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chest freezer in a unheated garage?

I live on a property where I have an unattached, uninsulated, and unheated garage. I hunt and have meat fests at work where I smoke very large cuts of meat.  My question would a chest freezer work in a garage in Western PA Pittsburgh area?

By the way shout out to Dan your steam heat semi was great, I was the silly guy wearing the utility-kilt since my jeans got drenched in that monsoon we had that day right before the start.  I wish every technical author wrote as skilled as you sir.
Andrew S. DeCecco


  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Cold Meat:

    It is said that freezers and refrigerators will not work in a cold environment. It is something about the need of heat to transfer the heat from the inside to the outside The colder the space is, the less efficient the refrigeration

    That said, I drain a lot of houses for the winter where the owners leave freezers and refrigerators on for the winter in a cold house. They are still working fine in the Spring.

    Broken down, you can't do it. But those that do, don't seem to have a problem. I believe that you could put some form of freezer alarm in the freezer to alert you that it is getting arm in the box.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,486Member

    Ice is right, but I have had a freezer in a attached garage unseated, and never had problems. But like ice says it probably was not efficiently operating. Assuming it gets that cold below freezing everything is going to stay frozen.
  • HDEHDE Posts: 221Member
    edited December 2012
    Freezers alone are ok

    Chest freezers are usually fine in a cold/freezing area.

    Adding a thermostatic controlled or self regulated compressor heat band is a good idea to keep the oil in the sump separated from the refrigerant. This will prolong the life immensely.

    If its a refrigerator & freezer combined is usually the problem. The refrigerator is cold enough so run time is limited and freezer doesn't get cold enough. Usually between 30-40 degrees unit doesn't run enough and freezer defrosts.
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,221Member
    why ?

    why should it get warm inside the box when it's cold outside ?

    I haven't looked underneath in generations, but I think I remember crankcase heaters to keep oil flowing. You could get into trouble turning on a machine that had been unplugged all winter. Safe way was to plug it in for weeks before turning it on.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,486Member
    And now you know

    The rest of the it thanks David.
  • HDEHDE Posts: 221Member

    It doesn't "freeze up".

    It doesn't stay separated from the refrigerant and is pumped out from the sump into refrigerant system leaving none behind for the compressor bearings.

    With no easy way back, compressor fails.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Cold Compressors:

    That may be true where you live.

    In almost 50 years or draining houses where I work, I've never seen it happen and I have commercial, seasonal restaurants that store food from year to year that don't have failed compressors. Some buy and save Bay Scallop's at $15.00 to $20.00 per pound for sale in the summer. If it was going to fail, they wouldn't be doing it.

    Like I said, I've never seen this problem. Would I, if given a choice between saving frozen meat in an unheated garage or a heated space, I'd go for the heated space. Others don't seem to have a problem. That's all/
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Posts: 5,841Member
    Warm is a relative term...

    my knowledge of refrigerator/freezer boxes is limited, but based on what I know, there is one thermostat. It is in the refrigerator compartment. If it (thermostat) is satisfied, then the freezer does what it does, temperature wise. I think the assumption is that if the refer is calling, then the freezer is cooling, below freezing inside.

    With that said, I have a refer/freezer combination in my little cabin. During the winter, I do not heat that building. I leave the refer plugged in and turned on, and every Spring, I end up tossing out the little frozen goods that my wife leaves in the freezer (popsicles, ice cream etc) because they've melted.

    My theory is this. With the whole assembly being surrounded by 30 to 40 degree F temperature( and below), the need for "cooling" is nil. The freezer box "warms up" because the refrigerator is not calling for cooling. Subsequently, everything in the freezer thaws out. Following one's gut feelings on the subject, one wouldn't think that this would be the case, but for the last 4 or 5 years, I've proven through my own "testing" that it is true, and I get the task of cleaning the experiment up every Spring.

    I suspect as others have said, that if it was a stand alone freezer (upright or otherwise) with a single set point control, it wouldn't be an issue, other than possibly the loss of lubricant, which others have stated.

    I have heard, that in certain situations, where the fridge is exposed to extremely LOW temperatures, most of the food items inside the fridge WILL freeze, unless there is a small heat source inside the fridge (set point controlled light bulb for example) to keep the internal temperatures above the freezing point. Such would be the case when a spare fridge is kept in an unheated (garage, porch, shed) space.

    What I actually know about the refrigeration cycle could fit in the corner of your eye, and you wouldn't shed a tear, but I do understand the control factor. Some manufacturers (SubZero and other ex$pen$ive model$) have separate compressor/condenser/evaporator packages for their operation, but the kind that WE have, don't...

    My $0.02 worth. Keep the change

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SunnyD HVACSunnyD HVAC Posts: 4Member
    thanks for the feedback

    Thanks to everyone who posted there opinions and experience.  I guess I could insulate the rented garage, or insulate or have a add on to the compressor, or when it gets to cold have a cut off switch for the out let and have the freezer just act as a cooler until the outdoor and indoor garage temp heats up.  Then the issue  would be the summer indoor garage temp.
    Andrew S. DeCecco
  • TechmanTechman Posts: 2,144Member

    My parents had a freezer in an unheated garage for years and years and no problems at all . At lower ambients the freezer is less efficient but w/ the lower ambient the lower efficience is offset. Usually small refrig units do not contain enough freon to fully saturate the oil in the comp to cause a problem so a comp heater is not required.The oil flows thru the freezer evap at -10 and -15*F evap temps under normal conditions and yes the viscosity is higher at lower temps but doesn't seem to cause a problem.I have a freezer in my unconditioned attic for 10 years w/ no problems.
  • zacmobilezacmobile Posts: 211Member
    unheated freezer

    I live in the Great White North and I have a friend who has a big chest deep freeze that they have outside on their back porch. It's under a roof but it's right outside. It's old too, I would guess at least 40, they've had it for 10. I've always wondered if it was a good idea but it seems to work.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,298Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Well, that solves one of life's mysteries for me.

    Thanks! For the kilt, and for the kind words. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 3,974Member
    If it is freezing out

    why would the compressor turn on to begin with. Heat travels to cold right?

    That said Da has his 20 year old freeze in his garage and his electric bill goes down in the winter and up in the summer. His garage is fully insulated but not heated.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
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