Will a Refrigerator Work in a Garage?


I adore your radio show and listen as often as I can.  Please help me with this question. I am planning on purchasing an additional refrigerator to put in my garage (I do a great deal of entertaining).  I have been told that I cannot do so as the garage is not insulated and my appliance will not work properly.  Is this correct?  Many of my friends have done this and don’t have a problem.
mebs33 10-30-07 8:33am

While many of us have enjoyed the convenience of the “spare” fridge in the garage over the years, there is some truth to warnings that such a device will not run properly.  Refrigerators are designed to operate within a typical indoor temperature range of about 60 – 100 degrees.  Garage temps can run between -0 and 100+ and because the freezer is set to come on only when the refrigerator is working, it may actually warm your frozen food, causing it to thaw and spoil.

Some manufacturers make refrigerator/freezers specifically designed for an unheated garage.  If you don’t have one of those, my recommendation is to keep a close eye on the temperature, especially in the winter, to make sure it is doing the job.  One other tip:  many garage outlets are protected by GFCI’s (ground fault circuit interrupters) and are not designed for a refrigerator to be plugged into.  As a result of the compressor going on and off, large voltage draws across the circuit can “fake” the GFCI into thinking a short exists and it will turn off the circuit – and your refrigerator!  If you are going to add a refrigerator to your garage, have an electrician install a dedicated, single outlet, non-GFCI protected outlet and use it only for the purpose of plugging in the refrigerator.

Reaching Tom:  If you have a home improvement question or comment on this topic, please post it below.  For answers to other home improvement questions, please email Tom at tomsmoneypit@aol.com so your question can be used in future blog entries, or search Tom’s home improvement articles at moneypit.com.

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