Will a refrigerator survive in the garage?

sandymigSeptember 26, 2007

When we were shopping for our new refrigerator we were told by the Sear's appliance salesman that putting our refrigerator we were currently using in the garage would kill it. The refrigerator we want to put in the garage is only 4 years old. I can't remember if he told us it was because of the heat or the cold. Our garage doesn't get too hot in the summer, it gets to be around 80 at the highest. In the winter it gets down to the mid 30's but doesn't freeze.

Will the fridge survive the temperatures in the garage? Our other option is to put it in the basement which is damp, but the basement is not as convenient as the garage.

Can anyone share their knowledge? Thanks in advance.

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I have had a refrigerator as well as a freezer in my garage for years and not had a problem. Mine gets above 90 in summer and in 30's in winter. Just keep it clean for air circulation.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:15PM
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We've had ours in the garage for 10 years. In addition to that, we've got an upright deep freezer, also in the garage for 13 years. Never a problem. I'm in FL and the garage does get hot in the summer but we do have two ceiling fans which helps.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:16PM
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Over the last 16 years I have had three different fridges in the garage and all have lived there happily. The two older ones are still alive and doing their jobs in new homes (for them). The third is still in my garage. I'm in the midwest with hot summers and cold winters.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:19PM
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My 26 year old fridge has been running fine in my garage for the last 5 years.

I think there's only a problem if you live in an area with extreme temperatures.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:43PM
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I live in extreme temperatures ( Upper Michigan ) can't get anymore extreme then that. ( lol ) I have had my old fridge in my garage for well over 5 yrs and never once had a problem. It gets -20 deg here and still not a problem.
The Sears appliance guy sounds a little nutty to me.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Most refrigerator thermostat sensing bulbs are located in the refrigerator compartment. (this is the control that turns the unit off and on to maintain its temperature)

The main problem that can happen by keeping the refrigerator in an unheated garage is, if you have the ref temp set at 36F and the temp in the garage drops under 36º the refigerator will see no need to turn on since its temperature requirement is satisfied.
What happens is, since the refrigerator wont turn on everything in the freezer will start warming up to the temp in the garage.
The ice cream can melt, the meats can thaw, etc..

So it won't really harm the refigerator but in some cases it could harm your food.

1 Like    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 1:51PM
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The salesman most likely made that statement with the understanding that electronic wiring and digital boards suffer when the moisture and environmental temperature levels flux from extreme high, mid, and extreme low levels.

The coating on the wires and the tubings can get brittle,causing leaks and or shorts in the wires; While the tiny wires on the control boards receive dust, auto emmissions, and other corrosive coatings, which can react and cause such boards and their components to become brittle or to have compromised connections.

This is especially true in today's manufacturing industies which puts out products to be used in controlled temperature environments, which still prove to need early on and regular repairs; even in the higher end and more expensive appliances.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 2:52PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. The reason I mentioned the refrigerator's age being about 4 years was the reason the salesman said it would not last. He said older model refrigerators had no problems in garages, but with new manufacturing, it would not last.

I guess no one else has ever heard of this?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 5:05PM
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I put my 14 year old fridge in the garage 3 years ago, and it did fine, with high summer and low winter temps for almost 3 years. What finally got it was the mice - they chewed through all the electric wires.

I'm sure it used a lot of electricity in the summer - and electricity is expensive here in Baltimore. Now I have a small fridge and chest freezer in the basement where the temps are much more moderate and I keep poison behind the freezer and the fridge.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:02PM
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5 years ago I bought a new Roper refrigerator for my garage and it has been working fine. I live in central FL and my garage temps are usually in the 90s all summer long and theres nights during the winter it will be in the 40s out there. I keep my fridge stocked with soda, beer and bottled water plus I have an icemaker in the freezer which is great for filling my cooler for the beach.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:21PM
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The frig in my garage has outlasted 3 in the house.

How old is it? Here's a hint: It's avacado green.

But ask yourself if the energy its using is really worth it just to stockpile extra beer and pop. Even though I'm 22 miles from the nearest grocery store, I'm eliminating the garage frig at the new house...

