Author Topic: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?  (Read 17679 times)

Offline Conductor71

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Hi All,  I'm looking for a freezer I can keep in an unheated garage. 
I've been reading a lot online about how you shouldn't do this but space is at a premium in our place and the garage would be a great place to keep it. 
Any suggestions? 
Thanks! 

Offline khristopher23

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 09:57:21 AM »
   I don't know much about freezers, or your location, but down here in GA, my dad always had a freezer in the garage until they moved into their current house with a basement. I don't know the make, but it was a chest type freezer, and we never had any problems. I guess it's a good thing my dad never read that, or our freezer might have torn up. Really though, it may depend a lot on the climate.

Offline sneauxball

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 10:34:06 AM »
Almost everyone I know keeps a deep freeze outside, in a garage or shop, with no climate control.  All kinds of freezers, all ages of them.  And we live in a very hot and very humid climate.

Offline Trash

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 10:36:27 AM »
bought one at Lowes 10 years ago and it has always been outside but under cover.. Last house it was behind the garage under an eave. Here at the stead its in  the 3-sided garage. Never a problem..

Offline LGM30

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 10:55:51 AM »
Hi All,  I'm looking for a freezer I can keep in an unheated garage. 
I've been reading a lot online about how you shouldn't do this but space is at a premium in our place and the garage would be a great place to keep it. 
Any suggestions? 
Thanks! 
It would depend on where you are located and what the minimum temperature your unheated garage might reach is.  If you are in Panama, I don't think it will cause too many problems.  If you are Toule, Greenland, there might be some problems depending upon the design of the compression system.  Before explaining why this might be an issue, it is important to note that locating one in an unconditioned garage, may make operation more expensive than a location that is a much more constant temperature.

Why it could be a problem...
Freezers, Refrigerators, Air Conditioners, etc... most commonly work using 4 main components.  A Compressor, An Evaporator, A Condenser, and A Pressure Differential Device.  Compressors do not handle liquids well.  Think of a piston and cylinder in a car.  If the cylinder is full of a liquid and the valves close and then the piston tries to compress things usually break.  In a refrigeration system, the freon is at different states (liquid or gas) in different parts of the system.  When the freon decides to come out of the evaporator, it should all be a gas.  Its next stop is the compressor.  As the ambient temperature surrounding the refrigeration system drops, the freon tends to spend more of its time in a liquid state.  Possibly even turning to a liquid inside the compressor in the compressor's off cycle.  This liquid entering a compressor is referred to as "Slugging".
Your freezer is designed not to slug above a certain ambient limit.  It should be in your manual or possibly even stamped on a nameplate on the freezer.  Below this limit you "RISK" a slug and continued slugging will damage your compressor.  It may operate fine for 10 years, or It may poop out after the first winter.  It is very hard to predict.  It is known that statistically your compressor will have a shorter life if it is being slugged.

What can you do.  One of the easiest things to do is build a small enclosure around the freezer with some insulated walls and keep a 100 W light bulb in there.  It should keep the space 20 to 30 degrees above the garage ambient, with the waste heat from the compressor as well.  They make devices called crankcase heaters for compressors.  You could consider the installation of one of those.  If it is going to be below zero (the setpoint inside your freezer?), unplug the freezer; just make sure you plug it in if the temp is going to rise above zero.

The best place to keep a freezer in my mind is the basement.  The basement corner we keep ours in is at a constant 60 degrees year round.  The freezer only needs to take the inside from 60 to 0.  Much easier than 90 to 0 like it would if it were in the garage.

Good Luck!

Offline ejsandstrom

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2009, 07:38:54 AM »
I live in MN and have had a chest freezer and a refrigerator in my garage for the last 5 years. It gets close to outside temp in there. I have had vodka freeze during the winter. Usually I turn the reefer part off and just run the freezer. I would bet it doesn't run 2 hours all winter long.

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 02:29:49 PM »
In TX, we have one in the garage and we're actually considering a second.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2009, 02:43:02 PM »
Yea what they said no issues!

In TX in the summer it takes more energy to run it of course but as for winter and no heat, ye-haw that is really a good thing.  If you are freezing things you can't be too cold so no heat is actually a good thing when it is cold out. 

Now we kept an old fridge out in the Shanty in PA when I was a kid and that was different, in the winter the stuff in the fridge would freeze when it got real cold outside but the freezer, never a problem summer or winter.  My new one is about 5 years old no, no troubles, the one in PA made it about three decades!

Offline ebonearth

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2009, 06:50:09 PM »
Why it could be a problem...Freezers, Refrigerators, Air Conditioners, etc... most commonly work using 4 main components.  A Compressor, An Evaporator, A Condenser, and A Pressure Differential Device...
That totally deserves a +1. My Father, a former Refrigeration technician, couldn't have explained it better. Good job!

