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How Long Do Chest Freezers Last? (All You Need to Know)

A chest freezer can be a great option for those in need of a reliable appliance to stock large quantities of frozen food in.

The horizontal laying freezer not only provides more space than a conventional upright freezer but is also more efficient in terms of energy consumption.

However, knowing the life expectancy of a product that you expect to store frozen food inside for months on end is certainly necessary to make the most out of your purchase.

How long do chest freezers last?

Chest freezers generally last 16-20 years on average, making them one of the most long-lasting appliances. In case of a power shortage, these horizontal laying deep freezers will also ensure the inner contents remain frozen for a longer period of time, as compared to regular upright refrigerators.

Although an average chest freezer would last you around 16 years, its lifespan may vary depending on various factors including some that are maintainable and some that are controlled purely by their internal quality.

Some external factors that affect the longevity of a chest freezer can be controlled to your advantage while the other components are influenced by the internal structure and model of the specific freezer.

The location in which you choose to place your freezer serves an important role in estimating the number of years it will serve.

As a rule of thumb, it is generally a good idea to place it in your kitchen, though any other room is ideal as long as the appliance is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Hence, the garage or any alternative space where the freezer might be exposed to the external environment or excessive heat is not advised.

All these factors, and more, contribute to the life expectancy of a chest freezer, making it slightly predictable to know how long yours will most likely last. 

Do chest freezers last longer than upright freezers?

Although both upright and chest freezers have similar average life expectancies, chest freezers typically last 1-2 years longer compared to vertical freezers.

When it comes to the question of which product will serve better in a power shortage, the horizontal chest freezers will keep inner contents fresher for 2-3 days, while upright freezers will keep their cool no longer than 24 hours.

However, this is assuming that the chest freezer is completely filled as it will not be as effective in keeping the food frozen in the case that it is only half full.

Along with having significantly higher longevity, chest freezers also have the added benefit of coming with 20% more storing space than regular upright refrigerators.

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4 factors affecting the life expectancy of chest freezers:

Certain factors contribute to lowering the life expectancy of a chest freezer, some that can be adjusted to ensure your product lasts long. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while using this appliance to maximize its longevity:

Environmental conditions:

The freezer should not be exposed to any form of excessive heat or humidity.

If the appliance is set up in a particularly sunny or wet area, it generally may not have a high life expectancy and will also require more energy to keep it cool, adding to the monthly costs.

Incorrect usage:

Frequently opening and closing the chamber, over-filling it with frozen products, and failing to clear the vents all contribute to negatively affecting a chest freezer’s life expectancy and therefore should be closely monitored.

Proper care and maintenance:

All the inner contents of the freezer should be taken out entirely at least twice a year, to deep clean the insides of the freezer with warm water and dish soap.

This prevents any spoiled food from rotting and contaminating the other products and simultaneously cleans up any possible leakage.

Aside from regular cleaning, the internal wires and temperature settings should be checked every year as well.

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Quality of model:

Although this is a factor that cannot be maintained after purchase, it is important to note that top-end freezers typically last longer than the average low-end ones.

The dimensions of the chest freezer also play a part in maximizing its life expectancy as mini freezers generally don’t last the average 16-20 years that larger ones do.

How do I know if my chest freezer is going bad?

A freezer that is meeting the end of its lifecycle or one needing repairs typically displays certain signs that can be interpreted quite easily. To find out if your appliance requires a check-up, look out for these signs:

Condensation on inner contents:

If the frozen food products appear to be ‘sweating’, or the freezer itself is leaking water, it is an indication that the freezer is not operating properly

In need of constant repairs:

If the appliance requires frequent fixes to function correctly, that is generally a sign that it is nearing the end of its lifespan.

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Audible noises:

If you can hear the purr of the internal motor of the chest freezer, that is a sure-fire indication that the motor is malfunctioning and either needs a repair or replacement.

However, this is typically a sign only if the freezer hasn’t been making any sounds for years and started this out of nowhere.

Back of freezer feels hot:

In most cases, the back of the appliance should feel slightly warm to the touch in normal conditions as that is where the motor is located.

However, if the back feels excessively hot then it is most likely a sign that the motor is overheating.

When should I replace my chest freezer?

When you begin to notice some of the above-mentioned signs that indicate your appliance is going bad, it is generally a good idea to consider replacing your old freezer with a new one.

Adding on to those, if the freezer has surpassed 10-12 years of usage and displays common issues such as the inner contents beginning to spoil before their expiration date, and the motor making a sudden audible noise – it is advised to start looking for newer models of chest freezers.

Why would a chest freezer stop working?

A chest freezer may stop operating properly to the extent that it does not even turn on anymore, or it is simply is not cool enough. Here are some possible reasons that may be causing your freezer to disfunction:

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Dirty Condenser:

The condenser’s job is to transform the refrigerant gas into a liquid, a process that can be hampered when dust collects inside this component.

This causes the freezer to consume more energy to get the system running again. However, this may be easily fixed by simply cleaning the condenser with a soft brush if dirt seems to be clogging it.

Issues With the Condenser Fan:

Oftentimes, the condenser fan stops working due to the buildup of dirt between the bearings, preventing air from circulating within the condenser coils.

This may be fixed by unplugging the freezer and applying some penetrating oil between the bearing of the fan, so that it may resume running.

Faulty Thermostatic Switch:

Although rare, it is not uncommon for the internal wires in a switch to get stuck in the incorrect position. This prevents the chest freezer from getting cool.

To resolve this, unplug the freezer and jump across its terminals with a short piece of wire. After plugging the appliance back in, it should begin to cool back down.

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Are chest freezers worth it?

Chest freezers are a much more convenient option for those in need of a large storage facility for frozen products.

Not only does owning one save multiple trips to the grocery shop and butcher, but it’s also comparatively less expensive than conventional upright refrigerators.

Even in the long run, chest freezers rack up lower monthly bills – the average monthly cost being $6.00 while regular refrigerators cost $16.60 per month making it worth the money.

How can I make my chest freezer more efficient?

To ensure a chest freezer operates most efficiently, it is important to note that they are most energy-efficient when completely filled instead of half or moderately filled.

This means the appliance will consume less energy which will consequently make it cost-efficient.

Other than that, keeping each type of food product organized in bins or stacks inside the freezer is also a handy tip as it reduces the amount of time the appliance is exposed to the external environment whilst avoiding a hassle as you fondle the inner contents looking for one specific packet.

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Final Thoughts

Chest freezers are cost and energy-efficient. These appliances last quite a long time – around 16 to 20 years, this life expectancy is influenced by a variety of factors. As long as the product is properly maintained, the technical issues it may display occasionally are generally easy to fix.