Do Outdoor Refrigerators Need to be Winterized?

Do you have an outdoor refrigerator and are wondering if it needs to be winterized? Outdoor refrigerators are popular nowadays, especially for families who have an outdoor kitchen or who love to host a party during the weekend. While an outdoor refrigerator is convenient, one of the common questions asked by homeowners is if they need to be winterized. We will find out the answer below.

Do outdoor refrigerators need to be winterized? Outdoor refrigerators need to be winterized so that mold and mildew growth inside the refrigerator can be prevented. Aside from that, an outdoor refrigerator is not usually used during the winter so it is a waste of energy and money to keep it running. Make sure to properly winterize your outdoor refrigerator to keep it in good condition.

How do you winterize an outdoor refrigerator? Why do you need to winterize the outdoor fridge? When is the best time to winterize the refrigerator? What are the components of the outdoor refrigerator that needs winterizing? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below to find out more about outdoor refrigerator winterization.

Do outdoor refrigerators need to be winterized
Photo by Curtis Adams Opens in a new tab.on Pexels

Why Do You Need to Winterize Outdoor Refrigerators?

You need to winterize outdoor refrigerators to prevent them from getting damaged. You need to learn how to properly winterize your refrigerator so that you can avoid expensive repairs. Moreover, if you do not winterize the outdoor fridge, there is a high risk of having broken water pipes and damaged components.

When is the Best Time to Winterize the Outdoor Refrigerator?

The best time to winterize the outdoor refrigerator is when the temperature reaches 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Bear in mind that when the outside temperature level drops below freezing, the freezer section of the fridge can shut down. Moreover, both portions freezer and fridge sections are controlled by one thermostat. In most outdoor refrigerators, the thermostat is usually located in the refrigerator section and it will not turn on when the temperature outside drops below which causes the freezer section to stop cooling and you will end up with thawed food.

What Parts of an Outdoor Refrigerator Need Winterizing?

Both the inside and outside parts of an outdoor refrigerator need winterizing. Make sure that the inside parts of the fridge are thoroughly clean and that the outside is safe from ice, snow, and hail. Place the refrigerator in a covered area. It is also ideal to apply a stainless steel polish to the exterior of the fridge as an added protection against the elements.

Steps on How to Winterize an Outdoor Refrigerator

Removing all the contents, cleaning it, and letting it dry are the steps how to winterize an outdoor refrigerator. It is important to winterize outdoor refrigerators during the cold and winter season because they contain water that can freeze and lead to damage. It is easy to winterize an outdoor refrigerator. Below are the steps that you can follow.

Remove all Contents from the Outdoor Refrigerator

The first step that you need to do is to remove all contents from the refrigerator. Do not forget to remove ice and ice packs inside the freezer. Make sure that there is nothing left. After that, unplug the cords and off the circuit breaker. Keep the cords in a bag to prevent losing them.

Thoroughly Clean the Outdoor Refrigerator

The next step that you need to do is to thoroughly clean the refrigerator. You can use a soap and water mixture. Aside from that, you can also use a vinegar and water mixture to disinfect the fridge. You also need to remove all shelving and bins inside the refrigerator to clean and wipe them. Once the fridge is thoroughly cleaned, you need to wipe it down with a clean rag or paper towel.

✅ Video – How to Clean a Fridge

Clean My Space shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to clean a fridge. Regardless it is an indoor or outdoor fridge; every homeowner has their way of cleaning. If you are looking for additional refrigerator cleaning tips that you can follow, watch the video below.

Allow the Outdoor Refrigerator to Dry

The last step is to let the outdoor refrigerator dry. It is recommended that you leave the door open to prevent mildew and mold. You can also use baking soda to get rid of unwanted odors. You can cover the refrigerator but make sure that the door remains open.

Why Should You Not Leave an Indoor Refrigerator Outside in the Winter?

