Why Putting Your Fridge in the Garage Can Lower Energy Costs
Putting your refrigerator in the garage can help lower your energy bills for a few key reasons:
Garages are typically cooler than other rooms in a house. Garages are often less insulated and sealed than living spaces. The cooler ambient temperature means the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.
Fridges release heat. A refrigerator coils and compressor give off heat as a byproduct of cooling. That heat gets released into the surrounding environment. Putting it in the garage keeps that heat out of your kitchen.
No other major appliances or foot traffic. The garage doesn’t have other large appliances, TVs, computers and lights generating heat like the kitchen does. There is also less people opening and closing the fridge throughout the day.
Less humidity. Garages tend to be less humid than other rooms. Drier air makes it easier for the refrigerator to shed heat.
How Much Money Could You Save?
By moving your fridge to the garage, you can potentially lower your electricity bill by $10 to $50 per year. The exact savings depend on:
- Size of your refrigerator
- How new and energy efficient it is
- How hot your garage gets compared to the rest of your home
- Local energy rates
Many people see a 10-15% drop in their fridge’s energy use by putting it in the garage. For an older 20 cubic foot refrigerator that uses 600 kWh annually, that can equal $60 or more in savings!
New Energy Star certified fridges can use less than half the electricity of older models. So potential savings are lower, but still $10 to $30 per year.
What to Consider Before Putting Fridge in Garage
There are a few factors to think about before moving your refrigerator to the garage:
- The cooler the better! Shoot for keeping the garage below 70°F as much as possible.
- Consider a thermometer with min/max readings to monitor temperature.
- Insulate garage doors and use weather stripping to prevent outside air from entering.
Moisture and Humidity
- Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in the garage.
- Try to keep relative humidity below 60%.
- Use a dehumidifier if needed during humid months.
- Don’t jam the refrigerator into a tight space or corner. Leave ample ventilation room around the sides and back.
- Make sure the fridge door can open fully.
Getting to the Fridge
- Place near the door into the house for easy access.
- Consider impacts on unloading groceries from your car.
- Secure with an anti-tip bracket, especially if you have kids.
Garage Door Opener
- Make sure the refrigerator is far away from your automatic garage door opener. Some models can interfere with the signal.
- Keep refrigerator setting at or below 40°F. Consider a thermometer inside to double check.
- Be diligent about bringing cold and frozen items straight from the car into fridge. Avoid leaving food in hot garage.
- Sweep and remove clutter to prevent dust and dirt intake.
- Place fridge on a mat or stack of pavers to elevate it off concrete floor.
- Have a licensed electrician install a dedicated outlet for refrigerator if needed.
- Use heavy duty extension cord if running to existing outlet.
Tips for Running Fridge in Garage
Here are some additional tips to make your garage refrigerator setup work efficiently:
- Keep fridge setting at 35°F to account for warmer garage temps. Monitor interior temperature.
- If concerned over summer heat, consider running a window AC unit in garage just for fridge.
- During hot spells, place frozen bottles of water inside fridge to boost cooling performance.
- Keep doors leading from house to garage closed as much as possible.
- Insulate any water lines running to water dispenser or ice maker.
- Use strip curtains or an insulated cover over garage fridge at night and during extreme cold spells.
- Keep backup foods like drinks and snacks in garage to minimize trips to open fridge.
- Plug fridge into a smart outlet to monitor energy use over time.
Alternatives to Garage Fridge
If your garage gets excessively hot, or the idea of running electrical to it doesn’t appeal to you, some other options include:
- Place fridge in basement or little used area like dining room.
- Swap current kitchen fridge to garage and buy a new Energy Star model for kitchen.
- Install a smaller beverage fridge in the garage instead of moving full refrigerator.
Putting your primary refrigerator in the garage takes a little prep work, but can pay off with lower energy bills over time. Monitor the conditions and tweak your setup as needed to maximize savings. With the right approach, you can save $10-$50 annually.