Lately I have had many questions about housing and using a refrigerator or freezer in the garage. It can be a great time and money saver. Foods that are brought home from the grocery store can immediately go into the refrigerator or freezer. But questions arise. Can I keep a frig in the garage? Will the freezer work in freezing temperatures? So many questions – and now some answers. (Actually it is homework from The Home Depot!) I have compiled this checklist to help you determine if your garage is a safe place for your refrigerators and freezers.
Note: this checklist is intended to serve as general use guidelines and specific information may vary with your particular situation and appliances. Please reference your manufacturer usage and operating manuals for the most accurate information.
1. Consult the user or operator manual for your appliance. You can often find them online if you cannot locate your original copy. Refer to the section on “Location Requirements.”
2. Is the garage enclosed or covered? The refrigerator should not be exposed to the elements (rain and snow).
3. Look in the user manual for the optimum or preferred operating temperature – usually around 70°F. The manufacturer will list the minimum operating temperature. Do not put the refrigerator or freezer in a location where the ambient temperature will fall below that level or the appliance may not work. Most manufacturers also have a maximum operating temperature. The motor will run longer and the life of the appliance will shorten when operating in significantly warmer temperatures.
4. Do not install the refrigerator or freezer near an oven, radiator, or other heat source.
5. WARNING: Explosion Hazard! Keep flammable materials and vapors, such as gasoline, away from the refrigerator or freezer. Failure to do so can result in death, explosion, or fire.
6. Check the strength of the floor before installing your appliance. It should hold the weight of a refrigerator and freezer fully loaded with food.
7. Is there enough air circulation space around the refrigerator or freezer? The operating manual will detail how much air space is needed at the top and on both sides of the appliance. There will also be space needed between the back of the refrigerator or freezer and the wall.
8. Plug the appliance into a properly grounded outlet. Some manufacturers recommended that a separate circuit serving only your refrigerator or freezer be provided. Do not use an adapter.
9. Do not use an extension cord.
10. Do you experience frequent power outages in your area? Keep the door closed to help food stay cold and frozen. Be sure to check the refrigerator or freezer after an outage. If the power has been out for an extended period of time, it may be necessary to consume, can, or dispose of the stored food.
11. Since the appliance is in the garage, it may not be noticed as often as the appliances in the kitchen. Regularly check the seal and make sure that the door completely closes when firmly shut.
12. How clean is the garage? The condenser coils will get dirtier in the garage – blocking air transfer and making the motor work harder.
13. Can regular maintenance be performed easily? How hard will it be to defrost your appliance? Are there special cleaning requirements for the refrigerator or freezer?
14. Is the refrigerator or freezer energy efficient? How much will the appliance cost to run on a yearly basis?
15. Final notes on final disposal: To avoid any concerns about child entrapment and suffocation, remove the door or lid and keep the shelves in place so that children cannot easily climb inside.
Do you have any questions about refrigerators or freezers in the garage? I would love to hear about your successes and issues and wait to hear from you. May you and all your appliances live long and stay safe!