A buyer’s guide to a medical refrigerator or glass door display freezer
Vaccines, serums and medicines in liquid form require a “cold chain” to be maintained while being transported from the manufacturer to the shipping location. They also require refrigeration or freezing at the pharmacy, hospital, doctor’s office, medical lab or the veterinary office. Ensuring the cold chain is never broken is vital for maintaining the stability, integrity and potency of the vaccine or medication. Choosing a reliable refrigeration or freezing unit is critical to safeguard against temperature fluctuations or breakdowns that jeopardize these vulnerable materials.
A big part of what sets a medical refrigerator or glass door display freezer apart from home units is the promise of temperature stability. Many medical samples and supplies need to be at a consistent temperature to stay viable. A change could mean the loss of sorely needed medications, blood donations and ruined product that untold research, hours and dollars have gone into. There are different temperature requirements for different medical compounds, all of which need to be monitored and regulated. For instance, in the case of vaccines, and this varies per product, the temperature range of +2°C to +8°C must be maintained from the time of manufacture until the vaccines are administered to individuals. Most vaccines are considered to be damaged at 0°C, but because a damaged or frozen vaccine may not visually appear solid or changed in appearance, the glass door refrigerator unit must have a precise digital thermostat to constantly monitor internal temperatures. Ideally refrigerator display cases will also have a health timer that automatically locks the unit in the event of a rise – or fall – in temperature, either above or below a safety threshold that is set. In the case of vaccines, this would be a temperature above +8°C.
In addition to finding a medical refrigerator that promises consistency, reliability, and precise temperature controls, look for additional features that contribute to a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Minus Forty has a reputation for quality that comes from its low maintenance condensers, its second-to-none customer service, and its warranties. A long-standing environmental commitment means that our units are manufactured with energy efficiency built right in, to save on operating costs.
To summarize, here are the basic features to look for in a medical grade glass door refrigerator or freezer:
- Reliable, stable temperatures for safe storage of vaccines, medicines, creams or samples. A digital display allows you to confirm the temperature without opening the door.
- Safety features include digital controls and Smartlock health timer. An alarm can alert you immediately if the internal temperature starts to rise, and a lock will be engaged to ensure no unsafe vaccines or medications are accessed or administered.
- Automatic defrost – To avoid manually defrosting and putting the unit out of service for a time, ensure the unit you purchase is self-defrosting.
- Visual checks – Glass doors allow you to scrutinize the contents of the unit, so it doesn’t have to be opened as often, letting the cold air out.
- A low maintenance condenser improves overall refrigeration performance and prevents overheating.
- Energy efficient refrigerant R290 saves on operating costs.
Medical glass door refrigerators and freezers are an investment that you want to last. Going with a reliable brand that offers a lower TCO, along with all the functionality that medical units require, will give you peace of mind for years to come.