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Lake Country Repair Blog

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Why having a refrigerator in the garage is not the best idea

Friday, January 20, 2017

Have you ever experienced "strange things" with your garage fridge? Having a refrigerator, unless it is a garage fridge, in the garage is not the best idea in our Wisconsin climate and one is much better off putting that extra refrigerator in the basement instead. Let us explain why.

Refrigerator ContentObvious Potential Problems with House Refrigerators in the Garage:

Garages have extreme temperature differences ranging from 100℉ or more on a hot summer day to 0 ℉ in the winter. We definitely experienced these types of temperatures in December! Most refrigerators are built with the inside environment in mind and there the temperature range is not 100 degrees but usually no more than 20 to 25. (between 60℉ and 80 to 85℉). If an appliance is not designed for temperature fluctuations like this, it will create problems. If it gets really hot, your compressor will need to work overtime to keep the food items in the fridge cool and the freezer compartment may actually thaw out some in sub zero temperatures as the compressor will not be triggered to turn on.

Why Does my Compressor Not Turn on in the Winter?

Refrigeration happens based on the temperature in the fridge itself. Most fridges have one temperature sensor in the fridge part. If it gets hot, the compressor turns on and cools both the fridge and keeps the freezer frozen. When the fridge gets cold from the cold environment it is in, it senses no need to turn on and therefore the freezer never gets that boost of cold air to keep things frozen. This is especially true if the garage temperature dips just a little below freezing. The freezer keeps things at 0 ℉ so a garage at 32 degrees will not have a compressor turn on and defrost your frozen items. Ofcourse if the garage gets much colder, which it does in our climate, the fridge items may freeze as well and that is not good either. We all have cleaned up frozen burst soda bottles before, just by leaving them in the garage on the cold days!

What Type of Fridge Should I have in my Garage?

There are specific garage fridges on the market. These have separate temperature sensors in both the freezer and refrigerator compartments and typically better insulation. The freezer sensor will keep frozen things frozen. Ofcourse when things get really out of hand in our Wisconsin climate you still take a chance that your fridge compartment ends up with frozen items.

Do not confuse a weatherproof fridge with a garage fridge. Weather proof means that its electrical components are insulated against water from rain. It typically does not "rain" in your garage and a weather proof fridge does not necessarily have two sensors or is extra insulated. So be careful!

Read more about fridges.

Read our blog on freezers and ice makers.

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