Refrigerator in the Garage

Garage Refrigerator

Why won't your Refrigerator Work Properly in the Garage?

This is a common question. I will do my best to explain why your Freezer won't freeze properly when it's kept in the garage. More than likely you only notice this problem when the temperatures outside get down to freezing or close to it.

Basically there really isn't anything wrong with the Refrigerator itself. The problem is the outside air temperature. The Refrigerator Section in most Top Freezer Refrigerators is where the only thermostat for the machine is located. The Freezer Temperature is determined by how long the fridge runs, more on that later. The Refrigerator running in 70 - 75 degree temperatures(kitchen) will be "calling for cold" 45 -55 percent of the time. That means the machine is running about half the time. This keeps the temperature in the fridge compartment just below 40 degrees or so. By running about half the time causes the temperature in the freezer to toggle around zero.

Now, how do you adjust the freezer temperature then if the only thermostat is in the refrigerator compartment? ah, Good Question. That is pretty simple. The evaporator is located in the freezer section. This is what "gets cold" when the compressor runs. The fridge section gets its cold air from the freezer. There is an air diverter that only allows a small amount of air to circulate from the freezer to the refrigerator when it's calling for cold. So, at the factory settings in an average room temperature setting, the freezer will have to run long enough to freeze when it needs to cool the fridge compartment. Make sense? If you want to make the freezer temperature lower, you are essentially going to starve the refrigerator side's air flow. This will keep the freezer running longer to cool the fridge section and therefor you have lower freezer temperature.

Now here is the reason your Freezer won't Freeze in the garage during the winter months. If the outside temperature is close to the temperature your refrigerator section needs to be, the compressor will only have to run for a very short time to make the fridge happy. That will not be enough time for the freezer to pull down to the proper temperature.


There are kits you can get to solve this issue. There are normally called Garage Kits. Pretty easy to remember right. How a garage kit works is by tricking the refrigerator to think it's in a warmer environment. A garage kit is placed by the thermostat in the Refrigerator Compartment and it puts off a small amount of heat causing the freezer to cycle on and off more frequently. This allows the freezer to get down to the proper temperature and keep the things in your freezer completely frozen all the time. Not most of the time or sometimes.

It is a rather simple solution that the average person can do themselves. The kit shown in this post is a garage kit for a Frigidaire Refrigerator. This will give you an idea of what one looks like. If you have any questions about this, just visit Appliance Outlet and you can get more help there.

15 comments:

  1. Thank you for the information about garage refrigerators. Our 25 year old refrigerator did great outside, but the newer one...8 years old... is headed for the garage soon, and I am afraid it will die on us this next winter in southern Ohio. Will this garage kit work on any refrigerator, or just Frigidair? Also, would this problem be solved if we built an insulated closet to house the refrigerator in the garage? or would that restrict too much air flow? Thanks for your help.

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  2. I am only going to use my outside fridge for beer. Not use the freezer at all. Would it be best that I simply leave the fridge unplugged in the winter and just use the unit for storage?

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  3. Thanks for this Garage Refrigerator, this features are great...

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  4. So where can I get one of these kits for the garage refrigerator. Interestingly, GE Parts knows nothing about one of these kits

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  5. I live in florida and my garage at times could be 90+ degrees. Is there any reason why I should not keep a freezer in the garage?

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  6. Excellent and useful article! Thanks for taking the time to post this.

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  7. Gladiator GarageWorks makes a refrigerator specifically designed for the Garage and it's manufactured by Whirlpool corporation! Amazing product...

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  8. are you kidding me! using a heater to trick the freezer to think its in a warmer environment. If its a winter climate, and the garage is cold, why go through all the trouble. unplug the beast, leave the door open, and take advantage of the free cold environment.

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    1. The idea is, that if it's 30 degrees in the garage, the unit won't run at all, because the refrigerator compartment is at 30 degrees. If the unit doesn't run, the freezer which should be close to zero will then become 30 degrees, and you lose everything in the freezer... Unless your garage is 0 degrees, in which case.... move somewhere warmer.

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  9. I have read that the garage kits only work on top freezer model. Why would the kit not work for side by side

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    1. Not positive, but i think side by side models work a little differently. Top freezer models have the thermostat in the fridge, but cool the freezer. This means that the freezer gets colder than the fridge, as the cold filters down from the freezer to the fridge.

      I'm relatively sure most side by side models have the thermostat located in the freezer compartment. Installing the garage kit in that location would keep the compressor running all the time, effectively turning both sides of your fridge into a freezer.

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    2. No they don't work in the garage either.....been there, done that.

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  10. I just purchased a garage kit, but there is a warning " this Cold kit will not work when room or ambient temperature go below 34 F degrees".
    I live in Minnesota and today it is 18 degrees outside and 34 degrees in my garage. We definately get temperatures below 0, so our garage would be below 34. Is there a way to run our refrigerator in the garage?

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  11. I just purchased this garage kit to install in a new Whirlpool refrigerator for the garage. I removed control box and, in addition, to the thermostat, there is an electronic circuit board. It may be obvious, but do I have a refrigerator with electronic controls and now not able to install the garage kit? I do not want to risk frying the circuit board.

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  12. Garage kits are only available and only work on 2001 and newer Frigidaire top mounted freezer refridgerators with manual controls, which are subject to temp of 34 degrees and above.

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