/ Running a fridge in a cold room

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Ben Sharp - on 05 Nov 2012
I was leafing through the manual for my fridge (good times, good times) and noticed it's meant to operate in an ambient room temperature of 16C to 38C. Just wondering if anyone knows what happens when you run it below that temperature range; inefficient, fridge doesn't last as long, it explodes in a cloud of dust? I'm guessing it's not the last one as the temperature in the kitchen (where it is) is between 5C and 12C during the winter and it's not exploded yet.

Ben
Rob Exile Ward on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Some fridges don't work if the ambient temperature drops below a certain temperature.

We had a fridge freezer out in the garage for a while and it stopped working once the temperature dropped.
LastBoyScout on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Older fridges can work outside, but the newer (non-CFC) coolant used in current fridges needs a higher ambient temperature in which to work efficiently.
EeeByGum - on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Since fridges work on the basis of compressing a gas into liquid form and then allowing the resultant expansion of that gas to cause a temperature drop, if the ambient temperature is too low, the gas will never vaporise and your fridge will not work. A bit like a butane gas stove tends not to be too lively in freezing temperatures.
Ben Sharp - on 05 Nov 2012
Cheers for the replies, will have to get it a hot water bottle for the cold nights.
Ben Sharp - on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: I wonder if the fact it's under the worksurface insulates it a bit and keeps the temperature surrounding the fridge higher than that in the room, hence why it's working at a lower temperature than it's supposed to.

Looks like I'll have to get the probe out and delve further inside.
Hairy Pete on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: If it's a compressor driven cooling cycle I would expect it to work down to whatever the lowest permissible internal fridge temperature is specified at. Probably at reduced efficiency. If it's a "gas" fridge I would guess that certain parts of the cycle need to be within range, otherwise the cycle stops. Does it have motor, or heater?
dissonance - on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

freezer bit can die off.
Last winter had to bring the fridge-freezer in out of the garage since it stopped working. The fridge bit, for obvious reasons, wasnt really noticably different.
Ben Sharp - on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Hairy Pete: I think it's compressor driven, couldn't say whether it has a motor or a heater. There's no freezer compartment.
Dax H - on 05 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: I would not worry about it, ours is about 4 year old and like you out kitchen is between 5 and about 20c, its only heated when we cook the evening meal, seems to work just fine.
malky_c - on 06 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: I have this problem every winter as our kitchen is really cold. Freezer completely defrosts itself quite regularly, which is annoying. Moving it into another part of the house is the only answer at the moment. I think it's to do with the frost free design - the freezer is designed to do a mini-defrost. The resultant water is then suppposed to vapourise from a little tray at the back of the unit, which doesn't happen when it is below about 5 degrees.
John_Hat - on 06 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

You can get fridges and freezers designed to operate in low temperatures. The freezer in our garage is perfectly happy down to very low temperatures (below zero) but it was specifically bought for that purpose and has a big sticker on the front stating that it is fine down to -15C.
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Kimono - on 06 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
and also those designed for warmer climes. We had an electrolux 'tropical' out in africa where the outside temps could be nudging 50C at times and the fridge still worked well

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