In the winter the indoor temperatures in our cabin often reach as low as 10° F (-12° C). We had an old refrigerator that worked just fine in these circumstances, but when we purchased a new refrigerator it failed even after multiple repairs. Upon reading the manual I discovered that it is only designed for operation in temperatures above 55° F (13° C).
Now we need to find a working refrigerator before winter. Preferably we would like one that maintains the correct temperature in the presence of extreme cold. Barring that, we would take something that just doesn't break when it gets too cold.
RepairClinic, among others, seems to indicate that refrigerators just won't work at this temperature because of premature compressor failure:
...if you live in a region in which the temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), this is not a good idea. Such temperatures could cause the oil in the compressor to thicken, leading to premature compressor failure or other issues. Also, refrigerator/freezer units often won’t keep food frozen when the temperature of the garage drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit
Anecdotal experience seems to contradict this, saying that it will work in the winter:
Unless you live someplace REALLY cold (and by REALLY cold, I mean close to the arctic circle cold, not "it sometimes snows here in february" cold), a fridge in an unheated garage is fine. Really. Me and everyone I know has a fridge in our garages, and nobody I know has every had a problem with things freezing.
The refrigerator before our most recently broken one worked just fine for several years, so that one is a point in favor of "they will just work." Meaning, the fridge didn't completely fail - even if it didn't maintain the right temperatures during the winter.
I have only been able to find one refrigerator that advertises the ability to work in cold temperatures: The Gladiator. My only concern is it appears 3 inches too tall for our cabin.
It seems that as long as the refrigerator won't fail, this device can solve the problem of the freezer not working in the 32-50° F range. But how can I make sure the refrigerator doesn't fail?
Has anybody else had to deal with this problem?