/ Food & Drink, Home & Energy

Putting your freezer in a garage? Use a degree of caution

Red garage door

The garage might seem like the ideal out-of-the-way place to park a bulky and unsightly ‘big white box’ appliance. But keeping your freezer in a garage – or an unheated room – could actually cause it to break down.

Why? In a nutshell, freezers work by transferring heat inside the compartment outside. In cold room temperatures, this heat-transfer process can cause condensation on the outside of the freezer. If these water droplets find their way into the freezers’ innards it can damage the insulation, which can cause the appliance to pack up.

Fridge and freezer climate classes

Most of the freezers you can buy simply aren’t designed to work in rooms that get colder than 10°C. All refrigeration appliances have a climate class which tells you the range of room temperatures it’s designed to work in, and 10°C is the absolute lowest on the room-temperature scale (covered by the class ‘SN’).

When you consider that the average UK minimum temperature in February is barely more than 1°C, picturing a chilly garage being less than 10°C is absolutely no stretch for the imagination. Clearly then, this rules out garages and outbuildings as suitable homes for your freezer, and even calls unheated utility rooms into question.

There are exceptions to this rule: Beko says its freezers will work in colder temperatures, and claims that some can withstand room temperatures of down to -15°C.

Keeping your freezer in a garage

However, the obvious question is why do most manufacturers make appliances that aren’t geared up to work in the way people want to use them?

Of course, lots of people have kept freezers in garages for years without any problems. So perhaps the climate class system’s 10°C errs on the safe side, meaning that it might not be much use in the real world. This may or may not be true (and is something we’re looking into), but it’s important to point out that going against the climate class advice and keeping a freezer in an unheated room could invalidate its warranty.

To help us get an idea of whether the 10°C rule has much bearing on real-life experience, I’d really like to hear from anyone who keeps their freezer in a garage. Did you know that doing this might just shorten its shelf-life? Has your freezer ever broken down, or has it been running fine for years?

Do you keep your freezer in your garage?

Yes (84%, 2,180 Votes)

No (16%, 425 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,605

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Steve Taylor says:
12 July 2013

We have kept a freezer in our garage for as long as I can remember, must be 20 years plus. Never had any problems which we put down to the quality of the freezer which is a Zanussi. Could be that more modern appliances are not as reliable.

Edward Jenkins says:
12 July 2013

We have kept chest freezers and upright freezers in our garages for 40 years. The chest expired after about 32 years,because the hinges had broken! Subsequently uprights ( x 2 ) have also lived in the garage – the the first was replaced because of size, not performance. AS far as we are concerned we have had no problems whatsoever because of the accommodation.

12 July 2013

We have also keep both chest and upright freezers in a garage for 40 years or with no problems.

Geoff Ireland says:
12 July 2013

Just to add a little balance to the many reports of “no problem”, I had an upright freezer fail while in an outside garage. The failure mode was thermal insulation failure so that the compressor was on all the time. I discovered the problem by looking at my electricity bill. Trying to freeze the universe costs.

cyril smale says:
12 July 2013

we have kept our upright freezer in the garage for aprox ten years purely because we do not have enough room in the kitchen were we already have a fridge and a freezer and so far we have not had any problems and as the last few winters have been extremely cold I don’t anticipate any problems.

I’ve had 2 freezers in my garage for 10 years (Lec and Hotpoint), using one to take contents from the other 2 (one in the kitchen) while defrosting and to handle surplus fruit and veg from the garden. The only problem I have had is during a power cut, but that of course affected the ‘indoors’ freezer, too. I wipe down the outside of the working garage fridge whenever I see condensation building up. In summary, no problems and very useful.

Brian says:
12 July 2013

I have kept my chest freezer in my garage for the last 15 years without any problems. Still works as well as the day I bought it.

I have kept a chest freezer in our garage for 30+ years with no problems.
The manufacturers probely put this clause in their lit. Knowing that it will end up in a garage thus negating their warrenty.

john burns says:
12 July 2013

Freezer in garage is not s daft as freezer in hot kitchen

David Hancock says:
12 July 2013

I have kept the same Electrolux Upright Freezer in my garage since 1980 and completely defrost it about twice / year. As a retired engineer with experience of Commercial Refrigeration / Air conditioning, I fully appreciate the concerns expressed about modern Freezers that are sited in an environment that can get quite warm in the summer and very cold during winter time.

However, I have concluded that in common with many other more recent electrical / electronic domestic white goods, manufacturers have relaxed specifications in an effort to remain competitively priced.

Alan McGarvey says:
12 July 2013

I have a 12 year old Zanussi fridge freezer which has lived happily in the garage (integral to the house). Only problem, which is nothing to do with it being in the garage, is that seals need replacing and they are no longer made.
I should point out to you that, as with many people, the gas boiler is also in the garage and provides some background heat.

Michael says:
12 July 2013

Our Bosch freezer chest has been living in a garden shed for at least 10 years. Not had any problems.

So far, I make it No Probs 38, Probs 4.

If you could do a count on Monday that would be great 😉

Geminii says:
12 July 2013

I bought a BEKO fridge which was in my garage and it failed after 18 months, but this was due more to manufacturing quality than ambient temperature as it lost its gas. I have bought a Liebherr Fridge and a Liebherr Freezer which are in my garage and they are built to operate at low temperatures . Prior to this I had a Comet own brand Freezer for 20 years in my garage and it worked fine until I swopped it for a more energy efficient Liebherr.

Sandra Richardson says:
12 July 2013

Our freezer has been in the garage for 44 years without a problem. We do need to replace it and really don’t know what to buy, except steer clear of Beko,

This article is highly speculative and entirely unsubstantiated by any hard facts or statistics. If I had editorial control I would never have published these spurious claims, at least until there was supporting evidence and only then if it was shown to be a general problem with freezers and not one that was highly contrived or atypical.

The question should be how many freezers have failed solely due to the ingress of condensate ? And how many of these have been sited in a garage-type environment versus a kitchen ? I’d suspect that a kitchen would be more humid on average than a garage and opportunities for condensation would be commensurate with that but that’s just my speculation.

Hello Jimmy, we’re looking for evidence from consumers before going further. This is why we’ve published this post so that we can hear from people like you. So far, we’ve had lots of valuable evidence posted here.

Rosemary Reay says:
12 July 2013

I have kept upright freezers in outbuildings and garages since April 1974 (5 years in a barn next to a detached cottage; 25 years in a garage adjoining a semi-detached house and nearly 9 years in the integral garage in my present detached bungalow). I have never had any problems with freezers kept in cold buildings. My main large fridge-freezer (Zanussi – bought about 7 years ago) is kept in my kitchen. When I moved here in 2004, I brought my separate refridgerator and freezer with me. As there was not room for 2 appliances in my kitchen, I put my old fridge and freezer in my garage. I have since had an inside door built from my dining room into my garage. I switch on the fridge occasionally (as an overflow fridge e.g.at Christmas or when I have many visitors). I keep my freezer (now well over 9 years old) switched on all the time, as an extra freezer, and I find it very useful.

john woodward says:
12 July 2013

how safe is the new Dreamliner two recalled in one day ??

The wrong conversation? Try “Have you felt pressured to add insurance to a purchase?”

G-man says:
12 July 2013

I was thinking about doing this until I read that. My neighbour keeps there’s out in the garage, and it routinely breaks down. I blamed the make or age of the appliance.