Can You Keep a Refrigerator in the Garage in Winter?

A common question asked by homeowners is if they can keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter. An extra refrigerator in the garage is ideal when storing bulk food. They are convenient appliances to have at home.  On the other hand, many people are concerned about the efficiency of the fridge during the winter especially if they have an uninsulated garage. What will the cold temperature do to the fridge? Is the garage an ideal place to store a fridge in the winter? Let us find out the answer below.

Can you keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter? You can keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter, but it is not recommended especially if you have an uninsulated garage. Most refrigerators stop working when they reach a certain temperature range. Moreover, manufacturers do not recommend keeping the fridge in an area where the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit because it can cause the freezer section of the fridge to thaw frozen food.

Can garage refrigerators thaw during winter? What is the operating temperature range for fridges? These are some of the questions that we will discuss in this article. If you keep your refrigerator in the garage during winter, it can experience some problems. Take note that fridges are made to work efficiently at room temperature and not in extreme cold. Find out more about this topic below.

Can you keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter
Photo by 蔡 世宏 on Unsplash

What is the Ideal Temperature Range when Running Refrigerators?

The ideal operating temperature range for refrigerators is between 68 and 71 degrees. Refrigerators usually feature one thermometer in the fresh-food section. On the other hand, some models have two thermometers one in the fresh-food section and another one in the freezer section. When choosing a refrigerator for the garage, it is ideal to choose one that has two thermometers because it can handle fluctuating temperatures. Make sure to read the user manual to find out the temperature range of the fridge and to determine if it can be used in the garage or not.

Can Refrigerators in the Garage Thaw During Winter?

Refrigerators in the garage can thaw during winter. This happens when the room temperature rises above the setting. For instance, the regular fridge turns on and starts cooling at 36 degrees. If the garage temperature drops below 36 degrees, the fridge will shut down and stop cooling. As a result, the food in the freezer section will thaw.  Moreover, the efficiency of the refrigerator will be affected when the outside temperature fluctuates. On the other hand, some refrigerators that feature two thermometers have fewer issues when it comes to thawing.

Why Does the Garage Refrigerator Shut Off During Winter?

If the refrigerator senses that the outdoor temperature is cold, it will think that the inside temperature is cold enough as well and will shut off. For instance, if the temperature inside the fridge is set to 40 degrees and the temperature in the garage is below 40 degrees, the refrigerator will think that it does not need to get colder and will turn off. The freezer part of the fridge does not have a temperature gauge. Hence if the fridge shuts off, the freezer will not be at its ideal temperature and the food inside will start to thaw.

Helpful Tips on How to Safely Keep Refrigerators in the Garage During Winter Season

Using fridge heaters, building an enclosed conditioned space, stacking smart, and using garage-friendly refrigerators are some ways how you can safely keep the refrigerators running in the garage during the winter season. Let us learn more about these below.

Use Garage-Friendly Refrigerators

Nowadays, there are garage-friendly refrigerators that you can purchase. These refrigerators are made to handle the extreme temperatures and humidity in the garage. Moreover, garage-friendly refrigerators are durable and more efficient when it comes to handling extreme temperatures as compared to regular refrigerators. On the other hand, this type of refrigerator is expensive and you also need to do some research because some models can only handle cold and not heat and vice versa.

Building an Enclosed Space for the Refrigerator

If your garage is uninsulated, you can build an enclosed space for the refrigerator so that it will not be affected by the extreme cold temperature during the winter. Make sure that your refrigerator runs efficiently by regulating the garage air temperature. Insulating and venting the entire garage can be very expensive. On the other hand, you can create an enclosed space inside the garage to house the refrigerator. The enclosed space inside the garage allows you to moderate the heat and cold temperature.

Use Refrigerator Heaters

Another way to safely keep refrigerators in the garage during the winter is to use fridge heaters. If the temperature in the garage drops below freezing, the refrigerator thermostat will think that it is cold enough and it will turn off. We have also shared this article titled, what temperature is too warm for a refrigerator? You can check out the article for more tips and information.

Keep the Refrigerator Stacked

What you put inside the refrigerator can affect its efficiency and performance. The amount of food inside the refrigerator can be the cause why it is not cooling efficiently. Make sure that you keep the fridge full but not overloaded. There should be enough space inside for the air to pass through.

Bear in mind that every time the refrigerator door is opened and closed, the air is sucked out and replaced. The food inside the fridge helps cool the new air that enters when you open the door. This way, the fridge will not work hard to keep the air temperature cool. Do not overload the refrigerator because the food can block the blower and prevent cold air from properly circulating.

What is a Refrigerator Garage Kit and Do You Need One?

A refrigerator garage kit is a kit that is designed to trick the refrigerator so it thinks that it is in a warmer place. The kit helps provide heat so that the freezer runs properly and the food inside stays frozen. On the other hand, using a garage refrigerator kit also means consuming more energy. Moreover, if your garage refrigerator is an old model, it means that you are already using a higher amount of energy than what is recommended.

✅ Video – How to Install Garage Heater Kit and Upgrade

Bens Appliances and Junk shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to install a garage heater kit and upgrade. If you are worried that the freezer part of your refrigerator will thaw in your garage during winter, watch the video below for tips and ideas.

Is it Safe to Run the Garage Refrigerator During Winter?

With proper precaution, it is safe to run the garage refrigerator during winter. If you are using the fridge to cool a few beverages, it is ideal to just turn it off. Not having enough food in the fridge compartments will make it work harder to maintain a cool temperature and will also stress the thermostat. Bear in mind that even if the temperature inside the garage is cold, the internal temperature of the refrigerator can be warm enough and the food inside can spoil. You can also check out this article that discusses how to winterize your outdoor refrigerator. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Is it Ideal to Keep a Second Refrigerator in the Garage?

If you are buying food in bulk, especially meat and dairy, then it is ideal to keep a second refrigerator in the garage. It will keep the food safe and fresh for weeks or months. A garage refrigerator is worth it if you are using it regularly. On the other hand, you need to consider the cost of maintaining a garage refrigerator. The bills can rise especially during the summer or winter when the fridge needs to work harder to maintain a cool temperature.

What Kind of Refrigerator do You Need for the Garage?

You need to have a garage-friendly refrigerator for your garage. This refrigerator can handle extreme temperatures and can function efficiently even when exposed to freezing temperatures. It is the best choice that you can purchase especially if your garage is not insulated. A garage-friendly refrigerator is specifically made to operate in the garage and also comes with better insulation and components to handle changes in the temperature. On the other hand, this type of refrigerator is expensive as compared to the regular ones. You can also read this article that discusses what kind of freezer is best for the garage. We have shared helpful information that you can refer to.


In this article, we have discussed if you can keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter. We have learned that while you can keep a refrigerator in the garage in winter, it is not recommended because the extremely cold temperature can damage the refrigerator. Moreover, we have discussed how to safely operate the garage fridge during the winter season. You can check out the market for some of the best garage-friendly refrigerators that you can purchase. Thank you for reading!

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