Can You Keep a Fridge in Your Garage?

by Team HomeServe

Putting a fridge in the garage can be a handy way to increase your food storage space — or just keep drinks in a convenient spot. But many people worry about damaging their appliance by leaving it exposed to the elements.

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Here’s how to protect your garage fridge from extreme temperatures.

Can You Put a Fridge in the Garage?

You can keep a fridge in the garage, but you should first consider the temperature inside your garage. Understanding how modern refrigerators function can help you decide if your setup is suitable for a garage refrigerator.

Most refrigerators work by sensing the surrounding air temperature and adjusting the temperature inside the fridge accordingly. Fridge freezers work by adjusting the temperature inside the freezer and diverting cold air to the fridge from inside the freezer. Very high or low temperatures inside your garage can interfere with this process. Therefore, it's important to consider your local climate before investing in a garage refrigerator.

What Kind of Fridge Works Best in the Garage?

Some fridges are more suitable to use in garages than others. The primary issue with keeping a fridge in the garage is that the thermostat can become confused if the temperature inside the garage falls outside its acceptable operating temperature range.

Therefore, purchasing a fridge with a wider range of acceptable operating temperatures is a wise choice if you want to keep it in the garage. Older, less efficient fridges can also be better because they aren't as sensitive to outside temperature fluctuations.

Will a Fridge Work in a Cold or Unheated Garage?

Very cold temperatures can interfere with your garage fridge's thermostat. If the temperature in your garage dips below a certain level, the thermostat senses the drop in temperature and may register that the fridge is already cold enough, even if it isn’t. When this happens, your fridge may shut off, allowing the food inside to defrost or get too warm. If the temperature gets below freezing, the food inside the fridge could freeze.

You can purchase a heating coil to place over your fridge's thermostat in the winter to get around this problem. There are various heating coils available that are specially designed to fit fridge and freezer thermostats. Alternatively, you could place a heater or heat lamp near the thermostat.

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Should You Unplug a Garage Fridge for the Winter?

If you don't have any food in the fridge, unplugging it during icy weather will save you the trouble of heating the thermostat. However, if you still want to use your fridge for food storage, it's best to leave it plugged in. The internal temperature could still become warm enough for food to spoil if the fridge is turned off, even if the temperature outside is chilly.

Can a Fridge Stay in the Garage During the Summer?

If summers are hot where you live, a fridge in the garage will have to work harder to maintain a cool internal temperature. Humid weather can also cause the fridge coils to rust due to increased moisture. Increased pressure on your fridge's cooling system will shorten its lifespan, so you'll need to take steps to stop its cooling coils from overheating.

One of the simplest methods is to aim a fan at the cooling coils when the temperature spikes. If humidity is an issue, a dehumidifier can lower the humidity levels to protect your fridge coils from rust.

Do Garage Fridges Last as Long as Indoor Fridges?

A fridge in the garage won't generally last as long as an indoor fridge because it will have to work harder to maintain suitable internal temperatures. However, this is less likely to be an issue if you live in a mild climate without extreme temperature fluctuations. Garage fridges are also at increased risk of problems like rust.