"Fridge/freezer not designed to work if ambient temp<10oC"

Just had Indesit/Hotpoint engineer to mend a 6-month-old fridge freezer that had stopped working.
He checked that it did work if power connected directly to compressor, and then advised me that it wasn't designed to work if ambient temp <10oC, adding "But they don't tell you that when buying"!
Considering the target temp for a freezer is -18oC, it seems an odd deign point, even though this one is in a garage whose ambient temp was around 5oc.
He said he would order a new freezer thermostat (as "it didn't seem to be working properly") and return to replace it.
[The previous fridge/freezer had been working for years in same garage.]
--
/\/\aurice
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Maurice wrote:

Quite normal and widely known since they started compromising on the design of fridge freezers and fitting single compressors.
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Maybe widely know in the trade, but I doubt whether many lay people would be aware of it. Given that for years people have kept chest freezers in an outhouse/garage, you tend to think that all freezers are capable of withstanding below freezing temperatures. You'd think that higher than normal temps (eg during a heatwave) might stress the parts more heavily in that the compressor would have to work for longer with fewer breaks once the freezer is cold enough.
I remember for years my parents kept their freezer in an unheated conservatory (ie it only got heat from the adjacent kitchen). Twice a year we'd have the moving-of-the-freezer ceremony, to move it to the garage in summer when the conservatory got very hot and then back to the conservatory in winter - but the winter move was more because that's when it was more of a chore to go out into the cold and rain to walk right round to the garage, rather than because we thought the freezer wouldn't work "outside" in winter. This was in the 1970s and 80s, so the freezer may well have been winter-proof anyway.
When my wife mentioned the problem to her dad who is an electrician and therefore used to electrical appliances, even he didn't know about it. Maybe he'd never checked the specs of new freezers that he'd installed for customers when he'd had to install power to a shed etc.
Now you mention it, I think it's mostly a problem with combined fridge/freezers rather than freezers with no fridge. Quite why a single compressor would be a problem, I don't know, unless the changeover valve to direct coolant to fridge/freezer/fridge-and-freezer and/or the thermostats can't cope with cold temps.
It does seem perverse, until you investigate the root cause, that a device designed to keep the interior down to -18 deg C can't cope when the outside temp is almost as cold as that sort of temp :-)
I did hear someone suggest that if you have such a device, you should take the produce out and put the baskets in the outhouse at ambient temp, and turn the freezer off, when the outside temp gets very cold :-) Sadly there's a band of temp between freezer temp (-18) and the coldest that the device can withstand (maybe -5 deg C), so food may well not be frozen as deeply as if needs to last for several months.
I've just remembered that we had problems at our holiday cottage which is heated in winter only to frost-free temperatures, and the fridge/freezer is in a lean-to building which also houses the boiler, but with no radiator so is only heated by "escaped" heat from the boiler and through the door from the heated kitchen into the lean-to. We'd spent Christmas there, so the house had been heated, and we left some extra things in the freezer, meaning to go back and take them home when we went back later in January, because we couldn't fit everything in the cool-box in the car. When we went back a few weeks after Christmas, when temps had probably been around -5 to 0 deg C, we found that the contents of the freezer were a bit soft, so we had to ditch the meat/fish (including a whole salmon that we'd bought at very cheap pre-Christmas prices) just in case, but other things were OK once we managed to persuade the freezer to start cooling properly - by leaving open the inside door between the kitchen and freezer room :-)
It's now part of our "winterising the cottage" checklist: leave the inside door open if leaving the fridge/freezer on, so the room stays at frost-free temp. Putting the fridge/freezer in the kitchen is not an option because the kitchen is titchy and has no room for a full-height appliance. Hence it is kept in the new brick porch and utility room that is outside what was originally the outside door of the cottage leading into the kitchen.
I'd say that if a freezer can't be used outside or in an unheated house, it needs a VERY prominent warning both on the appliance and in the sales literature, and all salesmen need to be trained to check suitability with the customer. Such appliances are *almost* into chocolate teapot territory of unsuitability for purpose :-)
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NY wrote:

It was covered by Watchdog 15 years ago at least. I imagine it still comes up at regular intervals (I long stopped watching TV.)
--
Scott

Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?
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That makes no sense whatsoever. They must still have dual thermostats to keep the two sections at the right temperature. It's **easier** for the compressor to cool the fridge or freezer if the ambient is closer to its target! There is no way that a cooler outside would stop it working. The stat inside wouldn't even know it was cooler outside, and the compressor would find life easier.
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Paddy and his wife are lying in bed and the neighbours' dog is barking like mad in the garden.
Paddy says "To hell with this!" and storms off.
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[googles]
It seems to be the refrigerant used that's a problem. Can't expand and contract properly with low ambient temperature? I'd say "unfit for purpose" - people often put a freezer in a garage. I'd take it straight back to the shop and kick up a fuss.
--
Paddy and his wife are lying in bed and the neighbours' dog is barking like mad in the garden.
Paddy says "To hell with this!" and storms off.
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James Wilkinson Sword wrote:

This has been a problem for many years. BTW Mr Hucker, it's a fridge freezer - not a freezer. There is a difference. When I left the trade 18 years ago I remember there was a thing called a duel differential thermostat. This somehow sensed the temperature in the freezer. The old days of twin compressors and a stat in the freezer compartment I think are long gone. The big old Electrolux used to have them and still do, if yer wanna pay ?2k.
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ms an

rence.
From what I googled it can happen to a freezer aswell.

a

he

I

y 2k.
I find it absurd that they rely on only one thermostat and hope the freezer part will be approximately right.
-- Archimedes principle: When a body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
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James Wilkinson Sword wrote:

*See below.

