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Should I Unplug My Garage Refrigerator in the Winter?

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

should i unplug my garage refrigerator in the winter

Winter is coming, and the refrigerator in your garage is still running. Now, you’re thinking, “Should I unplug my garage refrigerator in the winter?”

Unplug your refrigerator in the winter if there’s nothing in it. Otherwise, you may need to keep it plugged into its dedicated outlet.

It’s wise to think about certain factors when deciding to unplug your garage refrigerator in winter. This post aims to give you the reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) unplug this appliance come wintertime.

Reasons to Unplug Your Garage Refrigerator in Winter (When to Keep It Plugged in)


One of the reasons you should unplug your garage refrigerator in the winter is to help keep expenses down. Take note that a standard fridge typically consumes 1.4 kWh per day.

This cost can skyrocket for certain locations. For example, Boston has an average electricity cost of $0.389 per kWh. If winter lasts about 3.5 months in that city, that will be an additional $45.75 spent on energy costs.

Another reason you should unplug your garage refrigerator in winter is the potential harm to the compressor. Some places may encounter severe drops in temperature during the cold season that freeze the compressor oil, which may cause the component to overwork and break down.

However, you can keep your garage refrigerator running throughout the cold season if you’re preserving food. But ensure that you take proper care of the appliance during this time to prevent it from malfunctioning.

1. Pros & cons of unplugging the garage refrigerator in winter

  • Reduce electricity costs
  • Prevent potential harm to the appliance from frost buildup
  • Food spoilage is likely to happen.

2. The issue you’ll face during winter with garage fridge


Aside from the other issues mentioned previously, other concerns you may come across with your garage fridge in the winter are:

  • A potential void in the manufacturer’s warranty
  • The fridge stops working because the extreme cold fools the compressor into thinking it’s already cool enough.
  • Standard fridges typically can’t handle extreme temperature drops.

3. Effects of seasonal temperatures


Seasonal temperatures can be harsh on your garage refrigerator. The shifts from extreme cold to heat spikes may damage the fridge’s components. If this happens, it may leave you with no choice but to replace it with a new unit.

Remember to care for your refrigerator regardless of your decision to unplug it or keep it running. Continue reading, as you’ll learn some practical tips to help you in maintaining the appliance based on your decision.

Factors to Consider Before Unplugging Your Garage Refrigerator


Before unplugging your refrigerator for the winter, here are some factors to consider prior to completing this task:

  • Ensure that the appliance no longer holds food and other perishables.
  • Both the temperature control and ice maker should be off.
  • Don’t close the fridge to let air circulate inside it.
  • Wipe away any excess moisture in and around the appliance.

The Proper Ways to Unplug Your Garage Refrigerator in Winter


A solution to ensuring that your refrigerator remains working after winter is to follow proper appliance unplugging protocols. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re unplugging your fridge properly, especially in winter.

  • Remove Leftover Food

Food left in the cold for months and in a non-working refrigerator can spoil. After unplugging the appliance from its outlet, eat, dispose of, or transform the leftover food into compost.

  • Pull The Plug

Hold the outer shell of the refrigerator’s plug and pull it away from its outlet using a gentle tug. Don’t pull from the cord, particularly if you want to keep garage freezer working after winter. 

  • Clean The Fridge

After unplugging the appliance and removing the food in it, clean the insides of the fridge to discourage pests and get rid of any moisture. Doing so would also reduce frost buildup, which may otherwise increase the risks of harm to the refrigerator’s internal components.

Tips for Maximizing Energy Efficiency of Garage Refrigerator in Winter


Proper upkeep is necessary if you decide to use the refrigerator or freezer in garage in winter. Here are some tips and tricks to follow to ensure the appliance runs properly during the cold season.

  • Regulate the Temperature Around The Fridge

Winter may bring erratic temperature fluctuations to your area. In particular, ice freezes if the air reaches its freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). 

If this event happens, water may block the fridge’s ventilation, preventing the appliance from controlling how cool it gets. So, inspect your garage’s temperature and regulate the levels by installing an enclosure around the fridge.

  • Inspect The Heater

A cold weather refrigerator may have built-in heating elements. These components work to help regulate the appliance’s internal temperature, which can be useful in winter.

So, check the refrigerator’s internal heater before and during winter. Repair any damages found to the assembly to ensure the appliance doesn’t have mechanical problems.

