If you have a freezer in your garage in Montana, you need to be aware of some issues that you may run into during the winter. You also need to check it on a regular basis to make sure that it's working properly. Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way.

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A lot of people hunt in Montana, myself included. After you harvest a deer or elk, storing the meat takes up a lot of space. Most freezers in household refrigerators don't have nearly enough room. In order to have enough space, many Montana residents purchase a stand-alone freezer and put it in their garage, which is a common place for freezers, but is doing so in Montana a good idea?

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SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR FREEZER INSIDE OF YOUR GARAGE?

A few years ago after a successful hunting season, I went to a local appliance store in Bozeman and purchased a chest freezer large enough to hold an elk. I hadn't experienced any problems with it until recently. I went out in the garage to get a package of meat and noticed a foul smell. I looked inside and to my surprise, the freezer had stopped working and a good amount of meat was completely thawed.

According to Consumer Reports, putting a freezer in your garage isn't a good idea, especially if your garage is uninsulated.

Changes in temperature in an unheated garage can be hard on freezers.

You need to make sure that the unit is not exposed to temperatures above 110° F or below 0° F, because that may damage the freezer.

says Larry Ciufo, a CR project leader who tests large appliances.

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I bought the freezer new a few years ago, so I was caught off guard when it broke down. I called a repairman and was told that it's most likely the compressor, and was caused by the cold snap that recently hit Montana.

HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR FREEZER IS WORKING PROPERLY

Freezing a cup of water and placing a quarter on top of it is a good way to make sure your freezer is working properly. It's also a good idea to check it on a regular basis, otherwise you might find yourself throwing out a bunch of rancid meat.

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