Which Fridges and Freezers can be placed in an Unheated Garage, Shed or Outbuilding?

Are you looking to install a fridge or freezer in your garage, shed or outbuilding? There are some things to consider before you get started.

Garages, sheds and outbuildings are great places to store items such as garden tools, lawnmowers, bicycles and other outdoor equipment. If you want to add a refrigerator or freezer to your garage, shed or unheated outbuilding, you’ll need to take into account several important considerations.

You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions before installing a new appliance. This way, you can ensure that the installation is done correctly. Also, you should never attempt to install a new appliance without professional assistance.

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What role does the Compressor and Thermostat play?

The compressor provides air for the refrigeration system. The thermostat controls the temperature of the room where the refrigerator or freezer will be installed. It also regulates the flow of refrigerant through the coils.

Which Fridges and Freezers Can Be Placed In An Unheated Garage?

How many shelves do I need?

If you’re planning on keeping food inside the refrigerator, you’ll need at least one shelf. You may want more if you plan on storing large amounts of food.

Why Using regular fridge/ freezers in Unheated Garage or Outbuilding is not a good idea?

In order to keep food fresh, it needs to be kept cold. In most cases, this means having a fridge or freezer with the correct capacity. However, there are times when using a standard fridge or freezer in an unheated garage or outbuilding isn’t feasible. For example, if the garage or building doesn’t have electricity, you won’t be able to use a standard fridge or freezer. Additionally, if the area has extreme temperatures, you might not be able to use a fridge or freezer because they don’t work well when the temperature gets too hot or too cold.

How much space do I need?

When choosing a refrigerator or freezer, make sure to choose one that fits within the size constraints of your garage, shed or building. A small fridge or freezer may not fit in a larger space.

What type of door do I need?

Most fridges and freezers come with either a side-by-side or bottom mount design. These types of doors allow you to access the contents from both sides. They also provide easy access to all parts of the unit.

Additionally, you may wish to purchase a double door model if you plan on placing two refrigerators or freezers next to each other. Double doors allow you to open both doors simultaneously.

What about water dispenser?

Some models include a built-in water dispenser. This feature allows you to fill up a glass of water simply by pressing a button.

What about insulation?

Insulation helps prevent heat loss from the interior of the refrigerator or freezer. Insulation also prevents cold air from escaping from the inside of the refrigerator or freezer and keeps warm air inside.

Is my fridge safe?

All refrigerators must comply with safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). All refrigerators sold in Canada must meet these standards.

Furthermore, all refrigerators sold in Canada are subject to strict inspection requirements. If a problem is found during the inspection process, the product will be recalled.

Things to keep in mind while Finding the best refrigerator for your Unheated Garage/Outbuilding or Shed

The following points should help you find the right refrigerator for your needs:

• Size matters – Choose a refrigerator or freezer that’s big enough to store what you want to eat. Small refrigerators or freezers aren’t practical for large families or those who like to cook.

• Capacity matters – Don’t buy a refrigerator or freezer that has less than 4 cubic feet of storage space. That amount of space is considered adequate for everyday household usage.

• Energy efficiency matters – Look for a refrigerator or freezer with high energy efficiency ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance.

• Features matter – Consider how many shelves you’ll need, whether you’ll need ice makers, water dispensers and so on.

• Price matters – You’ll pay more for a high quality refrigerator or freezer. But, you’ll get better value for money over time.

If you’re looking for a new fridge or freezer, here are some things to consider before buying.

Size Matters

You probably already know that you’ll need a fridge or freezer with at least four cubic feet of storage space to accommodate your family’s meals. However, you may not realize just how important it is to have plenty of room for storing groceries.

A smaller fridge or freezer won’t hold as much food as a bigger one. And, you might end up having to go shopping more often because you run out of food.

Capacity Matters

Don’t assume that a larger capacity means better value for money. A large capacity doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll use it more frequently. In fact, you may only use half the space most of the time.

Energy Efficiency Matters

High energy efficiency ratings indicate that the appliances uses less electricity. It costs less to operate an appliance with a high efficiency rating.

However, high efficiency ratings don’t always translate into lower operating costs. Some appliances with high efficiency ratings cost more to purchase than others.

