If you are struggling to keep a lot of things frozen, you may be getting desperate. Sure, you could go out and buy a second fridge and freezer or even a stand-alone freezer, but those are expensive purchases! So, you might be wondering, can I use my refrigerator as a freezer?
As long as you’re not afraid to take your refrigerator apart, you can turn it into a freezer! Of course, you’ll need to replace the thermometer with one that goes below freezing, and you’ll have to wire it to the compressor.
In this article, we’ll be delving further into all the things you need to know to change out your refrigerator to a freezer, the best ways to do it, and when you should consider calling a professional instead of doing it yourself!
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Converting your refrigerator to a freezer is certainly an option for those who are struggling to keep their frozen goods from falling out every time they open their freezer door.
However, it does require a decent knowledge of wiring.
If wiring doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, consider getting one of these other freezer options instead:
Portable Cooler Box – Keeps ice frozen for up to five days!
Heavy Duty Ice Chest – Holds up to 110 quarts and has two built-in bottle openers!
Chest Freezer – Has adjustable legs, and the top opens up to 90 degrees!
Turning that big empty fridge (or mini-fridge!) into a freezer space is tempting if you’re running low on freezer space. The good news is, it’s possible.
The not-so-good news is that it’s a little complicated and involves understanding the guts of a fridge. You can chill, though. We’re going to explain it all to you right now!
Can You Convert a Refrigerator Into a Freezer?
You can convert a refrigerator into a freezer. You just need a new thermometer and the ability to switch them out. It’s not as intense as it sounds once you know what you’re looking at.
Please note that if you are not familiar with or comfortable with changing wiring, this may not be a good project to attempt on your own. Instead, contact a professional electrician to assist with the wiring part.
How Do You Convert a Fridge to a Freezer?
To convert a fridge to a freezer, start by removing the refrigerator’s thermometer and compressor. Then, replace the thermometer with one that drops below freezing and rewire it to the compressor.
The thermometer that you choose for this project is very important.
If your thermometer doesn’t allow the fridge to drop below freezing, it will not keep your food properly frozen, leaving you at risk for bacteria.
What Is the Temperature Difference Between a Fridge and a Freezer?
Typically, a refrigerator’s temperature stays between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower causes freezing, but anything above can harbor bacterial growth. On the other hand, a freezer is typically at or below 0 Fahrenheit.
A freezer must stay well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep food completely frozen.
If your food starts to thaw and then refreezes over and over again while sitting in your freezer, it may develop harmful bacteria.
What Is the Coldest Shelf in a Fridge?
The coldest part of your fridge will be the rear of the lowest shelf of your fridge. Remember, warm air is introduced every time you open the refrigerator door, so the items closer to the front will be warmer than the ones in the back.
An official scientific rule is that warm air rises while cold air sinks. Therefore, the shelves closest to the bottom of your refrigerator must have the coldest temperatures, right? Science says so!
Where Is the Freezer in a Refrigerator?
Depending on the model type, your refrigerator may have a freezer either on the top, to one side, or below the refrigerator unit. If you have a micro-fridge, there may be a small door inside your refrigerator unit, which has lower temperatures, where you can store frozen items.
None of these freezer types works better or worse than others. It’s all a matter of design. Therefore, if you want a new refrigerator based on aesthetics, you can decide where your freezer is located.
Fridge vs. Freezer
Now that we’ve delved into how to convert your refrigerator to a freezer, we’re going to discuss the differences between a fridge and a freezer and why you need both.
We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of fridges vs. freezers, so you can decide what you want!
Is a Refrigerator the Same as a Freezer?
Refrigerators and freezers are not the same. The biggest difference between the two is temperature. A refrigerator fluctuates between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a freezer is typically below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, freezers are typically smaller in size than the refrigerator itself.
You can, however, purchase a stand-alone freezer to give yourself more freezer space if the space in your freezer section of the fridge is getting crowded.
Which Is Better, a Refrigerator or Freezer?
If you’re storing fresh foods, like produce or dairy, you’ll get more use out of a refrigerator. However, if you buy things like meat in bulk, you’ll want a freezer to keep it from going bad quickly.
This is one of the reasons most refrigerators have a freezer built-in. This way, you don’t have to choose between having only perishables or freezing things like produce to keep it cold.
Which Uses More Electricity, a Freezer or Refrigerator?
A freezer typically uses more electricity than a refrigerator because it needs to keep food at a consistently low temperature. If it doesn’t keep food frozen at all times, the food will become susceptible to bacteria and will go bad quicker.
While a refrigerator still uses a lot of energy, it has a little more room to fluctuate temperature than a freezer. For example, a fridge just needs to say below 40F, while a freezer needs to stay below 0F.
Is There a Two-In-One Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator?
There are currently convertible freezer-to-refrigerator models available for purchase from brands like Galanz. You can adjust them from fridge to freezer simply by changing the temperature on the thermostat.
Some people enjoy having a convertible freezer/refrigerator because they can choose whether they want a fridge or freezer per season.
For example, from the summer to fall, when you can get lots of fresh food, you can keep it as a fridge.
Then, when winter arrives, convert it to a freezer so you can store frozen food while fresh products aren’t as available.
Keeping Food Frozen
We all know frozen food needs to stay frozen until we’re ready to cook it and consume it. But, if your freezer isn’t working, this can be a problem.
