6 Factors to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Refrigerator

6 Factors to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Refrigerator

We can all agree that a refrigerator is a must-have appliance in any outdoor kitchen. It’s perfect for providing guests convenient access for food and drinks, and you’ll no longer have to purchase bags of ice or lug around large and sometimes unsightly coolers.

However, when buying an outdoor refrigerator for your barbecue island, there are several factors to consider.

Outdoor vs. Indoor Refrigeration

Yes, there is a difference between outdoor and indoor refrigerators. Indoor refrigerators are built to operate specifically in weather-controlled environments. The inside of your home is not generally subjected to major temperature fluctuations, nor is there as much environmental impacts, such as dirt, insects, snow, or rain, to contend with. Using an indoor refrigerator outdoors may keep the unit from operating efficiently and may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

UL-Certified Refrigeration

When looking for a refrigerator for your outdoor kitchen, make sure the unit is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified. Underwriters Laboratory is a third-party certification entity that rates several factors for safety usage in outdoor conditions.

First and foremost, is the refrigerator protected from the elements? Outdoor refrigerators have additional insulation and weatherproofing to combat extreme, and often fluctuating, weather conditions, corrosion, and gnawing or nesting rodents and insects. Sealed bearings and filters are also a feature of outdoor refrigerators that keep debris away from the motor. Both reduce the stress on the compressor while it keeps the refrigerator at the preferred temperature.

Ultimately, UL-certified refrigerators have been certified to hold perishable items. Other certifications that indicate the refrigerator has passed necessary safety inspections are ETL and CSA certifications.

Weatherproofing Explained

Weatherproofing in outdoor refrigerators protects electrical components from water and other harmful elements that could lead to electrocution. This does not mean it protects the refrigerator from extreme weather conditions, such as hailstorms, sleet, and intense heat or humidity. Nor does it protect the refrigerator from operating in extreme cold below 40 degrees.

Free-standing vs Built-in Ventilation

Ventilation of your refrigerator is extremely important. If you are going to build your refrigerator into your barbecue island, you will need to make sure that the unit has front-end ventilation.

Without front-end ventilation, the unit will need reasonable space on all sides of the refrigerator to vent properly.

Additional Factors

  • Material – Always choose stainless steel refrigerators with a grade of 304 or higher and stay away from cheaper plastics.
  • Food-certified – If you are looking to store food or other perishable items, make sure the refrigerator keeps the temperature below 40 degrees. If you will only be storing liquid, you can purchase a beverage cooler instead, which doesn’t need to be UL-certified.
  • Compressor and Electrical needs – Your refrigerator should have a compressor large enough to meet your demands and comply with the electrical system of your home.
  • LED Lighting – LEDs are much more efficient and provides for better aesthetics at night.
  • Leveling Legs – Keeping your refrigerator balanced and level will enhance its efficiency.
  • Warranty – Make sure the unit you purchase has a long and durable warranty.
  • Misc. Amenities – Based on your personal preferences, you may also consider such amenities as a freezer section, ice maker, drawers for fruits and vegetables, specific shelving needs, lock and key, and digital thermostat.
  • Maintaining your Outdoor Refrigerator for long-term excellence!

    Once you’ve purchased and installed your outdoor refirigerator, you want it to last for years to come. Here are a few guidelines for keeping your unit running efficiently.

  • Keep the refrigerator out of direct sunlight.
  • Defrost your refrigerator at least twice a year.
  • Clean compressor fan and coils as regularly as possible
  • If temperatures drop below 40 degrees for extended periods of times, shut your refrigerator down for the winter. Turn off and unplug the unit, unstock any items, and wipe the interior down. Then cover the unit and, if possible, leave the unit cracked open to prevent mold buildup. You may also use a box of baking soda to prevent the collection of odors.
  • Jul 24, 2023 DIY BBQ

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