The Best Way To Cool An Rv Refrigerator (Solved Faster)

Discover the fastest ways to cool your RV refrigerator to keep your food at a safe temperature.

Refrigerators in RVs can be cooled quickly using the following methods:

  • Empty cooling
  • Utilizing bags of ice
  • Using a fridge fan

It is also important to take the time to make sure that your RV refrigerator remains cool after it has been cooled. We qill discuss how to keep your RV fridge cool and different ways to speed up cooling.

The fastest way to cool your RV refrigerator

The faster the refrigerator cools, the sooner you can get moving and the longer you have to move all the food over.

The first step you should take is to ensure that your RV fridge is working properly. While these methods may help a damaged fridge, the cooling system may fail, and perishable food may be lost.

Empty it Out

Before cooling your camper’s refrigerator, ensure it’s empty. To speed up the cooling process, don’t fill the refrigerator with items below the recommended temperature; these items take more energy to cool along with the air that needs to be cooled.

The refrigerator’s contents also block the airflow necessary to cool its interior.

Put Bags of Ice in Your RV Fridge

Put Bags of Ice in Your RV Fridge

If you want to cool items in the refrigerator faster, you should only put bags of ice inside. The ice is cooler than the fridge’s target temperature, so it doesn’t need to be cooled and aids cooling.

Alternatives to ice include:

  • Water bottles that have been frozen
  • An ice pack
  • Items that are pre-cooled

Cooling your RV fridge this way will save you time and ensure the right temperature is reached at the right time.

Use a Fridge Fan Inside Your RV Fridge

As opposed to a residential fridge, an RV fridge uses airflow to maintain an optimal temperature instead of a compressor.

A refrigerator fan for your RV can be purchased for a reasonable price. You can easily use them, and they don’t take up much space inside your refrigerator. The fridge fan moves the air inside the fridge, reducing the cooling time.

Keep your RV refrigerator cold with these tips:

You should maintain the temperature of your RV fridge once it is at the right temperature. Doing this can keep your food safe from contamination and ensure that you have cool items to eat while on the road.

Make Your RV Level

Leveling your RV fridge will allow gravity to work properly to pull materials in the right direction for cooling. Gravity has a major impact on the operation of your RV fridge.

In a gas-powered refrigerator, any movement can be dangerous if an RV isn’t level. Gas should be treated more carefully, as these appliances may be cut off prematurely.

To ensure optimal cooling in your RV, check with your refrigerator manufacturer how much room for error you have. Some allow 3 degrees of movement side-to-side and 6 degrees of movement front-to-back.

Ensure good airflow

Airflow is critical to keeping the fridges cool. You need to do the heavy lifting to promote proper airflow since they do not have a built-in circulating fan.

Air is slowly cooled by cooling blades at the top of RV refrigerators. Cooler air sinks and warmer air at the bottom rises in its place.

Be mindful of vents inside the refrigerator, and do not overfill the fridge. In this way, the refrigerator is prevented from having uneven cooling and hot spots.

Make sure your RV fridge’s fans are functioning properly, and if you don’t have a vent fan, consider installing one.

Make sure the fridge is on 24 hours before you leave

Let your fridge cool for at least 24 hours before you leave. The optimal temperature for any trip can be reached after 24 hours, while most refrigerators need 4 to 6 hours to cool.

Stocking your shelves should not be done until just before you leave, but you must do this before your fridge loses power. An empty fridge is easier to keep cool than one that is full.

Make sure you have a 12-volt power supply

12V shore power is the most reliable and powerful power source for RV fridges. Your refrigerator should be powered by your house batteries if possible, and you should always be connected to shore power when possible.

Ensure your AC power battery is working even when using shore power. When power is disrupted, it can cause disasters if not caught in time.

Always close the refrigerator door on RVs

Always close the refrigerator door on RVs

Each time your RV fridge door opens, you lose a decent amount of cool air, which only increases as time passes.

Refrigerators can be kept much cooler by limiting the amount of time and number of times they are opened. Don’t open it unless you know what you’re looking for.

You can help yourself by keeping an inventory outside your fridge. You can update a dry-erase board as you pull items out.

Organize your fridge so you can find items quickly (and easily).

Provide shade for the RV’s refrigerator side

Your RV fridge will work harder on sunny days, but you can also increase efficiency in general by keeping it cool.

The location of your fridge can be determined by locating two removable vents on the outside of the RV (it might be different from where you are expecting).

Keep this area of your RV shady when you park, if not your entire RV. On this side, you might also want to use an awning or work with a combination of both to provide shade.

