Monthly Archives: March 2013

Understanding Your RV Refrigerator

There are many ways to keep your RV refrigerator up and working smoothly through this upcoming HOT summer. Even if you aren’t a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ person  you can still save yourself a lot of hard earned cash by doing preventative maintenance on the RV appliance to keep the serious issues at bay. There really is a lot of things know and way too much to put into this newsletter, however, we can cover a few critical points on just helping your unit run more efficiently.

Norcold 1200 series- My RV Refrigerator

My RV Refrigerator
Norcold 1200 series

 

  • Remember that for every minute the refrigerator door is left open it takes 1 hour for it to completely recover that cool temperature. If you have an ice chest or one of the new thermo electric ice coolers that can plug into the 12 volt cigarette lighter, this will provide access to beverages and other items needed on a regular basis.
  • To keep the food inside your RV refrigerator safe you will need to maintain the temperature inside the lower compartment between 34 degrees F. to 43 degree F.  Having a simple refrigerator thermometer hanging from one of the shelves will help you monitor that temperature. Know that once that degree hits 37 and lower, some items will start to freeze (veggies,fruits, eggs and more) My favorite degree span is 38 to 41 F.
  • If placing a lot of foods, beverages, etc. into your refrigerator – chill it down before doing so. Using an ice chest with ice would be a good way to do that. However, if you are placing a 6 pack of drinks (etc) in your already cooled refrigerator, place one bottle or can between those that are already cooled. This will remedy the heat transfer more readily.
  • You can increase the cool down time inside your refrigerator by50% and then help maintain that cool temperature by having a battery operated circulating fan sitting on the bottom shelf  of your unit. Since cool air settles to the bottom of your refrigerator, a circulating fan will pick up this cool air and throw it upward so it can be reused.
  • If you find that the temperature inside of your RV Refrigerator going up as the temperature outside of your RV goes up above 85 degrees F., you have what is known as a “refrigerator that is chasing the outside temperature”. This chasing is caused by poor air flow across the cooling coils that are mounted on the back of the refrigerator. Heat is not being pulled from these cooling coils so heat cannot be pulled out of the inside of  the refrigerator.
  • These RV refrigerators are vented and cooled one of two ways

a.) Air enters the lower vent that is mounted on the side of the RV  and vented across the cooling coils and out of the roof vent or

b.) If the refrigerator is mounted in a slide out you will have 2 sidewall vents. The cooling air is drawn into the lower vent then across the cooling coils and exhausted out the upper vent.

  •  Start by inspecting the rear refrigerator coils or upper vent for a birds nest, wasp nests or some other obstruction that could be restricting the cooling air flow.   If no obstructions are found, you will need to install a 12 volt or  solar powered vent fan on the back of the refrigerator just above the coils. This vent fan draws in air through the lower vent and pushes it across the coils and out the roof vent or the upper sidewall vent taking the unwanted heat with it.

 

RV Propane Ovens

pizza stone

The RV propane oven, although it has been around for a long time…certainly does not mean that we can’t improve on its efficiency.  We applaud the designers of this appliance because now we can cook successfully while hitting the roads in our RV.  However, I believe that we can improve its cooking ability so let’s talk about ways we can make this appliance even better.

Did you know that ‘baking stones’ have been around for many thousands of years and have been helping us achieve success in all the many different kinds of kitchens inside or out.  Here is a quick history lesson on ‘baking stones’ from (article source:  http://EzineArticles.com/7001991 ):

The humble baking stone has made a revival in the modern kitchen, but did you know that this piece of cooking equipment has been used for centuries? Perhaps one of the oldest cooking techniques known to man, the history of it can be traced back as far as the Early Paleolithic Age, or between 45,000 and 9,000 years before the arrival of Christ. Archaeologists have found evidence that Stone Age man used stones for grinding starches into fine powder before using the stone to bake food on in a fire pit, the precursor to today’s modern ovens. Read more about this topic at the link above. 

Using our modern day baking stone is a perfect way we can improve our baking in today’s RV Oven.

You can find ‘baking stones’ at any number of commercial outlets but once placed inside your RV oven, you will find that this will allow for better heat distribution which means – baking more evenly. Without this stone, you could be seeing over browning or burning on the bottoms of your baked goods and possibly… not completely baked on the inside.

My recommendations are to place this stone on top of the thin metal shelf directly above the open flame. Do not block the vent holes running down each outer side of the metal shelf for these holes does allow for air circulation.  Also, do not place your baking dish directly on top of this stone because this is now your heat transfer conductor and will cause it to burn…so continue to place your dish on the wire racks, as before. However, you can purchase a second stone to bake cookies, pizza, etc. if you desire but there again, place that second stone on the wire rack above the heat distribution stone.

Unglazed tiles

One other option is to purchase unglazed tiles from a big box store like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Having the tiles touching one another will work as a great conductor of heat… as well as the one large stone as pictured above. The big difference between the two is the price. These individual tiles will cost you under $10 total, whereas the single large stone can cost around $30 or mnore as found in Pampered Chef, for example.  So you do have options.

Another important point I would like to make is….in many of our seasoned (older models) RVs….the metal tray above the flame has an indention…about ¼ of an inch deep. In the newer rigs the RV propane ovens probably will not have that indention. Please make sure that your stone lies completely on the metal shelf and not have it so large that it sits on the outer ledge (where those vent holes are located). It is imperative that your stone/tile(s) be in contact with the metal from side to side. It’s a good idea to measure your indented area before purchasing to prevent the hassle of taking it back for an exchange. Whether round or square is not a problem but we are trying to cover as much of that indented metal area as possible.

While traveling, some RV owners will wrap their baking stone in a towel to prevent possible breaking.  However, should your stone break, do not worry because as long as the pieces are touching …the conduction of heat process is successful.

ARTICLE UPDATE:  I have had two individuals contact me telling me that their Pampered Chef stone did break when put on the metal shelf above the flame.  I know that 2 is not a lot, however, I wanted to pass this info on to you letting you know that it is a possibility, so be aware!