It can be harder for your RV refrigerator to maintain a consistent temperature than your home refrigerator.
It is common for RV refrigerators to sweat or to completely ice over because RVs move around and encounter different environments.
If you have an iced over refrigerator, and that ice melts, you can end up with a puddle of water at the bottom.
Your feet will feel wet when you open the refrigerator door.
It is important to know how to prevent your refrigerator from icing over while keeping your perishable food cool.
There are several ways to prevent RV refrigerators from icing over, but it may seem like a constant battle to some RVers.
How to prevent your RV refrigerator from icing over?
Several things could be wrong with your refrigerator that could cause it to ice over. Your refrigerator door might not seal properly if it has a faulty gasket around the entire edge. Make sure your RV Fridge thermistors are adjusted or moved to prevent ice from building up.
Your RV refrigerator is likely to accumulate ice due to these two factors.
The solutions to each problem differ, and the testing methods required to determine where the problem truly lies differ as well.
You can prevent your RV refrigerator from icing up by identifying the problem and finding the right solution.
Let’s go over a few ways to determine why your refrigerator is accumulating ice.
Troubleshooting Freezing RV Refrigerators
To troubleshoot your RV refrigerator, you can perform two main tests. Using these tests, you can determine which of the two major causes of ice accumulation needs to be addressed.
To diagnose the cause of your iced over refrigerator, let’s explain these tests.
The Dollar Bill Test
Whenever you suspect the seal around the edges of your refrigerator door has been compromised, use this test.
A dollar bill and your refrigerator door are all you need to perform it. Place the bill in the upper left corner of the door, then close it.
After that, try removing the bill. Pulling on the bill should feel somewhat resistance or drag if the seal is intact.
You should replace the refrigerator gasket if the bill slides out easily.
You should always check the entire refrigerator door gasket when performing the dollar bill test.
If you don’t inspect every part, a small area may be damaged or leaking. Your refrigerator might ice up with just that.
There might also be an issue with your fridge’s thermistor if you do the dollar bill test and find no areas where your gasket appears to be compromised.
Refrigerator thermostats use thermistors to determine how cold they should be.
A misplaced thermostat can cause frost or ice to accumulate on your refrigerator’s fins.
Contact the refrigerator manufacturer to determine where your thermistor is located in order to test it.
First, you can check if the temperature you set in your fridge is the actual temperature inside by performing a simple test.
Your refrigerator should have a shelf toward the center where you can place a thermometer in a glass of water.
If you are going to use a thermometer, let it sit there for at least 24 hours before checking the reading. Thermostats can sometimes be mispositioned if, for example, they read 32 degrees after 24 hours after being set at approximately 35 degrees.
Replace the thermistor in your refrigerator if this test fails by placing it in a glass of ice water and using a thermometer.
Unplug your thermistor and remove the cover from the control board of your fridge. Your thermistor should have a resistance between its two wires, so check it using your multimeter.
Your ideal reading will depend on the manufacturer of your RV refrigerator (measured on an ohm scale).
A refrigerator from Dometic, for example, should have a resistance reading between 7,000 and 10,000 ohms. There are, however, many Norcold refrigerators that should read between 30,000 and 32,000 ohms.
To find out what your refrigerator’s thermistor’s normal ohm reading is, contact the manufacturer.
You need to replace your thermistor if it falls outside this typical range.
You can also use this wireless SensorPush Wireless Temperature Smart Sensor to continuously monitor the temperature inside your refrigerator without having to open the door every time you want to check it.
How Do I Prevent My RV Refrigerator From Icing Over?
Aside from faulty parts and the need for refrigerator maintenance, user errors could also contribute to ice buildup.
In order to prevent your RV refrigerator from accumulating ice, here are a few additional tips.
Make sure you pack it properly
Our tendency is to overfill RV refrigerators with perishable food because some are much smaller than residential refrigerators.
For refrigerators to function efficiently, airflow must be consistent.
It is possible for ice to accumulate on the back wall or fins of your RV refrigerator if you have packed it too tightly and there is not enough airflow throughout.
Allow enough space in the refrigerator cabinet for air to circulate and refrain from using wide shelves or trays in the fridge that may block convection.
Don’t forget to level your RV
The refrigerator in your RV works best when it is level when you park it.
To level your RV wherever you park, make sure it has leveling jacks built in, but if you don’t have leveling jacks, you’ll need chocks or some other kind of manual jack.
It is important to keep your refrigerator level to maximize its efficiency. This reduces the likelihood of ice accumulating inside significantly when it’s operating efficiently.
Even if your RV refrigerator is six degrees off level or three degrees sideways, most still work relatively well.
Think carefully before you park
As a result of the lack of insulation in most RVs, RV refrigerators have to work harder than residential refrigerators.
When the outside temperature is warm, your RV will think it needs to overproduce in order to stay cool.
If you park your RV with the wall facing the sun, the refrigerator is more likely to ice over.
In that case, your refrigerator will have a much harder time functioning efficiently since the wall will be too hot.
Whenever you arrive at a campground, park carefully to avoid having your refrigerator ice up.
You should park your RV so that the side with the fridge faces away from the part of the sky where the sun is prominent during the day.
Your RV will be effectively screened from direct sunlight from one side when this occurs.
Make sure you know what you want before you open
It’s something I remember being told all the time as a kid. I remember my dad telling me never to just stand with the refrigerator door open. It’s either grab what you want or close the door and think about it for a while. This also applies to RV refrigerators.
Keep your fridge’s cool air in by avoiding “shelf-shopping” whenever possible.
This will cause your refrigerator to work overtime in order to replace the cool air lost.
You greatly increase the chances of your refrigerator icing over when you open and close the door frequently.
Before opening your refrigerator door, make sure you have a plan.
It is certainly possible to prevent your RV refrigerator from icing over if you know what you need and keep your refrigerator organized.
Make sure cold products are stocked
There are times when you can choose between buying refrigerated or warm products at the grocery store.
Beverages such as beer, soda, and others fall into this category. You can also maintain a more consistent, cool temperature in your RV refrigerator by buying the refrigerated versions of these items.
In order to cool liquids, especially, your RV refrigerator will have to use a lot of energy.
It will also increase the chance that your refrigerator’s fins or back wall will ice over due to straining to cool.
Keeping your fridge at its desired temperature is much easier if you always restock it with chilled liquids.
Additionally, it will be less likely to overcompensate by icing off.
It is important to realize that an icy RV refrigerator is not only working too hard but is also probably spoiling your food faster than it should.
Those two things can end up costing you more than you should really be paying to live comfortably in an RV.
As a result, we hope today’s tips will help you prevent icing over on your RV refrigerator.
We wish you a safe and exciting RV adventure, and this time, a salute to all RV refrigerators that function properly!