How to Keep Your RV Fridge Working Well in Cold Weather

Tony FlammiaRV Tech Tips, Tech Tip Tuesdays

Welcome, fellow RV enthusiasts, to another enlightening episode of Todd’s Two Minute Tech Tip Tuesday, proudly sponsored by the National RV Training Academy, the leading hands-on RV education hub in America.

As the frosty grip of winter tightens, many RVers find themselves grappling with a common quandary – the perplexing behavior of their absorption-style refrigerator in cold weather. If you’ve ever wondered why your fridge seems to struggle when the temperature drops, fear not, for Todd is here to demystify this chilly conundrum.

Understanding the Absorption-Style Refrigerator: In the biting cold of winter, you may notice an unexpected anomaly – while the food compartment of your refrigerator maintains its chill, the freezer compartment appears warmer than usual. What sorcery is at play here? Let’s unravel the mystery.

Unlike their residential counterparts, which boast separate thermostats for the refrigerator and freezer compartments, absorption-style refrigerators in RVs typically feature a single thermostat, usually located in the refrigerator section. This crucial distinction is key to comprehending the peculiar behavior of your fridge in cold climates.

The Refrigerator’s Paradox: In essence, the refrigerator’s cooling cycle relies on the interplay between internal and external temperatures. When the external temperature drops significantly, as is often the case during winter, the absence of external heat prevents the refrigerator from cycling as frequently. Consequently, the refrigerator compartment remains adequately chilled, while the freezer compartment struggles to maintain its optimal temperature.

Strategies for Winter Refrigerator Management: So, what’s an RVer to do when faced with a stubbornly warm freezer in subzero conditions? Todd offers some practical tips to help you navigate this frosty predicament:

  1. Embrace the Southern Route: If feasible, consider migrating southward to warmer climes, where the ambient temperature is more conducive to refrigerator performance.
  2. Harness the Power of Heat: To coax the refrigerator into a cooling cycle, simply open the door momentarily to allow warmer air to infiltrate the compartment. This subtle temperature shift may prompt the refrigerator to kick into action, helping to alleviate freezer woes.
  3. Ventilation Management: In extreme cold, consider restricting airflow around the refrigerator’s exterior to minimize heat loss. While maintaining adequate ventilation is crucial, a judicious reduction in airflow can help preserve interior temperatures.
  4. Solidify Your Freezer Contents: To bolster freezer efficiency, prioritize storing dense, solid items that retain cold temperatures more effectively. Consider utilizing an ice chest for perishables susceptible to thawing.
  5. Heed Safety Precautions: When supplementing heating with space heaters, exercise caution and avoid plugging them into power strips. Direct wall outlets are the safest option to mitigate fire hazards.

Conclusion and Call to Action: Armed with these insights, you can effectively navigate the nuances of winter RV living and optimize your refrigerator’s performance in cold weather.

Thank you for joining us on this educational journey. Until next time, stay warm, stay safe, and happy RVing!