Key features and benefits of fridges and freezers

In modern times fridges and freezers are seen as essential household items in the developed world. In fact, most contemporary homes will contain at least one of each. But their use has not always been so universal. Artificial refrigeration began in the mid-18th century using ice, although the first vapour compression refrigeration system was not built until 1834.

Commercial refrigeration was actually in widespread use approximately 40 years before common household models were introduced in 1913. The market expanded in the 1930s and separate home freezer units came into being in 1940. The key difference between fridges and freezers is of course the temperature. According to Wikipedia the optimum temperature range for a fridge is between 3 and 5 degrees C, whereas a freezer will maintain a temperature below 0 degrees C, the freezing point of water. The introduction of home freezers was an important social development, as frozen convenience food became much more widely available and affordable. It had previously been seen as a real luxury.

Of course, there have been many developments and improvements in both fridges and freezers since these early models. More modern units have lots more features, one of the most useful of which is automatic defrosting. Ice crystals tended to build up in early freezers due to humidity being introduced when the door was opened and condensing and freezing. The automatic defrost function eliminates the onerous task of periodically defrosting the unit manually.

Ice and chilled water are now often available from a door mounted dispenser, removing the need to use ice trays.

Shelves and trays are normally fully adjustable, offering flexible storage options and most models redirect air from the freezer section to the refrigerator door in order to cool beverages such as milk and juice.

The importance of energy efficiency

One of the most important developments in fridge and freezer technology is vastly improved energy efficiency. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching to an A+++ fridge freezer can make significant savings in running costs over the life of the product. Even older models of refrigerator can be made more energy efficient by regular defrosting and cleaning. Door seals and insulation should be replaced when necessary and the thermostat adjusted depending on what is being stored at that time. If it’s time to replace your old fridge or freezer with something more energy efficient, a full range is available at

Social change

It is fascinating to see how the widespread availability of fridges and freezers for home use has driven social trends and changes. The modern family is able to keep fresh food for far longer than in the past and refrigeration in transit means that we have access to a far wider range of foodstuffs from much farther afield. Access to a home freezer means that people can buy food in bulk and store it for later use, rather than having to undertake daily shopping trips as was often the case in years gone by. Of course, buying in bulk means that people can often take advantage of special offers and savings as well. These factors all bring enormous benefits to modern life.

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