What Are The Lines In The Freezer For

If you are like most busy, budget-conscious homeowners when returning from the grocery store with a haul of frozen goods, you'll know that time is of the essence to get the items from the car to the freezer before they become a melted mess and need to be trashed. In your frenzy to fill the freezer, the last thing you likely notice are the built-in lines that sit on the bottom shelf. Turns out, those grooved lines promote critical air circulation needed to prevent your beloved frozen treats from sticking like glue to the bottom of the freezer.

If you didn't realize your freezer came equipped with ridges lining the bottom shelf, you are not alone. In most households, the often overlooked feature is typically hidden under boxes of popsicles, bags of vegetables, and piles of pizza. What's more, depending on the make and model of your freezer, the size of the grooves may vary in length and width. However, whether you own a chest style or upright freezer, the raised lines exist for the same reason: so the items that are stored on the bottom shelf don't become permanently affixed there due to frozen condensation.

Freezer shelf lines promote essential air flow

Contrary to online myths maintaining that freezer shelf lines were designed to store meat trays in an upright position, the plastic details serve a more integral purpose rooted in science. To better understand, imagine if you made a gigantic pot of chicken noodle soup and wanted to freeze the leftovers. The hot soup you ladled into clear storage containers would contain a higher temperature than the freezer's air. This difference produces moisture which condenses and freezes in a short amount of time. If the raised lines didn't exist, the soup container would freeze on the flat surface and become nearly impossible to separate when you wanted a bowl of soup as a midnight snack.

The same concept applies to tubs of ice cream or boxes of TV dinners you get at the supermarket. In the time it takes for them to go from the store's freezer to your own, at least some amount of humidity will develop on the exterior packaging. The freezer's elevated lines allow cold air to circulate around the items so they don't become permanently cemented to the bottom shelf. A coordinated effort between the ridges and the freezer's air vents ensures that air flows behind closed doors as an essential part of the appliance's functions (via News.com.au). To support this operation, don't allow the freezer's door to remain open for long periods of time. Doing so will permit warm humid outside air to mix with cold freezer air, elevating condensation levels.

Tips for uncovering lines in freezer

If you peek inside your freezer and don't see raised lines spanning the length of the bottom shelf, it could be that they are hiding under a thick layer of frozen condensation. In order for the freezer's cold air to circulate properly, this layer of frost needs to be removed. To do so, resist chipping away at it with an ice pick. Instead, use a wooden or plastic spoon to protect yourself and your freezer's interior. Another option is to heat a metal spatula then use a mitt to place it on smaller sections of ice to loosen them from the main sheet. If the frost is particularly thick, this method can be used in conjunction with placing pans filled with boiling water on its surface, per Compact Appliance. Carefully sit the searing hot containers in the freezer and shut the door for a minimum of 10 minutes. The heat will help melt the ice and the water can be soaked up with a sponge or rag.

Finally, be proactive when it comes to keeping your freezer's lines free of frost. If you want to chill leftovers, let them cool on the counter first, and then refrigerate them for a few hours prior to storing them in the freezer. Likewise, if you notice that cartons of ice cream or packages of tater tots are wet from slight thawing when you come home from the market, dry them off before housing them in the freezer to reduce moisture levels.