Bringing a recreational vehicle on a camping trip would be awesome. Unlike other vehicles, RVs come with refrigerator units and this makes any long drive more convenient. Pulling a cold beverage out of your cooling unit beats having to make constant stops to grab a drink.
This means that when your RV fridge fails to work, camping would not be the same. Is your camper fridge not working? If yes, we have outlined some of the most common reasons why your RV fridge is not functioning properly.
What Makes RV Refrigerators Unique?
It is necessary to ensure that your camper fridge is working properly. Just like any other cooling unit, your RV fridge needs regular cleaning and maintenance.
But, these RV refrigerators are not like the ones you are using at home since they could run on propane. Instead of the compressors found in household refrigerators, the box in your RV is connected to the ammonia absorption cooling unit.
This cooling unit comes in the form of metal coils attached at the back of your RV unit. This mechanism is responsible for cooling your box.
3 Things Your RV Cooler Needs To Work Properly
We have already discussed that RV coolers do not work the same way that a regular fridge does. There are three things that these refrigerators need to operate:
1. RV Coolers Need Level Ground
One vital thing that your RV needs is level ground. The fridge in your vehicle can get ruined in just 20 minutes if it is running while you are parked on a slope.
When you walk around your vehicle and you have the feeling that the RV is on level ground, it should be okay. For those who relish precision, the fridge in your RV should not be leaning more than 3 degrees on the side or 6 degrees on the front and rear.
Keep in mind that an RV fridge would only be damaged if you are parked on a slope. If you are driving up on a steep road or a mountain, it won’t be a problem. If you can’t help but park on a slope, turn off your RV fridge.
2. RV Coolers Should Have Adequate Ventilation
The coolers inside your vehicle require the right amount of ventilation. Often, there is a vent either on your RV’s side or roof and this is sufficient for your cooler. You may also need to place a shade over the vent to help your fridge run efficiently.
Be sure to check if your vent isn’t blocked by any kind of debris. One cool tip that would be useful is to install a fan for your fridge. This helps not just your fridge but also in keeping your RV cool even when the weather is warm.
3. Maintaining the Right Temperature is Required to Keep RV Coolers Running Smoothly
For starters, the last thing you want to do is to stop opening the fridge to check the temperature. You would have to keep the unit chilled for an hour after opening it for a minute. Instead, install a thermometer that allows you to tell the temperature without opening the fridge.
Precooling some items before placing them inside the RV fridge would be a smart move. You should also maintain the temperature from 34 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cooling unit is working too hard, it could get damaged easily so keeping the temperature at this level is ideal.
Ammonia Smell Spells Trouble For Your RV Cooling Unit
If the smell of ammonia greets you when you open the RV fridge, close it right away. This indicates a leak and since ammonia is a strong chemical that may cause breathing difficulty, you should keep the door closed.
Sometimes, the smell of ammonia would no longer be recognizable if the leak has been going on for quite some time. If you hear a bubbling sound after turning on the fridge, this may be the case. In both instances, you should hire a professional to do the job.
What Other Possible Issues Exist?
If there is no smell of ammonia but your fridge is not working, there may still be a problem. If your cooling unit’s burner is lined with a lime green or yellowish powder, there could be a leakage in the pipe’s boiler section. This kind of leak is outside the unit, so you wouldn’t detect the smell when opening the door.
If the RV cooler controls work and the pipes at the cooling unit’s back are very hot, another possibility exists. Something could be blocking the pipe’s boiler section.
Is It Time To Replace Your RV Fridge?
After making sure that your RV cooler is on level ground and the ventilation and temperature are just right, it’s time to check for more serious problems.
In most cases, there is an issue involving leakage. You have the choice of repairing the cooler by yourself but this could be dangerous especially when there is an issue about ammonia. It would be better if you hire a repairman who knows RV coolers inside out.
Other than repairs, there are cases where RV coolers need to be replaced. In this case, you can go for a rebuilt fridge rather than something brand new especially if you are short on cash. But be sure to weigh the pros and cons since some rebuilt units can be problematic too.
A few sources: