RV refrigerators require far too much electricity to run on the stock batteries of many trailers. Creating a setup that can do so takes some work and specialized equipment.
If you find yourself wanting more options than your old fridge provides, it’s time to start shopping for an upgrade. Consider these factors before you commit to a new one:
When shopping for an RV fridge, size is important. It will determine how much you can store and, in turn, how often you will have to make trips to the grocery store.
Depending on the type of RV you have, you’ll need to choose between an absorption fridge or compressor fridge. Absorption fridges run on propane but can also use electricity, while compressor refrigerators require a power source to operate.
If you are full-timer that relies on propane, an absorption refrigerator will work well for you. It is quiet and works with little energy, which makes it a great option for boondocking.
Residential refrigerators, on the other hand, are designed to be used in homes. They are not built to withstand the shaking and rattling that comes with traveling in an RV. This can cause them to break down quickly and may even shorten their lifespan. In addition, you’ll have a hard time fitting a residential fridge into an RV without removing a slide or windows.
RV fridges come in many sizes, so it’s important to know what capacity you need before making a purchase. This will help you find a refrigerator that fits your needs and will fit in the space you have available. Make sure to measure the area where your new refrigerator will go and check the dimensions of your RV door before purchasing. It’s also a good idea to take measurements twice to ensure accuracy.
An RV fridge works best when there is some empty space inside, so that air can circulate evenly. Some RV owners add a small fridge fan to their fridge to speed up the cooling process and keep temperatures more stable. Icemakers are another option some people choose to include in their RV fridges, but they eat up storage capacity.
RV Refrigerators use LP gas to run and burn chemicals that keep the food cool. This makes them less expensive than compressor fridges, but they do not work well on battery power and can be noisy.
Aside from ensuring the fridge door seals are ok (if not, this might be why it’s warm) and checking for obvious issues like clogs or broken components, there are a few other things you can do to help keep your RV refrigerator cold. One is to ensure air can easily move from the lower access panel area up through the backside of the fridge and over the cooling coils (or at least through the fridge vent). Also make sure there are no obstructions like leaves blocking the exterior fridge vent.
Many Norcold fridges have a temperature adjustment on the outside near the power switch. This adjusts a little lever that moves a sensor on the fridge fin up or down to change the temperature setting. When moving the sensor, be careful not to move it side to side. The correct movement is up or down along the same fin. Moving it in a different direction can permanently damage the fridge. Another way to improve fridge efficiency is to limit the number of times you open and close it – each time you do, it causes it to have to work harder to cool down.
RV fridges come with a few special features that make them different from residential fridges. They can be smaller to fit in an RV, and they can run on different power sources.
They also tend to be less expensive than absorption refrigerators. However, they do require a power source at all times and can be very noisy. They don’t have a defrost cycle, so they will build up frost and ice over time.
The ambient temperature has a direct impact on how well your fridge functions. The fridge will use more electricity when it’s hotter outside, and the temperature inside the fridge will rise if you put warm food in. To keep your fridge performing at its best, park in the shade and make sure that the door gasket is sealing properly. You can test this by putting a dollar bill in between the fridge body and the door. The bill should stay in place when the door is closed.