Keeping A Freezer Outside?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by John Schneider, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Is it bad for a fridge or freezer to be out in the garage where it is not heated? We do have some cold winter temps that sometimes get minus 30. I would be so much easier to keep our freezers out in the barn or garage in order to free up some house space. Just wondering.
     
  2. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    The compressor will freeze up if too cold, best case, blown breaker, worst case, burned out compressor.
    I do it with mine, freezer and refrig, and run a 60 watt light bulb to keep the compressor warm, works fine, but takes additional power and the mice really like it to make nests.
    P.S. Got both for nothing, so if they crap out, so what.
     

  3. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    John, I'm pretty certain that -30 would be about 30 degrees too cold to run a freezer. I keep 3 in my garage, but the temps rarely get even near zero here - the last couple of weeks being the exception. You might get away with simply unplugging it at say 5-10 degrees and letting the ambient air temp keep the contents frozen, but you shouldn't try to run them at temps much lower. Not sure at what temp the refrigerant would freeze (if ever). One of my units is actually a refrigerator/freezer and I've had to place jugs of hot water in the reefer a couple of times a day to keep it over 35...
     
  4. Jim S.

    Jim S. Well-Known Member

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    John, I'm curious why you NEED to run a freezer in -30??? :shrug:

    Wonder if you unplug it and just let it sit out during winter, if it would stay cold enough inside.

    I set my beers out on the porch when it's frosty out, they are colder than in the fridge...but in your case, I'd have to put them in a cooler to keep them from freezing.

    My mother in law has her freezer and dryer on an open back porch. But we're in TN, where a day of zero is about as cold as it ever gets. Hasnlt been lower than 20 overnight this year. Her freezer is from like 1958, been there since new, so it works here.

    I'd think the biggest worry would not be refrigerant freezing but rather the oil in the compressor and lines getting so stiff it would pop the breaker rather than start.
     
  5. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    When we are processing chickens in Oct. we have several hundred that need storing for a few days to a week while our customers come to pick them up. Just wondering if it hurts anything to have them outside for the remainder of the time even if they aren't running. Thanks for all your responses.
     
  6. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    they leave soda machines out year round you will likely not even need to turn it off
    it will not likely run it temp is 10 or below
    as for soda machines many runn a small electric heater

    i have heard of putting a 100 wat light bulb in the fridge durring the winter to keep from freezing the beer.

    but a freezer is no problem if the contence is colder than the 15 they normaly freeze to
     
  7. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We have 2 electric freezers and a propane freezer in an unheated shed and it's gone down to minus 20 with no problems at all. This is the 4th year they've been out there.
     
  8. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

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    People are telling you the truth about compressor problems, a typical freezer is designed to be run in a heated space. The design, compressor sizing, evaporator, condenser, cap tube & refrigerant charge are ALL based on operating temperatures inside a house - not the great outdoors.

    Those soda machines also come with oversized compressors, and sump heaters (a little metal strap about the bottom of the compressor to keep it warm).

    But...

    Your problem can be solved by adding something similar, heat trace..., around the compressor can.... which would use energy...
    The extra energy the unheated compressor labors under to move the thicker oil & squeeze it though the cap tube, verses the heater element - probably a wash.


    Now, if saving energy is the idea, at all costs, you could relocate the condenser in a colder environment (like water, a cool stream, etc.), or replace it with a reverse flow water cooled condenser with the water flow controlled by head pressure (higher the head pressure, the more water flows).
    Yup, I'm serious, because both me and my father-in-law have converted residential AC units to water cooled condensers, using the heated water for preheating domestic hot water.

    It was actually pretty neat, no matter how HOT it was outside, we had the *coolest* abodes in town. One neighbor of ours had his "excess heated water" set up to run through his sprinkler system. He had the fastest growing, greenest lawn for miles!

    Not rocket science at all, but some municipalities have outlawed these chillers... probably because someone thought the water would be 'wasted'. But, they do use a heck of a lot less electrical energy... and with an different expansion valve, a little unit can preform like a big one.

    In short, unless you're ready to redesign the freezer, convert a few parts, possibly evacuate the system & recharge - etc., just unplug it outside when it's cold, or put a thermostat on it to keep it from running when the temp gets below 40f. Or, find an old junker that's half worn out... and have at it.

    BTW... I also converted a fridge, from the 1/4hp compressor & condenser to a 1/20hp, 12vac, water cooled condenser (yes, 12volts, AC), and it worked fairly well. The water use in the apartment did go up a little, but not enough to be noticed by the landlord. It's great having a steam fitter for a father-in-law... I wasn't such a bad guy for stealing his favorite daughter!
     
  9. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    You can always pull the plug and depend on the weather;
    [​IMG]
     
  10. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    ok i may have to try this basicaly i am moving the condecer coil to a sealed water chamber and when the temp exceeds X a metering valve lets the hot water out and more cold in

    i can only imagine how much longer the unit would last if not left outside to the elements
     
  11. Jim S.

    Jim S. Well-Known Member

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    Mmmm, Hunter63...those are ALMOST as cold as I like them! Heheh.
     
  12. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    Fine line between just right and froze!

    Our instructor in HVAC classes warned us about the dangers of keeping fridges and freezers out in the cold.
    We when to his house to to a "Heat load estimation" and lo and behold there was his beer fridge in the garage.
    When asked what gives, his answer was simply what has been suggested, unplug when too cold, let mother nature keep the beer cold.

    Actually he had wired a line voltage temp control, called a "freeze stat" to cut power when below a certain temp.
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    It would be a simple matter to install a thermostat on the AC receptacle to where the thermostat would open when the outside temps drop below where you wanted thus inhibiting the freezer from running. A benefit would also be a reduction in power consumption and no wasted energy running a heater. The system so done would be self monitoring as to the outside temps. Should only cost a few bucks for a surplus freezer thermostat.
     
  14. Milkwitch

    Milkwitch Well-Known Member

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    OMG I have had my freezers out in the barn for three years now! I have not noticed any problems, but I WILL NOW! Darn IT! It has been 25 below for the past month!
    They were there all last winter to! (all our winters are very cold) I do unplug them most of the winter thou.
    could it be the coolant just freezes and the thing does not work, and then thaws and does? I am worried now....