Features Matter

There are several features that you should look for when choosing a refrigerator or freezer. These include:

– Ice maker

– Water dispenser

– Shelves

– Door bins

– Drawers

– Extra compartments

– Crisper drawers

Is it safe to keep Fridges and Freezers in Unheated Garage, Shed or Outbuilding?

Yes! Refrigerators and freezers used in unheated garages, sheds or outbuildings must meet UL standards. They also need to pass Canadian Standards Association (CSA) inspections.

What about the temperature inside the garage, shed or outbuilding?

Garage temperatures vary depending on where you live. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to insulate your garage walls.

Sheds and outbuildings usually have insulated roofs.

How do I choose a fridge or freezer?

The first thing you need to decide is if you want a refrigerator or freezer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of appliance.

First question which comes into our mind is Why spend extra money when we can simply shift our regular fridge or freezer into our Garage or Outbuilding? Right? Well, By doing so, you will be asking for trouble. Nothing more! Here’s why you need to be clear about this stuff.

What role does the Compressor and Thermostat play?

To understand why keeping a regular fridge or freezer in an Unheated Garage/Outbuilding is not a good idea, We need to understand the roles of compressor and thermostat. A thermostat controls the cooling process by monitoring the temperature and then switching on and off the compressor as per the requirement. When the sensor senses that it’s cold enough inside the refrigerator, it turns off the compressor. If it senses too much heat, it switches the compressor on and begins the cooling process again. The compressor is the “heart” of a refrigerator. To be short and precise, it pumps a cold refrigerant which gets converted and reconverted into gas and liquid as per the requirement. The conversion of liquid refrigerant into gas is what cools the refrigerator.

Why Using regular fridge/ freezers in Unheated Garage or Outbuilding is not a good idea?

Let’s understand this by taking a simple-cliched example. Would you be able to work efficiently in the scorching sun or in freezing snow? Not really! Because we require an optimum temperature to work in. Same is the case with our appliances. They require an optimum temperature to deliver desired output. Image source: google The most suitable temperature range for refrigerators is 60°-78° Fahrenheits. If you live in moderate climate regions, then this might not be a problem for you. But in regions of extreme climatic conditions, using a regular Fridge in Uninsulated garage or Outbuilding is a non-starter for sure.

Climate Class

This is the room temperature that the fridge/freezer can operate in. You can easily find it on the rating label or instruction manual. Image source: Google There are four climate classes ranging from the minimum temperature of 50 degree Fahrenheits to a maximum of 109 degree Fahrenheits. Image source: Google In extreme heat the compressor has to work overtime, which is going to cost you more and also cause wear and tear of the appliance leading to shortening of its life span. When the temperature inside the Garage/Outbuilding drops down 37 degrees Fahrenheit and stays like that for a long period of time, the thermostat won’t turn on the compressor which will cause the fridge/freezer to warm up.

Using Refrigerator Garage Kit

Image source: Pinterest A refrigerator garage kit is essentially a small heater. It generates enough heat around the thermostat area to trick the thermostat into thinking that it’s warmer than it actually is in the refrigerator. It causes the compressor to turn on and leads to the restoration of the cooling cycle. Here are few premium Refrigerator Garage Kits to help you out: https://www.amazon.com/garage-refrigerator-kit/s?k=garage+refrigerator+kit

Things to keep in mind while Finding the best refrigerator for your Unheated Garage/Outbuilding or Shed

While Garage kits can be of some help, they can’t entirely solve the problem. The best option would be to find a suitable fridge for our purpose. The most important factor in determining the best fridge/freezer would be the temperature in your Garage or Outbuilding. Storage, Budget, additional features like adjustable shelves, defrosting features would be the other relevant factors. How will you know if your fridge can handle the right temperature or not? Don’t simply trust the marketing and manufacturer to let you believe that your fridge is garage ready. Always check the Owner’s manual on the manufacturer’s website. You can also check the “installation” section for “instructions” or “warnings” about the operating temperature range in the location you want to install your fridge. Image source: Pinterest You can find a warning like this.

Garage refrigerator- freezer

Pros and Cons

Separate thermostats and better insulation.

