Table of Contents
- Types of Refrigerators
- How to Select a Refrigerator for Outdoor Use
- How Does a Refrigerator Work?
- How Do Extreme Temperatures Affect Refrigerators?
- Is Your Refrigerator Rated for Outdoor Use?
- Using an Indoor Refrigerator Outside
- An Outdoor Refrigerator Can Be a Great Addition to Your Home
Can you put a refrigerator outside? Generally speaking, it’s possible if you have outdoor access to electricity, a refrigerator that can tolerate exposure to different humidity and temperature conditions, and sufficient shelter and security. If your refrigerator is made for indoor use, or you live in an area with extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations, keeping your refrigerator outside will require careful selection and planning. Read on to learn how to keep a fridge outside.
Types of Refrigerators
Refrigerators are not one-size-fits-all appliances. Manufacturers make them in different sizes, configurations, materials, and finishes to suit a variety of applications. Some refrigerators have separate freezer compartments; others have no freezer at all. Many refrigerators are specially designed to store wine, coffee, and medicines. It’s no surprise that a machine that’s calibrated for a particular set of conditions might be ill-suited to general use outdoors.
How Do Different Refrigerators Perform?
When you ask yourself, “Can you keep a refrigerator outside?” the answer depends on whether the refrigerator can withstand its environment. Refrigerators designed for restaurants and hospitals perform differently than refrigerators used in homes, and indoor refrigerators are not typically made of heavy-duty materials.
Most people keep their indoor temperature and humidity levels fairly constant. Even garages and basements are sheltered from rain, snow, wind, and sun. Refrigerators that are designed to work well under predictable environmental conditions may malfunction or underperform in different circumstances. In other words, if you keep a kitchen refrigerator on your porch over the summer, you could end up with lukewarm drinks and a broken appliance.
How to Select a Refrigerator for Outdoor Use
- Stainless steel exterior door panel
- Space saving flush back design
- Reversible door - left or right swing
- Full range temperature control
- 4. 4 cu. ft. of space to keep beverages and food ice cold
Since people love the convenience of keeping a dedicated refrigerator for cold drinks or food to serve while entertaining outdoors, manufacturers design refrigerators for indoor/outdoor or dedicated outdoor use. When you compare an outdoor refrigerator vs. an indoor refrigerator, the differences are easy to recognize.
Outdoor appliances are constructed from robust materials, tend to be well-insulated, and are crafted to work well within a broad range of temperatures. Many outdoor refrigerators use 304-grade stainless steel, a durable metal alloy that is fairly rust-resistant. They may also have seals that will maintain their integrity after constant exposure to the elements and fluctuating temperatures. Additional insulation helps to maintain a constant temperature inside the refrigerator and reduces wear and tear on the motor and compressor.
How Does a Refrigerator Work?
Cold, refrigerated air prevents food from spoiling by lowering the reproduction rate of bacteria. Food should be stored at 37 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The vast majority of standalone refrigerators you can use at home are compressor refrigerators. They generally work by transferring heat from a thermally insulated chamber to the outside air. This process cools the air inside the interior chamber to a temperature that is lower than the external ambient temperature. The exact temperature inside the refrigerator is controlled by a thermostat.
Refrigerator compressors contain a vaporized refrigerant — R134a — at a low pressure that is slightly cooler than the ambient temperature inside the thermally insulated compartment that holds food or drinks. The compressor works by pressurizing the refrigerant and pushing it into the condenser, a group of metal coils attached to the outside of the refrigerator.
The condenser coils are made of metal that conducts heat away from the hot, pressurized gas and releases it into the cooler air that surrounds them. As the refrigerant inside the condenser coils liquefies and cools, it flows into evaporator coils inside the refrigerator’s interior compartment. As a fan moves air over the evaporator coils, the refrigerant passing through them is depressurized and partially vaporized. This process cools the air inside the refrigerator. The cycle repeats as the vaporized refrigerant flows back to the compressor.
