Help with garage refrigerator
May 24, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Economical garage/basement refrigerator options?

I want a refrigerator in an un-insulated portion of my basement. I'd like both more freezer and fridge space. I live in Chicago. That portion of the basement could hit outside temps. The previous owners had a freezer only there.

I'm basing all my research based on what this guy says in that you can't just throw a normal freezer/fridge into a garage and expect it to be fine in 0-32 F temps.

So far my research has yielded a $1000 unit. Too expensive!

Then there is this heater kit, that I could probably figure out with some research on finding a compatible fridge. Seems like a big PTIA.

Then I bought this at one point thinking I could convert the full freezer to a fridge, but I've played with that and the freezer is a frosty model. . so the whole thing gets kind of wet and then drains. However if I put this in the fridge portion of a regular freezer/fridge combo, I'm thinking it may work.

So what's the deal though seriously? I seemingly know plenty of people who have fridge's in their garages. Is it really that bad that I need to go through all this? Should I just buy a fridge off craigslist and give it a whirl without all the nonsense?
posted by patrad to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
I can't speak to the freezer/fridge not working under cold conditions (we had both in a barely heated garage growing up, and they worked just fine...*shrugs*)

BUT, If I was going to tackle that problem, I would just make a wooden frame that would hold insulation around the unit...the back of a fridge heats up quite nicely, probably enough to keep the unit warm enough. I mean, a cardboard box that's bigger than the fridge with insulation stapled to the outside might do the trick.

That aside, you might want to just consider sealing/insulating the basement (if you own the building) for overall efficiency reasons, even if you don't plan on heating the whole space.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:42 PM on May 24, 2012

There are two problems that I have heard of with fridges and freezers in an un-insulated space. 1) your (fridge) food could freeze if the outside temperature is too low. 2) if it is a frost-free or self-defrosting model, sub-freezing temperatures can confuse it and make it run the defrost cycle constantly. this might make your internal temperature too high for food safety.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:32 PM on May 24, 2012

I can confirm that the fridge /freezer in our uninsulated garage quits working when the temp stays below freezing for a few days. I live in TX so it only happens once every 5 years or so. If I were going to do it again, I might get a chest freezer and a mini fridge like college students get.
posted by CathyG at 7:03 AM on May 25, 2012

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