Freezer in Garage-is it okay??

capefloDecember 2, 2012

We are looking to purchase an upright freezer.... nothing fancy... a Frigidaire or something of that caliber (price). We are thinking of placing it in our detached garage and am wondering if that would be problematic. It is dry in the garage but it's an unheated space. Does anyone see any problems with this?
Thank you for your insights.

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Short of outdoors, an totally unconditioned garage is about the worst possible place for any kind of refrigeration appliance. Both heat and cold can prevent many from working properly, and that can be dangerous (your food may become warm enough to be unsafe to eat without you realizing). Check the manufacturer's specifications very carefully.

If you don't get excessive heat, but you do get cold, it may be possible to install a small heating unit to keep a freezer working OK. (Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it's true.)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:03PM
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A freezer is not so problematic in an unheated space as is a refrigerator/freezer.

A refrigerator/freezer unit must maintain the fresh food section at a temp above freezing (usually 36F to 38F, and the freezer section at freezing or below. The problem comes into play due to (on majority of units) the thermostat being in the fresh food section. The freezer section largely gets as cold as it can while enough chilled air is diverted to the fresh food section to maintain its setpoint. If the ambient temp drops to or slightly below the target temp of the fresh food section (say, 30F to 34F, then the unit will run very little since there's not enough heat gain to trigger it. This can cause the freezer section to rise slightly above freezing and cause deterioration or spoilage of frozen food.

An all-freezer unit is always keeping itself below freezing (0F perhaps) ... so it will run as needed (although very little) even if the ambient temp is, for example, 5F.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Another issue, which killed an Amana stored in my basement some years ago, is condensation on the coils. If the refrigerator is not run for a while, and temperature fluctuates, condensation on coils can lead to corrosion, pitting, and eventual refrigerant leaking.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:16AM
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We bought an old GE chest freezer around 22 years ago and have it stored in a metal shed that is not heated or cooled. It has worked fine. I don't know how they are made today, they might be more sensitive to humidity and all. My inlaws have one in their garage for about 7 years, but do not know the brand.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:21AM
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My parents have had chest freezers (two over the years) in the garage for more than 45 years to no ill effect.

I've had a KitchenAid/Whirlpool top-freezer refrigerator in my detached garage for 8 years with no trouble.

But, weather here (near Houston) doesn't get as cold as in some other areas.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:57AM
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My folks had a Norge chest freezer from the time I was born to long after I left for college. It always sat in the back of an unheated garage. They eventually gave it away and got a smaller unit.

The only problem seemed to be rust on the outside. A little Rustoleum and a cover seemed to take care of that.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Now that you said that, ours does have a few rust spots on the lid, but they are super small. My husband uses the deepfreeze as a work bench at times. The rust spots may be from him scratching it! Lol

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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> An all-freezer unit ... will run as needed ... even if the ambient temp is, for example, 5F.

It depends on the unit. Lubricant in the compressor may not work properly in very low temperatures, and you may get "slugging" - liquid refrigerant damaging the compressor.

Defrost cycles will not work at low temperatures, so your freezer may end up pretty iced up at the end of winter.

Here's a quote from a Whirlpool all-freezer manual: "Do not install the freezer near an oven, radiator, or other heat source, nor in a location where the temperature will fall
below 40F."

I found a GE manual that states a safe operating range of 0F to 110F, and a Frigidaire manual that does not state a lower limit, but again says 110F max.

It's worth pointing out that a freezer in a hot garage will use a lot more electricity than one indoors.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:11PM
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My refrigerator/freezer in my garage has problems in the winter. The freezer does not stay cold enough and the frozen food partially defrosts. I think I understand why this happens in my unheated Midwest attached garage. I am wondering if putting a battery-operated puck light in the refrigerator to generate some heat would "trick" the unit into continuing run and cool down even in the cold garage.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 11:57AM
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My parents, being Italian-American, always have had an upright freezer in their unheated and uninsulated garage. I'm not aware of any problems. It's pretty old now, too, in appliance years. We're in upstate NY, zone 6A, so the temp goes below freezing often and for long periods.

They have never, however, put a fridge out there. The traditional Italian extra fridge is usually put in the basement.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Thanks for your comments. My fridge/freezer is only 7 years old. I understand that really old ones work differently and will function in a cold garage.

I can put one in my basement instead, but I prefer it in the garage.

I could get the Chillerator which is designed for garage use, but it's pricey.

Still open to any other ideas...


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:21PM
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We kept an 18cuft fridge in the carport for several years, so it was exposed to freezing temps, high humidity and 100* summers. Mom sold it when she downsized so I'm not sure how old it was, at least 10 years.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:19PM
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We kept our upright 18 cu ft freezer in our unheated, uncooled garage for 10 years. It functioned perfectly. We moved from Massachusetts to New Mexico 18 months ago, put the freezer in the laundry room and it is still fine.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:51PM
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