Can I put a fridge in an unheated garage?

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While many people do keep a spare fridge in the garage to store cold drinks and extra groceries, there are a few reasons this practice presents a challenge. If you put a fridge in an unheated garage it will no longer work at an optimal level when temperatures outside drop. As a result, foods and drinks inside the fridge are not kept at the proper temperatures, ultimately leaving them unappetizing and unsafe for consumption.

Ambient temperature

A fridge designed for home use will operate in an ambient temperature between 12.8 and 37.8 degrees Celsius (55 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit), but in order to operate at an optimal level, it must be kept in an environment that maintains temperatures between 19.4 to 25 degrees Celsius (67 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The ambient temperature of the space where a refrigerator is kept will affect how often the refrigerator must run or stop running to keep the inside at a set temperature.

Garage fridge problems

Once a set temperature is reached inside the fresh foods section, most refrigerators will stop running. When the temperature outside a refrigerator drops below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), the unit doesn't need to run often to keep the fresh foods section amply cooled. As a result, the fridge isn't running enough to sufficiently cool the freezer, and foods begin to thaw. If the ambient temperature drops to -1.1 degrees Celcius (30 degrees Fahrenheit), a fridge will stop running altogether and allow the fresh foods section to freeze. Unless the outdoor temperature stays consistently between 19.4 and 25 degrees Celcius (67 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit), you will experience these garage fridge issues.

Maintenance tips

Since it is exposed to more dust, the condenser on your garage fridge should be vacuumed more often than the one in your kitchen. If you generally vacuum the condenser on your kitchen fridge once a year, aim to perform this task twice as often in the garage unit. To prevent the door seal on your garage fridge from becoming brittle and the seal from deteriorating, lubricate the seal with petroleum jelly each time you vacuum the condenser. Never block airflow around your fridge.

Specialised refrigerators

To avoid these problems altogether, you can purchase a fridge specifically designed for use outdoors and in the garage. These fridge continue to operate properly despite significant fluctuations in ambient temperature, but can be pricey. Garage fridge kits are also available for many models and allow you to inexpensively convert your existing fridge so it runs well in any weather.

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