13 Practical Tips for Using Lab Freezers

Posted by Applied Biological Materials (abm) on October 2, 2018

Did you know your freezer consumes a large fragment of your energy and resources?

Lab freezers are usually the highest energy consumers in most Biological labs. Aging freezers consume as much as 3% more energy every consecutive year which can add up to $1,500 USD annually in energy bills.

What can you do to reduce this energy drain?

Here are some tips and tricks on how you can keep your energy bills low and your ULT Freezer in good shape. Protect your precious time-sensitive samples before it is too late.

1. Invest in an energy efficient lab freezer

If you are starting off a new lab, or expanding your lab, a subsidized and energy efficient freezer is a good start. One Ultra-Low Temperature freezer, alone, can use as much energy as an average household per day!

2. Plan de-frostings

Over time, ice can build up in freezers, taking up storage space and causing the freezer to overwork. Having regularly scheduled de-frostings coupled with mechanical maintenance can ensure your freezer is operating efficiently.

Overly frosted freezer

An overly frosted freezer can reduce a lot of space and double your energy consumption.

3. Regular mechanical maintenance

Schedule regular mechanical maintenance to spot and address possible future problems before they happen. A quick check-up can keep repair costs low.

4. Prepare smaller aliquots of temperature sensitive samples

Freeze-thaw cycles damage biological products - even small damages to DNA can mean critical differences in your experiments. This holds true for proteins as well. Make smaller aliquots of the samples to avoid frequent thaw cycles.

5. Effective door sealing system

Having a securable door and temperature monitoring system helps to avoid temperature leakages. Older freezers don’t normally come fully equipped, requiring additional components from the manufacturer and additional costs. On the other hand, most new freezers already come equipped with effective door sealing systems.

6. Noise levels

As freezers age, components tend to become noisier and louder. No one wants to work in a noisy lab. Ensure your new freezer is engineered for reduced noise levels and a more pleasant lab environment!

7. Enhanced security

As freezers age, components tend to become noisier and louder. No one wants to work in a noisy lab. Ensure your new freezer is engineered for reduced noise levels and a more pleasant lab environment!

Freezer touchscreen panel

Touch screen monitors make it easy to read system info, secure and limit access, and monitor and retrieve system information.

8. Set-up automatic alarm systems

Having alarm systems with an automatic messaging or notification system is critical. Receive notifications immediately if doors are not closed, or the freezer is malfunctioning so you can address the issue before your samples become compromised.

9. Freezer positioning and ventilation

Ensure adequate ventilation around your freezer to ensure your freezer does not have to overwork to keep itself cool. As they my get hot during normal operations, freezers can also create heat traps in your lab, which could further burden your building’s temperature control system.

10. Voltage monitoring

Have a voltage monitoring device in place to monitor and avoid fluctuations in the current and to safeguard the appliance. Talk to your manufacturer to ensure you use suggested devices only.


Voltage monitors or stabilizers help reduce the risk of appliance failure. Older freezers need additional device but some newer ones come inbuilt with them.

11. Reduce door open time

Make sure that the door is not open for too long as the freezer will need to work harder to return temperatures to the colder setting. Ensure your samples are labeled and arranged in proper racks so that they are easy to reach. This will reduce the time needed to search for samples and reduce door open time.

Frozen tubes in the freezer

Arranging samples in batches makes it more easy for retrieval. Many manufacturers offer additional freezer racks upon request.

Samples in freezer

If you reach out to your freezer frequently, it may make sense to to arrange less frequently used samples deeper and more frequently used ones on the front.

12. Phase out-dated and degraded samples

Freezers sometimes have stored samples from previous colleagues or samples from old research. Consider cleaning out your freezer regularly to save space and keep your freezer running at optimal efficiency.

13. Do you even need a ULT freezer?

ULT freezers offer the best solution for storing temperature sensitive samples. Don’t put your samples at risk by using freezers that do not have the temperature range you require.

abm's new, affordable, energy-efficient -80°C ULT Lab Freezer is now available for $9,500 USD.

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