RV Refrigerator Maintenance has a LOT in common with AC Maintenance (youtu.be/Gbm8hOyZlrU), in that it’s all about AIR FLOW!
For this RV Maintenance video series, we're partnering up with our friends Todd and Stephanie of the Youtube channel Two Beards and a Babe! www.youtube.com/TwoBeardsandaBabe
Todd is an instructor at the National RV Training Academy (nrvta.com/), where they teach the RV Industry Association Certification courses for both technicians, inspectors, and even those who just want to know more about servicing their own RV! We're very fortunate to have them on board for this video series!
Inside RV / Front of Refrigerator
Air flow inside the fridge and keeping outside air out is key. Air needs to flow across the cooling fins at the top of the box and DOWN to the rest of the box. The first step to ensure this is to NOT place items in a way that would block airflow along the back of the box. Bags of food, etc can block the air flow. Second is to make sure the cooling fins are in good condition and free of dust and debris. Third, is to make sure any fans in the box are operating. Ours fridge has a box at the top that blows air back and down across the fins. If yours is lacking a fan, a small battery operated fan placed in the back can help.
In addition to air flow inside the box, it's essential to keep outside air out. This means making sure your door seals are in good condition. The seals should be cleaned with anything not petroleum based. Windex or plain water work fine. Also check the seals for anything that disrupts the smooth surface. A drop of glue, tape etc on the seal will allow air in and needs to be cleaned off. If you have a torn or cut seal, it should be replaced.
To test the effectiveness of the door seals, us a dollar bill or piece of paper. Close the door on the bill or paper and pull it along the seal. It should drag smoothly with even resistance.
If you find the bill moves too freely, then that part of the seal is too flat. It's possible the seal has lost its “memory”. Use a hair dryer on the seal to warm it up and help it expand back to shape. Use some common sense here and don't leave it on a spot long enough to melt the rubber. Test the seal again after. If it continues to not make a good seal, it may need to be replaced.
Cooling Fins and Condensation
In addition to making sure the fins are straight and unobstructed, they should also be defrosted periodically. This can be very easily done with a hair dryer, much like the freezer (youtu.be/hjYLCUCdMpQ).
Under the cooling fins should be a drip pan connected to a hose that goes out the back of the fridge. Make sure the drip pan is free of debris and draining freely. Also make sure it is NOT draining freely inside the fridge by checking the hose connection.
Outside RV / Back of Refrigerator
General Cleanliness (BE CAREFUL of HOT Coils and Fins!)
Use an air compressor or canned air (stronger than the one we tried), to blow off the fins at the top and work your way down. Clean off anything reachable. Remove any debris from bugs, spiders, wasps, etc.
Check that the drain hose from inside the fridge is intact and clean. Check for any cuts or breaks in the line. Ensure the drip cap at the end is in place. This cap is designed to allow water to escape, but hold the last few drops in place as a seal. If this cap is damaged or removed, it will allow humid air into the refrigerator box causing excess moisture and make the fridge work harder to stay cool.
Just like inside, air flow is critical. Air needs to go across the coils and fins and not around them.
To that end, make sure the fins are straight and undamaged and that there is not too much room between the fins and coils and the wall of the RV. About 1/2″ to 1″ is fine. More than that will allow too much of the air flow to go around the fins.
Additionally, there should be no place for air to go on the sides or top of the fridge. Ensure there is insulation on the sides and some kind of baffle above the fridge between it and whatever is above it. Without this, hot air will pool above the fridge and not escape out the side or top vent as designed.
It's pretty straight forward. Keep things clean and encourage proper air flow inside and out. Even zero air flow (door seals) is “proper”. 😊
Items in this Video
🛠 Wireless Refrigerator and Freezer Thermometer: amzn.to/2QbVTEv
🛠 Ladder: amzn.to/2ZTi1qX
🛠 Air Compressor: www.technorv.com/viair-400p-rvs-class-c-larger-towables?Click=11742 (It works better for tires vs blowing, but gets the job done in bursts)
🛠 Air Nozzle: amzn.to/2O33m6b
🛠 GasStop: changinglanesrv.com/GasStop (Use code LANES2019 for 10% off at checkout!)
🛠 Metal Duct Tape (amzn.to/2Ypgitp) – Get the good 48mm stuff!
- GasStop Test!: changinglanesrv.com/gasstop-automatic-propane-shut-off/
- Freezer Defrost: changinglanesrv.com/rv-freezer-defrost/
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