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.