How Do I Winterize My Outdoor Refrigerator?

If you live in an area that has a cold climate or experiences extreme temperatures during the winter season, you might be wondering how to winterize your refrigerator. You must winterize your outdoor refrigerator to protect it from getting damaged and also to make sure that it will work efficiently.  When it comes to winterizing an outdoor refrigerator, there are steps that you need to consider. To help you get started, we have shared helpful tips and ideas below.

How do I winterize my outdoor refrigerator? There are steps that you need to do so that you can winterize your outdoor refrigerator. This includes turning off the water and power lines, cleaning the refrigerator, and draining the pipes and tubes. You need to make sure that you switch off the power before the temperature drops. Empty the refrigerator shelves and clean the inside so that there will be no bad smell that lingers comes from food.

What are the tips on how to winterize your outdoor refrigerator? Why do you need to winterize your outdoor refrigerator? Is it safe not to winterize your outdoor refrigerator? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below for more information that you can refer to.

Helpful Tips on How to Winterize an Outdoor Refrigerator

The steps that you need to do when winterizing an outdoor refrigerator include emptying the fridge, cleaning it, and letting it dry. Take note that if the refrigerator operates outside of its stated safe operating zone, its efficiency will be affected and it can also get damaged. Make sure that you read the operating temperature ranges in the user manual that comes with the product that you purchased.

Step 1 – Empty the Fridge

The first step that you need to do is to empty the fridge. Make sure that all food and beverages are removed including the ice and ice packs. Once the fridge is empty, turn it off. Unplug all of the cords that are connected to the refrigerator. Keep the cords in one location so that you will not misplace them.

Step 2 – Cleaning the Fridge

The next step is to clean the fridge. Thoroughly clean the refrigerator using a soap and water mixture. You can also use white vinegar or safe cleaning chemicals. Use a rag or a sponge to clean the fridge. You might need to remove all of the shelves and bins to clean them separately in the sink. Next, drain the water from the drain pipe of the fridge and clean the pan with soap and water. After that, wipe the fridge using paper towels or rags. Keep the fridge doors open to allow air to circulate and prevent mildew from forming inside.

Step 3 – Drying the Fridge

The last step is to dry the fridge. Do not immediately close the fridge doors after you have finished cleaning them. Keep the doors open for a few hours or overnight to prevent mold and mildew. It is also ideal to place baking soda inside the fridge to remove any remaining odor.

Winterizing Refrigerators that Do Not Have Ice Maker or Water Dispenser

Winterizing refrigerators without an ice maker or water dispenser is easy because there are only a few items that you need to clean. Start by emptying the fridge and turning it off. Clean the fridge and the freezer using a water and soap solution. Make sure to remove any food residue from the shelves and bins. Next, dry the surfaces with a paper towel or rags. Allow it to dry and open the doors for a few hours to help with air circulation.

✅ Video – Winterizing Your Garage or Outdoor Refrigerator

Appliance Master shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses wintering your garage or outdoor refrigerator. In the video, the frequently asked questions regarding caring for outdoor fridges during the winter are discussed. Watch the video to learn more.

Why Do You Need to Winterize Outdoor Refrigerators?

You need to winterize outdoor refrigerators to prevent them from getting damaged. If you do not winterize your fridge, it can affect its efficiency. Hence, you must know how to prepare your outdoor fridge for the cold weather. When exposed to extreme cold, the internal components of the refrigerator such as the compressor can overload and stop working. Aside from that, pipes and tubes can also freeze. Make sure that you protect your refrigerator so that it does not get exposed to temperatures that are below freezing.

Furthermore, refrigerators can have water in the pump and hoses that can freeze during the winter and end up damaging your pipes. When water freeze, it also expands and this can cause irreversible damage to the pipes. You must ensure that the refrigerator provides optimized performance.

When is the Right Time to Winterize Outdoor Refrigerators?

The right time to winterize your outdoor refrigerator is when the temperatures reach 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Take note that when the fridge operates at temperatures that are below the recommended winterization temperature, your warranty can get void. Read the user manual to find out the temperature ranges that the fridge can handle. You can also read this article that discusses if you can run the fridge with nothing in it. We have shared helpful information that you can refer to.

Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Refrigerators

The difference between an indoor and outdoor refrigerator is that an outdoor refrigerator is more compact compared the indoor one. Outdoor refrigerators usually measure 24 inches by 34 inches and have a storage capacity of 5.5 to 6 cubic feet. Moreover, they feature thicker insulation to protect them from different outdoor temperatures.

Outdoor refrigerators are also designed to have more powerful components so that they can store food cold up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, they are equipped with rust-resistant exterior and waterproof electronics so that they are safe to operate in wet conditions.

Does the Outside Part of the Refrigerator Need Winterizing?

Like the inside, the outside part of the refrigerator also needs winterizing. The outside parts should be protected from snow, ice, and hail. Make sure to cover the fridge once you have cleaned it. On the other hand, allow proper air circulation to prevent the growth of mold. It is also recommended that you apply stainless steel polish to the exterior housing as an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Is an Outdoor Refrigerator Safe Even if it is Not Winterized?

The question of whether or not an outdoor refrigerator is safe if it is not winterized will have to depend on how cold the temperature gets and how long it remains below freezing. Bear in mind that outdoor refrigerators do not feature a heating mechanism, but they are thickly insulated. If the outdoor refrigerator is exposed to just below freezing temperature and the doors are not opened, the temperature will equilibrate. On the other hand, if it is exposed to below-freezing temperature it can start to ice in just a matter of hours depending on how cold the temperature is.

What Happens if an Outdoor Refrigerator is Not Winterized?

If an outdoor refrigerator is not winterized and is exposed to minus 10 temperatures, it can get damaged. Refrigerators at made to remove heat as well as to keep cold air inside. If the outdoor temperature gets colder as compared to the temperature inside the refrigerator, the outdoor temperature will affect the inside temperature.

Moreover, a refrigerator that is exposed to extreme temperature needs to produce more heat so that the inside temperature can be maintained. This can damage the refrigerator since it has to work harder which is not something that it is designed to do.

Is it OK if the Refrigerator is Exposed to Freezing Temperatures?

It is not okay for the refrigerator to be exposed to freezing temperatures. Make sure that you do not leave the refrigerator outside during the winter especially if you live in an area that experiences extremely cold temperatures. This is because the internal parts of the refrigerator which include the compressor can get damaged and the fridge will stop working. We have also shared this article titled, is it hard for the refrigerator to be in the garage? You can check out the article for more tips and information.

Should You Leave the Outdoor Refrigerator Unplugged During Winter?

Do not leave the outdoor refrigerator unplugged during the winter. When exposed to severe cold temperatures, it can lead to various problems which include damaged water pumps, drain pipes, compressors, and valves. We have also shared this article titled, can a freezer be kept in an unheated garage? You can check out the article for more tips and information.

Do I Need to Unplug My Garage Refrigerator During Winter?

If you are not using your garage refrigerator, it is ideal to unplug it during winter. On the other hand, if it is full and you do not have room in your kitchen fridge to keep the extra food, then you do not need to unplug it. You also need to consider the temperature inside the garage. If your garage is insulated, then you can keep the refrigerator running. You can also check out this article that discusses if it is OK to store appliances in the garage. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.


In this article, we have discussed how to winterize your outdoor refrigerator. Above, we have shared some tips that you can follow. We have also discussed the importance of having your outdoor refrigerator winterized. Thank you for reading!

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