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Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEMay 10, 2022by AndrewDoes a Refrigerator Use More Power Being in a Hot Garage?

You might put a refrigerator in the garage out of necessity, leisure or for extra needed storage. Perhaps it’s convenient and nice for grilling, the summer, when you’re spending time in the driveway or yard, or for the kids. During very hot (or very cold) temps, does a refrigerator use more power if it’s in a hot garage?

If your garage isn’t climate controlled, it could be making a refrigerator and freezer run harder and then break down sooner. There are things you can do to have the refrigerator stay up and running in the garage.

Do Extreme Summer and Winter Temperatures Make a Fridge Use More Energy?

A refrigerator or freezer in a garage will use more energy depending on the outdoor temperature and humidity plus the insulation or climate control you have for the garage.

In the summer, more heat and humidity will cause any appliance which must keep a certain temperature to consume more power. For every one degree (1 F) the ambient temperature increases, the energy usage of appliances (typically in a kitchen) increases 2.25-2.5%. With a fridge, a 90 degree temperature causes the refrigerator to use 45-50% more energy than it would in a 70 degree setting.

It’s usually not an issue around this region, but if the ambient air temperature in a garage is below 40, the thermostat in a refrigerator may read so the cooling and defrosting cycles won’t run correctly. If it’s below freezing, a refrigerator can’t heat its interior, so freezing may occur.

Read the refrigerator’s owner’s manual for information or instructions about ambient temperature and the appliance’s operation.

Tips for a Refrigerator in a Hot Garage

  • The Right Power

The kitchen and inside of a house is wired for all the usual appliances. The garage may not be. If a garage isn’t wired with the right electrical connection, a fridge or any other appliance may not get the right power. This could cause malfunctions, a short lifespan or inefficient running.

A refrigerator must be run on a 60Hz, AC only, 115 volt electric outlet. If you don’t know if your garage is equipped with the appropriate electrical wiring, you need to contact a professional electrical expert.

  • Fill Up the Fridge

A full refrigerator or freezer works better. It uses power more efficiently. Cold air escapes more from an empty fridge, so an appliance in a very hot garage has to work harder along with battling how hot it is. A fully stocked refrigerator has less space for warmer air, so it helps the unit to keep a steady, cool temperature when it is opened on a hot day. If you do not need all the space in your fridge, you can put gallon jugs of water inside it to fill up the room.

  • Cool It

If the temperature inside your garage is over 110 degrees, it’s going to be a poor spot for a refrigerator. Very hot conditions will cause a fridge to burn out and fail. The fridge will be consistently running to make up for the ambient temperature, so it will be working harder for longer. If you are concerned your garage is too warm, you may be able to cool it. Take into consideration choices such as fans, vents, insulation or perhaps supplementary air conditioning. If you’re experiencing an rare spike in temperatures, such as a very bad heat wave, short-term actions such as covering windows to shade the heat from the sun may be enough of a difference.

  • Maintenance

A little normal maintenance will help a refrigerator, in a kitchen or a garage. The efficiency and life can be extended with simple upkeep like cleaning coils once or twice a year. If a garage is dirtier, with more dust and debris, more can gather on the coils or vents of an appliance. You might need to clean or vacuum them more often than a refrigerator in a kitchen.

  • Keep Track of What’s Inside

A refrigerator in extreme temperatures will have a greater likelihood of problems or a failure. In a garage, it could be longer spans of time between checking on the refrigerator, or what’s inside of it. It may be a smart idea to only keep non-perishable items in a refrigerator in a garage or outdoors. It may be a fine idea to have water, soda and items with longer shelf lives in the garage fridge. Leave dairy, ice cream or other perishable, fresher foods in a better controlled and checked fridge. This is a way to limit waste or have a major mess if there’s a failure or outage.

What About Freezers?

Perhaps you’ve stored a bunch of bulk food in a freezer in a garage. It’s a great idea for extra food, to save money and for emergencies. Is a freezer in a garage using up more energy than you’d expect, though?

The impact on your energy bill depends on the age of the freezer, the climate in the area and some on how you use and keep the freezer. Regions that experience extreme highs and lows in temperature can decrease the life of a freezer. The freezer running and staying at the needed temperature in severe heat conditions makes the compressor run harder and longer than it’s built for. If the compressor cycles on and off more than normal, the energy use rises, hence raising the cost.

Fill the Freezer, Too

Sometimes people buy a freezer which is too big. Maybe there’s not much stored in it at times. When there’s empty space, the freezer is still working to make the empty air cold. For maximum power efficiency, keep your freezer two-thirds or more full. You can put full water jugs in the freezer if you’ve got nothing else.



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