If you have recently purchased a new freeze-dryer or are planning to, you may wonder, where should I put it? This is important because freeze-dryers are large and noisy, and their lifespan and function will be affected if they are put in the wrong place.
A freeze-dryer should be put, kept, and run in a well-ventilated room where the temperature and humidity can be controlled, such as a laundry or utility room. Never keep a freeze-dryer in an area exposed to extreme heat and cold or temperature fluctuations, such as a barn or garage.
Freeze-dryers are a significant investment, and we want them to work well and last a long time. Want to know more about exactly where to put a freeze-dryer? We’ll tell you in the guide below.
The Ideal Conditions for Where to Keep your Freeze Dryer
To keep the ideal freeze-dryer conditions, put it in an area with good ventilation and low humidity. The room should be temperature-controlled with plenty of space so the back of the machine can be accessed and there is a comfortable workspace.
If freeze-dryers are taken care of correctly and kept in ideal conditions, they will last many years. However, if it’s maintained poorly, its lifespan will be reduced, and it might not freeze-dry food properly.
Below, we’ll reveal more about the ideal conditions for a freeze-dryer. In addition, if you need more help setting up a freeze-dryer, read this article we wrote: Harvest Right Freeze Dryers: Step by step Setup instructions (with pictures).
#1 – Well ventilated room
A freeze-drying machine can get pretty hot during its cycle – like a standard freezer, it produces heat, and the pump at the back can put out a lot of heat.
If the machine is put in an area that isn’t well ventilated, the heat will build up, especially if it’s in a small, confined space.
If the machine gets too hot, it won’t work correctly, so make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area or a room where you can open a window. If the heat builds up in the room, run a fan close to the machine to blow air over the pump to cool it down.
#2 – Temperature-controlled
Keep the freeze-dryer somewhere that is temperature controlled consistently because the machine won’t function properly in extreme or fluctuating temperatures.
Please don’t put it next to other heat-producing appliances, such as a dryer, to prevent heat from building up.
The ideal environmental temperature for a freeze-dryer is between 35 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit – run the machine between 45 to 75 Fahrenheit for the best results.
The environmental temperature can affect the energy consumption of the freeze-dryer. For example, if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, it will almost double the cycle time.
#3 – Humidity controlled
It’s not good to keep a freeze-dryer in a place with high humidity. Humidity won’t affect the machine’s function, but it will affect the freeze-dried food when it comes out.
One of the main things which preserve freeze-dried food is that it doesn’t contain any moisture – so it must be dry before you store it. If the freeze-dryer is kept in a humid area, it will instantly absorb the moisture when removed from the machine.
If the freeze-dried food absorbs moisture before storing, it might spoil and won’t keep for very long. To avoid food absorbing moisture once it’s freeze-dried, store and use the machine in a place with low humidity.
#4 – Plenty of space
When looking for a home for a freeze-dryer, make sure to put it in an area with plenty of space. There needs to be enough room to access the back of the machine for the pump and power switch, plenty of room for air to flow and keep the unit ventilated, and plenty of room for a workspace.
The freeze-dryer must be raised off the floor so the drainage tube can run into a bucket underneath it.
Freeze dryers can weigh between 61 and 161 lbs. The most suitable place to put them is on a strong, sturdy shelf, table, cart, or countertop, and ensure all the vents are clear.
We keep our freeze-dryer on a cart with wheels in our well-ventilated utility room. That way, we can move it around as needed, and the bottom shelf can hold the drainage bucket and anything else we need.
If your freeze-dryer has an oil-based pump, it might spill, so having a fancy carpet or material below the machine isn’t a good idea. We keep some oil-absorbing material under our cart just in case of oil spills. It’s fancy kitty litter, but it works.
Also, bear in mind the pump at the back can get hot when it’s running, so make sure pets and children can’t reach it. Having the whole setup behind a door that closes makes this even safer.
To give you an idea about how much space is needed, here are the dimensions of the Harvest Right Freeze dryers:
- Large Machine – 20.25 W x 23.75 D x 30.75 H
- Medium Machine – 18 W x 21.25 D x 28.5 H
- Small Machine– 16.5 W x 18.5 D x 25 H
If you’re wondering what size freeze-dryer might be better for you, check this out: Are Small Freeze-Dryers Better Than Big Food Dehydrators?
#5 – Soundproof
This condition doesn’t affect a freeze-drying machine, but it will affect you as the owner, as freeze-dryers are noisy. We don’t need a soundproof room to store one in, but it’s good to put it in a place where the sound won’t bother our families or us.
A freeze-dryer will produce a sound of around 62 – 72 decibels, like a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, or washing machine. Freeze dryers are quiet during the freezing process but get louder when the drying starts.
