You are probably wondering whether or not you can store a refrigerator in freezing temperatures. Luckily, we've done plenty of research and have the answer waiting here for you. Let's discuss.
Generally, you should not store a refrigerator in freezing temperatures. Multiple parts inside the fridge can get damaged or break if you leave it in weather under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep that in mind if you live somewhere cold.
Continue reading to learn more about what can happen if you store a refrigerator outside in freezing temperatures. We also will cover whether or not you can keep one in a garage that does not have a heat source and more, so let's dive right in!
Why You Should Not Store A Refrigerator In Freezing Temperatures
It isn't a good idea to store a refrigerator outside if you intend to use it again. The only exception is if the fridge is still in its packaging and is protected by it. Even still, given how expensive refrigerators are, it's not usually worth the risk.
If you try to store a refrigerator outside during the winter months, you risk potential damage to the internal components. The compressor and water lines are two examples of parts that will freeze if you leave a refrigerator in freezing temperatures if your refrigerator has that feature.
Drain lines, valves, and the water pump are other parts to consider that may end up damaged if you leave your refrigerator outside during the winter.
Can You Keep A Refrigerator In An Unheated Garage?
Generally, refrigerators work in areas that are kept at room temperature. This is typical for a kitchen inside of your home. It is not very common for a garage to stay at room temperature, so if your garage is not heated, you are likely debating whether you can keep a fridge inside.
If your unheated garage is well insulated, it might be okay to store a refrigerator in. For example, your refrigerator will not likely be surrounded by air that is too cold for it to handle. However, if your garage is unheated and isn't well insulated, the cold will go through the exterior walls, causing the inside to become extremely chilly.
The main point to consider is that just about any refrigerator you see is not made to withstand temperatures below 50 degrees. Ideally, the temperature of where your refrigerator should be located is 68-71 degrees Fahrenheit.
Internally refrigerators should stay either at or below 40 degrees.
Additionally, you should not open the doors of your garage more than necessary to keep what heat there is inside. Cover the windows with window cling to keep the inside warmer during the winter months.
Should I Unplug My Garage Refrigerator In The Winter?
You can unplug your refrigerator in the winter if you are not using it. If you're storing food in it, then you should not unplug your fridge even if it's cold outside. This also depends on whether or not your garage is heated, insulated, or climate-controlled.
If your refrigerator is empty and sitting for a while, you should open the doors and prop them open so that any moisture on the inside can evaporate, preventing any molding or damage. Turn off the ice maker if there is one and then the water supply.
Furthermore, it is best to keep your refrigerator plugged in whenever possible. You can turn the temperature up so that the fridge is not constantly working to remain cold with nothing inside.
Wherever you store, a refrigerator needs to be a dry area. Any moisture will eventually lead to mold or mildew. A freezer is better to keep in a garage or colder temperatures because there is not the element of water pipes and what it takes to have a water dispenser and filtration system in a refrigerator.
The other thing to consider is that your electric bill will go up if you have a refrigerator plugged in inside of a garage that stays too cold. If the compressor gets damaged, it will no longer keep anything inside your freezer frozen.
You could lose the food you have inside and pay extra on your electric bill due to your refrigerator or freezer running overtime.
How Do I Keep My Garage Fridge From Freezing?
To keep the water lines and other components from freezing, you should disconnect the hoses. An alternative to this is insulating the hoses, which can help prevent damage.
If you have to use a fridge in your garage, you can use space heaters to keep the pipes from freezing. Look for one with an automatic shut-off function. Another option is heat tape.
Just be careful that you read the descriptions and choose the safest option and turn off your space heater if you are not going to be home and overnight as a safety measure.
You have to consider the fact that refrigerant runs through the refrigerator. Cold air surrounding your refrigerator will negatively affect the thermostat and end up messing up its mechanics.
Another way to keep your garage fridge from freezing is to put a heating coil around the existing thermostat. You can find garage refrigerator kits at home improvement stores. This will help regulate the temperature and trick the fridge, so it doesn't get too cold from the air around it and shut off.
Can I Leave A Chest Freezer Outside?
You can store a chest freezer or an upright freezer outside or unheated garage. Typically, garage freezers are specifically designed to withstand cold temperatures without malfunctioning.
Be sure to think about the power supply and use an outlet with a built-in cover if possible.
Some freezers come with a built-in heater that keeps the compressor going even when the temperature surrounding it is cold. Check the product description on your freezer to know what temperature range is recommended.
Will Freezing Temperatures Damage A Refrigerator?
Yes, freezing temperatures will more than likely damage a refrigerator. Unfortunately, the parts inside the fridge tend to crack, freeze, or explode.
However, it isn't an absolute depending on where you live and what the weather is like, but you do not want to damage your refrigerator unnecessarily.
If your refrigerator has plumbing built-in, then the water filter inside is another thing that can freeze or crack. Don't forget you can always check the user manual or product description online to know what temperatures your specific refrigerator is said to tolerate.
How Cold Is Too Cold For A Refrigerator Outside?
Temperatures below freezing are too cold for a refrigerator outside. This is also too cold for storing a refrigerator inside an unheated garage that reaches 35 degrees or lower.
Water lines can burst, and other elements inside of the fridge will freeze as well.
Additionally, if your garage reaches temperatures below 35 degrees, you don't want to keep your fridge inside. Like we said, doing this can cause damage to your appliance, eventually breaking it.
Even if your refrigerator still works inside your cold garage, the efficiency drops, causing your refrigerator to work harder by thawing and freezing.
If you do have a refrigerator running outdoors, you should keep it out of direct sunlight. You should also consistently keep the area surrounding the refrigerator clear of any debris. Your refrigerator is most likely meant to be used indoors and not outdoors unless it specifically states otherwise.
To Wrap It Up
Overall, you should not leave your refrigerator out in freezing temperatures, whether outside or in a garage that does not have a heat source.
The water lines, drain pipes, and all of the other parts of the water supply within your refrigerator have the potential to burst if they get too cold. This can be expensive to repair and even ruin your appliance entirely.
Furthermore, it's best to store your refrigerator in a heated garage or space that stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
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