Tip # 1: Keep it clean.
While the absorption style RV refrigerator is a low maintenance device, you can still do a few things to keep it operating efficiently. The most important thing is to keep it clean and prevent any obstructions in the venting system. That is, clean out the soot and rust particles that accumulate on the inside surface of the flue.
Road vibrations will loosen these deposits and they crumble and fall to the burner below. The finer particles fall into the burner itself, while the larger pieces remain on top of the burner and cause problems with the flame sensor. As the fine particles build up inside the burner, they will create problems with the flame and reduce the heat output of the burner. No flame, no cooling. Strange, but true. You can’t tell if there’s a problem by looking at the flame, and there’s no adjustment possible. You’ll simply notice that your refrigerator isn’t doing as good a job at keeping things cool as it did just after you bought it. Don’t worry. Just pull out the orifice and soak it in some rubbing alcohol, then allow it to air dry. If you can’t get it clean, just replace it, not the whole refrigerator or cooling unit! You might want to do this process as part of your routine maintenance.
Tip # 2: Keep a thermometer in your RV refrigerator.
First, make sure you turn it on for several hours (at least over night) before putting food into it. It can take up to 24 hours to cool. Then, always keep a small thermometer (preferably in water to ensure accuracy) in your refrigerator. You don’t want the temperature to rise above 40 degrees.
Tip #3: Give your refrigerator a hand during hot weather.
When the temp gets really high outside, your refrigerator has to work extra hard to stay cool. Give it a hand. Get a good ice chest, fill it with ice, and store your drinks in the cooler. This will help to keep the door of the refrigerator closed during the heat of the day. Also, make sure your refrigerator isn’t so crammed full of stuff that it can’t “breathe”. Refrigerators need good air circulation to work efficiently. If you can, park the RV such that the refrigerator side is in the shade.
You can also install a fan in the rear part of the refrigerator to help the air flow through the condenser fins at the top of the cooling unit. You can get fans that are thermostatically controlled and can be hooked up to solar power.
Slip a piece of paper between the door and the refrigerator cabinet; then close the door. If you don’t feel a slight resistance when you pull the paper out from the door (check various spots on the door), then the seal is leaking. That’s bad news. Replace the seal as soon as possible.
You can also help your refrigerator by buying cold soda or beer. If you put it in cold, your refrigerator won’t have to work as hard!
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