Climate Classes for fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers

Climate Class Fridges, freezers, and fridge-freezers are all designed to operate within specific temperature ranges (climates). If you place one in a kitchen, or in a separate room inside your house, it’s likely that it will operate as intended. However, it’s not advisable to place a refrigeration appliance next to a heat source such as a radiator or a cooker – or even in strong direct sunlight).

If you place one in an outside building such as a shed or garage you may be putting it into temperature ranges that fall outside the designed limits. You could then experience problems such as not working properly or completely malfunctioning.

So think carefully before installing a refrigeration appliance in a garage or outbuilding if the temperature inside is likely to get much higher or much lower than that of its stated climate class. If you buy any refrigeration appliance in the UK it is highly likely to be only designed to work in a kitchen or utility room. (e.g. Freezer defrosted: Can you put a fridge freezer in a garage?)

All fridges, freezers, and fridge freezers should have a climate class printed on their rating plate (or maybe in the instruction book). This class indicates the minimum and maximum temperatures that the appliance is suitable to work in. The most common climate classes sold in the UK are listed in the form below. (where is the serial number on a fridge or freezer?)

NOTE: Your appliance may not necessarily use the phrase “climate class”, on my freezer the writing is very small and it just says “class SN”. I would expect most refrigeration appliances in the UK would be climate class SN but check your rating plate.

Climate ClassMin TemperatureMax Temperature
N16 °32 °
SN10 °32 °
ST18 °38 °
T18 °43 °

The above climate classes stand for – N = Temperate climate, SN = Extended Temperate climate, ST = Sub Tropical, T = Tropical.

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103 thoughts on “Climate Classes for fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers”

  1. In 2018 we bought a built in Kenwood fridge freezer from Curry’s, after a couple of years the freezer temperature would not get low enough, it was out of warranty so we paid for an engineer to fix it, they tried a few things and eventually declared it was unrepairable. We bought a new Hoover fridge freezer from Boots website (run by AO), while still under warranty this too developed the same symptom, freezer not cold enough, the engineer suggested turning off the fridge for 6 hours and turned it back on which seemed to work. I took out a service policy just in case. I then learnt about Climate Class which up until then I was unaware of, both appliances I bought were climate class ST (designed for sub tropical climate), could this be the cause of the problems? If so why would they be selling these for use in the UK? Recently the freezer was failing again and the fridge was also not working, after several visits the engineer replaced the compressor and did a re-gas. I asked on several occasions if the climate class was a problem, the engineer shrugged it off and said it shouldn’t make much difference. What is your opinion on this?

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Barry. At face value you’d think that the climate class ST is inappropriate for the UK. The temperature range in climate class ST states the minimum temperature at which the appliance is designed to reliably function at is 18°. Well during winter, most people’s kitchens are likely to drop below 18°. However, what I can’t reliably advise upon is whether or not dropping below this “minimum temperature” is going to cause any real world problems.

      However, climate class SN, which is appropriate for Europe, has a minimum temperature of 10°, which is not likely to cause any problems in the overwhelming majority of households in the UK unless we are experiencing extremely cold weather.

      The only thing I can say is that if the temperature drops too low, then a combined fridge-freezer (that only uses one compressor) may switch off the compressor when the fridge temperature remains at the selected temperature because the temperature of the room it is in is 5° or below.

      This usually only happens when a fridge freezer is kept in a garage or another outbuilding. The temperature of the room it is in would need to be cold enough that the temperature inside the fridge compartment is naturally at around 5°. If this happens then it has no need to run the compressor to keep the fridge compartment cold. Unfortunately, due to the way they are designed this also stops the freezer compartment from being cooled down. This may not be an issue if this situation only lasts a few hours. But if it was all night or longer then the freezer compartment will start to defrost.

      If we bear in mind the fact that the fridge compartment is insulated, you would expect this only happens when the temperature of the room it is in is roughly around 0° or lower. All this is explained in detail in my article can you run a fridge freezer in a garage?

      So this is the main problem associated with room temperatures, (which is rectified once the temperature of the room rises high enough to trigger the thermostat in the fridge compartment to start running the compressor again). In other words it doesn’t cause the appliance to “break down”, it causes it to stop working properly until the temperature rises to proper levels. It also only affects combined fridge-freezers, and not separate fridges and separate freezers. It’s unlikely that temperatures inside most normal kitchens would drop to these temperatures.

      The only other thing is if the temperature in your kitchen (assuming it is kept in a kitchen) can regularly drop below 18° then it is regularly falling below the temperature that the manufacturers claim it is designed to operate in. My kitchen is probably on average around about 18° of an evening in winter. So on very cold nights it probably drops at least a couple of degrees or more as the heating switches off at 9 PM. In poorly insulated homes I wouldn’t be surprised if it could drop several degrees below. The question is exactly what happens if this is the case. You can only assume that manufacturers use the climate temperatures as approximate ideal temperatures and that dropping, or even raising a few degrees either way may not cause any issues at all. Otherwise, they would be completely wrong to be selling them in the UK.

  2. The actual spec of the fridge freezer states working temperature range is 16°C to 38°C, the appliance is kept in the kitchen, in the colder months the temperature of the room would indeed regularly fall below 16 when the heating is off, we have only had problems in winter. After the compressor change and re-gas on 9th March the fridge freezer was on all day and the fridge didn’t get cold at all and the freezer as low as -1. An engineer is coming again tomorrow, I’m hoping they will give up on it and offer me a new fridge in which case I will make sure it is climate class SN.

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