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  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
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    Freezer operation in my garage


    In 2001 I acquired a used upright manual defrost freezer and put it in my garage in Wichita KS, where winter temperatures freeze paint in gallon cans and summer temperatures resemble a warming oven. I filled the freezer with food and operated it until I moved to Portland Oregon this summer. It always worked marvelously, keeping the food well below 0 degrees F.

    I was planning to get a smaller chest freezer (also manual defrost) to put in my unheated garage here in Portland, but have learned that operating freezers in such an environment is supposed to burn out the compressor. Was I just very lucky or is this not as big a risk as I hear? Here in Portland I hope my garage will not get cold enough to freeze my cans of paint, but it will certainly get colder than the 50 degrees fahrenheit I've read is safe, and now in July it gets quite hot each afternoon.

    There is absolutely no room for a freezer in my house. Does anyone know what can be done to minimize the risks? Would adding a layer of insulation to the top and sides of the freezer help to keep the compressor from overworking in the summer? Isn't there compressor oil available that will resist viscosity changes with lower temperature like for cars?



  2. #2
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    Not so sunny coast (BC Canada)
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    Re: Freezer operation in my garage

    I'll have to say bull on it killing it, we run freezers out side here in BC and it gets very cold during the winter and hot during summer 36C today & I can not recall any dies with out sever abuse! So I think you are just fine, just stop it from geting wet.

  3. #3
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    Re: Freezer operation in my garage

    Quote Originally Posted by The MG Pony
    I'll have to say bull on it killing it, we run freezers out side here in BC and it gets very cold during the winter and hot during summer 36C today & I can not recall any dies with out sever abuse! So I think you are just fine, just stop it from geting wet.

    Any fridge has a design

    Running a capillary system in low ambients will cause low condensing pressures, low suction pressure and masses of subcooling and very low suction superheats, with no warm liquid to boil off any liquid which enters the suction line.

    In short you will wreck the compresor by liquid flood back, especially when the freezer has any buildup of ice on the evaporator.

    The only way systems such as this work at all is the limited amount of charge that is in them, which tends to trap in the condenser.

    Heat the garage to at least a frost protection level and it will be fine

    Also the insulation on the freezer box will frost on the outside, breaking down after a period of time.

    Kind regards Andy
    If you can't fix it leave it that no one else will

  4. #4
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    Re: Freezer operation in my garage

    Thank you Andy for your reply. You obviously understand a great deal about refrigeration in contrast to my total ignorance. However I am still confused. How do you explain actual successful experiences such as that posted by the MG Pony, or my own experience during the past 4 winters?

    It will not be possible for me to heat my garage this coming winter, and besides that would seem to be a very inefficent (and not very responsible) use of energy . . . heat the garage so the freezer can freeze the food kept in it. If I was successful running a freezer in my 10 degree F garage when living in Kansas, surely I could be successful now that I am living in the milder Portland Oregon climate . . . couldn't I?
    Last edited by sonjand; 25-07-2006 at 07:22 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Freezer operation in my garage

    Quote Originally Posted by sonjand
    Thank you Andy for your reply. You obviously understand a great deal about refrigeration in contrast to my total ignorance. However I am still confused. How do you explain actual successful experiences such as that posted by the MG Pony, or my own experience during the past 4 winters?

    It will not be possible for me to heat my garage this coming winter, and besides that would seem to be a very inefficent (and not very responsible) use of energy . . . heat the garage so the freezer can freeze the food kept in it. If I was successful running a freezer in my 10 degree F garage when living in Kansas, surely I could be successful now that I am living in the milder Portland Oregon climate . . . couldn't I?
    Hi sonjand

    I suppose fridge manufacturers allow something for extremes of operation, but 10 deg F is cold

    If your freezer was partially enclosed around (much like my garage) with shelving or general items being stored, the local ambient around the freezer would be much closer to design

    Build a cupboard of shelving around the freezer with a 3/4" space around for an air gap and the freezer will run more effectively in the winter (much like building in the freezer in your kitchen, but without a wooden door on it.

    Hope this helps

    Kind Regards Andy
    If you can't fix it leave it that no one else will

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    New Berlin, Wisconsin, USA
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    Re: Freezer operation in my garage

    Being in Wisconsin we use to have winters with temps below 30F for 60 to 90 days at a time and there was always problems with compressors slugging in winter or the oil would be too thick and not lubricate properly. My old instructor from tech school had a solution for this, put a 60 to 100 watt light bulb in a drop light next to the compressor, it acts like a crankcase heater to eliminate refrigerant condensing in the compressor.

    If you use the refrigerator you may not get it to turn on or it may actually freeze, so also put a low wattage light like a night light to create a load to run the compressor.

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