A freeze-drying cycle lasts around 24 hours, so the sound can get annoying after the first hour or two. Ideally, put the machine in a place where the sound is blocked, such as a utility room.
Want to buy a freeze-dryer but are not sure about the noise level? This article I wrote will explain everything: How Loud Are Freeze Dryers?
#5 – Proper power setup
Having your freeze-dryer in the right location won’t matter if that location doesn’t have the right power profile and an appropriate circuit with adequate amperage.
- No matter where you’re planning to put your freeze-dryer, make sure it has the right plug for your unit.
- Furthermore, ensure that the circuit you’re planning to use has enough amperage to run the freeze-dryer and anything else you’ve planned for that circuit.
For example, suppose you’re going to plug in your freeze-dryer on the same circuit as your other large appliances. In that case, you’re likely to discover it won’t work because it’ll pull too much amperage, and your circuit will blow a fuse to prevent it from shorting and causing a fire.
I’m not the electricity expert in the house, so please forgive me if I mess up any terms. But this was something my husband made sure when we put the freeze-dryer on a circuit in our utility room in our basement – that’s only used with a few other things. That way, we don’t risk any electrical issues.
Can you Keep and Use a Freeze-Dryer in a Garage?
Most garages are subject to temperature extremes throughout the year; cold and humid in the winter and baking hot in the summer. Garages are not the best place to keep a freeze-dryer. The machine won’t function if it’s too hot or cold and won’t freeze-dry food correctly.
A freeze-dryer should be kept in the garage only if the climate is moderate or the garage is temperature-controlled.
If the temperature in the garage is stable and the humidity is low, it can be the ideal place to put a freeze-dryer because it will shield the noise from the household.
Can you Keep and Use a Freeze-Dryer in a Closet?
A freeze-dryer can be kept in a large, well-ventilated closet with a power supply. Still, most are small and stuffy, so, usually, it’s not a good idea to keep a freeze-dryer in a closet as the heat generated could damage the unit and/or the closet.
Most closets are small and will get hot if a freeze-dryer runs inside, and we won’t be able to access the back of the machine or have space for a drainage bucket.
Furthermore, we can’t use a freeze-dryer with an extension cable because it’s a fire risk, and most closets don’t have a power supply to operate the machine safely.
Can you Keep and Use a Freeze-Dryer in a Barn?
Freeze-dryers generally shouldn’t be kept in the main or open parts of a barn, though they could be kept in a temperature-controlled room or office within a barn. Furthermore, the pump gets hot, so keeping the freeze-dryer in a barn next to flammable materials like straw could pose a fire hazard.
The only time a freeze-dryer should be kept in a barn is if the barn is dust-free and temperature controlled or if there is a room inside the barn where the temperature can be controlled.
If your barn has an office or tack room, you could keep your freeze-dryer on a rolling cart in a corner of that room, provided you’ve still got plenty of space, an appropriate outlet, and you aren’t keeping the unit near anything that could be a fire hazard.
Places You Should NEVER Keep a Freeze-Dryer
Never keep a freeze-dryer outside, exposed to direct sunlight, the elements, or extreme temperatures. Do not keep freeze-dryers in outdoor places where the temperature cannot be regulated, such as a barn, small shed, or garage.
Here’s a quick overview of places we should never keep a freeze-dryer and why:
- Outside – If we keep a freeze-dryer out, it will be exposed to wind, rain, and fluctuating temperatures, which affects its lifespan and function.
- In a small shed – Most small sheds aren’t temperature-controlled, nor do they have an outlet. The temperature fluctuations and other equipment in the shed could impact the freeze dryer’s function and the food.
- On a porch – A porch is outside, and even though it’s sheltered from severe weather, extreme temperatures will still affect the freeze-dryer’s function and lifespan.
- In a garage – Don’t keep a freeze-dryer in a garage unless it’s temperature controlled with low humidity. Most garages are cold and damp in the winter and hot and stuffy in summer, which aren’t ideal conditions for a freeze-dryer.
- In a barn – The same goes for barns like garages. Unless the barn is temperature controlled or has a room where you can control the temperature, don’t keep the freeze-dryer in a barn.
- In direct sunlight – Direct sunlight is terrible for freeze-dryers because it will make them hot, and they won’t function correctly.
- In a small closet or cupboard – If a freeze-dryer is kept in a small closet or cupboard, there won’t be enough space to access the back of the machine. Closets aren’t well ventilated, so the heat from a freeze-drying engine will build up quickly and make the environment too hot.
Places That Are Perfect for a Freeze-Dryer
For a freeze-dryer to have a long life and produce perfect, freeze-dried foods every time, it must be kept in a temperature-controlled, well-ventilated room. The ideal place for a freeze-dryer is the laundry room, an unoccupied bedroom, or a basement.