Keep cold products on hand

To keep your fridge cool, stock your fridge with as many cool items as possible to start. This works well when paired with a fridge fan.

Before you leave, store them in your residential refrigerator. If you fill your fridge before you leave, you can start with cool items.

Shop in the cold section or pick items from the cooler when buying items at the store. The price of cooler items can vary from store to store. 

Perishable items should be loaded at a temperature of 40°F in order to be stored at their optimal state.

If necessary, purchase ice

You can easily run out of ice in your RV since it takes even more energy to freeze items. You should purchase ice rather than waiting for your RV refrigerator to make it.

If you plan to camp, check to see if your campground provides ice or if you have to buy it beforehand. Find a retailer that is easy to access ahead of time.

Keep leftovers refrigerated

If you plan to refrigerate leftovers, make sure they cool to room temperature first.

Hot food can spoil other food if it is loaded into the fridge. This would have a negative effect on RV fridge efficiency in the short term since it is a major energy hog.

Monitor the Fridge Temperature

Several RV fridges have temperature gauges, but most do not. You can purchase an inexpensive temperature gauge to monitor the temperature inside your RV fridge. 

Some thermometer comes with a display that you can place on a shelf or table in your galley area, or mount to the wall. There are even some that connect to your phone so that you can monitor the temperature on the go.

Using this method, you can see if the refrigerator is working properly without having to open the door. As well as tracking performance trends, you can see how cool it stays during the summer.

Several monitors allow you to set alarms if the temperature falls below a certain mark, either on the readout or through the phone app. When the refrigerator stops cooling properly, you can save your food immediately and fix the problem.

Make sure the refrigerator is regularly defrosted

Make sure to defrost your fridge when it begins to build up ice, even inside the ice section. A cool temperature should be radiated from these cooling cables.

Allowing ice to build up inside your fridge impacts its performance over time and can also cause the door to seal improperly.

Check the seals on the doors

Cool air is kept inside the refrigerator by the door seal, reducing the need for constant cooling. Leaking cold air causes the refrigerator to work harder and require more maintenance.

Also, air leaks cause ice to accumulate within your RV fridge, reducing efficiency.

Keep an eye on your door seal often to spot any issues early on. The easiest way to do this is by shutting the door with a dollar. You shouldn’t be able to pull the dollar out easily.

In case of damage or excessive wear, replace it as soon as possible.


What is the cooling time for an RV fridge?

In some cases, it takes as little as four to six hours for the fridge to cool; in others, it can take as long as 24 hours. The RV refrigerator should be allowed to cool for around 24 hours before moving.

This time is also impacted by:

  • The temperature in and around the refrigerator
  • The number of items in the fridge
  • Fridge items’ temperatures

It may be difficult for your fridge to cool if its components are damaged. Keeping track of cooling time can help you detect these issues.

Is it better to use gas or electricity to power a refrigerator in an RV?

The majority of RV owners prefer electric refrigerators to gas refrigerators, but each fueling option has advantages and disadvantages.

A gas refrigerator cools faster, and the freezer operates cooler, but if not leveled properly, they stop working. You are also dealing with a volatile substance in gas, which means your lines are more flammable and more prone to catching fire. 

When used properly, the electricity type is generally safer but cools slowly. Cooling it with electricity becomes more efficient once you reach the maximum temperature. A solar panel can also power your RV fridge.

How long does an RV fridge stay cold without power?

A properly running RV fridge should remain cool for up to 12 hours. Several factors can influence the length of time that it can cool items in the fridge.

Keep your RV fridge cool when there is no power by following these steps:

  • Fill it up (but don’t overfill it)
  • Store only cold items
  • Close the fridge when not in use
  • Keeping the battery connected when sitting

A handy thermometer ensures that perishable food won’t get too hot in the fridge during transport. It’s also important to know when to throw out food because it didn’t stay cool in the fridge.


You can get started with cold food sooner than expected when you find the fastest way to cool your RV. Most of these methods follow the same principles as proper refrigerator usage, and none of them require fancy equipment.

A refrigerator in an RV helps us bring the comfort of cold food along with us even when we’re on vacation.



Hey there! I'm Shawn. We were traveling full-time in our travel trailer with our 7 kids. We had to learn a lot to make that lifestyle work, and we wanted to pass some of that experience to you! Our goal is to help save you time, frustration, and money!

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Hey there! I'm Shawn. We were traveling full-time in our travel trailer with our 7 kids. We had to learn a lot to make that lifestyle work, and we wanted to pass some of that experience to you! Our goal is to help save you time, frustration, and money!

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