Many families have an old refrigerator in their garage (or even a carport) for beer or frozen food. But those days may be numbered.
It turns out some new, high-efficiency models may not work out there, where the climate can change dramatically from week to week.
Jeff Schubert showed us his broken Kenmore refrigerator sitting in the garage, with a non working freezer. It's not an old fridge, however, as it is just 4 months old.
Ed's family lost a freezer full of food when the new fridge stopped working. "The freezer side thawed out," he said. They called Sears for a free warranty repair, which promptly sent out a repairman. But after looking it over, he told them he was sorry, but it could not be repaired under warranty.
"They said there is a part available that we will order for you," Schubert said the repairman told them. "It's around $50, but we won't pay for it, and you'll have to have someone install it," he says the repairman then said.
He couldn't believe it would cost almost $200 to fix a fridge still within its one year warranty.
"The repairman said even though it's only 4 months old, it's being misused. It's not being used according to the what the manual said," Schubert said.
Misused? Turns out unlike their old garage fridge, that sat in the same spot for 10 years, this new model is not supposed to be used outdoors.
So how would a customer possibly know this?
Schubert says the repairman explained that if you turn to page 9 of the Kenmore manual, you will find out that the refrigerator should not be set up in a very cold or very hot location.
Indeed, the Use and Care Manual states that this fridge should be in placed only in a room that is between 55 degrees and 110 degrees, and should not be near a heat source, in a very hot garage (such as in Florida), or a very cold garage (such as in a northern state's winter).
Schubert wonders how anyone would ever know this when buying it, since the salesman never gave him a heads up.
"I have a lot of friends with refrigerator freezers in their garage," he said, "and I have never heard of this or run into it."
Good news: after we contacted Sears Holdings, a company spokesman called Schubert and told him they will replace the failing refrigerator under its one year warranty. But remember, they may not always do that.
Also be aware that new high-efficiency fridges from many brands may be more sensitive than Grandpa's old garage fridge, that didn't mind heat changes.
So do some research before buying that next beer fridge for your garage, so you don't waste your money.