Whether you enjoy entertaining in the backyard or have older children and don’t want them traipsing in and out of your kitchen all day, having a refrigerator in your garage can be a great idea. A garage refrigerator can be a great place to store sodas for the kids, food for the grill or even items you can’t fit in your kitchen refrigerator. Unfortunately, when the summer weather arrives, your garage can become very hot and humid, which can create problems for your refrigerator. When your garage isn’t climate controlled, there is a great deal of stress on your refrigerator during a sweltering summer, but there are some things you can do to keep your refrigerator running.
Keep it Charged
While a kitchen is specifically designed for home appliances, this may not be the case with your garage. If your garage isn’t equipped with the correct electrical hookup, there is a risk your refrigerator will not receive enough power. This will result in further stress on the appliance as it tries to produce cold air in a hot environment. Your refrigerator should be supplied with a 60Hz, AC only, 115 volt electrical outlet. If you are unsure if your garage is equipped with the proper electrical wiring, you should consult a professional electrician.
Keep it Filled
Although it may seem strange, a full refrigerator works better. Cold air can escape faster from an empty refrigerator, so an appliance in a hot garage needs to work harder in addition to fighting the ambient temperature. A fully stocked refrigerator has less room for warm air, so it helps the unit to maintain a cool temperature when it is opened on a hot day. If you don’t need the full capacity of your refrigerator, consider putting gallon bottles of water inside to fill up the space.
If the temperature inside your garage regularly exceeds 110ºF, it is not an ideal location for a refrigerator. Sweltering conditions can cause a refrigerator to burn out from overuse. The appliance will be continually fighting to compensate for the ambient temperature, so it will be working harder for longer. If you are concerned that your garage is too warm, you may need to find ways to cool it. Consider options such as fans, vents, insulation or even supplemental air conditioning. If you’re experiencing an unusual spike in temperatures, short term measures such as covering up the windows to minimize heat from the sun will also help.
Many homeowners may not appreciate that some basic maintenance can have a massive impact on refrigerator performance. Simple maintenance tasks such as cleaning the coils a couple of times a year can reduce strain on the unit and improve efficiency. Coils can collect dust, dirt and other debris, particularly in areas such as a garage where it’s not likely to be regularly vacuumed. By cleaning the coils, you can improve efficiency and better equip your refrigerator for any challenging conditions.
Take Care with Perishables
When your refrigerator is placed in extreme conditions, there will always be a risk of an operational failure. This situation is exacerbated as you may not be in your garage frequently to notice a problem immediately. Even if you have taken the proper precautions, it is a good idea to minimize the risk and leave your garage refrigerator for non-perishable items. Try to keep your garage refrigerator for beer, soda, water and pantry items that won’t easily spoil and leave the ice cream and perishable items in your kitchen refrigerator. This will avoid food wastage and the need to clean up a big mess if your garage refrigerator does suffer a failure.