Friday, November 19, 2010

The Chill Down Under: My 7 Cubic Foot Frigidaire FFC07C3A Chest Freezer Endures!

The Good: Energy efficient, Excellent for keeping things cold, Lots of space
The Bad: Practical Aspect of Getting Things Out
The Basics: An excellent, energy efficient freezer that works well for long term storage, my Frigidaire FFC07C3A has held up for almost a decade now!

I have always wanted a Deep Freeze, you know, one of those chest freezers that people who are older, more responsible have. It was always a dream of mine to have one because having one meant I could stockpile food and I have to say, there is no better feeling in this world than knowing I won't starve tomorrow, next week, or even for the next month. It's a pretty wonderful thing. So, when the time finally came that my household could afford one, I was all over the process of going out to buy it.

We purchased the Frigidaire (that company ought to send ME money for all we've bought from them in the last decade!) FFC07C3A and let me tell you, I could not be happier with it. It's a 7.3 cubic foot chest freezer (which means it lays on the floor and you open it at the top as opposed to the front, like an upright freezer) and it can fit enough food in it to last me two months. The left side has a built-in ledge so you can keep things at different levels for cooling reasons or convenience. I am fairly tall, so getting things off the bottom of the freezer is not a problem for me.

The first thing I noticed about this, upon plugging it in, is that it is remarkably quiet. Even when it went into its initial cooling phase, the compressor was very quiet. I can never tell when it is on or off! (Well, I can, because there's a light on the front, but outside that, I'd never know it!) Unlike my upright refrigerator and freezer (also a Frigidaire), this thing is quiet and I like that about it.

One of the huge advantages that chest freezers have to uprights is their energy efficiency. Chest freezers use something like half the electricity of an upright, making them ideal for long term frozen storage (provided you're not going into it every day). This particular model is Energy Star compliant and it means it! Last month (the first month I had it plugged in a full month), my electric bill actually went down. I kid you not. Everything else is still running, I watched more television and DVDs than previous months and I made homemade ice cream (look for my forthcoming review of my ice cream maker) and continually put it in the deep freeze. And my electric bill went down. Go figure.

In all earnestness, odds are that the freezer did not cause the electric bill to go down, but regardless, there was not a spike in the energy usage since I started using this deep freeze.

Friends of mine warned me about a potential problem with chest freezers (in general, not this model in specific) which was with the lid. They warned that if the freezer is not level, it can create an imperfect seal on the lid, causing the freezer to expend a lot of energy to keep the inside cool. This Frigidaire freezer has exhibited no such problems, though I was extra careful to level the freezer using shims. The chest freezer is supported on three sides by shims and it is both perfectly level and incredibly stable. The nice thing is that before the freezer had food in it, it was light enough to lift in parts to put the shims under, making it very friendly for anyone in decent shape.

There is a lone drawback to this freezer and it is probably a drawback to most chest-style freezers; it is inconvenient to get things out of. And add to. The ideal place, with the most space, is the bottom. As you stack things into the freezer, it is easy to lose track of what is below the item you just put in, especially when you don't open it for days on end. My scenario, putting in freshly made containers of ice cream, represents probably the extreme end of this pickle. Ideally, the newest items should go in the bottom, thus rotating the oldest to the top. Practically, this is annoying and sometimes impossible, especially with smaller containers of ice cream. You end up with a mess of smaller containers falling all over the inside of the deep freeze.

The ideal way to use a chest freezer like this is for long term storage, where you have a lot of food to put in at once, you get it all in and then you take from the top. In ideal circumstances, you would refill it in a massive effort when there are very few things left in it so you could take the few things out, restock and put the oldest stuff back on top. But even to mitigate this one problem, Frigidaire comes through. The ledge makes it somewhat easier to keep things separate and bring some accessibility to the freezer. As well, it comes with a lone basket that fits into the top of the freezer, thus keeping my Cadbury egg stash from getting lost in the depths (don't judge me! They only put them out once a year! I have to stock up!). That's a bit of a help.

One final thing I have noticed about this (other than it is the only major appliance I own that does not have a stainless steel finish); when we lost power for almost a day from a recent storm here, despite the heat, the contents of the deep freeze remained solid and absolutely frozen. This thing must have some pretty excellent insulation because when power came back on, I decided I wanted some ice cream and I didn't want to go into the main freezer. The ice cream I got out of this, after twenty-two hours without power, was frozen SOLID. Just as I like it. Finally, I have a freezer that delivers.

For other kitchen appliances, please check out my reviews of:
Cuisinart ICE-20/ICE-21 Ice Cream Maker
Samsung Stainless Steel microwave
Hamilton Beach 727 Milkshake maker


For other home and garden product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here for an organized listing of all I have reviewed (updated daily!)!

© 2010, 2004 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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