RV Refrigerator Problems and Troubleshooting of 8 Common Issues

RV refrigerator repair in case of a frozen cooling system unit RV fridge problems BEGINNER INFO

Unexpected problems may occur at the worst moment ever. RV refrigerator problems are among those that may ruin a whole trip because of a minor issue.

The causes may be countless. It may even happen so that you cannot make up what was the initial cause. Nonetheless, you will still be left with a broken appliance and having to do your RV fridge repair.

Obviously, getting the products inside the fridge spoiled is the last thing you would want to have. However, you might be surprised with the fact that it is far less difficult to do RV refrigerator repair than you might think.

I strongly recommend avoiding taking your RV fridge problems to an expert at first. There is a number of things you can do yourself, in order to deal with your RV refrigerator problems.

I will cover all the necessary topics on RV fridge problems. You will learn when it is and is not safe for you to handle the RV refrigerator repair.

troubleshooting rv fridge problems

Moreover, I will help you understand when it is time to replace your travel trailer refrigerator.

Make sure to have a look at the travel trailer camping tips I recommend.

Understanding how RV refrigerator problems occur and the general mechanism of RV fridge repair

The very first thing to know before getting into RV fridge repair is exactly how the fridge works. This knowledge and information will be priceless once you start your RV refrigerator repair yourself.

It is perfectly normal if you are not aware of the general mechanisms the RV fridges operate with. That is why I write such articles, to help people like you with their camping gear.

First and foremost, keep in mind the fact that an RV fridge is nothing like the regular fridge you have at your home kitchen.

The only thing there is in common between these is that you have the options to choose from among sizes and finishes.

Regarding the sizes, the so-called residential fridges are, of course, larger and taller. However, the problem with these is that the severity of the road are too much for them to withstand.

In order to fully understand the mechanisms from scratch, let’s start with the basics. There are two types of RV fridges: two-way and three-way.

These types refer to how your RV fridge get power to operate. It can be either an air conditioning, propane, or DC.

Most of the time your RV fridge will be a two-way one. This means it gets the power from AC and also uses propane.

In case of a DC power, you have the electricity going one way. There is no reverse current. Meanwhile, with air conditioning, the current occasionally changes directions.

This info was all about how exactly the fridge gets its power to operate. Let’s proceed to how it cools whatever is inside the fridge.

Regular fridges have Freon and this is what keeps the produces cool. In some cases, your home fridge would have hydrogen gas as well.

What the fridge mechanism does is it heats up these constituents and an evaporation process takes place. During the evaporation, the cold air is created, which then freezes the inside of the fridge.

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Several factors to be super attentive to before starting the RV fridge problems troubleshoot and RV refrigerator repair

No matter what action you take with your RV refrigerator repair, you need to check several factors in advance. These steps may be crucial for the RV refrigerator repair.

Start with simple to-dos and make sure everything is on its place. This will help you judge the severit of the RV fridge problems.

Leveling of the camper for the RV fridge repair

The initial reaction is what does the leveling have to do with my RV refrigerator problems? Trust me, it can be directly connected.

Askew installation of the camper may easily result various RV fridge problems. This issue can almost never occur with your home fridge. The floor is flat and even, simple as that.

When you are dealing with a camper, you have to make sure the evenness of the floor is on point. In case your camper is just slightly at an angle, the RV refrigerator problems may in no case be avoided.

This will definitely result your fridge ammonia to collect in places where it should not be.

Therefore, I strongly recommend you check your leveling before you get into your RV fridge repair.

Find the main RV fridge problems

The very first step is to check if there is a problem is somehow connected with any power supply. Try running the fridge on each power separately.

This will exclude certain causes of you RV fridge problems.

When you make sure that the fridge works just fine on at least one type of power supply, it means the operation of the cooling system is okay.

If you are really interested in safe camping, check out my article on camping checklist.

How to troubleshoot RV fridge problems and do RV refrigerator repair in case of electrical issues

Let’s consider the option where your fridge does not work on electrical power. It only works on propane.

In case you are not feeling very confident about doing the electrical RV fridge repair yourself, please do call someone who can help you out professionally.

If you are feeling good about yourself getting into RV refrigerator repair work, start with having a close look at your owner’s manual.

Just in case you have lost it, there is always an available source on the manufacturer’s website. Thank God for the Internet, right?

The next step would be to take a closer look at your 120 volt current. You will find fuses and circuit breakers behind the fridge.

You might be faced with a minor issue, such a switch tripping. However, it may be as serious as damaged wires. I strongly recommend you not to touch anything, unless you really know what you are doing.

Next, you should proceed to the outlet, if everything was okay with the circuit breakers and fuses. Simply do the old trick of plugging in another appliance, which you are certain that works and checking the plugin itself.

In case of a three-way refrigerator, do the testing with the 12 volt DC first. Ease the process by using a multimeter.

