Author Topic: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?  (Read 28829 times)

Offline Repair-man

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Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« on: April 03, 2008, 03:23:54 PM »
I get a lot of questions about whether it is safe to operate a refrigerator or a freezer in a non-air conditioned environment, such as a garage or porch. Most manufacturers stipulate otherwise in most cases. Here is the reason why it is unwise to do this:

Refrigerators have a mineral oil bath for the compressor. In fact this oil is permeated throughout the system in the refrigerant as well. If the fridge is in an environment where the ambient temperature drops below 58 oF. this oil can develop viscosity issues, causing it to congeal and permanently block the sealed system. It can also damage the reed valves in the compressor under these conditions.

The only units which are rated for outdoor or extreme cold usage have what is called a crankcase heater in the compressor circuit. Many air conditioners use this same technology to allow heat pumps to work in frozen conditions. Domestic refrigerators as a rule do not have this system, and must be kept in the same environment that you live in unless your User Guide says otherwise. Additionally, those units which are placed in a hot environment, such as a commercial kitchen, are subject to very long run times and frequent compressor damage associated with overheating. The ideal ambient temperature range for most refrigerators is 70-82o
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Offline JWWebster

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2008, 05:32:02 PM »
I wonder if you might could put a crankcase heater around the compressor in the frig.
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Offline Repair-man

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2008, 06:18:42 PM »
Why, yes, you may. There are wrap-around heaters for compressors which resemble a steel clamp. Wired into the power cord terminals, it provides a warm compressor for cold environs. Use of such devices voids manufacturers warranty.
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Offline BrntToast

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 08:55:46 PM »
this issue is a constant problem up here in the great white north, some ppl just cant comprehend that when it is -30 in the garage its going to be -30 in the fridge, and even when the temps are a lil warmer if the cold control on the unit sences the fresh food temperature of the fridge the freezer wont get colder than the temperature in the garage

but hey, skippy the salesman told them it would work, so its my job to make it work    :tickedoff: 
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Offline shieldcracker

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2008, 06:29:55 PM »
Unless your refrigerator runs with R-12, R-502, R-22 you will not find mineral oil (MO), these units were phased out over 15 years ago. Two points:

Although mineral oil has known problems when it comes down to -20 and below the main issue (performancewise) is the net pressure difference (PD) at the throtling device. At low ambient there is less PD and therefore less refrigerant to the evaporator.

The second problem is bearing wash out, if the outside hence the compressor/condenser is colder than the box temperature refrigerant will migrate to the compressor crankcase and will mix with the oil. Under this condition when the compressor is energized the oil will be carried out as the refrigerant boils off damaging the crankshaft bearigs etc...






Online theoldstoveguy

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2008, 10:36:07 PM »
Most owners manuals explain the environment to which the machine will operate. I can remember getting calls from people with refrigerators in the garage and the complaint being,the stuff in the freezer is soft. The manufacturer states if the temperature drops below 65 degrees the unit will not run enough to maintain freezer temperatures.As for the troubles in the hotter days of summer it can't keep up if over 90 degrees.

Offline schaffersapplian

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2008, 01:23:58 PM »
Something you guys should check out that i have used a few times before.
Refrigerator Garage Heater Kit Part # 5303918301
Authorized Samsung, Electrolux, Whirlpool, GE, Fisher Paykal, and Maytag Servicer with over 10 years experience.

Online theoldstoveguy

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008, 01:27:08 PM »
Goes where by the thermostat assy?

Offline Repair-man

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2008, 02:03:27 PM »
It tapes to the compressor to heat the oil. I saw the note:

Frigidaire Garage Refrigerator Kit Part # 5303918301
This heater kit is designed for Top-Freezer-No-Frost refrigerators located in areas where the ambient temperature goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but stays above 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

This only provides a 16 degrees more protection
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 02:07:02 PM by Repair-man »
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Offline shieldcracker

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Re: Should Refrigerator be Used in Un-heated Garage?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 07:39:26 PM »
As Repairman has just stated. The crankcase heaters provide some limited protection against refrigerant migration, but still heater or not you will not get around the diminishing performace due to the low ambient temp and the resulting pressure differential across the throttling device.

 

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