I bought a secondhand fridge (a Franklin Chef FCD401BL) a few months ago for use in a house where I am only storing stuff. This fridge uses R134A refrigerant. The heat in the house is only kept on minimally, set to about 45-50 degrees.
There has been a lot of cold weather and wind blowing around the old house, and the temperature at the ends of the house drops to about 36 degrees Fahrenheit. It was around 44 in the room where the fridge is. I dropped into check on things and that's when I noticed the fridge (in particular the freezer compartment) was not working. I have thermometers in both compartments, and both were at around 35 degrees.
I turned the heat up in the house and the fridge began to work normally. I've also heard from other people who have told me that new refrigerators they bought stopped working temporarily when used in cold places.
I've never seen an older refrigerator that would behave in this way-- usually they'd just keep right on working even in the bitterest of cold environments. I'm curious to know might have changed between old and new--surely it wouldn't be a question of the refrigerant...or would it?