For today’s blog topic, we thought we would go with a very important RV part that can give many RVers grief – the refrigerator. Our in-house claims specialists at Wholesale Warranties have been crunching the numbers, and found that of all the mechanical failures covered by RV Warranties, refrigerators represent the 5th most common breakdown and the 4th highest claim amount! To lower your chances of having to endure the headache of a refrigerator failure, keep the following maintenance tasks in mind:
Looking at the Hardware
While your RV may be your “home-on-wheels”, it’s important to recognize that your RV appliances can differ from your sticks and bricks home. RV refrigerators require a particular level of maintenance, and also operate differently. The appliance is operated by either a gas flame or electric heat with tubes filled with an ammonia-based liquid, which then draws out heat of the refrigerator. This specific cooling process requires important practices to be followed:
Keep Your RV Level
In order for your RV refrigerator to operate properly, you rig must be level. This is key to proper function of many of the mechanical components in your rig.
Importance of Circulation
RV refrigerators are cooled by heat absorption, and that process can be sped up and assisted with the help of a fan. A small fan placed at the inside of the back of your fridge will create air circulation and cooling throughout the unit.
Packing your RV fridge to the brim is not helpful, and could lead to some long term issues. This makes it difficult for air to circulate, causing the cooling unit to work harder. A solution is to use an additional ice chest for less important items, such as drinks.
Outside temperatures can have an effect on your RV fridge. Park in the shade when possible, especially on the side of your RV where the refrigerator is housed. Make sure the back of the unit and the roof vent are not being blocked by any foreign objects to ensure air flow.
Dust and dirt can cause troubles for your RV refrigerator, so make certain to wipe down all outside parts every at least every six months.
Things to Look Out For
The reason items such as good ventilation and a level RV are recommended is because they help prevent failure of your boiler. The process of refrigeration and use of heat begins at the boiler section and it can become overworked and exhausted when maintenance is overlooked. Boiler leaks can be common in RV refrigerator breakdowns, so if you hear strange sounds from the back of the unit or see yellow powder, it could indicate a leak. Also look out for any odd smells, specifically that of ammonia. A strong ammonia smell inside your refrigerator could possibly mean an evaporator leak.
We hope you take these best practices for RV refrigerators maintenance to heart and understand the true importance of regular upkeep on your refrigerator unit. Any overlooked maintenance items could lead to costly repairs, so make sure to stay on top of your DIY checks and any scheduled service checks. Happy RVing!
Ben waulk says
What if you have a commercial refrigerator that don’t use gas instead runs off a inverter does it have to be level? Thanks
Jann Todd says
Yes all refrigerators need to be level. Think about your house fridge. When the delivery people deliver them they level them. It keeps them working better.
Emma Brian says
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Jim Orr says
What if the igniter for the propane is not strong enough to light the pilot light when camped over 7000 feet? We can’t access the pilot light in our 2015 Montana. We were able to use a light flame to ignite the pilot in our Starcraft popup trailer. What is the solution? Jim Orr [email protected]
I have two muffin fans on a thermostat mounted at the top of the rear vent to keep the air moving plus two more inside of the box to keep the interior air moving. Don’t buy a rig with the frig in the slide as it will not work well and could fail prematurely as it has no top vent, only two side vents.