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Refrigerator Maintenance

RV Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

The absorption style RV refrigerator requires very little maintenance, but there are some things that you can do to maintain proper operations. The most important tip is only operating the refrigerator while your RV is level and to keep it clean, preventing any obstructions in the wall and roof venting system. The air flow through the back of the refrigerator is gravity controlled. Cooler air is drawn through the lower exterior wall vent exterior venting system flowing across the hot refrigerator coils. The warm air rises out through the upper wall vent or roof vent. The rising air collects heat from the evaporator fins as it passes by, thus removing heat from the cooling unit. Air flow cooling problems increase during hot and humid climates and are more prevalent with refrigerators mounted in slide out walls with a upper exterior wall vent.
If you have poor refrigerator cooling performance, use a mirror and light at the bottom backside compartment of the refrigerator facing upwards. Verify that there is not any insulation or other obstructions that are restricting air flow. There should be a maximum of one inch clearance between the evaporator coils and the facing wall. If the clearance is more than this, your refrigerator will benefit by the addition of baffles. It is sometimes necessary to remove the refrigerator to install baffles. This will generally result in much improved cooling efficiency. Some models of refrigerators also use fans located on the rear coils to aid in air flow. These fans are temperature controlled by the coils and can generally be heard operating during warmer climates. It is very important that fan operation is verified. A small fan can also be installed aiding in additional air flow. Parking with the refrigerator side in a shaded area, will also help cooling efficiency.
During hot and humid weather, your refrigerator is working to capacity. It is recommended that the refrigerator doors be closed as much as possible. Decide what you need to remove or put into the refrigerator beforehand. Open and close the doors as quickly as possible. Do not overload the refrigerator storage compartment. It is important to allow for air currents to circulate inside the food storage compartment for adequate cooling. Small battery operated fans can be placed in the food storage compartment to aid in air circulation and maintaining a even air temperature throughout the food compartment. It is also recommended to limit the amount of heavy items stored on the refrigerator doors to avoid expensive hinge and door replacement.
Check the door seals by inserting a dollar bill between the door and refrigerator cabinet. Close the door on the bill, checking for slight resistance when you pull the bill out. Repeat this test all the way around the door opening. If there are any places where resistance is not felt, a rolled up paper towel temporarily installed behind that section of seal and a hair dryer to heat the seal may correct the problem. After the seal has cooled, remove the rolled up paper towel and recheck the seal with the bill. A torn or damaged door seal will require seal or door replacement.
Always start the refrigerator at least 24 hours before using, allowing it to cool while empty. Cool all food and beverages before loading a the RV refrigerator. Allow all hot or warm foods to cool to room temperature before putting it away. This will greatly reduce defrosting requirements and greatly increase cooling performance.
It is recommended to monitor your refrigerators interior temperature to ensure food safety. A fridge alarm is available. This is a dual temperature monitor system that emits both audible and visible warnings when interior temperatures exceed your settings. A recommended product is a Camco Fridge alarm manufacturer # 41223 or our catalog # 14-7873. Visit our website at www.rvtraxinc.com for more information.
Watch this RV Education 101 video for a better understanding of your RV refrigerator operation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiODEcUAkeU&feature=related