How to troubleshoot RV refrigerator problems and do RV fridge repair in case of propane problems

When you make sure that the fridge works just okay on electricity, it is time to troubleshoot the propane.

The most basic point to check is the level of propane in the tank. You may simply be running short on the gas.

The valves might be off. It is a common issue and people do not even think about it. I do ask you not to ignore the low propane alarms when they turn on.

The second stop is the thermocouple of the fridge. The purpose of this device is to detect the heat and control the gas valve.

How to troubleshoot RV refrigerator problems and do RV fridge repair in case of propane problems

To test the issue, you simply need to make the controls operate with propane. The burner may catch and not light up. This means that it is time to change your thermocouple.

The next stage is to clean the burner in case it will not light up. There might be wreckage and it may block the burner from lighting.

The metal shielding needs to be taken out if you are planning to do some cleaning. Using a vacuum is the optimal choice. It will help you make sure all is clean as it should be.

How to troubleshoot RV fridge problems and do RV refrigerator repair in case of ammonia issues

After you have made sure the above-mentioned two mechanisms work just fine, you should proceed to the ammonia factor.

This can be especially a possible cause for your RV refrigerator problems, if the fridge is a little older.

You can get yourself into RV fridge repair if you leave the camper in a storage for a long time. Ammonia can leak right into the fridge. This can cause some serious damage.

The result is that you will get the ammonia dripping in the cooling system. I hope you already know that ammonia is toxic. It can damage anything it touches.

You can start suspecting ammonia RV refrigerator problems when you see the fridge is getting warmer gradually. Ammonia builds up and starts to disturb the circulation process. It clogs the system.

The whole purpose of ammonia being in your fridge in the first place is to circulate through the whole refrigerator. In case this process is somehow disturbed, the fridge will not cool.

RV fridge problems solved by flipping the refrigerator

This sounds like an old shaman solution. Kind of seems like a ritual rather than a real option. However, it will never hurt to try this method out.

I cannot, of course, guarantee that it can help even a little bit, but still do go for it.

Remember to take the fridge out of the travel trailer and then put it upside down. This process may be useful of the ammonia to drip out of the cooling system when it was clogged.

RV fridge repair in case of the cooling system and RV refrigerator problems with leakage

Ammonia has a pretty nasty smell. Certain people with asthma problems even have difficulties breathing when they smell ammonia.

In case you are dealing with ammonia leakage RV refrigerator problems, you will notice for sure and very soon.

There is a number of things, from which you should start with this kind of problem.

First and foremost, turn the fridge off. You do not want to keep the fridge on and create more issues. In any case the fridge will no longer be suited for cooling the products inside.

The next step is to create access for yourself to the cooling system unit. Despite the ammonia leakage, you might have a chance to salvage the system unit.

As I have already mentioned, ammonia is toxic, therefore it can erode anything made of steel. When you see yellow cooling unit, it means that the tubing is damaged for good.

RV fridge repair in case of the cooling system and RV refrigerator problems with leakage

This leaves you with a dead cooling system and consequently with a dead fridge, until you get a new unit. Just do one thing: contain the ammonia leakage and prevent other things from being eroded.

This may sound simple and easy, replacing the cooling unit. However, trust me, do not get yourself into the all RV fridge repair work, unless you are 150% sure you know what you are doing.

Finally, you always have the option of calling a professional to do this. I am not going to lie, this may cost a certain amount, which will definitely be a decent number.

Nonetheless, you will be certain that your RV fridge repair will be on point and there will be no more RV fridge problems.

RV refrigerator repair in case of a frozen cooling system unit RV fridge problems

You are thinking of a fridge and you think that it should be frozen and cold in order to make the products inside chill, right?

A frozen cooling system unit sounds okay when you think of the phrase from that perspective. You think it is good that whatever is responsible for the cooling process is frozen itself.

Let’s remember how the whole system works. You have the so-called cooling solution, which circulates and makes sure the whole system is getting the right temperature.

RV refrigerator repair in case of a frozen cooling system unit RV fridge problems

When this solution gets frozen, I mean solid, not able to circulate, there is no way the fridge can stay cold. This simply results a warm fridge, which means RV refrigerator repair time.

However, this is not a very common issue. It can occur in rare conditions. I mean when you go camping to a place where the temperature of the air can drop down to extreme numbers, you might be faced with such RV refrigerator problems.

No matter how scary this sounds, the solution is very simple and may be the most basic one.

What is the first thing you may do to defrost something? Right! Heat!

Simply turn the heating system of the camper on and wait for the most 20-30 minutes, depending on the severity of the case. The unit will defrost and simply start the circulation of the solution again.

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Andy Fisher

Campers Mag is the website where I will share a lot of information about my experience, trailer, and things, that will help other camper owners to enjoy their RV even more.

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