I am often asked the question “can you have a refrigerator in the garage?” The answer is yes, no and maybe. It really depends on the environmental conditions inside the garage where you live, how old the refrigerator is, what you plan on storing in it, and if you wish to modify the fridge to work in extreme conditions. Here is a great video explanation as to what happens to a refrigerator in the garage environment.
In a nutshell, the refrigerator will work quite hard at temperatures above 100 ℉ (38 ℃), heating the components and leading to premature wear. The temperature differential between the inside and outside of the refrigerator may also form condensation, which can result in components rusting.
When the external temperature drops below 38 ℉ (3 ℃) , items in the freezer may begin to thaw. This occurs because the internal thermostat in the fridge will indicate it’s plenty cool for the fresh food compartment and will not activate the compressor for cooling. The refrigerator and freezer compartments will eventually balance out in temperature and this is when your frozen items will thaw. To solve the internal Thermostat issue, you can easily install this inexpensive Garage Refrigerator Kit in many refrigerators.
Another issue (not mentioned in the video) is you may need a heater wrapped around the compressor. When the refrigerators compressor gets very cold, the freon gas in the system will revert back to liquid form. The compressor can not pump properly or run with liquid in it. It is designed to compress and pump freon in it’s gaseous state. In freezing garages it is recommended to install a Self Regulating Crankcase Heater to the compressor.
With these fixes your garage refrigerator can be running properly all winter long. Specialty refrigerators are also available such as the Gladiator GarageWorks Chillerator and fridges designed for outdoor use. These types of refrigerators need no additional components added to function correctly in your garage and my be a great option.