Preserving samples can be stressful, especially when the fate of your research lies in the hands of an Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) freezer. Next to your staff, Ultra low temp freezers should be the most reliable piece of equipment in your laboratory. So before you purchase a ULT freezer, where do you start?
From PHCbi, here are 6 points to consider before you purchase a ULT freezer for your laboratory:
1. Reliability & Trust:
How do you know which product is reliable? Take a look at the manufacturer’s track record. With some quick research you can find out the reliability rate of each manufacturer’s freezer, how long the company has been in the field, and if there have been any known freezer failures with their technology. Don’t allow yourself to be a test subject for new technology. Find a freezer with proven reliability that has been established in the research field so you don’t subject your life’s work to a faulty technology.
2. ULT Freer Usage:
Temperature recovery plays a huge part in protecting your samples, especially if you plan on opening the door to your ULT freezer quite often. Display readings can often be misleading and state a certain set temperature after you close the door but this does not necessarily mean it is at that point. A lengthy recovery period means prolonged temperature elevation which puts your samples at risk. Check the temperature mapping data for the ULT freezer you are interested in so you can see an accurate reading of temperature performance during a recovery period.
3. Temperature Uniformity:
Ever notice the food at the bottom of your home refrigerator gets colder than the food stored at the top? The same thing can happen in your ULT Freezer and can create a huge problem when your all of your samples need to be stored at a specific temperature. It is surprisingly common in upright ULT freezers to have variances in temperature between the top and bottom. Ask the manufacturer for reliable uniformity data where the data has been tested with thermocouples inside of the unit in various locations
4. Placement of Your ULT Freezer:
Where is your freezer going to be placed in your lab? This is not only necessary to know ahead of your purchase for space purposes, but also for sound. ULT freezers often produce a lot of noise, especially since the components are typically placed at the top. This can make the unit sound even louder since they are closer to your ear. For comparison, most current ULT freezers on the market are typically louder than an industrial vacuum cleaner. You can ask for a noise rating of the freezer you are considering. You can even test it yourself to see if it will be ok for your laboratory and personnel.
5. Energy Efficiency:
How important is energy efficiency in your lab? Most laboratories are trying to take a more “green” approach these days. They are also always looking to to try and save some money in utility costs. ULT freezers are powerful pieces of equipment and do consume a good amount of power. Obviously power is needed though so they can do what they were designed to do: protect your samples. There is a fine balance between energy efficiency and the heat removal capacity. This is critical for the long term protection of samples. With that said, frequently opening doors and temperature recovery will play a huge part in consuming even more power. If energy efficiency is what you are looking for take a look at the manufacturer’s freezer data on the amount of kilowatt hours are used per day (kWh/day).
6. Having a Back-Up Plan:
Always have a back-up plan for your samples. If your freezer fails where will you move your samples? With PHC TwinGuard ULT freezers you get a back-up plan built right into your freezer. TwinGuard technology involves a dual refrigeration system which has a second independent compressor system that kicks in in the event of a failure. Also in the case of a failure, temporary protection can be implemented using a CO2 back-up system.
Risking your samples to just any ultra low temp freezer can be a costly mistake. Doing your own research on these 6 points prior to purchase a ULT Freezer will help lead you to the most reliable and secure product for your sensitive samples. PHC Ultra Low Temp -86C Freezers have a long history of proven results of reliability and are one of the most trusted sources in laboratory research.