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My wife is all wigged out about her freezer being left in an unheated building. She claims the freezing temps will hurt it. I never heard of such a thing. Who's right? It'll be on and used to store produce.
 

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The whole idea is to remove heat. So if in a cool environment, removing heat becomes easier. Remind her of all of the commercial equipment that sits outside in the cold, and although commercial equipment has low ambient controls, your freezer does not need them because there is no fan to cycle off. It will run fine as long as it doesn't freeze your produce.
 

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I've had a freezer in the garage since 23 October 1970 so it's been subject to whatever the temperatures have been for just over 38 years. Hasn't given me a minute's worth of trouble during that time.

Martin
 

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It SHOULD be ok as long as it's left out in the cold. If you should decide in the middle of winter that you want to move it into the house, you may have problems. A lot of freezers don't react well to suddenly being moved somewhere warm.
 

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Bowdonkey, your wife is technically right, for the most part.

Refridgerators and freezers cool by pumping heat out, through a process knows as a "heat exchange". Here is a chance for a scientific headache - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor-compression_refrigeration

Basically, you need heat in order to cool.

In the case of refridgerators and freezers (air conditioners, etc. also) the heat is created by superheating freon (or other refridgerants) in a compressor and using evaporation process, to pull the heat out of the fridge/freezer food storage areas.

Very cold outside air make it more difficult to heat the compressor and freon and thus, makes cooling less efficient or may even stop cooling.

Some refridgerators and freezers can handle cold outside temps better than others, by design and commercial units usually have thermostat controlled electric heaters, on the compressor units.

Sometimes extrems cold can burn up a compressor, though many people have refridgerators and freezers out in the cold with no problems.
 

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It also depends if it is a "frost free" model. The frost free freezers allow the freezer to rise in temp every so often to get rid of the frost. This of course hard to do if the freezer is actually in freezing temps, and so the freezer will "burn" up.
 

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I've got one that's lived on the back porch for over ten years. It still works fine no matter the season.
 

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What I have read is the manual defrost models are okay outside but not the self defrosting kind. Mine is going outside as soon as we re-organize.
 

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I just bought a new freezer a week or so ago and asked the salesman about this. He said don't do it with a frost free model, but that a manual defrost is fine. My freezers always are in the garage with freezing temps common in the winter and they've gone for years that way (the one that gave up was probably close to 30 years old). My bulk tank compressor is also in the cold and the only thing is they are less efficient in the winter at cooling, and the compressor is working harder.
 

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I know many people with freezers in their unheated garage. but I was told not to (by a guy that knows his stuff) as it COULD damage the compressor. so if I had an old freezer, I wouldn't care. my new freezer went in the laundryroom, tho...didn't want to chance it. :)
 

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Basically, you need heat in order to cool.

Very cold outside air make it more difficult to heat the compressor and freon and thus, makes cooling less efficient or may even stop cooling.

Sometimes extrems cold can burn up a compressor...
This is simply incorrect.

The purpose of a refrigerator or freezer is to remove the heat from the inside of the appliance and put it into the outside air. If a freezer is located in a very cold area, there will be no heat being put into the freezer, therefore there is no heat to be removed from the freezer, and the thermostat in the freezer will not call for the compressor to run.

As long as the freezer is protected from the weather, and is not a frost-free, the cold area will not harm it at all.
 

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You should always keep it in 72 degrees all the time. I have one on the bakc prorch for the last 10 years and it works fine but you should keep it at 72 degrees to get the best performance. That is where the manufacures keep them when the test them. That is 72 degrees a not 74 or 70 to get what they promise.
 

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Freezer and refrigerator (and air conditioning) compressors are designed to work at room temperature (60 to 70 degrees F) because of the oil in the compressors. At colder temps, the oil is thicker (similar to how motor oil in a car acts in cold weather), and won't circulate or lubricate properly. Commercial refrigeration units that have outside compressors actually have oil heaters on them to make sure the compressor is warm enough. You may not have problems with it operating in cold temps but newer refrigerators and freezers are more sensitive to this than a 10 or 20 year old or older unit is. It is strictly a matter of lubrication of the compressor.
 

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Some modern freezers have weak compressors and don't do well in freezing temps. The problem is the oil gets to viscus. It is rather ridiculous. We bought an Amana 25 cu-ft chest freezer that theoretically has this issue. I have read in the manual for the Frigidaire same size that they don't have that issue. Next time I will get a Frigidaire.

The irony is that our other chest freezer (again 25 cu-ft) is 45 years old and has always been outdoors right through our freezing (-45°F) northern Vermont winters with never a problem. Not only that but the old freezer uses HALF as much energy as the modern one year old Amana.

You can pickup old freezer in the classified ads. They could be a great deal.

Speaking of freezers, I would never use auto-defrost. Manual defrost only - both of ours are manual. Auto burns more energy by warming the freezer up to get rid of the ice. This is VERY bad for the food. You want the food to stay cold.

Tip on organizing: use boxes. Have a system.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
 

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I agree. when we bought our new freezer, we bought a manual defrost. soooo many people thought we were crazy. well...it IS an energy saver..hands down! (didn't know about the food issue) and it isn't like you have to defrost often...we do it twice a year. if it is VERY full...I've let it slide to once a year without major frost build-up.

I bought a self defrost refrigerator that drives us batty...it runs ALL the time. we actually hate the darn thing.
 

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I bought a Frigdaire upright frost free model a few months ago, and this is directly from thr owners manual.

"For the most efficient operation, the freezer should be located where surrounding tempatures will not exceed 110*F (43*C). Tempatures of 32*F (0*C) and below will NOT affect freezer operations. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended."
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow, you all are great, thanks for all the answers. And the best part of all, I won the "debate". LOL! Though it's by default, I never knew it mattered if the freezer was a frost free model or manual defrost. I always just left them sit in an uheated place to save power. Luck of the ignorant I guess.
 
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