Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I am ready to purchase a new refrigerator to replace the one currently kept in my garage. I was told the new refrigerators should not be kept in the garage, because they can no longer handle extreme temperature changes. Can you confirm this and explain if it is true?
By Kay from Cincinnati, OH
I keep an extra fridge in my well house as we have a big garden in the summertime, and I keep fresh produce there. My experience has been that the fridge works and keeps things as well as when I used it in the kitchen, but the freezer doesn't work well. It will keep foods frozen in the summer, but not in the cold. Our well house temperature is controlled by a heater that kicks in if it gets colder than 40º to keep the pump and water tank from freezing. I keep things like flour, oatmeal, and bread in that freezer during the winter. In the summer months it works fine.
If it's a new refrigerator, they may not cover the warranty if something happens due to extreme temperature fluctuations. However, I've had garage refrigerators my entire life and they lasted as long as the ones inside the home. They will use more energy however than in your house. A good resource is http://www.gara efrigerator.html
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Will a refrigerator in the garage cause ozone tire damage? We want to put an additional fridge in the garage, but were warned about this possibility due to ozone being generated by the compressor's motor.
I don't know about the ozone, but the refrigerator burns out a lot faster. My in-laws just replaced the one in their garage, it wasn't very old, and they were told to put it in their basement pantry instead. The fridge has to work a lot harder in a garage than in a temperature controlled environment. (01/16/2008)
I've kept a refrigerator in the garage for years and have not had any problems. I suppose it might use more energy when it's really hot outside, but then again it probably uses less energy when it's colder. I personally like to keep one in the garage.
My son got a new fridge and put the old one (2 years old) in their garage for extra stuff. We live in New Jersey, don't know where you are. In the cold winter, there is something regarding the freezer thermostat, where it does not freeze up. The first year, everything in the freezer defrosted. After calling the repair company, they said that the newer refrigerators can no longer adjust to cold unheated temperatures. So he now knows, come October, they take everything out of the freezer and just use the frig part.
In March or April, you can put stuff back in the freezer. If you go to a appliance company, or look on line, you will see they now make what they call garage refrigerators that have a special element so this does not happen in a cold unheated garage. Let me know if you find out any other information. (01/17/2008)
We put our old refrigerator in our unheated garage when we bought a new one. We didn't know to unplug it during the winter, and the compressor went out when we were having very cold temperatures. Until then, we weren't aware that some brands of refrigerators can handle really cold temperatures and some can't. When we were looking for a new upright freezer, we made sure it could tolerate an unheated area. The Sears Kenmore brand is one of the few that will.
The booklet that comes with refrigerators and freezers may indicate that information. We were told that when the oil in most compressors gets extremely cold, it gels up and stops lubricating, thus burning up the compressor. The compressor motor is sealed so the gas inside can't escape.
The sealed refrigerant gas is bad for the ozone, but cannot escape the compressor. It is pumped into a recovery tank by a professional after refrigerators and freezers are disposed.
We had 2 (Kenmore) freezers which we kept in the garage. They
were fine. Never a problem in cold winters, but in the summer. If they are kept in the garage or breezeway where its very hot, they may run continually and hard. Not sure of the damage to the appliance, but it can sure run up the electric bill. (01/17/2008)
I was a tire technician for several years and the place that I worked at, put me in several tire education classes and not once did they mention "ozone" from an electrical motor or compressor that could damage tires. Keep in mind that all service/tire shops have numerous pieces of equipment with electric motors in them. For example, an air compressor, has an electric motor. Maybe your tire shop uses a foot pump to air up the tires. Your tire salesman is definitely an idiot. Sorry, but it's true IMO anyways. Your tires will be fine.
Steve, from Blair, NE (01/28/2008)
Most refrigerators will have seasonal problems if used in an unheated garage. This is because the thermostat is in the refrigerator. If the temperature outside is cooler than the refrigerator needs to be (generally under 35 F degrees), the freezer will no longer turn on to cool the system, so anything in the freezer may thaw.
If the temperature is below freezing, most refrigerators will not heat the refrigerator, and items in the refrigerator will freeze. One can put a small light bulb in the refrigerator to keep it warmer (this is what old pop machines used to do), but it still is a problem in areas with really cold winters.
I had always put a fridge in the garage with no problems. That changed when we replaced it about 3 years ago. It stopped working that winter. The garage temp had dropped to 35 degrees F. I was told the compressor had a sensor that shut it down in cold weather (40 degrees F) to prevent it from burning up. I was also told to move it to a warmer place or replace it with a garage fridge.
For $8 I got a metal clamp-on lamp. I put a 60 watt bulb in it and pointed it directly at the compressor. In about 30 minutes the compressor warmed up and started running. Overnight the fridge and freezer went back to the set temps of 40 degrees F and 10 degrees F and have operated fine since. The lamp is switched on during cold spells and off otherwise. I have no idea how long this will work, but is has been OK so far.
If the lamp is left on 24/7 it uses about 43 KW a month which cost $5.20 from my provider near Seattle. Nov-Feb are our problematic months but not every day gets cold enough to present a problem.
There are thermal switches for about $30 that you can plug the lamp into. You set the switch to engage, turn on, at say 45 degrees F and shut off at 50 degrees F. That eliminates the need to remember to turn the lamp on or off and can save up to $2 of electricity a month.