Monday, August 18, 2008

Brrr...It's Chilly

My fiance an I have been thinking about getting a small chest freezer for the apartment for a while. The main reason is that we have an abundance of frozen products right now and don't really have much room for anything else. However, this is a rather large purchase and warrants some thought both in financial terms and in efficiency.

How much does it cost?

We are looking at models in the range of 5-7 cubic feet of space (though we looked at smaller and larger ones) and have scouted various stores around Charlottetown for pricing. 5 cubic foot freezers range in price from $230-$259 and the 7 cu. ft models ring in between $294-$379, with the majority of stores below $300. When you work out a price per cubic foot number, the 7 cubic foot models are cheaper by around $8/cu. ft. Though striving to get the best unit price on something like rice is a noble endeavor, for reasons below, it might not be the primary consideration when buying an appliance like a fridge or freezer.

How much does it really cost?

Not only are you paying the upfront cost, but you pay an additional fee each month as part of your electricity bill. Luckily freezers come with a tag showing how much energy they approximately use each year. Something I found interesting was that going from 4 cu. ft to 7 showed a big jump in energy usage but starts to level off at larger freezer sizes. Due to my anal nature, below are two plots showing the cost per cubic foot (left, blue), the total cost per cubic foot with energy usage added in (left pink), and energy use vs cubic ft.

Note that the 5 cu. ft freezer is the most expensive per cubic foot.

What will I use it for?

This is an easy question. As my June experiment showed, I can save mucho dinero by cooking meals at home and is something I plan to continue. A freezer facilitates this process by allowing me to cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers for additional meals. As well, we can take advantage of sales on freezer goods and stock up, something we can not really do at the moment.

How much space do we need?

This is the biggest question. The benefits of the 7 cu. ft model are that we can really stock up when sales hit and it will serve us well in the future when our family expands to include children. However, sales for items we would actually use might be few and far between and/or I may find that I don't have sufficient time to do all the cooking I'd like resulting in us not using the extra space, yet paying to keep that space cold.

On the flip side, the 5 cu. ft model would meet our current needs splendidly but may not once there are more mouths to feed. Plus these models are more expensive per cubic foot.

Other notes

I like the idea of the upright freezers since it is much easier to find items. However, they are about $100 more expensive for the same cubic footage, which I do not think is warranted, plus when the door is open on these, the cold air will flow out much more easily than the traditional models.

I am thinking of getting a 5.5 cubic foot model from Home Depot pictured below, but am unsure of the Danby brand name.


Since we had a ton of car repairs in the last few months, we have been putting off the purchase of a freezer. We have the funds now to buy one, but I think we are starting to be a bit stingy with our money and are now avoiding it since it is a large purchase. I'll keep you informed as to how it goes.

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