Taking Care of Your Freezer
A few maintenance tips for your freezer
Taking care of your freezer now can help ensure that your appliance will work efficiently for you for years to come. Luckily, your freezer requires very little maintenance overall, so there are only a few things you will need to remember to do.
Every month, you should:
- Sort through your freezer and remove any food that may be past its expiry date or that looks freezer burnt.
- Over the month, chances are your neatly organized freezer has become a bit of a mess. Take some time every month to reorganize your food so that you know what you have and where it is.
- If you have a manual defrost freezer, defrost your unit every 6 months if it doesn't need it before then. If the frost build-up is thicker than 1/2 inch, it's time to defrost your freezer. Unplug or turn off your freezer and let the frost melt on its own. Drain out the water that remains in the bottom and clean out the unit with a strong cleaner and deodorizer (if needed). Turn your freezer on again, and wait until the freezer returns to its temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below before restocking it with food.
- Check that your freezer is cooling properly by testing the temperature. Do this by putting a thermometer in your freezer for 15 minutes to see what the inside temperature is. If your thermometer shows a reading of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you have nothing to worry about. If your thermometer is above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, adjust your temperature control, and retest to see if that lowers your interior temperature. If that doesn't work, there are a number of things that may be affecting the freezer's efficiency. If you have a self-defrosting freezer, the evaporator coils may have frost build-up. You will be able to tell if this is the problem if you have frost build-up on the inside of your freezer.
- Clean the outside of your freezer and any components that you have easy access to. Remember to turn off the power to the unit before you start cleaning!
Some organization tips
- It is easy to forget what food you have in your freezer. One way to keep track of the food you've stored is by affixing a magnetic whiteboard to the outside of your freezer, and keep a running tally of what you have and the date you put it in the freezer.
- If you're lucky enough to have the space for both an upright and a chest freezer, it's a good idea to segregate your frozen foods. Your upright has many shelves and partitions, making it best for boxed items. Your chest freezer is better for large and irregular-shaped frozen goods.
- Your freezer will work more efficiently when it's full. If your freezer isn't full of food, pack it with empty plastic containers.
- Pull older items to the front or top of your freezer and place newer items behind it. That way, you will (hopefully) eat the older items first and not waste them.