Shop fridge. Beer fridge. Snack fridge. Whatever you call it, a refrigerator in the garage provides extra space and convenience. But most garages aren’t climate controlled, meaning sweltering summers pose a few problems for ideal operations. High temperatures add stress to the machine by forcing the motor to run constantly, especially if your garage exceeds 110 degrees. At best, energy bills will spike. At worst, the motor could burn out from overuse, leading to food spoilage.
Keep It Full
In a hot garage, the refrigerator will battle against the ambient temperature to keep your goodies cold. Help it out by keeping it well stocked. If you don’t need the whole refrigerator, consider filling space with gallons of water. They will remain cool and help the refrigerator maintain its temperature when the door is opened on a hot day. In an empty refrigerator, warm air rushes in and cold air rushes out every time the door opens. Water -- or anything else you keep in the fridge -- will leave less room for warm air, allowing the inside air to return to appropriate temperatures far faster when the door is closed.
- Check the door seals.
A loose seal allows cool air to seep out.This is not only an enery waster but it makes your fridge work a lot harder than necessary. First make sure the seals are free of food residue. (Clean them about twice a year, using a toothbrush and a solution of baking soda and water.) Then try the dollar-bill test: Close the bill in the door so that half is in and half is out. If it slips out easily, you may need to have the door seals checked by a pro.
- Keep the coils clean.
When the condenser coils (see following page for more on parts) are covered with dust, the refrigerator can’t run efficiently. Twice a year, pull the machine from the wall to reveal the coils in back (or snap off the grille, if the coils are on the bottom front), unplug the refrigerator, and vacuum using the brush attachment.
- Set the right temperature.
Keep the fridge between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees.