• Mike Roberts

Extreme Temperatures Affect Appliances


It makes sense that temperatures might affect outdoor appliances, but did you know that extreme temperatures can affect appliances inside your basement, garage or house as well? Here’s what you need to know about temperature’s effect on appliances and what you can do to prevent damage.


Refrigerators and freezers


A refrigerator can shut down in freezing weather if located outside or on a poorly insulated exterior wall in a cold garage or basement. Conversely, extremely hot exterior temps make refrigerators and freezers in these areas work extra hard to maintain temperatures, increasing energy costs.


If you must keep an extra freezer or refrigerator in an unheated garage or basement during the winter, use a space heater to warm the area. Be sure to place the heater safely away from anything combustible and use it only as long as needed to raise temps above the mid-30s. If there’s an ice maker, insulate its water supply line and, in the bitter cold, turn it off and drain the line.


If you have that extra refrigerator or freezer because you need more space for food, calculate the cost savings of buying a new, larger unit for inside the house and eliminating the outside one.


Washing Machines


Icy winter temperatures can cause problems with your washing machine. To prevent damage from ice, keep the washer’s water supply line insulated in winter. When temperatures are expected to drop dangerously low, turn off the water at the wall valve, disconnect it from the washing machine, and drain it.


Water heater


Water heaters are usually located in a garage, attic or basement, all of which are areas subject to freezing temps. To prevent damage when the mercury drops, insulate the water supply line to the heater. Each year, hire a plumber to drain and flush the tank to remove sediment.


Heating and air conditioning


The HVAC component most at risk in winter is the outside condenser. If you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow, place a protective hedge or screen around the unit to block snow drifts or ice from covering it.


When you’re away


If you’re planning to be away from your home for an extended period in the winter, you’ll likely turn down the thermostat to save energy costs. To avoid frozen pipes and other potential damage, though, it’s best not to go below around 55 degrees.


Related – Preventing a Frozen Pipes Disaster

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