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FIXED Garage refrigerator questions

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Donsk

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I am sure you see this thread often. I searched the posts already out there and don't see the question I have.

I currently have a 10 year old RCA/GE side-by-side in my garage (SE MI). Once the temp starts to drop below freezing it stops working. I see a lot of talk about this. I had been looking at one of those expensive Gladiator series units for outside, but I hate to drop that kind of coin for the garage.

Here is the new twist I was recently told. A sales guy wearing orange at a nameless home improvement store told me that the problem is auto defrost. He said that when it gets cold the unit goes into auto defrost and keeps trying to defrost the unit. So he said as long as I stick to the manual defrost models my problem will go away.

Is this true? And if so is there anyway to turn off the auto defrost on my current unit so I don' t have to buy anything at all? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Don
 

Jake

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Nope, thats completely untrue!

Its because the ambient garage temperature falls too low, thus the operating thermostat can't cycle because the ambient garage temp. is below the refrigerator/freezer temp. inside the refrigerator.:)

Jake
 

Donsk

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That is what I was afraid someone was going to say. So is the only real option to be sure it is going to operate properly to use something like the gladiator line?
 

Bighouse

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Donsk, did you find anything out?? I have the exact same question. I did a search for the "garage kits" and came up with nothing. Anyone else have any suggestions.

Another question: I understand the reasoning behind the previous post but why do older models not have this problem? I have neighbors with refer's in their garages that do not have any problem. Just curious. Any help is appreciated.
 

Jake

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Another question: I understand the reasoning behind the previous post but why do older models not have this problem? I have neighbors with refer's in their garages that do not have any problem. Just curious. Any help is appreciated.
Because the older ones were built alot better, with better insulation and parts.:)

Jake
 

Bighouse

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Thanks Jake. Does that mean there is no way to alter the current ones? Can you just add a compressor heater to one, or is that even possible?
 

Pegi at Sams

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When the outside temperature is below freezing run a cord inside of the food compartment that has a light bulb attached and turned on, try a 60 watt bulb, this will heat the compartment and cycle the thermostat on so the box will run ok. Be sure to remove this light bulb when the air temp in the garage warms up. Might want to try different wattage light bulbs untill you find which one works best for the size of your frig. Guess another way would be to by-pass the door switch in the winter so the frig light stays on also, then hook the door light switch back up in the summer.
 

Bighouse

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Thanks Pegi. Where is this located? It is a Whirlpool Estate series (cheapy).

Scott
 

Pegi at Sams

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Where is what located?? This is a suggestion for a frig in any cold location that in not in a temp controlled enviroment. Of course you need to remember the compressor oil will be cold and thick so any unit that is not designed for out side use will have a shortened life span for the compressor..
 

Pegi at Sams

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Carefully pry the door switch on the frig out of the breaker strip, with the box unplugged, and take the two wires to the switch and tape them together so the light stays on all of the time, then place the switch back into the hole to keep the moisture out, when the weather warms back up re-connect the wires to the light switch or the box will never cool down.
 

Elite Appliance Service

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Jan 29, 2006
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Toronto, Canada
Donsk said:
I am sure you see this thread often. I searched the posts already out there and don't see the question I have.

I currently have a 10 year old RCA/GE side-by-side in my garage (SE MI). Once the temp starts to drop below freezing it stops working. I see a lot of talk about this. I had been looking at one of those expensive Gladiator series units for outside, but I hate to drop that kind of coin for the garage.

Here is the new twist I was recently told. A sales guy wearing orange at a nameless home improvement store told me that the problem is auto defrost. He said that when it gets cold the unit goes into auto defrost and keeps trying to defrost the unit. So he said as long as I stick to the manual defrost models my problem will go away.

Is this true? And if so is there anyway to turn off the auto defrost on my current unit so I don' t have to buy anything at all? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Don

Hello Don

I see you have been getting many interesting responses to your question relating to the poor performance of your Refrigerator that is located in your Garage.

I hope to shed some light on this subject for you and the rest of the members on this site.

Please keep in mind that the following explanation would be affected by several different factors. Regardless of the particular Make or Model of your Refrigerator, Refrigeration principles are fairly constant.

If the ambient temperature around your Refrigerator is excessively cold it will inhibit the ability for your Compressor to effectively change the state of the refrigerant within the Sealed System.

The primary function of any Compressor in a refrigeration system is to Compress the Refrigerant within the Sealed system and Cause it to change states from a vapor to a liquid. Please keep in mind that R134a boils at approximately -26.6 °C or -15.9°F.