Let’s look at some good places to keep a freeze-dryer and why:
- A Laundry Room – Laundry and utility rooms are ideal places to keep freeze-dryers because they’re usually heat controlled with low humidity. They are also designed to block the noise from washing and drying machines to the rest of the house.
- An unoccupied bedroom – A spare bedroom is a fantastic place to keep a freeze-dryer because it’s not humid, you can open a window for ventilation, and the temperature can be controlled.
- The kitchen – If you have a large enough kitchen, it’s an ideal place to put a freeze-dryer. A large kitchen is well ventilated, and the heat can be controlled. Just remember it’s not a silent appliance.
- Basement – A basement can be a fantastic place for a freeze-dryer because they have a stable temperature and will also block the noise from the machine. However, basements can be damp, so don’t put them in a basement if there’s a lot of humidity.
- Storage room or workshop – If there is enough space in a storage room or workshop at home, you can put your freeze-dryer there. A pantry or larder is cool and dry, and it’s convenient because you can put your freeze-dried food straight into storage.
Best Products for Freeze Dryer Use and Storage
When you’re thinking about how to set up your freeze-drying station, having the right gear can make all the difference. I didn’t realize how much easier it is to have and run our freeze-dryer until we invested in a rolling cart, for example.
In any case, let me share with you some of the best products. But first, my disclaimer (because I believe in transparency).
- Get a rolling cart to put your freeze-dryer on. It can be metal or heavy-duty plastic or whatever you want. We’ve got the heavy-duty plastic rolling cart (like this one on Amazon). Make sure it’ll fit your unit – and check the measurements six times! I wish this came included with the freeze-dryer, but thankfully it’s not hard to get one.
- Get a padded utility mat to stand on when you’re processing food. Here’s one option on Amazon. It’ll help your feet and back feel better, even if you’re standing for hours. We keep ours in the kitchen. I use it for dishes, too.
- Get a humidity gauge for wherever you keep your freeze-dryer. This one, available on Amazon, will also tell you the temperature. That way, you’ll always know that your unit is running in optimal conditions. And you can just keep it on the cart.
- Consider getting a small fan. If you don’t do well in heat and you’re going to be next to your freeze-dryer unit a lot, consider getting a small fan (like this one on Amazon) to keep it cooler.
While none of these accessories are vital to freeze-drying, I think the rolling cart is important to making life as a freeze-drying fan much easier and better.
So, if you can only pick one extra accessory to go with your freeze-dryer, I recommend you get the rolling cart.
Now, if you’ve got a stationary work table where you’re going to keep the freeze-dryer, like in the image below, then the rolling cart isn’t what I’d pick. If that’s the case, I’d get the humidity and temperature monitor – and a second rack of stainless steel freeze-dryer trays! You can snag those from Harvest Right via this link.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Choose a well-ventilated room that is temperature controlled when searching for a place to put a freeze-dryer. Never leave it in areas exposed to extreme temperatures, like outdoors in a barn.
Make sure to put it where the back of the machine can be accessed, with enough room for the drainage tube and bucket. Finally, consider the noise levels. Freeze-dryers are noisy, so don’t put them close to living or sleeping areas.
Freeze-dryers are wonderful, especially if you’re planning to store a lot of food safely long-term. We have written these articles that are packed with information for new freeze-dryer owners.
- 17 Reasons You Need a Freeze-Dryer
- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Freeze-Drying
- Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Software: A Complete Guide
- Can You Make Money with a Freeze-Dryer? Complete Guide
If your specific freeze-drying question isn’t already answered on this site or in the articles above, then email me (use my contact page) and let me know what it is. I’d love to help get your questions answered.
Happy freeze-drying, friend!
Learning from your own experience is essential, but learning from others is also intelligent. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homesteaders.
- Hirneisen, Andy, MA, and Nicole Mph McGeehan. “Let’s Preserve: Freeze Drying.” Penn State Extension, 17 July 2022, extension.psu.edu/lets-preserve-freeze-drying.
- Starr, Kimberly. “Harvest Right Freeze Dryers: Step By Step Setup Instructions (with Pictures).” Backyard Homestead HQ, 21 July 2022, backyardhomesteadhq.com/harvest-right-freeze-dryers-step-by-step-setup-instructions-with-pictures.
- Utah State University. “Buying a Home Freeze-Dryer: What to Know Before You Go.” USU, 3 May 2022, extension.usu.edu/preserve-the-harvest/research/buying-a-home-freeze-dryer-what-to-know-before-you-go.
- “What Happens If You Run Your Freeze Drying Process under Direct Sunlight.” Bart’s Blog, 28 Aug. 2019, www.barts-blog.net/what-happens-if-you-run-your-freeze-drying-process-under-direct-sunlight/.