Alternatively, you can purchase a garage fridge heater kit. However, ensure that the kit you’re about to buy is compatible with your refrigerator’s specific brand and model.

  • Insulate The Garage

Refrigerators in unheated garages may be more troublesome for some property owners than expected. Instead of focusing on the appliance, you can install insulation to regulate the entire space and not only that surrounding one electronic device.

Unplugging Alternatives

If you want to use a refrigerator in your garage in the winter, perhaps buying an extra model comes to mind. An extra fridge in garage may help remove some worries that might exist in thinking about maintaining one refrigerator.

But avoid choosing a fairly inexpensive option to place in your garage. Instead, look for a high-quality model with an official ENERGY STAR rating for peace of mind.

However, you might still want to unplug it while keeping refrigerator in garage. Perhaps you’re leaving the property for an extended period. If so, you may want to winterize the appliance first.

Frequently Asked Questions


Will A Refrigerator Work In A Hot Garage?

A refrigerator can still work in a hot garage. But problems may start appearing if the outside temperature exceeds 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.33 degrees Celsius).

How Do I Maintain My Garage Refrigerator During The Winter Months?

Here’s a quick rundown of tips you can follow to help maintain your garage refrigerator in the winter months:

  • Insulate the garage.
  • Keep the refrigerator clean.
  • Don’t overstuff it with food.
  • Hire a certified and reliable professional when needed.

Are Garage-Ready Refrigerators Worth The Price?

A low-quality fridge in your garage might be more expensive than you think. Costs for part repairs and replacements may pile up due to the cold weather. You may also find the low-grade refrigerator not working in cold garage sooner than later.

So, it’s a good idea to spend the extra money on buying a garage-ready refrigerator. It might be more expensive than other models, but you may save money that you might otherwise spend on fixes.

Just make sure the unit is designed for cold weather, since some garage fridges are optimized to handle heat instead.

Should I Put A Refrigerator In An Unheated Garage?

As much as possible, avoid leaving a refrigerator in an unheated garage. If left unchecked, you might find the fridge stop working, among other possible concerns.

It’s because the extreme cold can interfere with the appliance’s thermostat. If so, the refrigerator’s built-in heating system may not work properly as intended.

Again, it’s important to inspect your garage fridge’s heating elements before winter. If you find faults in the assembly, buy and install a compatible heating garage kit for refrigerator.

How Often Should I Inspect My Garage Fridge?

You should inspect the refrigerator in your garage at least once every 3 to 4 months. But you may need to increase this frequency and examine your appliance at shorter intervals if you’re dealing with extreme temperatures like blizzards.

Can I Leave A Fridge Outside In The Winter?

Storing a refrigerator unplugged outside might not be a good idea. It can leave the appliance exposed to extreme cold temperatures, increasing the risks of serious problems like corrosion and low power outputs.

Can I Leave A Mini Fridge In The Garage In The Winter?

You can leave a mini refrigerator in the garage in the winter. But it’s wise to regulate its temperature to prevent costly part repairs and replacements.

One way to achieve this goal is by positioning one or two high-wattage bulbs near the condenser to help raise the temperature in the appliance. Alternatively, buy a garage ready refrigerator with built-in components that can effectively combat the cold.

Will Wrapping An Insulation Blanket Around A Refrigerator Make It More Efficient?

Many modern refrigerators have built-in insulation that generally works well in regulating the appliance’s temperature. That means that an insulation blanket is no longer necessary, unless it might be for a fridge for unheated garage.

How To Winterize A Garage Refrigerator?

Winterizing your garage fridge is ideal if you’re unplugging the appliance for an extended period. Follow these steps to complete this task:

  • Disconnect the refrigerator from its power source and water supply.
  • Turn off the icemaker and remove all water from the appliance using the dispenser.
  • Wipe off any moisture left in and around the area of the fridge.
  • Unplug the unit and turn off the breaker.


Should I unplug my garage refrigerator in the winter? Remember, you should disconnect this appliance from its power source in the cold season if you’re not going to use it.

On the other hand, keep the fridge running throughout winter if you’re preserving food and other perishable items. But be warned; additional electricity costs will accumulate as you keep the appliance running. 

You should also maintain the garage refrigerator properly in the winter. Make a mental note of the times you need to care for the appliance to prevent it from breaking down.

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