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Life in a home-on-wheels comes with compromises, including key household items that will be very different from their traditional brick-and- mortar counterparts. For instance, you must become accustomed to using a downsized shower, toilet, oven, and even refrigerator. These RV-friendly items have their quirks, including specific maintenance requirements necessary to preserving their quality. One major standout is the RV refrigerator– one of the biggest offenders of failures in the RV. While some failures may be due to manufacturer error, expensive and even dangerous refrigerator breakdowns are often the result of poor maintenance. Follow these guidelines to ensure a healthy and long-lasting RV refrigerator:
The key to taking good care of your RV refrigerator is to understand how it works! RV refrigerators run off heat from either an electric or gas source, and that heat creates a chemical reaction with other components. Running through the tubes of your RV refrigerator is an ammonia based liquid which acts as a coolant, and when this coolant battles against the heat, evaporation and condensation occurs, causing the heat to draw out.
Air Circulation is Key
Since your refrigerator is cooled by heat absorption, the hotter it is inside the refrigerator, the longer it takes to cool down and the more power it uses. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to assist cooling:
– Place a small, battery-powered fan at the back of the refrigerator to encourage air flow.
– When starting your trip, ensure your food is already cooled.
– Avoid over packing your RV refrigerator, as it can hurt air circulation.
Keep Your RV Level
A level RV can make for a happy RV refrigerator. Why? Because of the RV refrigerator’s cooling process. The chemical battle between a heat source, hydrogen gas, and ammonia can make the refrigerator very fragile and having a level RV will ensure good performance and a long lifespan.
Outside Elements Matter
Believe it or not, outside temperatures can have an effect on your RV refrigerator’s performance. Extremely hot temperatures outside can cause your refrigerator to work even harder to cool. An easy solution is to park in the shade whenever possible. It is also important to inspect your roof vent to ensure no foreign objects are blocking the air flow.
If you want to have a long lasting RV refrigerator, give it the TLC it deserves. Create a cleaning schedule for at least every 6 months, and thoroughly clean any outside dust and dirt, as these elements can clog the moving parts, leading to a broken RV or even worse, an RV fire. You will also want to look for any possible leaks; inspect your refrigerator’s plumbing, door seals, and gaskets for any cracking, and repair accordingly.
Always Be Aware
Keeping your RV level, ensuring air circulation, and keeping a clean refrigerator are all great practices in maintaining your RV refrigerator. Always take caution when dealing with your refrigerator, and if you experience any odd smells such as ammonia, or hear strange sounds from the back of your unit, consider these major red flags. For safety precaution, always make sure your smoke, carbon monoxide, and propane detectors are in working condition. A refrigerator breakdown can be very costly between repair expenses and spoiled food, but can also be very dangerous when improper maintenance leads to fire. Being active and aware with your fridge upkeep can pay off big down the road!