Freezers are one of the most convenient household appliances but take up valuable space. If you have a sheltered area outside your home, you might wonder if you can store your freezer there during the winter. Can you?
You can keep a freezer outside in winter. However, you should avoid it if possible to prevent it from being damaged by extreme weather conditions. If you must keep your freezer outside, consider getting an outdoor freezer or using a freezer cover to help protect it.
In the rest of this article, I’ll walk you through all the dos and don’ts of storing your freezer outside your house during winter. Let’s get started!
What To Expect if You Leave a Freezer Outdoors During Winter
Leaving your freezer outside exposes it to many potential dangers you must be prepared for. Here’s what to expect if you leave your freezer outdoors during winter:
- Your freezer is exposed to potential theft. This is a big concern, but it entirely depends on your property and where you live. If the front of your house is too exposed, keeping your freezer in your backyard is better than keeping it on the porch.
- The freezer faces harsh weather conditions. Winter comes with a lot of rain and snow that may be catastrophic to unprotected electrical appliances.
- Your freezer might need additional protection, which can be costly. Building a shed, buying a freezer cover, or buying an outdoor freezer are costly solutions.
It’s not all bad, though! Having your freezer outdoors also has some advantages you might like, such as:
- It frees up valuable space inside your house. The freezer takes up a lot of room that could be used to store other household items or appliances.
- In the winter, lower temperatures can mean lower electricity costs. The compressor doesn’t work as hard compared to when temperatures are higher. This helps save on energy bills.
How Winter Conditions Affect a Freezer?
Freezers are generally engineered to tolerate a range of temperatures known as their ambient temperatures. Still, the icy winter conditions are beyond this temperature range. The frigid temperatures can cause the freezer to start experiencing potentially fatal problems.
I’ll discuss this in more detail below:
The Low Temperatures Could Cause the Compressor To Stop Working
A freezer is controlled by a compressor that’s sensitive to atmospheric temperature changes. The compressor doesn’t run as much when the temperature drops and the freezer’s cooling is reduced. This helps save on electricity costs since not much cooling is needed when temperatures are low.
However, below a specific temperature, the compressor works less than needed. If the temperatures drop below 42°F (5.56°C), the compressor stops working completely. As a result, the freezer ceases to function, and the items stored inside start thawing.
Different freezers have different ambient temperatures, and you can check your freezer manual to see the manufacturer’s recommended ideal temperatures. Still, it’s wise to remove your food from the freezer any time the temperatures drop too low to prevent it from defrosting and possibly going bad in the freezer.
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Freezer Oil Becomes More Viscous at Lower Temperatures
Oil lubricates the freezer’s compressor and other moving parts, and it becomes more viscous in freezing temperatures, making the compressor unable to turn easily enough to cool the items in the freezer. This causes problems such as the compressor running but not cooling the freezer.
Storing Your Freezer Outside May Void the Warranty
An important consideration before storing your freezer outside for the winter is whether or not it will void the warranty. If your freezer is still under warranty, it’s worth checking if the manufacturer stipulates any conditions under which it must be stored. Ignoring these conditions could result in the manufacturer not compensating you if you have a problem with your freezer.
Tips for Storing Your Freezer Outside During Winter
If you must leave your freezer outside, there are steps you can take to ensure your freezer still works optimally, even during extreme winter conditions:
Use a Freezer Cover
Using a freezer cover can protect it from snow and rain that may otherwise cause physical damage. Freezer covers come in various shapes and sizes, and you should be able to find one that fits your freezer. The cover also provides insulation and prevents the temperature around the freezer from dropping too low.
The Dalema Chest Freezer Cover (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent option if you need help figuring out where to start. It has zippers that make it easier to access the freezer when needed and covers the freezer the rest of the time.
Check the Manufacturer’s Manual for the Ideal Temperature Requirements
Different freezer manufacturers have different specifications for their appliances and different temperature requirements. Check your freezer’s manual to see what storage temperatures the manufacturer recommends. This might involve moving your freezer to a warmer location if the temperature drops below the manufacturer’s recommended range.
If the minimum winter temperatures in your area regularly drop below the manufacturer’s minimum recommended storage temperatures, you shouldn’t store your freezer outside. The same goes during the summer – if you experience very hot summers, storing your freezer outside may not be the best option.
Store Your Freezer in a Shed
Another way to protect your freezer outside is to store it in a shed. There are several reasons why this might be a great idea:
- A shed can protect the freezer from the elements, help prevent damage to the freezer and keep it in good working condition.
- It can provide insulation to help maintain a consistent temperature inside the freezer, which is important for storing food safely.
- A shed also keeps the freezer out of direct sunlight during the summer, which can raise the temperature inside the freezer and cause food to spoil.
Inspect the Freezer Regularly for Any Leaks or Problems
It’s critical to inspect your freezer regularly for any leaks or wiring problems that might eventually cause bigger problems.
To see if your freezer has any problems, follow these steps:
- Ensure that the freezer is on a level surface and protected from the elements.
- Check the seals to ensure they are in good condition and not letting cold air escape.
- Open the freezer and check the temperature inside. It should be at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) to ensure that food is being stored at a safe temperature.
Use an Outdoor Freezer Instead
Instead of going to great lengths to protect your freezer from winter conditions, an easier but more expensive option is to buy an outdoor freezer that’s weatherproof and guaranteed to last the entire winter. A good option is the Summit Outdoor Freezer (available on Amazon.com). It’s made of stainless steel, which won’t rust even in damp winter weather.
Owning an outdoor freezer will give you the peace of mind that your freezer will be safe outside during the winter.
Although it’s not a good idea, it’s possible to store your freezer outside the house in winter. The downsides greatly outweigh the advantages, but it’s also quite easy to protect the freezer outside using the above-mentioned techniques.
Even if you manage to protect your freezer from winter conditions, you’ll still need to secure it from theft.