Refrigerator and Freezer in Garage: Problems & Solutions


If you’ve got a garage, you’ve probably spent at least some time trying to figure out what you can do with your extra space. Fridges and freezers can take up a considerable amount of room which is why so many people choose to put a freezer or a refrigerator in their garage.

The good news is that yes, it’s a completely valid choice to put a refrigerator in your garage or even a freezer in your garage. It’s a common choice that many make, and it definitely frees up a lot of room inside your house. You should, however, be aware that putting either of these units out in the garage is going to have an impact on how the appliance works. As such, you need to be aware of how the changing seasons are going to impact your freezer or your refrigerator.

Recommended Room Temperature for Fridge and Freezers

There’s actually a fairly wide range of temperatures in which refrigerators and freezers can operate. Whenever you get too close to the higher or lower ends of that spectrum, though, the appliances will tend to function poorly. Refrigerators, for example, can technically function at any temperature between thirty-two and one hundred degrees, though they tend to function better when the temperature stays somewhere around the sixty-degree mark.

Freezers actually have a fairly similar range, with most designed to operate inside air-conditioned rooms. It should be noted, however, that these numbers are only true for those typical appliances that are designed for indoor consumer use – there are actually freezers and refrigerators that are specially designed to work outdoors and that tend to be capable of operating at peak capacity at higher and lower outdoor temperatures.

Placing your Fridge or Freezer in the Garage in the Summer

Problems

Given that a refrigerator or freezer is meant to function in a specific temperature range, you’ll start to see some fairly common problems as soon as you move the appliances to an area that has a different range of temperatures. While your appliances certainly aren’t going to break the moment the temperature starts to rise, you will almost certainly see a very common sequence of problems.

High Utility Bill

The first thing you’re going to see is a rising utility bill. As the temperature goes up outside, your refrigerator or freezer is going to do its best to combat that by running harder and longer. This uses up more energy, which is going to be reflected on your bill. This is a minor inconvenience, though, compared to what comes next.]

Frost/Ice Build Up

Your garage in the summer will have humidity in it. If you are operating a fridge or freezer in your garage in the summer and you open the door humidity will makes its way into the unit. This can cause ice and frost to build up in your unit also known as freezer burn.

Lower Interior Temperature

The next problem you’ll notice is that the food and drinks you’ve put in your appliances are staying as cold as they once did. Refrigerators and freezers are great appliances, but they can only do so much. Once the temperature reaches a certain level, even an appliance that’s running at full power all the time will only be able to keep the interior temperature so cold. If you’re lucky, this is a problem that’s going to solve itself when the weather changes. It’s more likely, though, that you’ll be moving into the final problem phase.

Reduced Life Span

Eventually, the refrigerator or freezer in your garage is going to give out. When a machine is forced to work at full power around the clock, something will eventually have to give. It’s likely that your compressor will be the first thing to go, but there are a variety of different parts in your refrigerator or freezer that could give out if they are used in an area where the temperature goes too high.

Freezer and Refrigerator in Warm Garage Solutions

Dehumidifier

As discussed above, one of the best things you can do for your freezer or for your refrigerator is installing a dehumidifier. This is going to remove moisture from the air and make it easier for your appliances to work during the summer. This will ensure that your appliances keep working for closer to their maximum lifespan. This is an easy, low-cost choice that requires no special training to install and won’t take you more than a few minutes to set up during the warmest months of the year.

Insulation

Insulation is likewise a fairly strong choice here. While most people think of insulation as something that keeps a place warm, the truth is that it also helps to regulate the temperature when it is warm outside. A well-insulated space will help the outside temperature from impacting your garage quite significantly. This will keep the operating temperature of your appliances a bit lower.

When I have had to go out into the field to maintenance fridges and freezers I have seen separately built out rooms for the units. So that people do not have to insulate their entire garage it is cheaper to build an insulated room around your units.

Create Air Flow

Another great solution to most heat-related problems is adding a little bit of air-flow. It’s amazing the degree to which having a ceiling fan above your refrigerator can make a difference, but even having a fan in the space blowing directly at your refrigerator can help with operational problems.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to install your appliances underneath an air vent – or, if necessary, to install an entirely new vent. When air keeps flowing, the temperature should become less of a problem. Also, having a fan pointed toward your appliance will help cool down the condenser coils allowing the fridge to not have to work as hard.

Proper Amount of Inventory

Finally, try to make sure that you keep your refrigerator properly stocked during the summer. A refrigerator that’s cooling nothing but air isn’t going to function very well, and it’s going to struggle to maintain its temperature every time you open and shut the door.

You also do not want to have to many items in the freezer because it will restrict the flow of cold air. There are is an internal fan known as the evaporator fan that is responsible for circulating air, if you have to much food it will negate the fans job. What you need to keep inside is going to vary by unit, but you should be able to figure it out fairly quickly.

Placing your Fridge or Freezer in the Garage in the Winter

Problems

The biggest problem you’re going to see with a freezer or refrigerator in the garage is actually one that’s a bit counter-intuitive. When the temperature drops, you’d naturally think that your appliances would have to do less work. After all, you’re looking to keep your food cold and colder temperatures should just speed that process along.

Reduction in Internal Temperature

When it gets too cold outside, though, your compressor won’t be triggered in the normal fashion. Instead, it will occasionally come on for brief bursts of time – but as far as the unit can tell, the temperature has already reached where it needs to be for operational efficiency. It’s not uncommon to see a freezer full of food go bad when it’s freezing outside.

Frozen Water Lines

If you have a refrigerator that has a water dispenser then the line will freeze if the temperature drops below a certain level.

Freezer and Refrigerator in Cold Garage Solutions

Garage Refrigerator Kit

The real key here is still going to be the garage refrigerator kit. If you know that your garage is going to drop below around forty degrees during the winter, you’ll want to pick up one of these kits before you move your appliances. If you are not comfortable doing work with electrical wiring, you may want to contact a professional to do the installation for you.

The garage refrigerator kit is a heater. It works by heating up the area around the thermostat area to make it turn on.

Insulation

Fortunately, most of the problems for dealing with cold-weather problems are similar to those needed for dealing with warm-weather problems. Insulating your garage or insulating the space in which your appliances will be placed can pay off huge dividends if you get it done before the winter. It’s also a good idea to think about insulating any water hoses that run outside of your freezer to prevent freezing if you are in an area with low temperatures.

Proper Amount of Inventory

Likewise, proper stocking is going to be a key during the coldest months of the year. Again, you’re looking to keep the amount of work your freezer or refrigerator has to do to a minimum, so keeping a reasonable stock of food inside will keep the interior of the unit at the proper temperature even if you open and close the doors multiple times in a row. While you might not think keeping the blowers clear will be quite as important during the winter, you’ll still want to avoid over-filling your appliances when it’s cold outside.

You can accomplish this by:

  • Keeping an inventory of everything you have in your freezer
  • Using containers or baskets to separate different types of food

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