Friday, February 03, 2012

Scientific Freezer Q & A

What specific features should I look for in a scientific freezer that will be used in a medical laboratory located in a major teaching hospital?
Choosing a scientific freezer for a major teaching hospital or any medical facility in general takes a bit of consideration. One of the major features to look for is a variety of different options to configure the interior of the freezer to best meet a variety of possible storage options for the content. If you are storing a variety of different samples and materials shelving that can be adjusted or even removed for very large items will be absolutely essential. In addition door storage for smaller items that are used frequently or that may easily be misplaced on the larger shelves is a must. Some units may offer the option of bins that allow the entire bin to be removed with the contents while others will have standard shelves.

You will also need to consider the size or interior storage space that the freezer provides. This will be measured in cubic feet, with larger sized units offering 20 plus cubic feet while smaller counter sized models offering 6 or 7 cubic feet of storage.

How can I tell if the scientific freezers that I am comparing are energy efficient or if they are going to use a lot of electricity since they are constantly on?
Energy use can be kept to a minimum with the new styles of freezers. Since they are microprocessor controlled the temperature quickly adjusts and the system begins convection cooling immediately, limiting the amount of ongoing energy use when large cooling is required.

In addition high tech types of insulation, seals around the doors, efficiency rating and performance assurance information are all provided by the manufacturer. Reviewing this information and comparing the average performance of each model, including the energy efficiency information provided will be instrumental in choosing one model or brand over another.

Reviewing the performance assurance graph provided will also give you a good indication of how much the temperature fluctuates within the freezer. The more constant and stable the temperature is the better insulated and the better cooling system that the freezer has, leading to higher energy efficiency.

What tips do you have for maintaining a steady temperature in scientific freezers that are used on a regular basis?

There are some simple ways that staff and students can learn to help keep the temperature constant in your scientific freezer. These are not complicated procedures to follow but they do help decrease temperature and cause the unit to have to cool. Consider the following:

• Add a limited number of samples at a time and allow them to freeze before adding larger numbers or additional samples.
• Keep a recorded inventory system on the door of the freezer where staff marks where specific samples are kept. This prevents having to search through shelves of the freezer, keeping the door opened for very limited amounts of time.
• Complete all regular maintenance on the freezer on schedule. This includes defrosting the unit and ensuring all filters and air systems are clean and free from ice, dirt or debris that may impede performance.

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