More people are moving their refrigerator to the garage for a variety of reasons. Apart from freeing up space inside the house, a garage refrigerator can hold a lot more than the average kitchen option. Is it a good idea to keep a refrigerator in the garage?
It is not bad to keep a refrigerator in your garage if you understand all the complications that can arise from that decision, and prepare properly for them. If you live in an area where temperature extremes are common, you need to ensure your refrigerator can handle such in an uninsulated garage.
The rest of the article will show you what happens when you keep a refrigerator in the garage. Also, watch out for tips to keep in mind if you choose to move your refrigerator to the garage.
What Happens When You Keep a Refrigerator in the Garage?
The mechanism in modern refrigerators means that they are very sensitive to temperature changes. A refrigerator in a garage, therefore, will have to work harder than one in the kitchen, for example, if the ambient temperature in the garage starts to veer towards extremes.
Generally, most manufacturers will recommend using a refrigerator only in temperatures between 0°F (-17°C) and 110°F (43°C). If you live in an area where the temperatures get close to these upper and lower limits or surpass them, your refrigerator’s components will find it difficult to work efficiently. If, like most households, your garage is always hotter or colder than your living areas,
In hot weather, the compressor will run continuously as it attempts to keep the compartment at freezing temperatures. This will lead to higher energy consumption and will wear down the refrigerator’s parts quickly. You may also notice that items in the freezer take longer to get frozen, if ever.
In winter conditions, the compressor will cycle on and off a lot more frequently as it tries to balance the effect of the chilly ambient weather against the temperature inside the refrigerator. In this scenario, you might find frozen food thawing faster than you’d like. If the weather gets too cold, the thermostat in its “confusion” may fail to turn on the refrigerator at all.
Tips for Keeping a Refrigerator in the Garage
If you’ve decided to keep a refrigerator in the garage, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure that the appliance will keep functioning optimally. They are covered below.
Confirm the Installation Instructions
As you’ve seen above, most refrigerators come with instructions on the temperature ranges they can work in. Check your user manual to see what operating conditions are recommended. Confirm the typical temperatures you get in your garage at the peak of the summer and winter to ensure your refrigerator can work effectively.
Not sure how to confirm the temperatures in your garage? Input your city in the search bar on this website to get some estimates. Add or subtract 10° to any estimates you get for the summer or winter to get an idea of what the weather will look like in your garage. You can also keep a simple thermometer like a Newentor Weather Station or AcuRite Monitor to keep tabs on weather changes in the garage when the time comes.
Insulate the Garage
If you confirm that the temperatures in your garage will be too cold or too hot for your refrigerator, you can improve the temperatures inside with insulation. If you can’t afford complete insulation, you can focus on the walls alone. Remember, you are only trying to keep the temperature at a range that is comfortable for your refrigerator.
An alternative to insulating all or part of your garage is to create a small partition for your refrigerator and insulate the room instead of the entire garage. You can achieve this with some wood and insulation material. Don’t forget to leave enough room for the heat from the refrigerator’s operation to escape easily. With proper insulation, the refrigerator will no longer be affected by extremely cold or extremely hot weather.
Keep the Thermostat Warm
If you live in a climate where you are only worried about freezing temperature in your garage, you can install kits like the Frigidaire 5303918301 or Wadoy 5303918301 to keep your thermostat warm enough to continue functioning normally under freezing temperatures.
However, this method will require you to have the wiring skills needed to tweak the control box on your refrigerator. You’ll also need to have all the right tools to get the job done, so it’s probably best to invite a professional at this point.
If you chose to insulate your garage, you might not need such a kit as the ambient weather inside will be warmer than the temperature outside. This is especially true if you have some heating in the garage. A small portable heater combined with the insulation is enough.
Protect the Refrigerator
Your garage is generally dirtier than your kitchen. This is why you should ensure that your refrigerator is protected from debris and dust. Clean the area around the refrigerator properly and ensure clean airflow around it. Doing your carpentry work in the garage, for example, can cause sawdust to lodge inside your refrigerator’s exterior components.
Additionally, you need to ensure that there are no flammable items around the refrigerator. The coils transferring heated refrigerant can trigger a fire if they raise the temperature of highly flammable materials like gasoline or cleaning items. Keep these items away from the area directly behind the refrigerator, at the very least.
Keep the Compartment Full
If your refrigerator is full, it won’t have to work so hard to maintain the temperature inside the compartment as there’d be no room for warm air (or chilly air in the winter) to disrupt things. A few gallons of water can do the job if you don’t have enough pantry goods to fill the refrigerator.
Consider Getting an Outdoor Refrigerator
If you don’t want to modify your garage to get it ready for a refrigerator, you can buy an outdoor refrigerator. These models typically come with super-powered compressors and other components that allow them to run longer hours and work effectively, even in extreme temperatures. They also come with thicker insulation, which makes them more immune to ambient temperature fluctuations.
Other features of an outdoor refrigerator include anti-corrosion, weatherproofing, and UV protection. The first two features are important if you are keeping your refrigerator in a garage where water can seep in. The UV protection will come in handy if the refrigerator is positioned near a window that lets in direct sunlight.
However, outdoor refrigerators are costly, so you need to take your time to weigh your options to be sure you really need one. You also need to confirm that the outdoor refrigerator will work fine where you live as “extreme outdoor weather” has different meanings in different places.
Keeping a refrigerator in a garage is not a bad idea. However, you need to pay attention to all the necessary details to ensure the refrigerator will keep working properly. The most important detail is to ensure that the temperature in your garage is conducive for the refrigerator—both in the winter and in the summer. You can make the garage temperature friendlier with full or partial insulation.
Once you’ve made the garage a comfortable spot for your refrigerator, keep the appliance protected and clean the garage regularly to avoid accidental damage to external components.