Offline Conductor71

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2009, 01:02:50 PM »
Wow guys, I can't thank you enough for the input, advice and explanations! 

I'll definitely look into building a box around it and the 100 watt bulb in the winter. 
We're near Chicago and it's been one heck of a freezing winter so I wanted to get some idea of it if would even work. 
We're pretty new to the survival community and I can't tell you how valuable all of your advice has been. 
Thanks a million and keep prepping!

Offline Trash

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2009, 02:06:13 PM »
ours has been outside in an unheated area for the 10 years we have had it. Hot summers and cold winters with nada a prob.  During the winters I keep the beer/ soda out there in the garage to keeep it cold.. If it get to sub zero we bring the soda and beer in .. Exploding cans and bottle of beer are such a waste..

Offline dudekrtr

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2009, 02:59:12 PM »
The other thing you might want to check out is if your garage is on a ground fault. Ours was wired that way, and it cost us a bunch of food after we moved in, when there was a real bad rain storm in the summer with high humidity. There was no way to know the circuit was out till the next day when we found a non-working bathroom light, and then, later, when we went to the freezer and realized it ,too, had been out for over a day and was on the GF. So we had another separate circuit put in for the freezer. So far, there have been no other problems in the 20 years we've had it. ;D The lower part of the seal around the door is starting to get old, but that's no biggie; it doesn't owe us a thing. Next time, we'll definitely go with a chest, and probably sooner than later. I would rather pay the bill for running it in the basement (always 60) vs the garage (-10 in winter and 95 in the summer). The hard part is going to try to have my darling wife get used to going down the stairs instead of just outside the kitchen door. So, this may be a battle I will have to choose to lose! ;) Maybe, 2 freezers for awhile, and I'll go down and get whatever we need down there? :-\

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2009, 01:48:00 PM »
As the ambient temperature surrounding the refrigeration system drops, the freon tends to spend more of its time in a liquid state.  Possibly even turning to a liquid inside the compressor in the compressor's off cycle.  This liquid entering a compressor is referred to as "Slugging".
Your freezer is designed not to slug above a certain ambient limit.  It should be in your manual or possibly even stamped on a nameplate on the freezer.  Below this limit you "RISK" a slug and continued slugging will damage your compressor.  It may operate fine for 10 years, or It may poop out after the first winter.  It is very hard to predict.  It is known that statistically your compressor will have a shorter life if it is being slugged.

It would seem like somebody could try to rig up a control box using a thermostat coupled with an electronic switch that would go between the freezer and the plug in the wall.  You would use the thermostat, like on that controls the AC/furnace in your house, to control the switch.  When it got to a pre-set temp in the garage, it would try to turn on the AC, thus supplying power to this "switch".  Then, with power being supplied to this switch, it would then close the circuit between the freezer and the wall outlet- effectively turning on the freezer.  Or when it got too cold, it would turn off the AC, effectively unplugging your freezer from the wall, preventing it from "slugging". 

Any thoughts?  I'll try to update this if I can get in contact with another engineering friend of mine who knows more.

*Disclaimer- I know there is a name for this switch device, but I can't remember.  I'm also stuck in an apartment with nowhere to put a freezer, so I'm not going to attempt to try this until I have a need to do so!  Hopefully this doesn't make me a hypocrite.

-CRCJ

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2009, 09:58:48 AM »
The cost running a lightbulb in the cooler weather will far exceed the cost of a new freezer.

I'd be more worried about insects and rodents.

That being said, my grandparent's kept a freezer at a neighbour's house (3 mi away, where they had electricity) all year round. Never an issue that I'm aware of, even down to -10°F.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Any recommendations for a freezer I can store in an unheated garage?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2009, 11:04:18 AM »
The other thing you might want to check out is if your garage is on a ground fault. Ours was wired that way, and it cost us a bunch of food after we moved in, when there was a real bad rain storm in the summer with high humidity. There was no way to know the circuit was out till the next day when we found a non-working bathroom light, and then, later, when we went to the freezer and realized it ,too, had been out for over a day and was on the GF. So we had another separate circuit put in for the freezer. So far, there have been no other problems in the 20 years we've had it. ;D The lower part of the seal around the door is starting to get old, but that's no biggie; it doesn't owe us a thing. Next time, we'll definitely go with a chest, and probably sooner than later. I would rather pay the bill for running it in the basement (always 60) vs the garage (-10 in winter and 95 in the summer). The hard part is going to try to have my darling wife get used to going down the stairs instead of just outside the kitchen door. So, this may be a battle I will have to choose to lose! ;) Maybe, 2 freezers for awhile, and I'll go down and get whatever we need down there? :-\

I believe the NEC now requires unfinished interior spaces and spaces exposed to the outside to be GFCI protected.