Upright or Chest?

small chest type freezer - Is it really energy efficient to have a little chest freezer? does it cost more to store the food than it is worth?
@Modestah (11192)
United States
March 21, 2007 11:31pm CST
I am talking about freezers. Our HUGE upright freezer was recently put out of commission after 20 years of faithful service. (I injured it when defrosting) we can not afford to buy another of the same caliber right now, so we purchased a very small (9.5 cf) chest freezer to tide us over till finances are a little better. Now, I have always heard that chest freezers are a lot more economical than uprights - but this month I have had the chest freezer my electric bill sky rocketed. The upright at 29cf cost me less to run than this tiny chest freezer. But, I did notice that the upright has a seal that pops when you open it and you can hear the suction when it closes. The chest freezer just kind of closes but does not seal. We went to auction and there was a nice large chest freezer like new being sold - I open and closed it and the seal just did not have that suction. So, I am thinking THIS is why the power usage has increased so much. Which do you prefer, upright or chest freezers. Why? if you have a chest freezer did you notice that your energy costs were higher right after you got it?
7 people like this
15 responses
@applsofgld (2506)
• United States
22 Mar 07
A lot of people love the chest type freezers, and it is what I have. Only because my husband already had it when I met him. I prefer the upright ones, because in the chest type, you have to dig through all of it, and a lot of times good items will go bad because they are on the bottom and I don't like to shuffle through heavy frozen goods just to get to them.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
22 Mar 07
that is one of my troubles too, but, that could be because this particular replacement freezer we have is so small - I was thinking when we do purchase another upright larger freezer we could use this little one for butchering season - if we only have chicken meat in it, it won't be so difficult to find what we are looking for, hehe.
2 people like this
@Fishmomma (11371)
• United States
22 Mar 07
I know exactly what your talking about with a chest freezer, as our electric bill went up. We had an upright freezer for 16 years, then it stopped freezing. I decided to get a small freezer, as most of the time we don't need to freeze a lot of food now. The next time we get a freezer it will be an upright freezer.
• United States
22 Mar 07
I think you can buy something to fix that seal.. Its probably sold at a hardware store. I've only had chest style freezers. I prefer them personally.
2 people like this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
22 Mar 07
I'll have to check into that then. So, it is not necessarily a universal thing that chest freezers lack a suction seal then - just so happens that the two I spoke of do not. Thank-you for the advise.
2 people like this
• Singapore
22 Mar 07
I am not sure about this. My guess though it that it is a fundamental design issue. The upright one you had might have been designed with energy conservation in mind. If the bills are really way up high, it might be more worth it in the long run to change your freezer (yes, even though you would waste your new one).
2 people like this
@mamasan34 (6521)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I prefer upright freezers. it is easier to find stuff rather than sifting through a chest freezer. Maybe you can call the manufacturer and have them send you a new seal? There should be replacement parts for your particular brand. Or else do what your other commenter said and check the local hardware stores. Don't give up on old glory yet! :)
1 person likes this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Thank-you for the insight. Actually, the Old Glory has a great suction seal - unfortunately I whacked one of the shelves giving the smallest little fracture - which released all the freon. All sources say you can not repair it :/ the little "tide us over" freezer has the garbage seal, but I am thinking that is the way it was manufactured. I will certainly inquire at the hardware store though. thank-you again for participating in this thread.
@Mamaof4 (222)
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
I'm guessing that if the suction does not work, then yes, your electric bills will go up in a major way. Without the suction, the freezer is expending more effort, so to speak, to keep its contents cool and then some----meaning outside of the freezer. My mom had a chest freezer a few years back. Althogh it was nice and big, it got pretty tiresome to dig through deep down to unearth meats and stuff we bought first. It was just a lot harder and we'd end up with pretty old meat because we forgot to get to the lowest portion.
• United States
22 Mar 07
Don't know if the seal is the main factor but am sure that the higher cost units usually have better overall insulation and also that chest units are little harder to keep everything organized as well. Seems there always a few things that end up at the bottom that you have to dig for. Up rights are way to go if you can. They take less floor space as well for same cubic ft displacement.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
22 Mar 07
I prefer an upright even though I have heard chests are more economical. I think it's easier to find things in the uprights. I think any freezer that doesn't have a good seal is going to run up the power bill. You can have new seals installed though and may still be less than the cost of a new freezer if you got the one at the auction.
