Question about GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

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Would like to put older side by side refrigerator in our garage. I was told in the winter, when it gets cold the freezer side will not keep foods frozen. I had an older top freezer refrigerator in the garage for over 10 years and it worked fine. Is this true? We have an older freezer out there too and was hoping to eliminate the older freezer and just use the side by side.

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It could be a problem depending on how cold your garage gets in the winter. Most refrigerators depend on the compressor turning on to cool the freezer section and that cold air is used to cool the refrigerator section. If your the temperature in your garage gets in the 30-40 degree range in the winter. The compressor may not turn on sufficiently since the refrigerator is typically around the 35-40 degree range. This will cause the freezer to warm up to the fridge temperature and your freezer items will defrost.

Posted on Nov 08, 2010

Testimonial: "If the refrigerator would be against an inside wall, would that help?"

  • Stephen Lam Nov 09, 2010

    It certainly better than an outside wall, but the key issue is the ambient temp of the garage. If garage is unheated and the ambient temperature is can fall below 40 degrees, then it will be difficult to maintain the freezer at the proper temperature. Refridgerators where designed to work best in air conditioned living spaces.

  • dguinter Nov 09, 2010

    This makes sense. I was concerned if we purchased a smaller fridge for the garage, then the one in the house would quit on us. The refrigerator we had in the garage for over 15 years just stopped freezing, and since the refrigerator in the kitchen is over 10 years old, we thought getting a new refrigerator for the house and putting the old one in the garage would be the best solution. Thanks for your help.

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1 Answer

How do I keep my refrig/freezer from defrosting in the winter when store in the garage.


There is only one source of cold in many refrigerators. If yours is a top freezer, then most likely it is in the freezer.
But the thermostat that you set temperature with is in the refrigerator, not the freezer.
In the cold garages, what can happen is that the refrigerator stays cold enough that it does not call for cold. So the freezer does not get enough cold.
The freezer control works by diverting cold air into the freezer WHEN THE RERIGERATOR HAS TURNED ON THE COOLING. If it is not turned on, oh well.
The best you can do for this is to put both on max cold. Then the refrigerator will call for more cold at a lower temperature, and the freezer will get it more often and will divert more when it is cooling.
This can result in the refrigerator freezing things too. You can try raising the refrigerator setting JUST A LITTLE and see if both work, but keep freezer on max cool.
This works for my situation, but ambient temperature fluctuations in the garage make this dicey. We don't put things like lettuce in the refrigerator in the garage in the winter because freezing damages them.
Good Luck

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Freezer turns of in cold weather


Many residential refrigerator / freezers are designed to work at temperature considerably above above freezing. Most modern refrigerator / freezer have a single electric thermostat - located in the fresh food compartment. This lone thermostat will control the compressor to keep the fridge (fresh food) section at the desired temperature (usually between 34 - 38 degrees F). The freezer will get colder regardless of how cold it is already whenever the fridge thermostat turns the compressor on.

Now that you see how the thermostat works, let's look at what happens when the fridge is placed in an unheated space - like a garage. In winter time, the temperature can drop considerably below 38 degrees. If the outdoor temperature remains cold enough, for long enough - it will affect the thermostat in the fridge. The temperature inside the fridge could drop below 38 degrees, preventing the thermostat from telling the compressor to turn on. Meanwhile, the temperature in the freezer compartment slowly rises from the normal -10 to 0 F degrees. It will continue to rise until it is the same temperature as the fresh food compartment or until the thermostat in the fresh food compartment tells the compressor to turn on again. This means the freezer contents will thaw.

If the temperature in the garage is even in the 40 to 50 degree range, the loss of cold in the fridge may not happen often enough to keep the compressor coming on often enough to keep some freezer items frozen solid - such as ice cream. Remember, water freezes at 32 degrees F, other products may require lower temperatures to remain frozen, and could thaw at 28 or other temperature.

Good luck!

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I bought a model FRT18B5JB2 in August 'o9 to put out in the garage for extra cooling and freezing room This winter the freezer is not keeping items frozen. They are no thawed completely, but they are not...


Refrigerators do not work correctly in the winter in unconditioned space.
It is too cold for the unit to run normally.The compressor oil gets sluggish and strains the compressor when it does run.
The thermostat never warms enough for the unit to come on and run.
Therefore the temperatures in fresh food and freezer stay at the top end of the set point. This would cause about 42-43 in fresh food and around 18-25 in the freezer.
In the spring time it should start running correctly again.

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He is correct. The temp in the refrig controls how often and for how long the refrig runs. Lets say the temp in your garage is 34 degrees, and you have your refrig set to 36 degrees: The refrig will never run, the fresh foods section will cool to 34, and the freezer will warm to 34. Even if the temp is 45 in the garage and you set the fresh foods to be 33, the refrig will not need to run long enough and often enough to keep the freezer temp cold enough. You will most likely need to have the ambient room temp at least 55 degrees to get satisfactory refrigerator performance. Insulating the refrig will not help. (by the way, outdoor beverage vending machines use an internal heater in cold weather to prevent liquid beverages inside from freezing,..... so using that info, you could put a low wattage heater in your refrig to make your refrig run enough to make the freezer section work. The %&#* with that, just move it into the house!)

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Refrigerator/freezer in garage doesn't keep food frozen in winter


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Freezer doesn't freeze in winter?


Domestic refrigerators nowadays are designed not to operate at temperatures less than 45 degrees. First, if it's 45 degrees in the house, people probably are not living there. 2nd, 45 degrees keeps food refrigerated. 3, if people are not living in a space, then they don't need to keep frozen food.

This is a result of the changes in refrigerants we've been going through since 1992.
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