Freezers operate at sub-zero temperatures to keep food preserved for a long time, and their body is designed to help maintain those low temperatures. On the other hand, Refrigerators operate at a slightly warmer temperature, making them more convenient for everyday use. Wouldn’t it be great to have the convenience of a refrigerator with a sturdy freezer build? Can you convert a freezer to a fridge?
It is possible to turn a freezer into a refrigerator by raising its temperature. Since freezer thermostat settings are narrower than refrigerator ones, you can do it with either an external controller or by exchanging the freezer’s thermostat with a more adjustable one.
When a freezer is converted to a refrigerator, it operates at higher temperatures, and the thick insulation of the freezer helps maintain the interior temperature more consistently. This means a freezer-turned-fridge will use much less power than an actual refrigerator. That’s why some people choose to do this conversion. If you’re also interested, let’s take a closer look at how you can turn a freezer into a refrigerator.
Is It Possible to Turn a Freezer Into a Refrigerator?
Yes, you can turn a freezer into a refrigerator; upright and chest freezers can be converted with a few simple adjustments. The main difference between a freezer and a fridge is the thermostat setting, which is lower for a freezer in order to maintain a temperature below the freezing point.
To convert your freezer into a fridge, you will need to raise the thermostat setting so it can accommodate warmer temperatures.
Though it may sound easy enough, it involves some electric work. You’ll also need the right tools and parts, which we’ll go over in more detail below. There is also the potential risk of ruining your freezer if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, unless you’re confident in your electrical skills, it’s best to leave this project to a professional.
How Do You Turn a Freezer Into a Refrigerator?
A freezer can be converted into a fridge by adjusting the thermostat to a warmer temperature. However, since the freezer thermostat doesn’t have a wide range by default, you’ll need to replace it with a new thermostat or make a bypass.
This can be done by installing a plug-in external temperature controller (on Amazon) that limits the power supply to the compressor and increases the temperature. But it might not be as accurate as you need it to be.
The other option is to replace the freezer thermostat. You’ll need to remove the old thermostat and wires, then connect the new thermostat in its place. This is a more accurate way to control the temperature, but you’ll need specific tools and knowledge to do it right. Again, if you’re not familiar with electrical work, it’s best to get help from a professional.
Many freezers to refrigerator conversion kits are available online, making the process easier. These kits cost between $30 to $50 and come with a refrigerator thermostat, instructions, and other necessary hardware.
But before you buy anything, make sure the kit is compatible with your freezer model.
Now that you know what’s involved let’s look at the process in detail.
Step 1: Unplug the Freezer
Before starting with any electrical work, unplug the freezer from the power outlet. This will prevent unnecessary accidents while you’re working.
Step 2: Remove the Existing Thermostat
The thermostat is usually located on the back of the freezer. It might be mounted near the compressor or on the wall. Once you’ve found it, you need to identify the wires connected to it.
There are usually three insulated wires and a capillary tube connected to different terminals. Remember how they’re connected, or maybe take some pictures, so you can put them back the same way later.
Then use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the thermostat in place. Next, carefully pull out the thermostat, take note of how it’s positioned, and disconnect the wires.
Step 3: Install the New Thermostat
First, unravel the silver wire wound around it — that’s the capillary tube that senses the air temperature inside the freezer. Please make sure there are no kinks, then insert it back into the slot as much as possible.
Then connect the other wires to their respective terminals. Once everything is connected, screw the new thermostat in place. If the old dial doesn’t work with the new thermostat, replace that. Then set the temperature to the middle of the range at 40°F or 4.4°C.
Make sure the ‘Fast Freeze’ and ‘Defrost’ buttons are turned off.
Step 4: Test the Freezer
Plug the freezer back in and wait for the compressor to start. Let it run for 24 hours to see if the temperature is stable. A cooking thermometer can help you check the temperature. To measure power consumption, use any electrical meter.
Suppose everything is working as it should, congratulations! You’ve successfully turned your freezer into a fridge. Fill it up with food and enjoy an energy-efficient refrigerator.
Will Converting a Freezer Into a Refrigerator Save Energy?
Yes, when you turn a freezer into a refrigerator, it saves you energy. It’s the prime reason why many people convert their freezer into a fridge in the first place. Now the question is why that’s the case.
A freezer, by design, has thicker insulation than a fridge. You might have seen the difference between your home freezer and fridge — the freezer is much bulkier and heavier. That’s because it needs to keep things frozen, so the walls have to be thick enough to block out the heat.
When you turn a freezer into a fridge, it saves energy in two ways. First, since the temperature will be higher, it’ll consume less power to maintain that temperature. Second, the thicker walls will help keep the cold in, so your fridge won’t have to work as hard. As a result, your new refrigerator will use much less energy, even less than a normal fridge.
What’s a Good Temperature for a Freezer to Refrigerator Conversion?
Food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. So even if you’re interested in saving energy by converting a freezer to a refrigerator, you don’t want to make your refrigerator too warm. A proper fridge temperature is necessary to prevent bacterial growth and keep your food fresh.
The FDA recommends that your fridge should be below 40°F (4.4°C) at all times. A few degrees fluctuation might not make much difference, but it will freeze when you go below 32°F (0°C). Increase it too much, and you’re in the danger zone for bacteria to grow.
So, after converting your freezer to a fridge, aim for a consistent 40°F (4.4°C) inside the refrigerator. And make sure the thermostat is properly calibrated so that it doesn’t fluctuate too much.