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Liebherr GI1412 Comfort

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A fully integrated freezer.

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      30.08.2003 00:19
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      I've just defrosted the freezer. It's not a job I like doing but I can't complain as I've had the freezer for eighteen months and this is the first time that I've had to do anything more than wipe the door handle. When I planned my new kitchen in the autumn of 2001 I wanted a large American fridge-freezer, but the initial plans showed that it would dominate the kitchen uncomfortably. I did, however, want refrigeration of a similar quality. The kitchen designer suggested that I looked at fridges and freezers by Liebherr, a German manufacturer, who produce high quality appliances which can be built in side-by-side to provide the same capacity and features as the fridge-freezer I wanted, but at a lower cost. The freezer arrived securely wrapped and some, but not all, of the packaging could be recycled. Transporting and fitting the freezer is a two-man job not least because it needs to be lifted to fit inside a pre-installed kitchen unit. Whilst there is a little bit of flexibility on the unit's internal height (87.4 to 88.5cm), width (56 to 57cm) and depth (at least 53cm, including a 38mm air vent), manoeuvring the freezer into place does require some muscle. The freezer door can be reversed so that it opens to either the left or the right. A cupboard door fits onto the freezer door using sliders and when fitted into a range of units it's impossible to tell that this is a freezer. One of the drawbacks to this is the fact that the control panel is only visible once the freezer is opened, but that's common even with freezers which are not built-in. The panel is at eye-level for me and it's relatively uncluttered considering that it contains a warning light (should the temperature climb), lights to indicate that the appliance is switched on or in superfrost mode, two control buttons, a temperature adjustment button, the audible warning system and a temperature display. There are four substantia
      l drawers, each just over 15cm high, in white plastic. A ridge at the front is used to pull the drawers out. Because I have problems with my hands I normally find that this sort of handle causes difficulties, but not in this case. It does, however, leave a curve on the inside of the drawer which is difficult to clean. I resorted to using cotton buds. Clips are supplied which slide into a ridge at the top of the drawer and these can be used to indicate the contents and the date by which they must be used. I don't use these as food moves through my freezer quite quickly but if you are in the habit of buying quantities of meat, say, then they could be useful. The drawers are numbered 1 to 4 from the bottom upwards. I would have preferred to have the drawers numbered from the top downwards but it's a very minor point. Unfortunately the drawers can't be reversed as the bottom drawer is L-shaped to accommodate the motor. There's also a slide-out tray at the top of the freezer. It's meant to be the place to keep ice-cube trays, but I use it to store all the odds and ends that get lost when you put them into the larger drawers. At the moment it holds a few small bags of grated Parmesan cheese and some frozen herbs. I've used it to freeze blackcurrants and redcurrants from the garden by spreading them out over the tray and bagging them once they're frozen so that there's less damage to the fruit. Long-term storage of frozen food needs a temperature of -18°C or below. The freezer has a choice of settings from 1 (minimum cooling) to 5 (maximum cooling). It's impossible to equate these settings to actual temperatures as much depends on the location of the freezer, how often it's opened and the contents. As my freezer is near a fan heater, opened regularly and constantly being used to freeze food I've opted to use the maximum setting, which works well for me. The control for this is described as child
      proof as it requires a coin to be used to alter the setting. I would prefer to say that it couldn't be altered accidentally. The internal thermometer shows that my freezer generally runs at about -19°C. It's independent of the power supply - and consequently it's a dial rather than a digital display. Once the freezer is operating normally the temperature shown is that of the frozen food. I find this reassuring. I've never before had a freezer where I could be confident that the temperature of the food was low enough. Up to 12kg of food can be frozen in a period of 24 hours. I've not attempted to freeze on this scale, but it coped well with 4kg of minced beef when it was on special offer. There was an immediate rise in temperature of a degree or so, but this quickly came back to normal with the help of the Superfrost function. The internal control panel shows a yellow light when this is in use. At first I thought that I would hate the audible warning signal. If the freezer door is open for more than 30 seconds, or the temperature falls a bleep sounds. It continues to sound until the door is shut or the temperature rises. It's such an annoying sound that it has trained us to think about what we want before we open the freezer and to get the door shut again as quickly as possible. It can be turned off, but I'm glad we decided not to! I'm sure that this has been the reason why we haven't needed to defrost the freezer in the past eighteen months. It's only in the past couple of weeks that I've noticed any ice crystals at all. Defrosting was simple. The drawers slid out easily, complete with the frozen food. I covered these with a blanket to keep the temperature as low as possible. A bowl of hot (not boiling!) water on the aluminium cooling plates speeded the melting of the thin layer of ice. Within half an hour the freezer had been washed out, dried and the drawers replace
      d. I won't say that it was a pleasure, but it wasn't difficult. I'm delighted with the freezer. Apart from the bleep it's virtually silent in running even when I've been using the Superfrost function. It's Energy Efficiency class B, on a scale of A to G with A being the best. Even the instructions are clearly written despite there being eight languages covered in the booklet. As the freezer holds sufficient for our needs I'm rather glad that we decided against the American fridge-freezer. Direct-electricals.co.uk are currently offering the GI1412 for £392 including VAT and delivery, but you will need to add to this the cost of the cupboard door to match other units. I could have gone for a cheaper option: the Electrolux EU62331 is a similar size but has a lower capacity, less flexibility and there's no audible warning. The door doesn't shut with a satisfying clunk either, so I think the extra £108 that I spent was worthwhile. Now, if only it's another eighteen months before I have to defrost again! Additional Points Net capacity: 108l Energy consumption over 365 days: 295kWh

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    • Product Details

      Short name: Liebherr GI1412