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The Chilling Truth: Which Freezers Save the Most Money?

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Summary:

If you need to keep a lot of food frozen, you probably have a freezer separate from your kitchen refrigerator. At ClearlyEnergy, our increasing ice cream consumption this summer is making us think about getting one. If you’re like us and want to get the best deal, here are some facts you should know:

Freezers

If you need to keep a lot of food frozen, you probably have a freezer separate from your kitchen refrigerator. At ClearlyEnergy, our increasingUpright Freezer 1 ice cream consumption this summer is making us think about getting one. If you’re like us and want to get the best deal, here are some facts you should know:

Like fridges and washing machines, it’s amazing how much freezer efficiency has improved over the last decades: current models use less than half as much electricity per year as models from the late 1990’s…which may be the last time you bought such an appliance.

So if you have a clunky old freezer you’d like to replace, but think a new one is too expensive, consider this: a 20-year-old chest freezer in the most popular size range* uses about 845 kWh per year - getting a current version of that size freezer (which uses only 361 kWh) can lower your electricity bill by about $50 a year if you live in a place with average power prices** like Philadelphia or Baltimore.

Those two cities also happen to offer rebates: in Philly the local utility will pay you $35 to haul away your old freezer and recycle it responsibly, while Baltimore Gas & Electric pays its customers $75 toward a new efficient freezer. Our appliance search function tells you if there’s a rebate program in your zip code so you can factor in those extra cost savings when determining what freezer to buy – the incentives usually apply to EnergyStar certified models.

Chest FreezerOn top of all those incentives, there is a huge difference between the two basic types of freezers: the chest freezers mentioned above use waaaay less electricity than those upright models with a door that opens outward. The average EnergyStar upright freezer in our size range uses 565 kWh a year, whereas the average chest freezer in that size range uses only 361 kWh. That’s mostly because the upright kinds usually have “fancy” features that increase the freezer’s overall energy use, like trays, movable shelves and sometimes automatic defrost functions and icemakers. 

The relative simplicity of design makes chest-type freezers much cheaper, too: upright models with automatic defrost and ice makers cost well over $1000, whereas it’s hard to find a simple chest type freezer of the same volume costing more than $800. Check out our appliance search tool to compare prices.

The verdict: if you want the best “freeze for your buck,” get a new EnergyStar freezer (and check whether you are eligible for a rebate) and make sure it’s the chest variety. Now you just have to decide what ice cream flavors to fill it with!

*most installed freezer have volumes of 14-19 cubic feet, according to the US Energy Information Agency, so our examples compare models of that size range. Electricity consumption estimates are based on currently sold models - the historical freezer consumption is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
** roughly 10 cents/kWh

By Lisa Zelljadt, you can find me on Google+

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