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

  1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Thanks for the update Andrew. So presumably the one you bought was wrongly advertised because it doesn’t have the “freezer guard” feature? The ones that do have it will still be suitable as advertised? Also, it seems that the freezer guard only protects the freezer so is no use the fridge freezer because the fridge will still malfunction if the temperature is too low.

  2. Hi Andy

    Getting complicated isn’t it :)
    Ours did have Freezer Guard so Freezer bit was supposedly good for -15C, but being a Fridge Freezer the fridge wont work properly under +10C .

    Therefore their claim that Frost Free Fridge Freezers with Freezer Guard are-Perfect for Outbuidings etc” is false.
    i.e. These Bekos with a Fridge are not suitable. Avoid!
    Currys took the Fridge Freezer back for full refund.
    We have bought a Freezer with Freezer Guard and will update you on its suitability over time.

  3. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Andrew, sorry, I just remembered you said in one of your first comments, “This FF does not appear to have an air flow system to cool the fridge from the freezer as required”

  4. Andy

    Heres what the IEC had to say:

    Dear Mr. Fenwick

    Thanks for contacting IEC with your question regarding refrigerating testing.

    Following the standards, appliances have to be rated according climate classes with a lowest ambient temperature level at +10C. At this temperature products have to comply with all the requirements posed by the standard which are verified in the so called storage temperature tests. E.g. a freezer must be able to keep temperatures inside below -18C, a fresh food compartment below +4 (and above zero), etc.

    So far, the responsible IEC committee, IEC SC59M has been very active in updating the test standards (within maintenance team 2) in order to reflect usage conditions, get realistic values of energy use etc. The point of operation outside the climate class ranges included in the standard has not been on the agenda, as far as I can recall. There is, as you may have observed, no test protocol or any other requirement below +10 C. I can bring this issue up as an agenda point in our next meeting, to see if there are more parties interested in having better specification or maybe even a climate class rating down to -15 C.

    So from my point of view at this point, this is a sole responsibility of the supplier. If the supplier claims that a product is SN/T (meaning the unit can operate properly from 10 to 43 C) but can also be used down to -15C, the supplier would also need to show if there are certain restrictions in the operation of the appliance. E.g. if the manufacturer would claim that only the freezer will work properly and not the fridge part, this should be clear from the instructions. If the manufacturer does not mention any restrictions, as a customer you must expect that the refrigerator still conserves fresh food rather than freezing it. Such appliance should be equipped with heaters or other temperature increasing devices to keep the temperature in the fridge above zero.

    So in your case, I can only advise to consult the supplier and require compensation for any possible damage resulting from the, as you concluded, incorrect claim.

    Kindest regards

    Martien Janssen

    Convener IEC SC59M/MT2
    So there you have it, Beko at fault and incidentally ‘In Denial’

  5. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Very interesting. I don’t understand how Beko could be advertising refrigeration appliances as suitable for a cold garage if they definitely aren’t. Surely no manufacturer would be so stupid as to do that on purpose? The blow-back would be big, and continuous, as more and more people found they weren’t.

  6. Could I put a under the counter size freezer in a conservatory that has a radiator in there and mainly made of glass?
    What will happen in the summer months as the conservatory will get very hot?
    The winter months should be ok as the radiator will be on.

  7. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    I would say that a conservatory is not a good place for a freezer. It’s a lovely sunny day outside at the moment, but only 14°C . However, in my conservatory it is 28° C and that’s with the door open and insulating roof and window blinds closed. A freezer would be able to operate in this temperature, but it would have to work much harder and use more energy. When the temperature outside gets to 28 to 30° temperature in my conservatory goes over the maximum temperature allowed in the climate class ratings.

    In winter months the temperature can drop well below the minimum temperature stated in the climate class ratings above. So unless the radiator would be on 24 / 7 the cold temperatures overnight might be a problem.

  8. I recently purchased a candy. Fridge freezer/second hand…with 1 stat in the fridge compartment. Temp dropped to below 5degrees and everything started to defrost. I quickly rigged a lamp up too simulate heat/warmth in the fridge area. It did work but I was worried about the fire risk. I have now sold it and bought a beko freezer. Rated to -15 everything is now normal. I have also purchased a separate fridge with a sn rating for when the weather warms up to store my fishing baits.. hope this helps..

  9. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Thanks for sharing your experience Keith. Yes a lamp creating warmth would fix the problem but only if it was rigged in such a way that it kept the fridge no warmer than 5° C otherwise food would not keep. I know it’s not always possible but it is well worth investing in separate fridge and a separate freezer.

  10. Just wanted to leave a comment after I found this article and it helped me resolve an issue I had with my under-counter fridge freezer that was located in the kitchen!

    Of course, Dec ’22 and we’ve just had a horrid cold snap (SE England).

    I had noticed yesterday that the freezer unit had began defrosting and from observation it seemed the whole unit had perished – it is old and the light hasn’t worked for a number of years.

    I began fault finding to no avail and began to wonder if the ambient temperature can impact the operation of the unit – the line of thought brought me here after a little bit of browser searching…. Need I say more?!

    So, just a thanks to the author of the article and also the comment section.

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