If you want cheap refrigeration, that is just what you get. *We have a cheap ten year old freezer in the garage. It's only used at Christmas, this as the other fridge freezer can't accommodate the extra food. It achieves and holds -22C with no problem. Temp in the garage in a bad winter was -18C. A fridge/freezer could have been different.
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f

a

The trouble is, most people won't know to check the specs of the machine before they buy it. I wonder how many have to get returned as unfit for purpose?
-- Crazy Laws in towns of the state of Illinois: The English language is not to be spoken. You must contact the police before entering the city in an automobile. You may be convicted of a Class 4 felony offense, punishable by up to three years in state prison, for the crime of "eavesdropping" on your own conversation. -720 ILCS 5/14-2. Law forbids eating in a place that is on fire. It is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck. It is legal to protest naked in front of city hall as long as you are under seventeen years of age and have legal permits. One may not pee in his neighbor's mouth. Humming on public streets is prohibited on Sundays. Wheelbarrows with For-Sale signs may not be chained to trees. A man with a moustache may not kiss a woman. It is illegal to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. It is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire. It is illegal to expectorate from any second-story window. It is against the law to use a slingshot unless your are a law enforcement officer. A rooster must step back three hundred feet from any residence if he wishes to crow. Hens that wish to cackle must step two hundred feet back from any residence. Bees are not allowed to fly over the village or through any of Kriland's streets. Ice skating at the Riverside pond during the months of June and August is prohibited. There is a ban on unnecessary repetitive driving on 23rd Avenue. It is against the law to make faces at dogs.
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Er hang on. Are you saying that modern fridge-freezers only have one thermostat? How do they maintain different temperatures (4 C and -18C) in the fridge and freezer compartments? Surely the freezer compartment will need more frequent cooling (ie a heavier compressor duty cycle) because it is set to be at a colder temperature and therefore for the same heat loss through the walls will tend to warm it up more to room temperature. Or do modern fridge-freezers make some naive assumptions that if the rate of heat loss in degrees per square metre is the same for both cabinets, then as long as the freezer gets a greater proportion of the refrigerant, a single thermostat in the fridge compartment can control both compressors (indeed, they are the same compressor) and as long as the fridge is regulated to temperature, the freezer will be also? I can see how a single thermostat and carefully-proportioned refrigerant flow could achieve two different temperatures, but not why it would *inherently* impose a very high lower limit on the room temperature.
I can believe that some refrigerants won't work as well at lower temperatures because they may solidify instead of remaining liquid. But I can't believe that a single thermostat in one cabinet can correctly regulate the temperature in the other without making some very naive assumptions.
You say "[the dual differential thermostat] somehow sensed the temperature in the freezer" as if it was difficult or required ingenuity, whereas surely each cabinet has its own bimetallic strip thermostat, set to a different cutoff temperature, and then you either have two separate compressors and separate refrigerant circuits or else if you want to cut costs you have a single compressor, controlled by both thermostats using "OR" logic, with one valve per cabinet, controlled by its thermostat, which directs refrigerant where it is needed at that time - in the same way that a central heating boiler that also heats a cylinder of water usually has a single boiler and pump but valves to direct the heated water where it is needed (CH / HW / CH and HW).
I'm sure I'm about to be educated... :-)
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On 29/01/2017 13:29, NY wrote:

Well mine has only one thermostat control, so I guess it's designed so that if the freezer part is cold enough the fridge part will be about right.
(Mind you, the back of the fridge part of mine is constantly icing up, and, in the freezer part, even "soft scoop" ice cream is hard as iron and needs to be taken out ten minutes in advance of use. And that's with the thermostat control set at the minimum. Actually, the compressor is on nearly all the time: about once a day it turns off with a loud "pop" and stays off for about three hours.)
--
Max Demian

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On Sunday, 29 January 2017 14:31:35 UTC, Max Demian wrote:

It's cheaper to buy a new one than pay for that excess electricity.
NT
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Yep, and its trivial to check that.

By ensuring you get that result when the the fridge thermostat maintains 4C etc, by how the flow of cold is done in.

Not when you design it so the coldest air with a frost free goes into the freezer part first and then to the fridge part.

Nope.

There arent two compressors.

Yep.

It isnt done like that. The freezer gets the coldest air first with a frost free and then the rest of the fridge.

That limit with the room temp is due to something else entirely, the refrigerant used in the compressor.

Not just that, their latent heat varys too.

Its not a naïve assumption, its careful design.

That obscenity of a sentence should be taken out the back and beaten to death with the largest waddy you can find, before it multipys }-( http://www.wordnik.com/words/waddy

Remains to be seen if that is even possible now }-(
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Er, yes [blush] Did I really write that all as one sentence with barely a pause for breath? Apologies for that. That rivals the opening sentence of Oliver Twist in terms of being impenetrable and tortuous:
"Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born - on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events - the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter."
Gordon Bennett!
(not that I'm claiming to be anything like as profound as Charles Dickens)
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I didn't even notice. Perhaps Rod has a small brain with insufficient memory for the whole sentence?
--
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I do in fact write sentences like that myself quite often.
I just chose to make a snide remark about what I am often guilty of doing.
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Pot. Kettle. Black. But deserved - I excelled myself with my sentence.
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Rod's stack overflowed :-)
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On Sat, 28 Jan 2017 13:50:45 +0000, Bob Minchin wrote:

Not at all widely known to the public at large, according to: https://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/can-you-put-a-fridge-feezer-in-a-garage/
--
/\/\aurice
(Replace "nomail.afraid" by "bcs" to reply by email)
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