Domestic appliances are designed to operate under certain climate conditions and are rated according to their climate classes. This ranking applies to refrigerators and freezers as well. Climate classes of fridges indicate the minimum and maximum temperature limits, within which they are able to function properly. Although very few people check or even know about these characteristics, it is very important to take them into account before buying a new fridge.
This information is usually provided in the form of letter symbols which can be found on a sticker label with technical specifications of the appliance. Sometimes the information is repeated in the instruction book. These abbreviations are conventional which means they are regulated by international standards for the household refrigerating appliances and do not depend on a maker or a country of production.
Before putting a fridge or a freezer on the market all makers carry out comprehensive tests under conditions which imitate the domestic use.
Climate classes of fridges and freezers
There are four main climate classes applicable for refrigerators.
- N or Normal. Such a fridge can operate within the temperature range of +16°C – +32°С.
- SN or Subnormal. In this case, the required temperature range is +10°C – +32°С.
- ST or Subtropical. Such a fridge is fit for hot and humid subtropical climate and is intended to operate at +18°C – + 38°С
- Т or Tropical is intended for a dry climate. The temperature range is +18°C – +43°С.
However, at some regions temperature ranges are much wider. It is also very important to consider which room you are planning to put the fridge to. For example, if you have a glass-covered terrace at home and decide to put your refrigerator where it will be hard for you to choose among the above-mentioned climate classes. That is why some fridge makers have developed models of combined climate classes. They can operate within a wider temperature range.
- N-ST – A fridge marked with these letters can operate at the temperatures ranging from +16°C to+38°C.
- N-T – Temperature range for this model is +16°C +43°C.
- SN-ST – A fridge of this climate class is intended for running at +10°C – +38°C.
- SN-T – This a universal climate class. Such fridges will operate at the temperatures ranging from +10°C to +43°C.
The importance of climate classes requirements
There are three major reasons to choose an appliance with an appropriate climate class. Firstly, if a fridge has to operate under the climate conditions it is not intended for, it will consume much more energy to reach the required inside temperature.
Secondly, the fridge will not be able to sufficiently cool the products inside of it, which will lead to excessive condensation.
And finally, as a result of such inappropriate operating conditions, the lifespan of the refrigerator will significantly decrease. Failure to comply with the climate classes requirements while using a fridge or any other product enables the maker to refuse a warranty repair.
Climate classes and differences in design
Specification of an appliance’s climate class is not a marketing trick aimed at expanding the range of consumers. Refrigerators and freezers of different climate classes have different designs as well. The fridges of ST and T classes which are intended to operate at high temperatures have a thicker insulation. This enables the appliance to sustain the stated inside temperature when it is hot outside.
Refrigerating appliances designed to operate at high temperatures also have more high-powered compressors and bigger condensers equipped with extra fans to increase the heat emission. Due to such an elaborate design, these refrigerators are more expensive.
There are also especially cold areas, where temperatures may go down below 10°C, and the fridges of the above-mentioned standard and combined climate classes will not operate there properly. If the temperature outside the fridge is about 0°C it will need to operate in its contrary sense to reach the required 6°C inside of it. Moreover, the refrigerant gas will most likely freeze at low temperatures. As a result, the fridge will block. There is a limited production of specific fridges able to operate in such cold environments. They have both a cooling unit and a heater, which gets involved when the outside temperature significantly falls down.
It is also important to remember, that even a fridge designed to sustain high temperatures should not be placed near heat sources, like cookers or radiators. Even a strong direct sunlight should be the reason to move your fridge to a more appropriate location. If you want your fridge to work properly and last long ensure that you choose the appliance with an appropriate climate class