Most refrigerators have one thermostat in the fridge section and freezers have a constant temperature of -18 degrees. Image source: 3goodones.com The refrigerator section here gets its cooling from the freezer. When the temperature gets too high in the fridge, the air from the freezer is brought down. Then the compressor turns on to keep the freezer frozen. But when the location is already cool enough, the fridge doesn’t need to work in order to keep the food inside cold. In that case, it never turns on the compressor. Thus the temperature in the freezer rises and the freezer becomes more like the refrigerator section. One way garage refrigerators get around this dilemma is by having separate or dual thermostats. Twin thermostat Fridge Freezers have separate thermostats for the fridge section as well as the freezer part. It enables us to control the temperature separately. Additionally, garage refrigerators freezers will be insulated better against extreme temperature changes. This keeps not only your food and drinks cold, ice frozen, but also keeps the electrical components in their shape by operating at consistent temperatures. A single con here would be that the Garage refrigerator comes little overpriced.

Suitable conditions to place a refrigerator in Garage or an Outbuilding

  • The ideal place to keep your fridge or freezer would be on a flat, dry and cool floor. Freezers that are put in cool places tend to save energy.
  • Aim to keep it away from windows, to avoid temperature variations. But the top and bottom of the fridge should get enough air circulation to prevent overheating.
  • Allow the fridge or freezer to adjust to the room temperature for a few hours before turning it on after it’s delivered or moved.
  • Your appliance will stay in good shape with regular maintenance scheduled.
  • DIY Tip: You can build a small insulated area just for your Refrigerator.

This would be highly efficient in case you tend to open the Garage door a lot, bringing cool air inside. It seems impossible and quite out of budget to insulate the whole room. So, you can seal off a small area just for the refrigerator. It could be as simple as a small plywood shed inside the garage that’s just large enough to contain the fridge with a little extra space for air circulation. The important thing is to keep ambient temperature around your fridge. It will be much easier to do this in the small shed than in the entire garage. Maybe, it will give a makeover to your garage too. (A little bit of creativity won’t hurt) Utility-closet design I found on www.garagejournal.com

Garage refrigerator vs Outdoor refrigerators

This is one myth we need to break here that garage refrigerators and outdoor refrigerators are one and the same. They are NOT! The fact that people believe this is because they think being in the garage is kind of like being outside. But, the classification is slightly misleading. As the Outdoor refrigerators are those which are approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as weatherproofed against wet weather. They are designed to be used outdoors in warm to moderate climates. Whereas, Garage refrigerators are not weatherproofed against wet weather. They are designed to work indoors, protected from weather, but in colder temperatures of an Unheated room like a garage or Outbuilding. So, decide wisely which one out of the two refrigerator ranges you require.

Product recommendations on Which Fridge/Freezer would be best for Unheated Garage/Outbuilding/Shed

Pros •Frost free •Compact sized •Proper interior lighting •Great value for money •Energy efficient and good temperature control Cons •Too little •Initially noisy while cooling

Pros •Reversible doors •Adjustable shelves •Great temperature control •Great space according to compact and sleek design •No noise •Suitable for Garage •Highly recommended Cons •Space might be a problem if you need bigger space.

Pros •Big capacity •Compact design •Quiet Cons •Bit pricey •Little inadequate shelves

Pros •Worth the money •Highly efficient in energy usage •Great design and space Cons •Won’t work over 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros •Highly recommended •Garage ready •Great energy usage ratings Cons •Improper interior lighting •Frosting issues


While the refrigerators suitable for Garage/Outbuilding or Shed come pricey and can put a dent in our pocket, We highly recommend one if you truly need them. An additional fridge or freezer definitely won’t hurt, especially in times of Covid, when you can’t afford the risk of going out often to fill your stock of meat, ice creams or beer. In times of a house party or if you like to work in the garage or basement, it would prove to be of great help. But, before ordering one, definitely go through all the details like Energy usage efficiency, Interior lighting, Manageable temperature control, Defrosting, Space and capacity etc. Hope this article must have solved all your doubts regarding Fridges and Freezers for Unheated Garage, Outbuilding or Shed. Feel free to drop any query which comes into your mind.

Daisy Kim
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