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Freezer: Yea or Nay?

June 18th, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Iíve been thinking about buying a freezer for many years. Often with a big purchase I contemplate for a really long time, so that when I buy it Iím sure.

About a year and a half ago, I finally committed to the purchase. After three farcical attempts to buy it at Costco (Iíd call, theyíd have one, Iíd drive there, it was sold five minutes ago, etc.) I gave up. The message seemed to be "it is not the right time."

Now Iím having pangs again. Costco has a 7 cubic foot, dishwasher size, for $199.99. I donít know what the energy usage is. Sears has a 5 cubic foot for $169.99. The energy usage, on a scale of 166 to 245, is 242, which is disheartening.

We have really old wiring in the house; some might be original-we see the actual cloth wires on the outside of the wall. We havenít had big problems, but we have had minor problems, and My Guy has a valid concern that a freezer could strain the wiring.

I periodically see chest freezers for free on Freecycle, but they are older. I know that Amy Dacyczyn isnít the final word on everything, but freezers were one of the few new purchases she recommended, due to the significant increases in energy efficiency in newer models. I know I want a smaller one, so many of the free ones might be too big.

We arenít big meat eaters, so we wouldnít use a freezer for that much. I would use it for plums from our tree, because they all get ripe at once and I canít process that many for canning all at once. Iíd use it for thrift store bread. I want to make two serving dinners in big batches-lasagna, chili, stew, casseroles. Iíd use it for blackberries. (Lay on cookie sheet, freeze, then put in bags, to avoid clumps. That way you can have a handful at a time.)

Iíd put in par-baked pizza dough-Iím intimidated by baking, and if I could make 4 or 5 pizza bases at one time Iíd be more inclined to learn. Iíd freeze large batches of grains, like oatmeal and flour, for 24 hours to prevent bugginess.

I think that five cubit feet would be fine for me. I would be using my Minimum Wage Savings to buy this, so it would come out of my $39 a month, for $156 so far, and the rest Iíd have to just take out of other categories-I just canít see cheating on The Challenge.

My Guy suggests waiting until later in the summer, when I actually have fruit to put in it. Heís not really for the idea; he thinks it would take up too much space and strain the wiring, though heís not anywhere close to invoking a veto.

(We use the ďvetoĒ to judge how strongly someone thinks about something. ďDo you want to go on a grocery run?Ē ďNot reallyĒ means you could be talked into it. ďVetoĒ means end of discussion. We try not to overuse it; itís a really nice way of conveying firmness in the refusal without being argumentative.)

Iím thinking of watching Freecycle for a couple months, then taking a chance with a Sears or Costco freezer at the end of the summer. I am concerned about getting an old one, but maybe Amy Dís advice is outdated-a 1992 freezer may have been light years better for electric usage than a 1986, but a 2002 freezer might be as good as a 2006 freezer. Iím gonna call some local places to see if they have used, refurbished freezers. I looked at Targetís site, and the options were more expensive than Costco and Sears. I donít have a Home Depot or other building store, or any other department stores that I think would have freezers.

I welcome any opinions, from the grocery aspect to the electric usage to the old wiring to the cubic feet part. Also any other uses that freezers have that I didnít mention, and any other plusses or minuses on brands, etc.

7 Responses to “Freezer: Yea or Nay?”

  1. contrary1 Says:

    I can't imagine living without a freezer. I've bought one new, picked up one at a garage sale and the latest is a refurbished one.

    The new one from Sears is the only one not running at this point, I had to recycle it when we moved last year. Left the garage sale one (running still) for the new tenants at the rental and I've got the refurbished one.

    I haven't been able to tell a difference on power bills over the years with the different freezers. The savings WITH one far outweigh any possible expenses IMO.

    Cooking in batches and freezing most of the product is where I save time and money..........as well as my sanity. Huge kettles of applesauce this fall........Tomatoes tossed into zip locks & put away for homemade sauce..........cookie dough already mixed up & ready for drop in company......all sorts of uses.

  2. ima saver Says:

    I have never had a freezer and never missed it. My husband will not eat frozen meat, bread, etc., so we don't need it. I would worry about the old wiring though.

  3. StressLess Says:

    Do you have any small, independent appliance dealers near you? You'd think they'd be more expensive, but honestly, we've done better with our local guy than we would have at Best Buy, Lowe's, Sears, etc. Believe me, I spent hours comparison shopping! Even if the store is small, if you give a model number they might be able to order it for you.

    As far as whether to get one at all--maybe try one from Freecycle and see how it works out? We are a household of two. What happened was, I'd stock up on things like ice cream that was on sale, since I had the space. We ended up spending way too much on such goodies, and eating too much of them, also! If you found yourself falling into that trap, or just not getting enough use out of it, at least you wouldn't have spent the money on the freezer. (We lived in an all-electric apartment at the time, and I don't remember the freezer having much effect on our usage.)

  4. yummy64 Says:

    I bought a used small Kenmore chest freezer years ago for $100. It was about 20 years old then. I've had it over 10 years. More like 15. A great investment.

    I love it. It allows me to stock up on sales, do some advance cooking! Stuff like that. I am now thinking of upgrading to an upright one. I think mine is close to the end of its life span!

  5. Lisa in PDX Says:

    You are pondering the same question as I (I googled "Costco freezer" and your posting came up). My house came with an older (early 80's?) upright freezer. This past year we used it when my boyfriend moved in with me, to store his frozen stuff, and then things we'd get in bulk (free produce, 1/4 of a pig we bought, etc) or make extra of (holiday breads to give as gifts). As best I could tell, it cost about $10-15/month to run. We live in Portland, OR where electric rates are fairly high. But I agree with Amy Dacyzyn that the savings on food costs and trips to the store probably paid for the freezer usage. If I didn't have one, I would definitely recommend getting one....IF you do a lot cooking from scratch and/or have lots of cheap produce/fruit available. Freecycle would be fine, most likely. My only caveat would be to test it once you get it. Consumer Reports found that even some newer freezers didn't always keep the temperature low enough to safely store foods. So you'd want to check anything you get with a thermometer, and check the seal with a dollar bill.

  6. johnlvs2run Says:

    I got the Costco 7 cf freezer a year ago and it's great. I now go shopping only 1/2 as much as before, as anything extra is stored in the freezer. I'm planning to get another one, to convert to a fridge and get rid of the regular fridge. This is because the fridge going on and off all the time is annoying and expensive. An online calculator says this model of fridge costs $153 a year with California rates. Based on someone who did the conversion, the rate would be $20 a year, saving $11 a month in electricity. That's $665 in five years!

    What I'm planning to do is to replace the freezer thermostat with a digital Love thermostat, then I'll be able to control the temperature and set a minimum time between cycles.

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