Indoor refrigerators are not meant to be used outdoor and when you leave them exposed to the winter climate, they can get damaged. Let us learn more below about the different reasons why you should not leave an indoor fridge outdoor during the winter.

The Compressor Can Get Damaged

One of the reasons why you should not leave an indoor refrigerator outside in the winter is that the compressor can get damaged. Bear in mind that the refrigerator relies on the compressor to run. If the compressor is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, it can get damaged and it will stop working. It is best to move the fridge indoors during the winter. Moreover, even if the indoor fridge is plugged off, the compressor is still at risk of damage because it is not meant to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures in the first place.

It Can Stop Cooling Once it is Plugged In

Another reason why you should not leave an indoor refrigerator outdoor during the winter is that it can stop cooling once it is plugged in. This is a common issue that is experienced by homeowners who have decided to place their indoor refrigerators outdoor. Even if the fridge is placed in a covered area, it is still exposed to the cold temperature which can cause damage to the fridge.

It Can Result in Less Power Output

Ain indoor refrigerator that is used outdoors in the winter will not work efficiently. Because of this, it will not provide the right power output. It can also lead to the internal parts of the fridge stopping optimizing for power. Thus, the overall power output can drop up to fifty percent or more. Aside from that, if the internal parts are not in use all the time, they cannot handle the power surge and the fridge will work less efficiently. You can also check out this article that discusses if you can put an indoor fridge outdoors. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Can an Outdoor Refrigerator Get Damaged When Exposed to Cold Temperature?

While an outdoor refrigerator is meant for outdoor use, it does not mean that you can just leave it in the winter without worries. Take note that outdoor refrigerators can still get damaged when exposed to cold temperatures. This is the reason why it is important to winterize the outdoor fridge. If the outdoor refrigerator keeps on working during the winter, its internal parts, especially those that contain water, can freeze and get damaged. You can also check out this article that discusses why your refrigerator will not work in the garage. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Will a Weatherproofed Refrigerator be OK During the Winter?

A weatherproofed refrigerator has features that are more equipped to handle winter conditions, but the compressor is still vulnerable to damage especially when temperatures drop to extreme degrees. For an outdoor refrigerator to be considered weatherproofed, it should be made of 304 stainless steel or higher.

The higher the grade of the stainless steel is, the more corrosion and rust-resistant the fridge will be. Aside from that, outdoor refrigerators also have additional weatherproofing features like bearing seals. Make sure that you keep the outdoor refrigerator in an area that is safe and dry. It is also recommended that you winterize the fridge to prolong its life and prevent damage.

Is it OK to Leave an Outdoor Refrigerator in Freezing Temperatures?

It is not ok to leave outdoor furniture at freezing temperature. While it is made for outdoor use, make sure that you winterize the fridge and leave it in a safe place. Take note that its internal parts which include the compressor can get damaged. You can also read this article that discusses how to tell if a refrigerator is garage-ready. We have shared helpful information that you can refer to.

What is the Reason Why You Should Not Keep an Outdoor Refrigerator in Freezing Temperatures?

The reason why you should not keep an outdoor refrigerator at freezing temperature is that its internal components can get damaged which affects the functionality and efficiency of the fridge. If you keep a refrigerator outside during the winter season, there is a chance that the internal components can get damaged and will need costly repairs.

Internal parts of the refrigerator such as the compressor and water lines can freeze if you leave an outdoor refrigerator in freezing temperatures. Moreover, the valve, drain lines, and water pump can also get damaged. We have also shared this article titled, what is the difference between a regular freezer and a garage-ready freezer? You can check out the article for more tips and information.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses if outdoor refrigerators need to be winterized. We have learned that it is important that outdoor refrigerators are winterized so that they do not get damaged. When an outdoor refrigerator continues running in the winter, its internal parts can freeze it will stop working. Some damages can be hard to repair and you may need to replace the refrigerator. To be on the safe side, you need to winterize your outdoor refrigerator. Thank you for reading!

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