RV Fridge Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Aug 2 2016

A refrigerator is a great thing to have in your RV. Keeps your food cold and, more importantly, keeps your beer cold. But what happens when your refrigerator suddenly stops working? Where are you going to put all that deliciousness that you spent so much time making? Before you go losing your temper and making those horrible repair fees, here are some things you can check on yourself before making the call to haul your unit to the great refrigerator heaven in the sky.

First, some refrigerator unit 101. RV refrigerators are very simple. They don’t have any moving parts and are easier to diagnose than refrigerators in a house because of their simplicity. The crux of your unit are gravity (hopefully distributed evenly) and proper heating. If these two things are in place you shouldn’t have many problems aside from typical wear and tear.

Use your nose

Do you smell ammonia when you open the refrigerator door? Ammonia has a strong smell and is used in many cleaning supplies like Windex. It’s pungent enough to make your eyes water and your nose sting. Always waft the smell toward you with your hand. If your face gets too close you could damage the inside of your nose with the smell (how would you smell your momma’s goodies). If you do smell ammonia, you’re probably looking at a leak within your refrigerator, which translates to lots of dollars. Turn the unit off to keep your family safe and call in a pro to decide if it’s worth repairing or if you should just get it replaced.

Use your ears

There might be a babbling sound around the back of your unit or maybe even right after you turn it on if you’ve shut if off. It’ll sound like bubbles coming from the back. This means that there has been a leak for a long time and you might not even be able to smell it anymore. Again, this is a job for the professionals. Bring your RV in to the dealer to see if you should get it repaired or if it would be cheaper to replace it.

Use your hands

Do the absorber and heater feel evenly warm in the back? Both should be about the same temperature in the middle if the fridge is working properly. If the absorber is cold but the heater is too hot to touch you’ve probably got a blockage in the tube. This tends to happen when the refrigerator isn’t level, like if it’s been parked on an incline. The two options for this fix are calling someone to replace the portion that has been blocked or purchasing an entirely new unit.

Knowing the basics of how your refrigerator works can help you get the most out of your unit. Parking on level ground will help the fluid in the tubes stay where it’s supposed to, which reduces your chances of a blockage. Running the refrigerator continuously will lengthen its lifespan instead of running it infrequently. Keeping this tips in mind means that you get more bang for your buck.

There’s no doubt that refrigerators are absolutely necessary for RV life. If you’re going to be away for a long period of time these units are a lifeline for that good ‘ol country cooking you’re used to at home. Make sure you check on your fridge often and keep it in good working order so you don’t have to worry about a meltdown while living your Good Life.