More, please, on refrig not allowed in < 40F environment

Could you guys say a bit more (from that prior thread) about refrigerators not wanting to be placed in a room where the temp was less than 40F.
If true, it presents us a big problem:
We've got a 2nd refrig (without which we couldn't go to the store (cosco) just once a week), and right now it lives in a normal room in the house (normal temp, that is).
But circumstances are forcing us to need more space in that room, and we were seriously thinking of moving it out to the garage.
Well, we're in New York State (just north of NYC), and it can get *cold* here -- and what with having an old house, with the garage unheated, it can get down to 30F, maybe sometimes 25F or a bit lower.
(We wrap the pipes with those plug-in things that wrap around them in a spiral, and they do keep them from freezing.)
We'd sure *like* to put that refrig out there -- if possible.
So, exactly *why* can't it be out there?
(hopefully clear enough that I can show it to the "boss" and she'll really understand *why* it can't be done -- if that is the case (and I suspect it is.))
Wouldn't mind an opion also from that guy who knows all the thermodynamics, etc -- for me, *that's* what I can best understand...
THANKS!
David
(What a super newsgroup this is -- all the knowledge its members contain!)
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Since you understand thermodynamics, you can easily understand the problem. Inside the fridge is a thermostat Once the temperature get below about 35 to 40 (depending on setting), it shuts the compressor off. It does not matter what the freezer temperature is, the other portion is satisfied so no need to add more cooling (actually, heat extraction). Thus, the freezer will also attain the same temperature as the fridge portion since the ambient provides all the heat removal needed.
The other situation is the oil in the compressor. It may thicken and cause other problems when it does want to start.
Third problem is freezing. If the ambient goes steadily below freezing, the refrigerator will freeze also. That may or may not be a problem for you. Ed
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Freezer space becomes fridge space...

Unplug it :-)

An EH38 "Easy Heat thermostatically controlled device" ($10.99 at Lowe's) in series with a 100 W trouble light in a drawer can prevent freezing.
Nick
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SNIP

Hmmm -- sounds interesting. But a few questions:
(1) In a drawer? What drawer? Perhaps some drawer *inside* the fridge, eg the "meat drawer"?
(2) If so, how much power would be used in heating? If the thermostat clicked-on, wouldn't the 110-volts go unimpeded to that 100-watt light-bulb -- in an enclosed space, that can get awfully darn hot, melt plastic, even try to start a fire (not much oxygen, though, unless it burns through).
Or is the operative term here is "trouble light", which might be something totally different from what I imagine?
Or perhaps this drawer is *outside* the fridge?
I'm catching on, but it's slow...
Thanks!
David
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I put it in a bottom drawer, since warm air rises.

Depends on the ambient temp. Keeping a typical fridge 36 F in a 30 F barn (the average Jan temp in Phila) might take about (36-30)72ft^2/R10 = 43 Btu/h, ie an average of 13 watts. I unplug the fridge from November through March.
The Easy Heat turns on at 38 F and off at 50 (average 44), so I put 2 water bottles in the drawer to reduce cycling and some fiberglass insulation over the lamp and thermostat and closed the drawer to make the fridge closer to 36 F. It's hard to do this exactly with a varying outdoor temp, but it seems to work nicely. No frozen carrots.
36 R | 1/7.2 R = (44-36)/43 = 0.186 ~ R0.2/1ft^2. 44---www---*---www---30 43-->

Yes.
The trouble light is rated for a 100 W bulb at "room temp." I use a long-life bulb. The drawer is about 10" wide x 16" deep x 8" tall.

The $5 trouble light is a lamp socket with a plastic lamp guard on the end of an extension cord. The Easy Heat is a 1"x1"x2" little shoebox with a plug on one side and a receptacle on the other.
Nick
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Thanks for the explanation!
However, for me, no HVAC-person, I think I could use a bit more prose..l

Please explain that formula a bit -- clearly, the temperatures in it are in fahrenheight;
What's the 72 square-feet, the area of the surface of the fridge?
What's the R10? And, why the "10"?
Does this formula have a lookupable name? --

Nice picture!
Me not being an HVAC-person, I not too sure just what it depicts, though. I can see that the 44, 36, 43, and 30 are temperatures (in Fahrenheight),
, and I suppose the 1/7.2 is a resistance (ohms?)?,
and the "R = " formula is a percentage-growth (if multiplied by 100.) of temperature, but the .186 approximately equal to the R0 term -- I surely don't understand that -- something per square foot, looks like...

I'm not totally worry-free yet -- that 100-watts is a LOT of heat for that confined space (of one drawer) -- even *more* confined wrapped the way you described.
Here, a stupidly-placed (by me) 100watt bulb, in the *open air* except for a tiny piece touching a wood bookcase, *scorched* that spot to, well, almost-charchoal.
Perhaps I need some more convincing -- although in your experience it seems to have worked out quite well!
(Safely, too!)

Nick -- thank you *so very much* for taking the time to send your answer (above), and hopefully for answering,commenting-on *this* post.
Thanks!
David '
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Sure.
Yes.
I was thinking the insulation might be 2" of R5/inch Styrofoam.

