RV Refrigerators – How to Keep Food and Drinks Cold on the Road


RV refrigerators are important for keeping food and drinks cold on the road. They help us enjoy delicious meals and snacks!

This RV fridge has a cool design, with hidden hinges and recessed door handles that give it a stylish appearance. It also has a keyed lock to keep contents secure when traveling. It rests on roller bearing slides that make it easy to open and close.
Size and Capacity

One of the biggest luxuries of RV travel is having easy access to ice-cold drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and other perishable items. It takes a fridge to store these things and make them last for an entire trip.

A residential refrigerator is not ideal for an RV as it is built to be stationary and can’t withstand the bumping and shaking of the road. In addition, a residential fridge will likely consume more propane than an RV fridge of the same size.

However, swapping out a residential fridge can be complicated and may require changes to the cabinet where it is located as well as a new electrical connection or the propane line. This is why many people choose to buy an RV refrigerator at the same time they purchase their RV. If you are replacing a current refrigerator, remember to measure the dimensions of the space and the fridge door entryway to ensure that your new fridge will fit.
Type of Refrigerator

An RV refrigerator is a different animal than the fridge you have at home. Instead of using a compressor to cool things, an RV refrigerator uses ammonia, hydrogen gas and water in chemical reactions to create evaporation that keeps food and drinks cold. This type of fridge is referred to as an absorption refrigerator and it requires a little more maintenance than the standard residential-style fridge.

If you are considering a used RV refrigerator, be sure to check the propane lines and make sure they are fully capped. Also check for signs of a leak like an ammonia smell or gurgling sounds.

If you do choose a residential-style RV refrigerator, consider adding portable solar panels or a windmill to help offset the 12-volt battery draw. This is especially important if you boondock or camp away from developed campgrounds. You may also need to add a heavy-duty battery bank to handle the power demand.
Energy Efficiency

A fridge eats a lot of power – absorption refrigerators take the most – so make sure that your RV’s electrical system can handle it. This includes upgrading your battery bank or adding a portable solar panel to your rig.

If you’re planning to boondock or stick to developed campgrounds with electric hook-ups, choose a “residential-style” fridge that works on AC power instead of LP gas. This option will also allow you to use a smaller, more affordable deep-cycle lead-acid or lithium-ion battery for your power supply.

When it comes to the efficiency of your RV refrigerator, remember that it will work best when there is some empty space inside to help air circulate. You can also reduce its energy consumption by letting it cool overnight and adding ice blocks to the freezer so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep things cold. Avoid using your fridge in direct sunlight and don’t open the door frequently if you have an absorption refrigerator.

A regular RV refrigerator maintenance routine can reduce the need for costly repairs. Be sure to wipe any moisture from food containers before placing them in the fridge, and check the evaporator for frost build-up on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to defrost the evaporator on an absorption model refrigerator monthly or bi-monthly.

If you can’t get your RV fridge to cool, first recheck all of the circuit breakers and fuses. Then take a volt meter and test for power voltage where the electric heating element plugs into the refrigerator circuit board.

Lastly, if you are parked on a slope and your fridge won’t work with propane, it may be time to level the RV. This will help the magic gas absorption stuff work properly. It can also prevent damage to the refrigerator, your other propane appliances and plumbing. An unlevel RV can cause these things to shift. This can affect the position of the propane flame and the flue for your refrigerator.

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