Refrigerator freezers going bad in the garage

Originally Posted By: ecrofutt
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Three refrigerator freezers, one after the other, went bad in a garage.

Each time, new one was plugged into the same garage circuit plug.

Freezers on each one went bad, but refrigerator portion still worked fine.

Any ideas?

Erby Crofutt
B4U Close Home Inspections
Georgetown, Kentucky

Originally Posted By: eharden
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1.) Are they top / bottom units or side by sides?

2.) Is it possible that there is some other condition (besides electric) that

may be causing this?

3.) Any idea what exactly went wrong with units?

Eric Harden

First Choice Inspection Services

"That which does not kill me, makes me stronger."

Originally Posted By: kluce
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Tell me if I’m wrong. A compressor is used to move freon which picks up the heat in the freezer. The fan turns on to move the heat out of the refrig. which the freon also picks up that heat in the freezer. That’s how they keep the refrig cool and the freezer colder. Ether the fan is working or not working. The compressor is working or not working. or the thermostat is keeping temp or not keeping temp. The only thing I can think of if the thermostat in the freezer is not working properly and keeping the freezer cold enough to keep the refig. cold enough. Why the freezer would be warm and the refrig. normal, my thinking must be off.

I worked on Air conditioners but not refrigerators.

Originally Posted By: psabados
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Possible voltage drops under 100 vac. A bad or loose neutral causing the unit to constantly recycle. Check neutral connections at the breaker box and trace back to wall receptacle if possible. Look for connections at junction boxes also.

Sounds like something is damaging the compressor's. Maybe no circulation or plugged vents. Most likely its electrical

My two cents


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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Kevin is on the right track.

If it was related to the receptacle, the refrigerator section would not be working either. Same compressor, same refrigerant, one continuous path. Must be the freezer fan or thermostat.

I would look at it this way: Are the refrigerator / freezers units the same brand, and they were replacements? If so, there may be a problem consistent within them. If not ... well, forget I mentioned it.

Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: Gino Conner
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Kevin is the one closest on track with this situation.

This post is a little old now, but I can guarantee you that it was very cold in this garage. This is just the nature of how an refrigerator that is designed to be indoors functions when it's placed outdoors, in a freezing or near freezing environment.

The freezer and the refrigerator only receive their cooling when the compressor is running. The fridge is designed to be in an warmer indoor temperature environment, usually 65-85 degrees. The stat that turns the compressor on does so based on the temp in the fridge, not the freezer.
The compressor is not running very frequently because the fridge portion is not needing cooling because it's in the cold garage temperatures.

The closer to freezing it is in the garage the less the compressor will run, and the less the compressor runs the less cooling the freezer portion receives. If you brought the temps in the garage up closer to room temps you would find the freezers stays cool just fine.

There is nothing wrong with the freezer of the refrigerator(s) or the electric. Just the nature of the beast when kept out in a garage. You can try adjusting controls colder for both the freezer and the fridge. This will help a little bit as the freezer will take longer to turn warm when the compressor is not running often, and the compressor will run more often trying to keep the fridge colder.

Short of heating the garage, or burning a lightbulb constantly in the fridge to intentionally warm it making the compressor run more often, you just have to deal with it. They just weren't designed to operate well out in the cold. On some cheaper models with smaller cheaper compressors, the oil in the compressor can become too thick and cause premature compressor failures by running them in freezing temps. ![icon_cool.gif](upload://oPnLkqdJc33Dyf2uA3TQwRkfhwd.gif)

Originally Posted By: gsutterfield
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Great answer .

The main problem with operating a residential unit outside in cold weather is just as Gino explained . Normally , when trying to adjust the t-stats to compensate you end up turning both into a freezer !

Check with the manufacturer before subjecting any unit to extreme conditions so as to not void warranties !

Originally Posted By: wrobedeau
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Everyone is right. Let me try to explain it in technical terms.

The refrigerant flows across a restriction usually an orifice or capillary tube. The capillary tube is usually long and very small.

The problem is one of condenser capacity. As the outside temperature drops the condenser, usually the black wire framed tubing on the back of the refrigerator, has too much capacity. The TD has increased to 110 degrees from 35 to 40. Liquid condenses and tries to flood the condenser to reduce the capacity of the condenser. As there is not enough liquid to do this the pressure to allow flow at the restriction decreases decreasing flow and capacity.

You could cover the condenser to reduce heat flow and thus capacity. This is very temporary and is not recommended in the long term as on the first hot day you could blow the relief and lose the refrigerant charge. ![icon_cry.gif](upload://r83gSGUzNOacIqpjVReDwcR83xZ.gif) ![icon_cry.gif](upload://r83gSGUzNOacIqpjVReDwcR83xZ.gif)

If you must have a refrigerator in such cold weather you can have it modified with a receiver (refrigerant storage) and a head pressure control (maintains refrigerant pressure) to allow it to operate all year. Addition refrigerant would need to be added to flood the condenser in the winter. The receiver would store it during summer months. This must be done by a licensed refrigeration contractor.

You also can heat the garage. I have a gas garage heater that keeps mine at 50. More for the boat than the freezer. Half of the freezer is full of fish.

You can also get a refrigerator only or freezer only. They will help but at some cold temperature you will lose cooling. This depends on how cold your garage gets.

Or you simply find somewhere indoors for the winter months.

Its going to be -3 tonight who needs a freezer.

Bill Robedeau
A II Z Inspections, LLC
West Bend, WI