We just finishing up the CrossRoads RV Rally in Shipshewana, Indiana, we had a great time giving educational seminars and just hanging out with a great group of folks.
As I reflect on all the questions that we were asked during our seminars – the Absorption RV Refrigerator is still the number one topic of all.So, I thought I would provide more information on how to help this appliance work more efficiently with providing some great facts that you may not be aware of.
·Compressor vs. Absorption type refrigerators – there is a big different. The compressor (residential-type) is an electric motor with a refrigerant pump, whereas, absorption (RV) is done through chemicals and heat.
·Recovery time is vastly different from our residential units. For every minute the door is left open – it will take one hour to recover the cold air lost.
·RV refrigerators cool better when there are a fair amount of items being stored. However, over packing is a bad thing – temps will go up because of lack of airflow. Try to keep your refrigerator stocked well without over packing.
·For cooling properly these 3 things are needed:Is it level? Is there proper ventilation? Do you have a heat source ( i.e. propane or electric)?
·It is not critical to have the refrigerator level while traveling. The rolling and pitching movement of the RV helps the refrigerator operate efficiently.
·To check for proper temperature, place a cup of water with a thermometer inside the cup. Wait 2 to 3 hours to check if the unit is already cooled down. If hot (unplugged), turn on and wait to check after 8 to 24 hours.
·Most refrigerators will have at least one auxiliary fan on the back side, check to make sure it is working properly.If more air flow is needed – add an additional fan(s).
·If the odor of ammonia is present with a yellow film coating on the back side of the refrigerator, the cooling coil seal is broken.This means the coils will need to be replaced.
·8 cubic foot and larger units should be at least 43 degrees F. or less at 110 degrees F.
·Proper temperature for the freezer is 0 degrees F. and inside the main cooling box is 37 – 42 degrees F.
·Place ice cream at the coldest part of the freezer which is the lower left side.
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.
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.
Are you like me and decided to start my new month off by taking a good look at my RV Refrigerator/Freezer and making the decision it was time to defrost? Well, let’s get right to it…and spend a little time talking about how the defrosting process is done properly. Defrosting RV refrigerator can be done with ease.
It doesn’t matter if you have a Norcold (like mine) or the Dometic brand. These steps will be the same.
Steps for defrosting the RV freezer:
Push the ON/OFF button to the OFF position. (You may have a switch that turns, regardless, turn to the off position)
Remove all foods.
Note: If you have a buildup of frost on the fins inside the refrigerator….this will defrost also and you will need to have a large bowl ready outside at the back of your unit to catch the water as it drains out. (you will need to remove the access panel)
The Norcold drain tube (top right side photo) rest inside a small drain pan but the water will need to go in a large bowl because the drain pan is too small to hold a significant amount of water.
Dometic backside – drain tube
Dometic has a drain tube (middle right photo) but not a drain pan. The water will go through the tube and out the grill on the back side of the refrigerator. Make sure that the tube is resting through the grill at all times to
avoid water seeping down behind the appliance and causing damage. (bottomphoto)
Dometic drain hose
Place dry towels inside (on the floor) of the empty freezer for soaking up melted frost.
Placing bowls of warm tap water (not boiling) in the bottom of the freezer (photo on the right) will speed up the defrosting process. Caution: never use high temperature water – warping/melting can occur of the inside walls. Never use a hair blow dryer, any source of fire or sharp tools during defrosting.
Once all frost has melted use dry towels to remove all water. Clean inside with warm moist towel with a mild soap. Avoid harsh cleansers of any kind.
Replace all foods and restart your RV refrigerator.
Don’t forget to place the drain tube back into the drain pan on the back side of the unit. (Norcold brand)