How Do Extreme Temperatures Affect Refrigerators?
Refrigerators can be sensitive to wide variations in temperature. Here’s how you can expect them to perform in different conditions.
A refrigerator that is exposed to extreme changes in temperature will struggle to maintain a set temperature inside its insulated chamber. Since refrigerators work by maintaining an interior temperature that is cooler than the outside air, they may shut down during freezing weather if they are set to operate at a higher-than-freezing temperature.
As the temperature outside the refrigerator approaches the level of the temperature inside, the compressor needs less energy to keep the refrigerator cold. On the other hand, a frozen compressor and the pipes, valves, pumps, and drain lines that support it can malfunction, crack, or stop working altogether. If you inadvertently leave your refrigerator running outdoors in below-freezing temperatures, check to ensure that it is running normally when the weather warms up.
In very hot weather, a refrigerator that can’t remove heat from the air efficiently enough may respond by accelerating its compression cycle. If the motor that drives the refrigerator is overworked, it can wear out more quickly, overheat, and break. It’s unlikely that a refrigerator will stop working in hot weather, though, because most manufacturers engineer their appliances to operate in temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, running a refrigerator in hot summer weather can raise your electricity bill. To reduce the temperature by several degrees, the motor and compressor will use more energy to cool and maintain the temperature of the inside air. The refrigerator may be susceptible to absorbing heat from the outside if the door is opened frequently or its seals are poor or faulty. Heat can also cause the refrigerator’s components and gaskets to deteriorate and work less effectively over time.
Is Your Refrigerator Rated for Outdoor Use?
If your refrigerator uses heavy-duty metals, durable finishes, and high-quality gaskets and components that are engineered to withstand corrosion and large fluctuations and extremes in temperature, it is likely rated for outdoor use. Outdoor refrigerators are also designed to withstand impact by foreign objects, friction, humidity, and other environmental hazards over many years.
- 〔 Gigantic Storage Capacity 〕Spacious 5.12 cubic feet of storage capacity that holds up to 161 standard 12 oz. cans.
- 〔 Ultra High Flexibility 〕It comes with 3 removable chromed shelves and factory pre-installed lock which prevents unauthorized access to your beverages. It also comes with auto defrost function, stainless steel front vent and built-in blue LED light. Its reversible door is also worth mentioning as it offers you flexibility of placement. “Guide to door reversal” can be found in this detail page right below the “Dimensions for builder's reference” section.
- 〔 Precise Temperature Control 〕Its powerful and highly efficient compressor-based cooling system utilize environmental friendly R600a refrigerant, providing an effective temperature range from 32°F to 50°F, and the temperature is constantly monitored by its built-in sensors that helps keeping your favorite beverages at its best shape and ready to serve you when needed. Most importantly, you can adjust the temperature setting by using the press button controller with blue-colored LED display
- 〔 Built-to Last 〕Outdoor rated 304 Stainless Steel construction with IPX4 waterproof rating offers maximum durability and enhanced safety to use, suitable for indoor or outdoor, freestanding or under-counter built-in application, also good for both commercial and home use.
- 〔 Hassle Free 〕We offer 1 year factory warranty on non-consumable components, and 5 years on compressor. If you need any further assistance, we are just one Amazon message away to ensure your 100% satisfaction. ATTENTION: After purchase, please refer to the video under the product photos if the door needs to be reversed
Shielding Your Refrigerator From Environmental Exposure
So, can you leave a refrigerator outside? The answer is “yes” if you take the proper precautions. When you keep your refrigerator on your porch, patio, or backyard deck, it’s more likely to be exposed to dust, dirt, and potential damage by birds and other creatures. Your refrigerator may stop working if its coils or other components come loose or get caked with mud or debris, so it’s a good idea to inspect and clean your appliance regularly.
