If you’ve ever struggled with the headache of an old refrigerator before, then you’ll know how problematic traditional models can be. While freezers and refrigerators are designed to keep your food cool, they can often have a hard time accomplishing that job without resulting in frost buildup.
We’ve all seen old fridges with inches of thick frost and ice filling their interiors before. Sometimes, the frost can get so bad that it’s hard to find any room for your food.
Frost in refrigerators forms when the water vapor in the machines hits the cooling coils. That vapor condenses, turning into liquid water, which builds up around the walls of your fridge. To counteract this problem, manufacturers began to invest in the idea of frost-free refrigerators.
Today, we’re going to show you how frost free refrigerators work and compare frost-free fridges to “direct cool” options. Let’s get started.
What is Frost Free Refrigerator Technology?
First things first, let’s get to the bottom of what is frost free refrigerator technology and how it works. Frost free refrigerators are examples of cooling systems that have built-in technology that prevents the buildup of ice. They work by automatically defrosting (to a certain extent) after a set period of time. Other, older refrigerator models need manual defrosting on a regular basis to accomplish the same goals.
Fortunately, advances in modern technology mean that it’s easy to access frost-free technology without the headache of manual defrosting. Although these appliances can cost quite a bit more than their frostier alternatives, they’re often a much more attractive option for many customers and allow for better user experience.
How Does a Frost Free Refrigerator Work?it
Frost free refrigerators feature three basic parts:
- A heating coil
- A timer
- A temperature sensor
Following a set schedule, usually around every 6 hours or so, the fridge will turn the heating coil on, melting the ice off the coils at the back of your refrigerator. When that ice is gone, the temperature sensor makes sure that the inside of your fridge doesn’t get too warm and starts your cooling system working normally again.
Because heating the coils in your fridge requires energy, most people find that direct cool refrigerators are better if they’re interested in using less electricity. Additionally, heating and cooling the coils can also put your food through various temperature cycles. This means that direct cool refrigerators often have an easier time keeping food safe and fresh for longer.
What Is Direct Cool Refrigerator Technology?
So, what’s the difference between direct cool and frost free refrigerator models? What is direct cool refrigerator technology best for? Well, while frost-free fridges require your fridge to go through a series of heating and cooling motions to protect against frost, direct cool refrigerators don’t go through that process. Instead, these classic machines use a natural convection process in an insulated compartment. Water vapor that comes into contact with the cooled surface on the inside of your fridge will naturally freeze, which means that direct cool refrigerators require a lot of manual defrosting.
The design of a direct cool refrigerator means that the circulation of cool air happens organically, without any external aids or technology. There’s no way for you to control the way that temperature is distributed, so frost is more likely to build. However, whether you’re using a direct cool refrigerator or a freezer, you’ll often find that this product will keep your food cold at the same temperature for longer. This could create a better experience when it comes to protecting perishables.
Direct cool fridges are also a lot simpler in many ways. They’re affordable and come in a range of sizes that make them excellent for small kitchens, dorm rooms, and student accommodation. If you need a small cooling system for your food yet don’t want to spend a fortune, then you might prefer to opt for this slightly old-fashioned model.
Which Is a More Convenient and Cost-Effective Option?
So, which is best? Direct cool or frost free refrigerator models?
The answer depends on the user.
There are a lot of benefits to using a frost free refrigerator. For instance, you don’t have to worry as much about the buildup of frost in your machine caused by cool air condensing and vapor freezing. That means that you don’t spend as much of your spare time maintaining your fridge and freezer by defrosting the coils. You also don’t need to worry about huge amounts of ice filling up your machines such that you can’t use them properly.
At the same time, frost free freezers aren’t as prone to the damage that’s typically caused by frost. This means that your machine might last for a lot longer if you have frost free technology in place. You won’t have to chip away at ice all the time, so you get the best experience for a longer time period.
Unfortunately, frost free fridges and freezer models have their downsides too. For instance, they’re often a lot more expensive than the direct cool refrigerators on the market. When it comes to making the choice between direct cool vs frost free, you’ll be much more likely to choose direct cool if you’re working on a budget. Not only do frost free machines cost more initially, but they can lead to significantly higher electricity bills in the long term too. Even if you’re only using a small single door freezer for keeping food fresh, you’ll use a lot less electricity with a traditional refrigerator.
However, if you find that you’re constantly eating out because you can’t find enough room in your fridge or freezer to store your food because of all the ice, then you might have an improved experience overall with a frostless model.
Which Type of Refrigerator Is Best for Your Needs?
When you’re mulling over direct cool vs frost free refrigerators, the most important decision will often be figuring out which one is going to keep your food fresher for the longest possible time. With each fridge offering a different selection of electric fans and unique features to choose from, which product is going to be best when it comes to food safety? There’s no one size fits all answer here. Both products will keep your food safe and cool. However, a direct cool fridge or freezer will usually excel at keeping your food fresh for a longer period of time. That’s because you aren’t causing problems with your food’s temperature balance by exposing it to different heat levels every six hours.
With a refrigerator that utilizes the natural convection process, there are no electric fans heating up the coils in the back of your freezer and increasing your chances of food problems. Additionally, a convection direct cool freezer or fridge will usually push you to spread the items you store out a little more too. People have a habit of piling too much food into frost free refrigerators, which means that the air can’t circulate properly. Even with electric fans to circulate the cool air, you might find that some foods go bad quicker than they should.
On the downside, if you have a lot of people in your family that you need to feed with food stored in one of these fridges, then you might find that a direct cool, single door option just isn’t large enough or the best for you. These products are generally designed for smaller spaces, like college dorm rooms. On the other hand, fridges designed for keeping food free of ice buildup are intended to work in bigger spaces. You can even find machines with extra-large capacity that are specially created for commercial kitchens.
Which Product Should You Choose?
Now that you already know the answers to the questions “What is frost free refrigerator technology?” and “What is direct cool refrigerator technology best for?”, it is time to tackle a much harder question.
Direct cool vs frost free – which should you choose? As we said, there’s no one perfect answer to that question. The best fridge or freezer for you will depend on what you need from a cooling appliance. For some people, the best freezer or refrigerator will be something with a lot of room inside for all the items they want to keep safe and fresh. For others, the idea of an old fashioned convection single door freezer or fridge that’s constantly covered in ice will fill them with a sense of dread.
There are a lot of different components that make up a successful kitchen. A fridge with a freezer compartment is just one product that you’ll need to think about. Ask yourself what you really need from your fridge or freezer. Do you mind taking some time out of your busy day to defrost your products from time to time? If so, direct cool refrigerators are the best for your needs since they will deliver cool air, have reliable electric fans, and are known for great performance for a low price tag.
On the other hand, if you want simplicity and convenience from your single door fridge, then the best thing you can do is opt for a frost free model.