When researching energy efficient appliances, we often turn to the recommendations of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The ACEEE continues to publish helpful information about all sorts of appliances, including freezers. The ninth edition of their Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, published in fall 2007, contains helpful information about selecting a freezer.
The most efficient type of freezer is the chest freezer. This is because a chest freezer opens from the top, and cold air (which is heavier than warm air) does not escape easily from a chest freezer. The weight of the lid also helps to seal chest freezers tightly. Chest freezers are 10% to 25% more efficient than upright freezers.
A useful thing to know about U.S. freezers is they’re almost all manufactured by three companies: Frigidaire (owned by Electrolux), W.C. Wood (based in Canada) and Haier (based in China). Frigidaire makes freezers under the Frigidaire and Gibson names, and makes some freezers for Kenmore and GE. W.C. Wood makes freezers for Amana, Magic Chef, some units for Maytag, Danby and Whirlpool. Haier makes freezers for GE, Kenmore, some units for Maytag and Amana in addition to selling some models under its own name.
Because of the different branding, many times customer are paying a premium for a differently branded freezer. For example, Frigidaire freezers sometimes cost more than GE freezers and Maytag freezers may fetch a premium over a W.C. Wood freezer.
Recently, the US Department of Energy launched the Recycle My Old Fridge campaign that encourages Americans to recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators. The web site includes a calculator so users can determine how much energy their current refrigerator consumes, what they can save by replacing it with a new Energy Star model, and where they can take the old fridge to be recycled locally.
Here’s a look at the most efficient chest freezers currently available:
Whirlpool Chest Freezers
Whirlpools makes a very energy efficient chest freezer, model number EH151FXR (similar models are EH151FXQ or EH150FXQ). This 14.8-cubic-foot freezer is rated at 354 kWhrs per year. The average cost to run this freezer for year is $29, according to Energy Star.
Though it requires manual defrosting, it sport a number of other features including an interior light and a temperature alarm. Its key-eject lock means that the freezer can only be opened when the key is pushed in and turned — a safety feature helpful in homes with small children. Four baskets (two upper, two lower) make it easier to organize the contents — especially on the lower level.
It’s available from Amazon for $666.
Sundanzer DC-Powered Chest Freezers
The most efficient DC-powered chest freezer is the SunDanzer. This eight-cubic-foot capacity freezer has an exceptionally low energy consumption — it uses around 140 kWhr / year. It incorporates the highly efficient Danforst compressor. It also has a super-insulated cabinet that is wrapped in four inches of polyurethane. Because it runs on either 12 or 24 volts DC, the SunDanzer freezer is mostly used in off-grid homes or in remote locations, because a 75 watts solar panel and and two six-volt golf cart batteries can power the freezer.