Placing your refrigerator in a sheltered location like a covered patio or screened-in porch can keep it away from rain, snow, and direct sunlight and prevent wind from blowing soil into the works. Keeping your refrigerator in the shade also helps it regulate its temperature. Make sure to clear the space around the refrigerator so that air can circulate freely.
Insulating, Ventilating, and Protecting Your Refrigerator
To keep your refrigerator running smoothly outdoors, keep it well-insulated and properly ventilated. Consider placing the fridge on a platform to keep it away from mud and standing water. Outdoor refrigerator covers can add an extra layer of insulation while protecting your appliance from sunlight, rain, snow, falling branches, bird droppings, animal or insect infestation, and debris. They also make it less likely that the parts of your refrigerator will rust or corrode.
- Outdoor Fire Column Cover - The high-quality patio mini firepit cover with water-resistant and UV undercoating offer durability. And protecting your outdoor furniture all seasons from leaf, dirt, snow, winds.
- AIR VENTS DESIGN - This design can promote airflow and reduce internal condensation, prevent moisture and corrosion build-up.
- ANTI-WIND DESIGN - Our outdoor refrigerator cover has 2 adjustable snap buckle straps, the buckle straps can tighten the bottom of the cover to keep the cover stay in place during windy weather.
- Super Easy to install - Our propane fire column cover has 2 handles which makes it easy to take off and put on.
- MEASUREMENT - Please refer to the measuring guide which in the product image to measure your patio furniture before purchase.
Make Sure Your Refrigerator Is Waterproof and Weatherproof
Outdoor refrigerators need to be waterproof and weatherproof so that there is no risk of electrocution. Make sure the refrigerator you choose is compatible with your electrical system. Any outdoor refrigerator should be UL rated to ensure that minimum safety standards have been met and the appliance has enough cooling power to store both food and beverages.
Choose Your Feature Set
When you choose an outdoor refrigerator, think of what you plan to store in it and how much capacity you need. You may desire additional features such as a freezer, an ice maker, or specialized lighting. If you want to optimize energy efficiency, choose metal shelving. If you are storing smaller, perishable items and want to prioritize convenience, you may want to use glass shelving.
Optimize Your Refrigerator’s Efficiency
Air heats more quickly than food and beverages, so keep your outdoor refrigerator fully stocked to maximize its efficiency. Outdoor refrigerators can be designed to vent at the front or rear of the appliance. Whichever configuration you choose, make sure that hot air can escape from any covers or enclosures you install to protect your refrigerator.
Leave at least 1 inch of space around the appliance to prevent heat from becoming trapped near the compressor. Clean your refrigerator’s fan and coils regularly to keep it running smoothly and prevent excess wear on its other components.
How to Protect Your Refrigerator When It’s Not in Use
If you know the temperature is going to drop below freezing for an extended period, or you decide to go on vacation or are leaving home for weeks or months, turn your refrigerator off. Remove any contents and let the thermal compartment air out. Then, put a box of baking soda inside the refrigerator to absorb any lingering odors, and close it back up. Make sure the refrigerator door is securely closed. If possible, lock the refrigerator or move it inside.
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Using an Indoor Refrigerator Outside
If you do choose to use an indoor refrigerator outdoors, it’s not wise to leave it outside. Keep the refrigerator under supervision as you are using it. Make sure that your appliance is properly shaded and waterproofed so that there is no chance of shorting it out or electrocuting people or animals. When you are finished using your refrigerator, resist the temptation to keep it outside, and bring it back indoors.
An Outdoor Refrigerator Can Be a Great Addition to Your Home
If you choose the right kind of refrigerator and carefully prepare your space to accommodate it, there’s no reason you can’t keep a refrigerator outdoors. Make sure to invest in a suitable, quality appliance. Don’t skimp on the accessories and preparations that will keep your appliance running smoothly. If you take the time to select the right equipment, stock the fridge well, and care for it properly, you can enjoy this enhancement to outdoor entertaining for years to come.