1 person likes this
@JerzeBch (50)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Personally, I love the upright. We had a HUGE (like 8 feet high) one for 20 years and it was absolutely the best. The shelves were plenty and movable, besides having room on the door. You HEARD it seal shut if you tried to open it right away you couldn't... no matter how hard you pulled on that door. My parents had gotten it from Sears and we kept the service contract on it. Each time it broke down, we worried because it was getting so old. Finally the time came when they couldn't fix it anymore. I swear my mom was going to cry! Anyways... we went shopping to get a new one and were so disappointed when we couldn't find another upright that was the same size. I tried to convince my mother to just get a chest, but she wouldn't hear of it. She looked at two and started complaining about the suction and the disorganization of it all. She reminded me of my grandmother's freezer. Anytime we needed to get something out, you had to move 10 things to find what you wanted. We lucked out and Sears did have an upright that was close in cubic feet (around 20cf) to our old one. It just wasn't as tall, so we thought it wasn't as big. We fell in love with the new one! It has more shelving and better cost per month then the old one! It doesn't seem to seal as well as the one we had before either and the tech told us its just the way they make them now for protection. Just in case a child climbs into it. It still seals, but not as tightly... so they can kick their way out.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Well, last night I was putting dried goods into the broken unit (decided to use it for dry storage, since the seal is so good this will help keep cabinet moths at bay) a noticed a paper clip stuck to the gasket...I took it off expecting it would be sticky. It turns out that it was magnetized. The seal is so great on that freezer because within the rubber gasket is a strong magnet - which pulls tightly to the metal on the other side! I think the other reason it was so economical to run was that the shelves themselves delivered the freon through them, so each shelf was a coolant. the new chest freezer has a plastic gasket that comes into contact with a plastic moulding on the opposite side, no magnets, and no suction! it would probably seal better with just the weight of the lid if that gasket and plastic moulding were not even there!
• United States
23 Mar 07
I had one of each type of freezer and I like the upright far better. The chest freezer is very inconvenient because everything gets stacked one upon the other and you have to take things out before you can ever find what you want. That wastes time and energy.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I think you might be on to something, all else aside it does use more energy just by having to be opened for longer periods of time in order to get to whatever it is you are seeking (from the bottom)
@dlkuku (1936)
• United States
22 Mar 07
I have a relatively new chest freezer and I can't say I have a problem with it using a lot of power. And mine seals, it also has a lock on it, maybe that is the difference. I do know that they will use more energy if they are empty too, I keep jugs of water in mine when it gets pretty empty.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I think the difference might be that my upright was a Gibson, high dollar unit - and the chest freezer is a frigidaire. Both have a locking mechanism, and the little one is totally filled...going from 29cf to 9.5 cf, it is definately filled, hehe. thank you for your response, I appreciate it.
@blackbriar (9080)
• United States
23 Mar 07
My in-laws gave us the chest freezer we have and it's ancient, over 15yrs old and still going strong. My electric bill never went over $80 a month so I'm thinking it's not consuming alot of energy. It does have a strong suction seal cause it takes 2 hands to open it. It's roughly a med. size one. Our next one will be brand new and very energy efficient. Definately an upright cause my back hurts when I bend over to rummage thru the contents to get what I want. Besides, it takes up less floor space than a chest freezer does which would be a plus cause now the chest freezer is in the shed cause nowhere to put it in the house.
@Suze05 (480)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I have a chest freezer, and Ive never had an upright, but I didnt notice my bill really increasing after I got mine. I do think the uprights have the advantage of being easier to get to things, and easier to keep organized, but I dont have a lot of stuff in mine most of the time so thats not an issue for me. Theres drawbacks and advantages to everything. I'd love to get a side by side fridge with the water and ice in the door..but then you lose space in your refrigerator in most cases, unless you get one of those huge commercial kind. :O))
@hezoid (2147)
22 Mar 07
Our freezer is build into our fridge, thus it's a fridge freezer. My parents bought it for us when we moved to York when i went there to go to Uni, and we only had a tiny flat with a tiny kitchen so they bought us a tiny fridge-freezer! I love to get an additional freezer so we can store lots of frozen stuff, i think i'd get an upright one becuase then it's easier to get to your food and you don't have to lean into the freezer either. Of course i'd get a really engery efficient one, possibly an A energy rating if we could, imthink our frige-freezer is a B energy rating.
@claudia413 (4284)
• United States
22 Mar 07
Our upright freezer (Amana) is over 25 years old and still going strong. When we retire later this year or even next year, we do not intend to take it with us when we move further north and closer to my kids. I remember we had a large chest-type freezer when I was growing up, and it was a real pain to try to find stuff in it. When we do get a new one after retiring, it will definitely be an upright freezer again and probably an Amana (if they still make them). It's interesting to learn that the chest freezer is costing more to run than the upright. I never gave it any thought...probably because we've only had an upright.