Basic RV Refrigerator Maintenance


The RV refrigerator is designed to last for years of camping. It has proven to be reliable and rugged. However, you can have failures, but it is usually do to poor use and maintenance rather than a manufacturing of the technology. Bottom line, take care of your RV refrigerator and it will take care of you.

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The following are basic things to do to keep your refrigerator working for a long time.

Keep It Clean Inside.

1. Mold and slime can develop on the walls of your refrigerator if any moisture is left inside for an extended period of time. This may stain your walls and if bad enough could make the unit unhealthy to use. To prevent this, be sure you wipe down the inside of your refrigerator freezer and main compartments, before storing your rig, with soap and water. Dry it completely. Don’t use harsh chemicals or they may leave an odor. Also, leave the doors to the freezer compartment and the main compartment open to the dry air during storage.

2. Clean the cooling fins

The cooling fins are inside the refrigerator, usually at the top, in the back of the main compartment just above the shelves.Cooling Fins
Check to see ff the fins have become bent or covered with food. To have the unit work best, the fins must be clean and unbent to allow air to circulate.

3. Check the door seals

The seals around the closed refrigerator doors keep the cool air inside and prevent it from draining out. However, if the RV refrigerator door seals are worn or flattened out (i.e., you can see they are not contacting the frame of the door), the cool air gets out and warm air comes in. In that situation, your refrigerator will not cool down very well. You will need to replace any worn or flat door seals.

Keep It Clean Outside.

4. Clean burner/Flue

The RV refrigerator provides cooling by evaporation/condensation cycles of a liquid (ammonia or other) that gets heated via a burner or heating coil. Keeping this mechanism clean will ensure proper operation over the years.
To find this mechanism, also known as the flue/orifice burner, you will need to go outside of the RV. Locate the outside wall of your kitchen that the refrigerator backs up to. There you will find a small door with vents on giving you access to flue/orifice /burner.
Back Of RV Refrigerator
Open the door and (using your RV manual) you will see the flue/orifice combination bolted to a couple for tubes. Inspect the shielding, orifice and other parts for loose soot and rust. If the refrigerator is running at that time you may see a yellowish flame. That is a clear indicator of poor combustion of the propane feeding the flame. You will need turn off the unit and remove the unit shield and orifice to clean. Rubbing alcohol is a cheap cleaner but be SURE the burner is off and cooled down before using the alcohol. Also be sure it is dry when you reassemble the unit and turn on the refrigerator.
5. Check for Corrosion of the refrigerant system

Be sure to check for corrosion of all the parts of the burner, flue, and other components you see when you are cleaning the burner/flue combo. Replace any that appear badly corroded. Also have an RV technician pressure check your refrigerant system and inspect for leaks every couple of years or when you think it is not cooling properly. Check out our RV parts and accessory store for any RV parts you may need.

Proper operation.

Always be sure to level your RV in camp so your RV refrigerator will work as efficiently as it was designed to.

Always turn on your RV refrigerator 24 hours before use to allow it to cool down at least 40 degrees. To help it get there quickly, place a bottle of water that is cool to start inside the refrigerator.

When using the refrigerator, don’t open the door to look around for something to eat. Have in mind what you want or what you are looking for so you can quickly open and shut the door so most of the cold remains inside and the refrigerator can recover quickly.

With these helpful guidelines, your RV refrigerator should provide you many years of great service.

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