A deep freezer can be a lifesaver in storing steak you nabbed on a sale, large portions for a party, or anything else that won’t fit in your main refrigerator. However, by their nature, deep freezers take up a fair bit of space. You might wonder if you can move it somewhere more out of the way, such as a patio, shed, or garage.
It’s not recommended to keep a deep freezer outside as the elements may cause damage to the freezer. Also, extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause the freezer to malfunction by placing stress on various parts of the appliance. If outdoors is your only option consider installing an outdoor freezer.
We will go over when it is okay to run a deep freezer outside, and when it is not.
How Does a Deep Freezer Work?
A traditional freezer model is designed to cool its internal temperature using refrigerant in a set of compressor coils. The cooling coil is inside the storage compartment while the exhaust coil is outside. Inside the cooling coil, the refrigerant is compressed into a gas, which draws heat from the surrounding air.
Then the refrigerant is sent to the exhaust coil where it is turned back to a liquid and the heat placed into the air outside the appliance. This can go on indefinitely, provided the coils don’t puncture and the supply of electricity is consistent.
However, this system is reliant on stable external conditions like those found in an airconditioned home. Unless you have a unit designed for outdoor use, your freezer may not perform as well outside.
What Happens if You Put a Freezer Outside?
When you put a freezer of this type outside, it gets exposed to moisture, extreme temperature, and other factors outside you control. This has the potential to damage the compressor coils or other parts of your appliance if it is not built to withstand the elements.
Damage to the air seal, coils, or power supply can be catastrophic for any food stored inside and should be avoided at all costs. Always ensure your appliance has adequate airflow and is out of direct sunlight and water.
Does the Temperature Outside Affect How the Freezer Works?
The temperature can affect your freezer’s performance because of the way in which is cools – if the heat from the exhaust coil isn’t getting dispersed properly into the air, then your machine may need to work overtime to maintain internal temperature. Inability to disperse heat is often caused by an ambient temperature of over 100˚ Fahrenheit (37 ˚ Celsius).
Typically, ambient temperatures which are too hot are more problematic for freezers than temperatures too cold. Some models are designed to handle extreme conditions, so make sure to check the manual for a safe external temperature range.
What Happens if You Put a Deep Freezer Outside in Cold Weather?
When you leave your freezer outside in cold weather, the main concern is keeping moisture off the unit. Never let your freezer stand in water, which can pose a danger from electrocution. In periods of extended very low temperatures (at least 10 degrees below freezing) you may encounter a compressor malfunction, although this is less common than with very hot temperatures.
What Happens if You Put a Deep Freezer Outside in Hot Weather?
Hot weather is by far riskier to the overall functioning of your deep freezer. Keeping an adequately cold environment inside the unit when the outside temperature is high will force components like fans and the compressor to work overtime. Not only will they wear out faster, but you can expect a significantly higher electricity usage.
Additionally, your unit may not be capable of maintaining below freezing temperatures despite the ambient temperature. In this case your food may not be stored at a cold enough temperature – which can result in food poisoning and food waste.
Can Rain Damage Your Deep Freezer if Used Outside?
Water is disastrous for any electrical appliance. I highly advise against keeping your freezer somewhere it can be rained on, and if it needs to be kept outside you should aim for a covered patio or shed. Not only can it corrode the electrical parts inside the freezer, but it can pose an electrocution risk if any water remains in the machine after it is plugged in.
Can You Put a Freezer Outside in a Shed?
If you must keep a freezer outside, a shed is probably the safest option. The structure should keep it dry and free from debris or wild animals. However, because sheds are not usually insulated you should make sure your freezer can withstand the temperatures in your shed.
Can You Put a Freezer Outside Under a Canopy Tent?
While your freezer may be safe from moisture under a canopy tent depending on your weather, its still going to be vulnerable to leaves, trash, and temperature fluctuations. Unless you live in a very mild, very clean place I wouldn’t advise this option.
Can You Temporarily Put a Deep Freezer Outside?
During cleaning or painting, you need somewhere to put your deep freezer complete with food. This can be a tough problem to solve, and your first instinct may be to put it outside. Temporarily putting a freezer outside is okay, however your want to be careful that the food doesn’t thaw, and the appliance doesn’t become wet and/or dirty. Keep the machine plugged in to prevent it from thawing the foods.
If you do not have a secure place outside to store the deep freezer such as a shed or garage you may struggle to adequately protect the unit from the elements if placing it outside for some time.
To prevent damage to the appliance, keeping it unplugged may be best, but then you are on a timer with the food inside. The more that is in the freezer, the longer you have. The frozen food will act like blocks of ice and slow the warming of the interior of the freezer. Most deep freezers can keep food edible for a couple of days after losing power, so a few hours should be fine.
If you are having a wedding or an even where you want a big freezer outside, you can temporarily use one outside, it is best to have it placed under some tent or canopy to avoid direct sun and rain to cause any issues.
Can I Store a Deep Freezer Outside Unplugged?
Keeping a deep freezer outside that is not currently in use is much safer than attempting to use an indoor appliance outside. You will still want to keep the mechanisms safe from corrosion and other damage, which can be done with a waterproof covering and/or animal proofing. If the unit isn’t getting rained on or dug through, you can keep it outside for a longer period of time.
If the freezer is still full and cold, you should plug it in if you can. An extension cord may be required. If it is raining you will want to be careful, use a canopy tent or something to block water to prevent damages or electric shocks. This should only be a temporary job though.
Can You Buy Outdoor Rated Deep Freezers?
There are some outdoor rated deep freezers on the market. These will tolerate extreme temperatures much better than your typical appliance. They come equipped with additional insulation and more rugged components. If you know you may want your freezer outdoors, choosing one of these units is a no-brainer.
You often will have these installed in professional outdoor kitchens, sheds, or garages. They will likely cost more than your typical deep freeze.
Tips to Follow When Using a Deep Freezer Outdoors:
When using a deep freezer outdoors, consider the following:
- If your hand could reach into any part of the machine, so could an animal. Block up possible entrances to prevent nestmaking if long storage.
- If the appliance is plugged in, it needs adequate airflow, to prevent overheating. This might make animal proofing the unit less likely. Do not fully cover the freezer, try a tent over head.
- If you live along a coast, salt can corrode your freezer’s internal components over time. Cleaning the unit frequently can help, but you should plan on a shorter freezer lifespan.
- Likewise, exposure to water from rain or puddles can damage your freezer. This should be your number one thing to avoid, because it is so damaging and dangerous. Avoid the wet weather!
- Getting a unit designed for the task will make using an outdoor deep freezer much safer and easier. Look for a unit that can withstand any of the usual temperatures for your climate.
In mild climates, keeping your deep freezer outside while it is in use can work, but it poses a few risks. You will need to monitor conditions closely to ensure your appliance isn’t damaged, and it is working well. Even if you do your best, freezers not meant for outdoor use will likely break down more quickly than if they had been used indoors.
Storing a freezer outside without using it is easier, and merely requires safety from animals and moisture. When possible, using a model designed for extreme temperatures can help keep you and your food safe.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.