Ohm's law for heatflow, aka Newton's Law of Cooling. Newton died in 1727. Sir Turtle seems still alive, albeit misinformed.

Pity. This would be a nice opportunity for HVAC-criminal help. Hello?

Yes, in thermal ohms.

No. Just think of this as a simple electrical circuit with different units.
Nick
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wrote in message

Thanks. I never thought about the internal thermostat being in the refrig compartment and no sensor in the freezer. Very clear explanation.
Harry K
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You're saying that a fridge has but *one* thermostat, and (I gather) which watches the temperature inside the main box, *not* in the freezer.
I suppose that if there were *two* thermostats, one for each part, then it'd have to cool (heat-remove) by "zones", no?
Can that be correct? Because surely we'd all *like* the two sections to cool them independently from each other -- so you can get the freezer down to 0F, and the main box to be at maybe 40F.
Maybe it simply costs too much to make them like that?
(I guess by posing my question I'm going to end up learning something about how refrigerators are made!)
Thanks for the wake-up call!

Well, I'm beginning to understand *why* keeping a fridg in the garage, at least in the North-East, might not be such a great idea.
Thanks!
David
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote in message wrote:

Shop around. Basic fridges on the North American market have one thermostat, and one compressor, and are designed to assume that if the fridge compartment is at X then the freezer must be Y degrees cooler.
(I had a fridge whose freezer was cold but whose main compartment was warm; turns out there's a fan that diverts cold air from the freezer into the fridge, and the power connector was loose. So in fact, the compressor cools the freezer, a fixed fraction of the cold air is diverted into the fridge, and that's where the thermostat is.)
Some of the higher-end models have separate thermostats and, presumably, some mechanism for zoning their cooling; these are a bit more money. This feature is a selling point so they don't make a secret of it. Just look in the freezer to see if there's a dial there too.
A few very high-end units actually have separate compressors, so the freezer works independently of the fridge. The only units I've seen were euro imports that one retailer had in a corner of the shop. They were ludicrously expensive, like C$3000, and I presume they were there just to soften the customer's price sensitivity (is there a name for that in marketing? kinda the opposite of a loss-leader.) They were an odd brand, none of the common euro appliance brands - the sales dude said it was the name found on some construction cranes, but I'd never heard of it.
I have no idea if either of these designs work any better in cold rooms.
Chip C
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My new Kenmore frige says, Do not keep in a room that is below 55f.
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This is Turtle.
I do this type of work and Ed nailed to the floor with his reply.
Now with what he said. you can still use it there and just take a odds that come with it but your major thing here is the freezer compartment can go above freezing in this condition and thaw out the frozen product and the refrigerator will not come on in certain conditions. So You can loose some frozen goods by running it there. Just don't depend on the freezer area for keeping the frozen product froze.
TURTLE
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I do this type of work and Ed nailed to the floor with his reply.

It flies nevertheless, when the law of physics and aerodynamics say it can't :)
Well, I live in Minnesota and 9 years ago I did move a GE Side by Side refrigerator in the garage/workshop with the wife using it as overflow. It has been working flawlessly (29years old GE) and we never noticed anything un- thawed in the freezer!
Now I am sure that it will stop working , now that I know it is not supposed to work in that cold place :)
YMMV
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This is Turtle.
Just don't talk around it and say anything about it's suppose to screw up or it will.
They don't really blow the guts out of them till you see the Below 20F and like 10F or so. This is the temp that they like to really screw up at. I see a bunch running at 30f or so and work good.
TURTLE
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OK -- so I can keep it in the garage as long as I don't use or depend on the freezer-part.
I can live with that!
Now, how cold does it have to get for the oil-viscosity to become a problem, eg by putting too much load on the compressor-motor?
(I guess it would be a problem for the fridge-part to get too cold, eg 30F or even 25F.
Hmmm. Could you add some comments on the Lowe's thermostat+trouble-light idea?)
Thanks!
David
(I was right -- ask a question here, and you end up learning a lot!)
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wrote:

This is Turtle.
The oil will thicken up too much at -20F to -30F , So ambiants of 0F or below would become a problem. Now nothing says that it can't have a flood back at 39F Ambiant and bust the valves in the conpressor. I think Murphy's law applies here.
The Low's trouble light system , well I don't know anything about it for most people or customers really don't like to screw up with freezers or refrigerators running in freezing weather and I have no call for it. My customers and people will just have to screw up on their on without my help.
I will say this just unplug it when it get's below +20F ambiant that it's running in. When it gets back ''''' above '''' +20F plug it back in.
TURTLE
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Looks like that's the solution.
Though, what about the (later in thread) comment by the guy who just got a new fridge, the instructions for which said to not use in a room less than 50F?
Thanks,
David
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David Combs wrote:

Heat the garage.
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Not so easy: three of the four walls are outside-walls, plus the roof, and no insulation anywhere. A pretty expensive proposition, providing heat to the whole place.
What we did last winter for a 1-week or so spell of very cold weather, was to take a parabolic radiant electric- heater, and point it the small area of wall-space that had the water-pipe. That did help.
David
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