What You Need to Know About Medical Freezers

Medical fridges and freezers are essential equipment for storing and preserving sensitive materials. Medical freezers are used in biomedical research laboratories to keep critical samples at precisely controlled temperatures. Clinics may also use medical freezers to store vaccines, medication, blood bags, or transplant organs.

The importance of keeping vaccines and other medical supplies at low temperatures has grown, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of medical freezers is critical for ensuring the safety and efficacy of these life-saving materials.

If you’re planning to invest in a new medical freezer for your laboratory or medical facility or need professional assistance in determining the right medical freezer, find out what you need to know here. Learn how medical freezers work, what freezers are available on the market, and what you should look for in a freezer.

How Do Medical Freezers Work?

Medical freezers use refrigeration to keep the freezer compartment at a low temperature. The typical components of a refrigeration system are a compressor, a condenser, an evaporator, and an expansion valve. 

The compressor compresses the refrigerant gas, causing it to heat up and expand. The hot, pressurized gas condenses in the condenser, releasing heat into the surrounding air or water. As a result, the refrigerant condenses into a liquid state.

The liquid refrigerant is then directed to the evaporator, which is expanded via the expansion valve, causing it to cool and evaporate into a gas rapidly. This process absorbs heat from the interior of the freezer, cooling the air inside. The cool, low-pressure gas returns to the compressor, and the cycle begins again.

Medical freezers commonly have specialized features, such as precise temperature controls, alarms, and backup power systems, to keep sensitive medical materials at a consistent and safe temperature.

Medical freezers must be properly maintained and monitored to function correctly and keep stored materials at the proper temperature.

Types of Medical Freezers

Medical freezers are used to store samples and other materials

There is a medical freezer to suit any application, from ultra-low temperature freezers for storing vaccines to laboratory freezers for keeping samples cold. Here are some of the most common types on the market:

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers

Ultra-low temperature freezers, also known as low-temperature freezers or ULT freezers, are specifically designed for laboratory biological sample preservation. Temperature-sensitive materials can be stored in these specialized medical freezers at extremely low temperatures ranging from -40°C to -86°C.

They are commonly used for the long-term storage of vaccines, drugs, enzymes, blood samples, and other biological materials that require extremely low temperatures to maintain stability and efficacy.

Laboratory Freezers

Laboratory freezers are another type of refrigerated cabinet used in laboratories to store samples, reagents, and other biological materials. Several sizes and temperatures range from -40°C to 10°C. They can be used for long-term or short-term storage, depending on the needs of the lab.

Some laboratory freezers are equipped with additional features such as alarms, temperature monitoring, and backup power systems to ensure the safe storage of sensitive samples. They can also be used in a laboratory for general-purpose storage of non-biological materials such as chemicals and solvents.

Upright Freezers

Upright freezers stand vertically and have a front-opening door, similar to a standard household refrigerator. They typically range in size from small countertop models to large floor-standing units and can reach temperatures as low as -86°C (-123°F). This type usually has several shelves or compartments for storage.

Upright medical freezers have unique characteristics that make them ideal for medical storage. They usually have precise temperature control systems to ensure consistent and accurate temperatures. In addition, many have alarms and backup systems to ensure that temperatures stay stable during a power outage or other system failure.

Pharmaceutical Freezers

Pharmaceutical freezers are designed to keep temperature-sensitive medications and other pharmaceutical products at specific temperatures.

These freezers come in various sizes and temperatures, ranging from standard refrigeration to ultra-low temperatures as low as -86°C. They are commonly used in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings and research and development (R&D) laboratories.

Portable Freezers

For small medical freezers, portable freezers are an excellent choice. They are a type of freezer that is intended for easy moving and transport. They are commonly used for camping, outdoor activities, long-distance travel, and emergency and medical transport.

Portable refrigerated cabinets are typically powered by electricity, a battery, or solar energy and may include temperature control, insulation, and durability to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medical Freezer

Choose a medical freezer based on the storage capacity.

You should consider several factors before buying a medical freezer from manufacturers or suppliers, regardless of whether it's a portable or pharmacy freezer. Here are some of these factors:

Temperature range

Medical supplies and biological materials must be stored and preserved at specific temperatures. Vaccines, for example, may require storage at temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C, whereas other biological samples may require ultra-low temperatures as low as -86°C.

Medical freezers with insufficient temperature ranges can damage or degrade stored materials, rendering them useless.

Storage capacity

You should also consider how many medical supplies and biological materials you intend to store in the freezer. We recommend selecting a medical freezer with sufficient storage capacity to meet your current and future medical facility or laboratory requirements. Overcrowding and inefficient storage may result from a freezer that is too small, whereas a freezer that is too large may consume more energy and be unnecessary.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency can significantly impact the freezer's long-term operating costs. Medical freezers can use considerable energy, and choosing an inefficient model can result in higher energy bills and operating costs over time.

Energy-efficient models can help lower energy costs, lower carbon emissions, and qualify for rebates or incentives from energy-saving programs. Furthermore, energy-efficient medical freezers are frequently equipped with advanced features such as improved insulation, efficient compressors, and variable-speed fans, which can enhance the freezer's overall performance and lifespan.

Cooling technology

Cooling technology can impact the performance, temperature stability, and energy efficiency of a freezer. Several types of cooling technology are available, including compressor-based, thermoelectric, and liquid nitrogen, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. To learn more about what's best for your facility, speak with a medical freezer provider.

When investing in a medical freezer, it is imperative to carefully assess your options and make an informed choice that meets your unique requirements. It is helpful to understand the types of freezers, their functions, and what factors to consider when purchasing the right product.

Are you looking to purchase quality and reasonably priced medical freezers in Canada? Look no further; 360 Medical is here. We provide high-quality, innovative products for your scientific and medical storage requirements. If you have questions about online quotes and ordering, please don’t hesitate to call +1-800-209-2082.

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