1 Like    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 5:05AM
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I had no desire for a fridge in the garage. The delivery guys said the 14yo fridge they took away would be repaired and put is a used appliance shop. Maybe they wanted to resell yours too!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 10:44AM
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I put a 20 yr old GE frig in our garage after we moved to chiacago. it did fine for 3 years but when we remodeled, we moved the "newer" kitchenaid (15 yrs old) to the garage & now that it has gotten really cold the freezer is not switching on & things are thawing. a salesman has told me i need to purchase a "gladiator" frig made especially for the garage. it's not htat bg but costs over $800

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 2:50PM
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I was told that NEW energy-efficient refigerators cannot withstand extreme variations of cold or heat. It was emphasised to me that this applied to newer models, so your 4 year old one MIGHT be affected, and you should check with the manufacturer.

My GC actually told me this, because he was planning to move his own into his garage, and discovered it wouldn't do and is having to buy one suitable for those conditions, as the previous poster.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 4:17PM
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Newer units are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. To that end, they are designed to work in a smaller range of room temps than older units. This allows engineers to fine tune the efficiency.

Your four year old unit is essentially 'newer', and while it may work, it may not work well. jakvis write a well done piece above on one potential problem.

My advicce is try it, but stock the freezer with low-value foods until you have experience with cool room temps. Get a freezer thermometer and check it a lot.

One other thing: I will probably run you $60-$100 per year to operate the fridge. You need to ask yourself is it worth the money.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 12:29AM
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My friend and I were talking about this same subject a few days ago. Its weird, you can buy the cheapest refrigerator on earth, and then stick it in your garage, and that baby will work perfectly forever. For the inside kitchen you can research, read reviews ponder, ponder some more, then end up spending a lot more money in justifying it will last longer only to have your appliance crap out early or have annoying problems from the get go. We have decided to trick our new refrigerator by telling it itÂs going into the garage but then pulling an old switcher-roo into the kitchen. Appliances do not seem too intelligent these days so I think we may get away with it.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 10:38AM
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The relevant answers above are those by "jakvis" and "cpovey."

I've had a 1997 KitchenAid topfreezer in my garage for three years, exposed to the weather extremes (heat) of the central Texas coast, and it's doing fine thus far. There's not so much cold weather, so I've not had a problem with freezer contents not staying frozen.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 12:01PM
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Heat isn't a problem until you exceed a refrigerator's cooling capacity, but cold is another story. Your fridge shouldn't have a problem in summer since many kitchens get warmer. But the compressor may not turn on when temperature drops below the operating minimum. That could let the even refrigerator compartment get too warm. While it's possible that operating it outside its design parameters could damage it, your garage temperature range doesn't seem extreme enough to be a problem -- but check the installation instructions to see if the manufacturer has a warning about letting winter deliveries warm up before turning them on.

In the worst case, your fridge should work fine in the garage most of the year, and if you need the space during cold weather, you may be able to heat the immediate area just enough to keep the fridge operating properly. Since (unless I missed something) the Gladiator is not an Energy Star appliance, it's not even clear that the operating energy would be much higher, and it would certainly be less than the energy required to manufacture and deliver an additional fridge for the garage.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 6:25PM
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Is it true that having a refrigerator in the garage uses more energy versus putting it in the house. I have space to put my garage frig in the house but I would rather not. However, a friend of my husband's has convinced him that we can save $50/mo on our electricity bill if we move it in the house.

Could this be true?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Heather Bellanca

I need to store a frig until my house is finished. My question is will freezing temps (we've had some major cold here in upstate NY) ruin a frig that is not plugged in? What about water that may be sitting in the ice maker works? Thanks for any helpful input!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2015 at 5:43AM
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Freezing ambient temps will not hurt a non-running/stored unit, with the exception of any internal enclosed container or tubing that holds water, such as for a water dispenser or ice maker feed, that has no space for expansion upon freezing. The ice maker freezing mold is not enclosed so no concern directly with it. Defrost condensate collection pans also are not enclosed. Some water dispensers involve a reservoir or a coil of tubing in the refrigerator section which holds a supply of water kept chilled for dispensing ... the reservoir container or tubing could freeze and rupture if not drained before storage.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2015 at 7:27AM
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Heather Bellanca


    Bookmark   March 10, 2015 at 8:57AM
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