Can I Keep a Chest Freezer in my Garage or Outbuilding?
The question we are asked most often - and with good reason. You could risk damaging your freezer and spoiling the contents if your freezer is not designed for use outside. Read on!
Using a Freezer Outside the Home
For a freezer to function correctly in an unheated area such as a garage or outbuilding depends on a couple of things:
- The climate class rating for that freezer
- Whether it has any special technology that allow it to keep working in low ambient air temperatures
Why Not Keep a Freezer in the Garage?
Although a chest freezer can maintain internal temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, the mechanical and electronic components that make this happen don't work too efficiently when the ambient air temperature in the room is below a certain threshold - defined by its official Climate Class.
The lowest official climate class temperature is +10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) - not helpful if you want to keep the freezer in the garage during the winter.
In recent years some manufacturers have redesigned their refrigeration appliances to work at much lower air temperatures, including below freezing.
There are several climate classes that cover different temperature ranges - with Class SN having the lowest operating temperature of +10 Degrees Celsius. This is fine for most of the year but temperatures can easily dip below this in winter.
Of course, some people claim to have used a freezer in the garage for years with no problems, and some appliance repair specialists say it's a definite no-no and that manufacturers are unrealistic when they say that their freezers are safe to be kept in an unheated space.
Note: climate class ratings haven't kept up with the new tech developments and the minimum class rating is still +10 degrees Celsius so that can be a little misleading.
More and more manufacturers know that many people have limited indoor space and have specifically made their chest freezers suitable for the garage and other types of outbuilding.
This is often achieved with a 'concealed condenser' which is specially located inside the freezer to be better protected from the elements.
Beko were one of the first and most of their chest freezers can operate safely down to -15C with their FreezerGuard technology.
Ice King, Russell Hobbs and Logik (a Currys own brand) have followed suit and can confirm that at least some of their products can be used in unheated garages or sheds.
They Say It's OK But ...
You should also check carefully when retailers claim certain freezers are suitable for outbuilding use.
Always check that the specifications states a minimum operating temperature of 0 degrees Celsius or below, and that the unit has some kind of 'Winter Security' or 'Freezer Guard' technology if you wish to safely keep your freezer outside.
We all know that many people do keep their fridges and freezers in garages and experience no problems at all.
In some cases this could just be down to luck or maybe their outside space doesn't actually dip too far below the recommended level.
You do have to remember though that if your freezer does develops a fault, the warranty may not be valid if the product was kept in an area where there temperature was outside the range it was designed for.
Whatever the case, it is important to ensure that the location for the freezer does meet some basic requirements:
- It should be dry and free from damp and extreme high and low temperatures
- The surface it stands on should be level (some units may have adjustable feet to help here)
- It is vitally important to allow enough room around the unit (especially the back) for good airflow
- Oh, and don't forget about the summer high temperatures too - your poor freezer will already be working hard so ensure that the location won't get too hot so try and keep it out of direct sunlight
So, Can I Keep a Chest Freezer In My Garage?
In conclusion, you need to be aware of the minimum temperatures that will occur around your freezer.
Also, pay close attention whether the manufacturer expressly states that the freezer can be used in colder conditions.
If you are concerned that the ambient temperature in your desired location will fall below freezing, it is worth seeking out a product from a manufacturer that specifically approves that their product is suitable for such environments.
Luckily more and more manufacturers seem to be realising that people today really need their freezer to work reliably outside.
TIP: Use a minimum-maximum thermometer to check the lowest temperature that your garage falls to overnight, though this will only be useful to do during the winter months.
Best Garage Compatible Freezers
One of the cheapest chest freezers on the market that works in the garage
- Width cm54.5
Fridge Freezers are Different
On a side note, you may be wondering how fridges and fridge/freezers are able to be frost free.
While a standalone chest freezer is designed to continually maintain a very low temperature, you should be aware that a combined fridge/freezer only has one refrigeration unit for both compartments.
Therefore, if the room temperature is too cold then you may find the freezer compartment starts to defrost because the fridge compartment hasn't got "warm" enough to cause the compressor to run.
Our advice: definitely don't keep a combined fridge-freezer in a place where temperatures are likely to be close to or below zero degrees Celsius.