Fridge freezer reviews: FAQs

American fridge freezer

American fridge freezers offer twice the storage space

What do American fridge freezers offer?

If you have more room or a large family, you might fancy an American fridge freezer. These have the fridge and freezer next to each other rather than one on top of the other.

They offer twice the storage space of conventional fridge freezers and extra features, including ice-making machines.

Can I keep a fridge freezer in a garage?

Every fridge freezer has a 'climate class'. This tells you the range of room temperatures in which the model is designed to work.

Fridge freezers used in temperatures above or below these limits might not work properly. For example, the freezer compartment might defrost if the room temperature becomes too low.

So, in theory, fridge freezers shouldn't be kept in unheated garages and sheds.

In practice, though, plenty of people get away with it quite happily. For more detail about the individual climate classes, see Features explained.

At what temperature should I keep the fridge compartment?

Between 0°C and 5°C. Any warmer, and the food will go off. Any colder, and fresh food can be ruined and nutrients lost.

How can I buy an energy-efficient fridge freezer?

Fridges, freezers and fridge freezers are the most energy-guzzling appliances in your home, and account for about 20% of the electricity used by all home appliances. With the average UK household spending £1,345 a year on energy bills, it makes sense to buy a fridge freezer that runs as efficiently as possible.

All new fridge freezers will have an energy label that gives it's energy rating. These range from the ultra-efficient A+++ to the positively power-hungry G classifications

From 1 July 2012, new fridge freezers will have a rating of A+, A++ or A+++. You can find out more in our fridge and freezer energy labels explained guide.

How much will my fridge freezer cost to run?

Energy ratings give a good indication of which models are more efficient than others, but they won't tell you how much a fridge freezer will cost you to run.

To help you work out how pricey a fridge freezer is to power, we’ve developed our fridge freezer energy costs tool. You can use it to compare what different models cost to power over their lifetime, and weigh up running costs against the purchase price to see which are the best value overall.

Does an antimicrobial coating mean I don't have to clean my fridge freezer?

Many manufacturers are adding anti-microbial coatings to the inside of the fridge compartment. They claim the coatings kill nasty bacteria growing inside.

But our hygiene expert says the coating isn't applied to the shelves where you put the food. And it's rare to find unwrapped food placed directly on a shelf, so the coating is unlikely to do much good.

If you want to keep a fridge freezer spick and span, there's no substitute for traditional cleaning.

Will my fridge freezer damage the ozone layer?

Many fridge freezers use a cooling agent (or refrigerant) called R600a, which neither affects ozone nor is a significant greenhouse gas. So far, so good.

However, others use a refrigerant called R134a. This is better for the ozone layer than CFCs (which are now banned), but it's still a greenhouse gas. Sometimes refrigerant can leak, so it still contributes significantly to global warming.

How do I dispose of my old fridge freezer?

You can get rid of an unwanted fridge freezer through the retailer supplying your new model or through your local council.

Under regulations stemming from the European WEEE Directive, product makers have to pay for the recycling of fridges and the upgrade of local civic amenity sites to handle unwanted electrical appliances.

Many large chains run schemes that will pick up an old appliance free of charge when a new model is delivered. Smaller retailers will probably ask you to drop the unwanted fridge off at a nearby civic amenity site.

Your local authority has a responsibility to take your old fridge freezer away, but it's a bit of a postcode lottery. Some councils offer free collection, others charge up to £30. If you can take the fridge to your local tip yourself, though, there should be no charge.

For more information on WEEE, and how you can ensure unwanted electrical products are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, download the Environment Agency's householder factsheet.

More on this...