The average American family spends $6,600 per year on groceries. The lifetime energy cost of a freezer is only $120. Bulk buying to get a discount and using a freezer saves money.
Here are four things to consider when buying a freezer:
1. Energy use does not increase with size. There are models with low energy use at all sizes. Buy the size that fits your needs, and check the yellow EnergyGuide tag to avoid getting an energy hog. Each cubic foot inside the freezer can hold 35 lbs. of food, so you may not need a large unit
2. Frost-free or manual defrost? The energy savings from a manual defrost are not significant, less than $25 per year. It will also take several hours of your time to defrost, twice a year. On the other hand, manual defrost freezers are quieter.
3. Look for the EnergyGuide, not ENERGY STAR. Because of rapidly improving technology, many non-ENERGY STAR models on the market are quite efficient. Read the yellow tag, the EnergyGuide, to confirm low energy use. Careful reading can save you $35 per year.
4. Consider how the freezer will be used. If the freezer is going an unheated garage, read the specification guide. If garage gets too hot or too cold — more than freezer was designed for — the freezer may fail, and your food will be ruined. Chest freezers maintain frozen foods better in the case of power failures.
When shopping for a freezer at the local appliance store beware: Efficient freezer models are mixed in with energy hogs. Read the yellow EnergyGuide tag before buying. To save money look for electricity use of 280 to 400 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.