How to get garage freezer to work in cold weather

amyf5January 17, 2013

I have a 7-year-old GE refrigerator/freezer in my unheated, insulated, attached garage in the Midwest. When it gets very cold, the freezer stops working and my food partially defrosts. I have read that this is a common problem. If I understand correctly, the unit runs based on the temperature sensor inside the refrigerator. So when it's 30 degrees in my garage, it stops running which is fine for the fridge, but not for the freezer.

There is a product called a Chillerator made by Whirlpool which is specifically designed to work in very hot or very cold environments like a garage. But it's pricey.

I was wondering if a battery-powered halogen or LED puck light placed inside my fridge might generate enough heat to trick the whole unit into running even when the garage gets very cold. I'm interested in any comments on this idea or any other (easy) solutions to my problem.

Thank you.


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ISTM that you would need a source of heat underneath the unit, not inside the cooling compartment. I'd try electrical heat tape, such as the type used to keep pipes from freezing, wrapped around the compressor. An insullating skirt around the base might also help.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:12PM
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I think a light bulb [incandescent] is a great idea. I have the same problem in my mudroom.
It does not however address the change in the properties of the very cold air, and how it might? change the refrigeration abilities of the unit.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:44PM
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The problem is very similar to running a central air unit below around 50 F.

The oil is to cold to circulate correctly to lubricate the compressor (some compressors have heaters built in to prevent damage, others do not).

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Thank you for the suggestions. After some more research, I decided to go ahead and order the Chillerator. The light bulbs, electrical tape and other ideas sound like more than I want to do and are not guaranteed to work. I appreciate the advice and will post back on how the Chillerator works out.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:18PM
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