newer refr./freezers quit when kept outside ...

vieja_gwDecember 19, 2013

We have a 13 yr. old Kenmore (Sear's) upright freezer that has worked great all these years out in the garage. A 3 yr. old Frigidaire refr/freezer however also in the garage recently had the freezer part go down to 40 degrees & everything melted so we bought another Kenmore the same size! Next morning after the temp. in the freezer portion went down to 10 degrees, we put food. in the refr. & freezer. The following day the freezer portion was up to 40 degrees & all contents thawed!!
Called Sear's & was told that the compressor on newer models is not as big (?cheap!) as older models & must have a 'compressor cover bought & installed' if it is to be placed in a shed or garage outside the house!!

Anyone ever heard of this? Imagine many folks have an additional freezer or refr. in the garage or shed now days so if this is a real problem then the units should come already with a cover installed on all units or at least a note about temp. storage (yes, in small print it does give a temp. range for refr. & freezers somewhere in the paperwork after our problem & we then looked for the note!)
NOt sure if other brands would have the same problem or if the cover for the Kenmmore would be a universal one & would fit other brands also?
Waiting for the cover to be sent UPS ... thankfully it is winter & outside temps. still pretty cold

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What I've read happens, which isn't specific to new refrigerators, is this. There's only one compressor in most units and it's controlled by the fridge temp. Meaning there is no switch just for the freezer. Only when the fridge temp gets too warm, then the unit runs. When the outside temp is cold enough to keep the fridge temp below it's set point, the compressor simply never runs. If the outside temp stays at 35 degrees and your fridge set temp is 36 degrees, the compress will never turn on. Meanwhile, the freezer warms up to 35 degrees and everything thaws.

I keep my garage fridge temp at around 33 degrees, just to keep beverages really cold, and have never had the freezer thaw. I don't think the the temp in my garage has gone below 33 before though.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Makes sense, thanks! Now I know why the freezer part of a refr./freezer unit doesn't have a real control dial in front like the refr. part does....

Still not sure why the upright freezer doesn't have the controls in front & not in back where it is not easily accessible when unit is full of frozen food?!

Wonder what the 'cover' for the compressor is that Sear's said is necessary for ourdoors & is now on order?

Sear's said the compressors on newer units is smaller (cheaper?!) than on the older units.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:03PM
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The Sears rep you contacted may be a little confused on the purpose of the retrofit part, or the item description in their database may be a little mis-named for that item. It may be a thermostat heater to trick the unit into running more in the cold environment, some manufacturers have those available as an accessory if needed for garage use.

Be interesting to hear what the "cover" ends up to be.

This post was edited by dadoes on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 14:23

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:21PM
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It has been discussed here that one can put an incandescent bulb inside the refrigerator section near the thermostat to fool it into running longer.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 6:51PM
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To let you know,the retrofit kit Sear's said we needed for an outdoor (garage) refr../freezer came today. Called an: Electrolux Low Ambient Temperature (garage kit) ($34). (Frigidaire, White-Westinghouse, Gibson Kelvonator, Tappan, Philco names on the box also) . Wires on the heating unit are to be hooked up to the cabinet control box. Haven't hooked it up yet... will let you know if it works! If so, we will get one for our other refr./freezer in the garage. Maybe cheaper somewhere on Amazon however for an additional one. Never had this problem before but imagine others like us also have extra refr./freezers in outdoor rooms, garages, sheds & may need this attachment!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:41PM
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So far the retrofit unit we ordered is working fine on the new refr./freezer... but now we don't need the older refr./freezer if one of these retrofit units would 'fix' that one also!!! Other family members may decide to use ot though if another 'retro-fit' unit will 'fix' it!

Something new to learn every day! Thanks for your help in explaining the problem!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Good to hear there is a fix for this. I have a few-years-old Kenmore fridge/ freezer in the garage and when it gets down cold enough here (PNW), I have lost some of the frozen soup and pesto I have in the freezer. I forget every year when it gets so cold that I need to move the freezer items into our upright garage freezer s they don't thaw. I'm going to show this to my DH to see if he's up for installing it. I'd love to not have to worry about the frozen food.

How tough was the install?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Unit cost less than $20 that my husband ordered & it was very easy to install where the refrigerator control knob is. We have the old 'broken' one now that we will install that device & keep it as either another (!!) refr./freezer in the garage or give it to our son for his garage. I reaize now that one can buy a refrigerayor- only like the freezer -only we have; THAT would be the ideal set-up for us had we only known before getting the refr./freezers we now have instead where the freezer portion had the problem when stored in the garage! This device has the list of models it is designed for.

Sure glad to hear about this unit to attach.. seems to work just fine & keeps the freezer things frozen well!

Called 'Garage Kit' by Frigidaire (part # 5303918301) & fits models listed there. Hope you can try this & find it helps ... it sure works for us but wish we had learned of it before we bought the new refr./freezer - now that the old one works fine with the unit attached!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 5:16PM
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