As voltage is applied to the Compressor relay the piston within the compressor forces two things to happen. It draws Refrigerant from the suction line / low side line of the Compressor and forces refrigerant through the high side / discharge line of the Compressor. Keep in mind that before the Compressor was energized all the Refrigerant would normally be in a vapor state. This of course would depend on how long the Compressor has been idle for, but for this explanation, we'll agree that all the Refrigerant is in a Vapor state before the Compressor was energized. As the high pressure Vapor enters the Condenser from the Compressor it is cooled down by the ambient air around it. This changes the gas into a high-pressure/warm liquid that then enters the high-side filter-drier. The High pressure warm refrigerant then travels from the capillary line, through the Heat exchanger where it's cooled to a low pressure cool liquid. The low pressure liquid then enters the Evaporator and Vaporizes. The cool gas removes the Heat from the Evaporator and continues back to the Compressor through the Heat exchanger suction line where the whole cycle continues until the Sealed System satisfies the Thermostat.

Your Refrigerator, while operating within a low ambient temperature is unable to complete this process because the air surrounding the Condenser and Compressor is so cold is is inhibiting the compressor's ability to raise the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant to the necessary level to promote it's change of states from a vapor to a liquid.

The most cost effective way to solve this issue would be to insulate the compressor and Condenser to an acceptable level. Or purchase a retro-fit kit that is designed to rectify this situation.

I hope this is of assistance to you in your search for answers. If I can be of further assistance you may contact me through this blog or Email me @ elite.appliance@gmail.com
 

Donsk

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That is along the lines of what I hear from an AC tech

Thanks for the explanation. I actually ended up running into a guy who is a commercial HVAC technician and he essentially told me the same thing. I must admit I ended up being a little lazy. The winter temps have been pretty mild here so it really hasn't been nearly as big of a problem. The guy I talked to suggested I make move it to an interior wall away from the car door and try and keep it insulated from any wind or the outside as best as possible.

I never did see any kits or something like that. The only thing I ran across was the Gladiator set of garage stuff.

Thanks Again.
 

jerry.west

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Feb 20, 2006
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Location
canada
Jake said:
Nope, thats completely untrue!

Its because the ambient garage temperature fails below freezing, thus the operating thermostat can't cycle because the ambient garage temp. is below the refrigerator/freezer temp. inside the refrigerator.:)

Jake

I have a new kenmore model 970-418 325. Operating in garage at ambient temp of 25F-50F (winter conditions). I called out repair tech when I noticed food in freezer was not frozen hard enough, and noticed freezer compartment temps running from -5F to 30F. Large temp fluctuations.

The tech said because the unit was in a garage, all warranties were invalid. He said to turn freezer/fridge controls to coldest setting, wished me "good luck" and departed.

If I do not purchase the refit kit mentioned elsewhere, and just carry on status quo, what control settings would work best. I'm thinking freezer on coldest, fridge on normal.

TIA
 

Jake

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McMullen Valley, Arizona
Hi,

That sounds about right, but you will need to play with the settings abit till you are comfortable with what you like your temps. inside to be.

Jake
 

andyloyer

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Nov 19, 2007
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1
Location
NYC
Garage Kit Found for Kenmore Refrigerator

Hello Everyone,

I was also in search of the "Garage Kit" that was referenced in the Kenmore Refrigerator manual. I was having the same problem with my refrigerator not working when it got too cold in my garage. I spent hours researching a tracking down this garage kit. I found it! Here is some information.

First, know that Sears does NOT make Kenmore. Kenmore is just a name for a their private label of other manufacturers products. See this link to see who makes your product:
http://www.applianceaid.com/searscodes.html

My refridgerator happended to be a Gibson, Frigidaire (253) which some how is related to Electrolux. I finally got a hold of someone at Electrolux and they immediately knew what a "Garage Kit" was. The person on the phone explained to me that it was basically just a mini heater coil that wraps around the compressor. It was cheap about $30. It ships from Albany, NY so I am getting it the next day. I called 706-860-4110 and spoke to someone in parts.

After the fact, I also found it online at:

This is the kenmore refrigerator garage kit.

I hope this help and saves other people time. It took me close to four hours to track this down and I called many people (even Sears corporate). After finding out that Sears didn't make Kenmore and finding out who did, it only took 30 minutes to place the order.

Best of Luck,
Andy Loyer
 
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accapp

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Nov 3, 2007
Messages
4
Location
NJ
The heater actually goes into the cold control box, just under the defrost timer. It will turn an Energy-Star compliant model into a non-compliant unit due to the extra power it uses to heat the ref compartment. The problem with the Friggys in cold garages is that the ref compartment doesn't gain enough heat to keep the compressor running long enough to keep the freezer cold enough in 32°-55° F temps. The kit only works in those temps and above. A Friggy R134a top-mount won't work in below freezing temps.
 
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