Is It Bad to Keep a Refrigerator in the Garage?

More people are moving their refrigerators to the garage for various reasons. Apart from freeing up space inside the house, a garage refrigerator can hold more than the average kitchen option. Is it a good idea to keep a fridge in the garage?

Keeping a refrigerator in your garage is not bad if you understand all the complications from that decision and prepare appropriately for them. Suppose you live in an area that gets very cold in the winter or very hot in the summer. In that case, you need to ensure your refrigerator can handle extreme temperatures.

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 is very sensitive to temperature changes.

Therefore, a fridge in a garage will have to work harder than one in the kitchen, for example. Especially 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 reach (or surpass) these limits, your fridge will find it challenging to work efficiently. In most houses, the garage is always hotter or colder than your living areas.

In hot weather, the compressor constantly runs as it attempts to keep the compartment cold. This will lead to higher energy consumption and quickly wear down the refrigerator’s parts.

This is even more pronounced for fridges with a freezer section or standalone garage freezers.

During winter, the compressor will cycle on and off a lot more frequently to balance the effect of the chilly ambient weather against the temperature inside the refrigerator. You might find frozen food thawing faster than you’d like in this scenario. If the weather gets too cold, the thermostat may fail to turn on the refrigerator.


Tips for Keeping a Refrigerator in the Garage

Suppose you’ve decided to keep a refrigerator in the garage. In that case, here are a few tips to ensure it will keep working as it should.

Check Your Manual

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 and confirm that your typical temperatures fall within the acceptable temperature range.

Most weather services like weather-us.com or accuweather.com will have historical estimates based on the month. 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 know your garage will be too cold or too hot for your refrigerator, you can lessen the impact by insulating your garage.

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 comfortable range for your refrigerator.

A cheaper alternative is to create a small partition for your refrigerator and insulate that instead of the entire garage. Many people insulate the area around their garage water heater, so there are plenty of examples online.

Many people insulate the area around their garage water heater, so there are plenty of examples online. Don’t forget to leave enough room for the heat from the refrigerator’s operation to escape.

With proper insulation, the refrigerator will no longer be affected by freezing cold or scorching heat.

Keep the Thermostat Warm

Suppose insulation isn’t an option, but you live in a climate where you are only worried about freezing temperature in your garage.

In that case, 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 choose 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. You should ensure that your refrigerator is protected from debris and dust.

Clean the area around the fridge 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 no flammable items are near 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 your garage safe by moving these items away from the area directly behind the refrigerator, at the very least.

Keep the Compartment Full

If your refrigerator is full, it’s easier to keep the temperature colder.

Your fridge 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.

While more expensive, these models typically come with super-powered compressors and other components 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 vital if you keep your refrigerator in a garage where water can seep in. The UV protection will come in handy if the fridge is 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.


Conclusion

Keeping a refrigerator in a garage is not a bad idea. However, you need to pay attention to all the necessary details to ensure your fridge keeps working correctly.

The most crucial piece is ensuring that your garage’s temperature is acceptable—both in the winter and summer. Insulating your garage will definitely help here.

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.