10 or 15 PSI; overpressure steam release safety...
  • Heavy gauge, rustproof aluminum construction; sure locking lid system; pressure monitoring device built into handle

The Presto brand is also highly regarded, with the All-American Pressure Canner considered the top-of-the-line.

All American 921 Canner Pressure Cooker, 21.5 qt, Silver
  • The All American 21-1/2-quart pressure cooker and canner holds approximately 19 standard regular mouth pint jars or 7...
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Store it

If you live in an area where the temperatures don’t reach above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, you can extend your harvest (or purchase) by storing it in a cellar or other cold, dark area.

Produce such as winter squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes will stay good for four to six months using this method.

Barrels Fermentation
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Ferment it

Fermenting food not only helps you store all the extra produce, but it also adds nutrients to the food that will boost your health. Fermenting foods may sound scary, but it’s as simple as following a few steps.

To start, decide which vegetables you want to ferment. You can ferment one at a time or combine a few of them to create a unique and healthy dish.

Next, you need to determine which equipment to buy. You can purchase specialized fermentation vessels or simply use a crockpot.

Once you decide on the basics, it’s time to ferment your vegetables. You can chop them, shred them, or leave them whole. How you preserve them is entirely up to you.

Next, add salt, salt and whey, or a starter culture as the fermentation method.

Your next step is to prepare the brine and fill the vessel with the vegetables. Use a heavy object on top of a plate to weigh it down, and then leave it alone for a few days.

Once the vegetables reach your desired level of fermentation, move them to a cool spot.

Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit: Simplified Fermenting In Jars Not...
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When Will the Freezer Shortage End?

As of this writing, manufacturers aren’t saying when the freezer shortage will end. But they are working on getting freezers out to everyone who is on waiting lists.

Some retail stores are posting freezer updates on their websites. That helps to keep consumers informed about current inventory and expected delivery dates. In the meantime, why not do some research and learn about the best freezers for your home?

That way, once the freezer shortage is over, you will know which model to buy.

Have you had a difficult time buying a freezer lately? If so, we’d love to hear your experiences with the current freezer shortage!


Featured Image by Ivan Samkov from Pexels