On the other hand, if your fridge is freezing your fresh produce, that isn’t good either. So, let’s take a look at some of these common issues.
How Long Does Frozen Food Last Without a Freezer?
Frozen foods that have started to thaw can typically be held for only two hours once they reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, they may start to spoil and should be thrown away.
On the other hand, if the products are still cold, like if you’re holding frozen items in a fridge or outside in cold weather, as long as they still have ice crystals, they’re still safe to consume, according to foodsafety.gov.
How Do You Keep Food Frozen for Eight Hours?
If you need to keep food cold or frozen for a long time and you don’t have access to a freezer, you can instead store frozen food in a fridge that has been turned down as cold as possible.
If you don’t have access to a fridge, then ice is your new best friend.
What Do I Do if My Fridge Is Freezing My Food?
If your fridge is freezing your food, and you don’t want that to happen, start by turning up the thermostat inside your refrigerator. Give your fridge at least an hour to warm up slightly.
If your fridge is still too cold after adjusting the thermostat, it may need to be replaced.
You can either purchase a new thermostat and replace it or call your fridge manufacturer and see if they will send someone out to do maintenance.
How Do You Store Frozen Food Without a Freezer?
You can store frozen food in a cooler packed with ice to keep it frozen for up to a day. You can also turn your refrigerator as cold as possible to extend the life of any frozen items you place in it.
Your best option to keep frozen food frozen is to pack it in ice or ice packs and keep it in a cooler unit. Wrap your food in aluminum foil to insulate it and keep it even colder.
Additionally, if it’s winter and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you could always store it outside as a final resort!
Now that we’ve discussed all frozen foods, what about other options for things that can become freezers?
We’re going to get into that right now so you know where you can safely store your frozen food items.
What Are the Three Types of Freezers?
There are currently three types of freezers available: chest, upright, and combination refrigerator/freezer models. While they all have advantages and disadvantages, the most common, by far, is the refrigerator/freezer model.
In fact, the odds are you have a fridge/freezer in your kitchen right now.
But unfortunately, many people find that the freezer portion of their fridge/freezer is just not large enough, so they have to purchase either the chest or upright freezer models in addition to the fridge.
Is There a Fridge That Can Be Used as a Freezer?
There are two-in-one convertible fridges to freezers available currently. These units require the user to adjust the thermostat inside the unit depending on whether they want the items inside to freeze or just be chilled.
These fridge-to-freezer units are perfect for those without a lot of space but who want to buy in bulk.
You can choose whether you want your foods frozen or cooled, and you can change what the unit is doing depending on the season.
Can a Bar Fridge Be Used as a Freezer?
It’s not a good idea to try and use a bar fridge as a freezer. They are not designed to get that cold, and while you could try and rewire a new thermostat into the unit, you’ll probably overload the compressor.
Unfortunately, if you break the compressor, you’ll have a useless bar fridge.
While you could replace the compressor, odds are even a brand-new one will not be able to handle the outage necessary to turn the bar fridge into a freezer.
Can a Minifridge Be Used as a Freezer?
Most minifridges come with a small freezer unit built into the fridge. If this isn’t enough freezer space for you, you can turn the thermostat down all the way to attempt to freeze the unit.
If the internal thermostat cannot turn down to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you may need to purchase and install a new thermostat.
This will require some wiring understanding and should be done by a professional.
Can a Cooler Be Used as a Freezer?
You can use a cooler as a freezer for short periods, typically under 24 hours. To do so, wrap your frozen items in aluminum foil, then pack them in the cooler with plenty of ice packs.
Once the cooler has been packed, do not open it up unless absolutely necessary. The more you open it, the more warm air is allowed inside, and the shorter the life span of the frozen items becomes.
You might also enjoy our post on Why Do Icicles Form in Freezers?
Can I Use My Upright Freezer as a Refrigerator?
You can convert your upright freezer to a refrigerator by turning the freezer up all the way. However, if the freezer’s thermostat does not go above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you may need to switch them out with a refrigerator thermostat.
To switch from the freezer thermostat to the refrigerator thermostat, simply dislocate the current thermostat and replace it with the refrigerator model.
If you’re not comfortable with wiring, you may want to seek out a professional.
What Is the Best Container to Freeze Food In?
The best way to freeze foods and keep them safe from freezer burn is to utilize something that removes the air from your food before freezing. These can be Ziploc bags, a vacuum sealer, or airtight containers.
The most important thing is to get a good seal on frozen items, as it can prevent water ice crystals from forming.
The ice crystals can speed up the process of your foods getting freezer burned, which no one wants to have to happen to their frozen goodies!
Is It Okay to Freeze Food in Glass Containers?
You can freeze food in glass containers. Just make sure that the food and the glass are at room temperature when it goes into the freezer. Do not stick hot food and glass into your freezer.
Additionally, if your food to be frozen contains liquid, be sure to leave some room at the top of the glass container for the liquid to expand when it freezes.
After all, no one wants to clean up shattered glass in their freezer!
If you’re handy with wiring, you can certainly have a go at turning your refrigerator into a freezer. On the other hand, if you’re not that brave, there are plenty of other great options to keep your food cold.
Either way, thanks for chilling with us while we broke this one down, and we hope you enjoy your cold storage units, whichever way you decide to keep them!