What To Do If My RV Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling? (Solved!)

Traveling to your favorite camping spot in your RV, you’re on the road. There are a stack of food and drinks in your RV refrigerator, along with the luggage and survival tools. The refrigerator in your RV suddenly stops working. Food will go bad if that happens, which would be an absolute nightmare.

Interestingly, the RV refrigerator doesn’t cool, but the freezer does. Does that sound strange to you?

RV owners are not alone in experiencing this problem, since this is a common problem.

It’s important to know that coolant goes to the freezer before reaching the refrigerator if you’re not new to RV refrigerators.

In addition, the bumpier the road, the greater the chance that your refrigerator won’t be able to keep its cool.

Never panic if you find yourself in a situation such as this. Our RV refrigerator troubleshooting guide will help you to troubleshoot some common RV refrigerator problems.

The freezer compartment of the RV refrigerator freezes but the refrigerator compartment does not cool

what to do if the refrigerator compartment does not cool

In order to be a responsible RV owner, you must keep your RV refrigerator at the unit level at all times. Carpenter’s levels are definitely useful for this purpose.

Temperature is a good indicator of the condition of your RV refrigerator.

It is also possible to touch the coils in the RV refrigerator and freezer to ensure they are operating properly.

Check whether the flame is burning behind the refrigerator as well. When there is a gas mode, checking the flame is useful.

Check the heating element on your RV refrigerator if it runs on electricity. Heat can cause severe burns, so avoid touching it.

A refrigerator starts cooling before an RV freezer, if you have prior experience with recreational vehicles. Refrigerators receive refrigerant from the freezer first.

In such cases, it indicates that there is an issue with airflow when the RV refrigerator isn’t cooling while the freezer is. A diffuser may be used to transfer cool air from the freezer to the fridge. Diffusers can get clogged with ice from time to time. The sound of the evaporator fan can help you identify this. 

The evaporator fan might not be heard if you don’t hear it. It may take a few minutes for the evaporator fans to cycle on and off, so try again later.

What is the ideal temperature for an RV refrigerator?

Ideal RV refrigerator and freezer temperatures are 34 and zero degrees, respectively.

RV refrigerators should not be heated above 42 degrees, just like any other refrigerator. 

Ensure that you use a refrigerator thermometer when measuring the temperature. The refrigerators in RVs face almost the same issues as those in household refrigerators, even though they are designed to withstand bumpy roads.

It is common for RV refrigerators to fail when driving on steep roads. If you can, try to only drive on straight roads when you are driving your RV.

You should, however, turn off the RV refrigerator if you encounter steep or uneven roads. A carpenter’s level will help you level your RV refrigerator.   

The following tips will help if your RV refrigerator isn’t working but your freezer is.

Troubleshooting Tips For RV Refrigerators

Troubleshooting Tips For RV Refrigerators

RV refrigerators are prone to errors, even though they are sturdy and can withstand rough handling.

An RV refrigerator can fail to cool sometimes while the freezer works properly, and this is one of the most common problems.

Heaters, control boards, and thermostats are some of the most common causes of faulty RV refrigerators.

In any case, it is better to give your RV refrigerator the time it requires to start cooling.

Here are some reasons why the freezer gets cold, but the fridge doesn’t.

1. Air Circulation Is Lacking

The presence of torrid temperatures is often accompanied by insufficient air circulation. The refrigerator won’t be able to cool the surrounding air if the rate at which ammonia and hydrogen burn is slower than the pace at which surrounding air heats up.

You should install a fan in your home. RV refrigerators usually have an opening space behind the refrigerator that needs a fan with a higher PRM.

As a result, the temperature of the RV refrigerator and the surrounding temperature will be in balance as a result of enhanced airflow in the refrigerator’s chamber.

This will result in an efficient cooling of the refrigeration chamber.

2. Problems with thermistor

The thermistor is an essential part of the RV refrigerator. It is the thermistor that regulates the cooling cycle of your RV refrigerator because it possesses a negative temperature coefficient.

Temperature increases compromise the cooling capability of these thermistors.

Due to the faster flow of the heated mixture, the freezer and refrigerator cool excessively and cool less.

A new thermistor can be easily replaced by unplugging the old one and replacing it.

As a result, temperature regulation will be as efficient as possible for the refrigerator.

If you use a refrigerator without a thermistor for an extended period of time, the refrigerator may suffer damage. It is only advisable to remove the thermistor during an emergency.

3. Sensors that measure temperature

The temperature sensor can also cause problems with RV refrigerators. Their position can be moved, slipped, and even fell if they are loosely attached.

It is important to ensure that the sensor is attached correctly to the fin. You can adjust the refrigerator’s temperature by moving the sensor to and fro once it has been properly attached.

4. Exhaust pipe of refrigerator clogged

The hot air in the RV refrigerator may not be able to escape. A clogged exhaust system usually causes this problem.

RV refrigerators have a ventilator on the backside. Vent covers on recreational vehicles direct it out through the roof.

The vent can become clogged with dust or other pollutants, preventing hot air from escaping.

Consequently, the refrigerator’s temperature loses equilibrium with the freezer’s temperature.

The problem can be resolved by removing the vent cover located on the RV’s roof. You should remove the vent cover and check it for any blockages preventing hot air from escaping.

A blocked vent cover is primarily caused by dust, which contributes significantly to the RV refrigerator’s inadequate cooling.

5. Coolant for refrigerators

Refrigerators in RVs require coolant just like those in households. RV refrigerants use the same ammonia mixture, not something else.

Before reaching the refrigerator, the coolant passes through the freezer. As a result, refrigerators are most likely affected by discrepancies before freezers.

Most of the time, the refrigerator runs with an empty tank after the ammonia mixture dries up.

Having the tank refilled should be the first thing you do when that happens. Turn off the RV refrigerator while you’re emptying the tank and don’t use it.

Make sure the fridge is defrosted before you fill up the tank. The refrigerator will produce nasty odors if it remains frozen during this process.

6. Bumps in the road

Ammonia has a much lower density than water, as is obvious. As a result, it flows more slowly than water.

It must therefore be supplied to the chamber swiftly and without hindrance. In spite of this, you cannot avoid bumps in the road as you travel.

As a result of the bumps on the way, the amount of burnt mixture goes out of proportion. Due to this, the refrigeration isn’t working properly.

This problem can be solved by gravity. Angular placement of the cooling unit and supply vent is one of the major obstacles to ammonia mixture flow.

A straight structure or one that is not inclined more than six degrees is what you should aim for. There are two options you have to maintain equilibrium between the refrigerator and the freezer.

Tips for Quick Success

  • Allow the fridge to defrost if there is ice buildup.
  • It is important that the RV refrigerator door seals are tight.
  • Keeping a manometer handy will allow you to determine propane’s pressure.
  • It is important that the airflow in the outer areas remains unobstructed. In order to prevent hot air from accumulating, the upper vent should maximize airflow.
  • A dirty RV refrigerator burner will affect the cooling system, as it will affect the cooling of the refrigerator chamber.
  • You might find it helpful to turn off climate control. It will enhance the refrigerator’s efficiency in the long run if you do this.


If your RV refrigerator is not malfunctioning, there is a chance that there is nothing wrong with it. Electricity consumption in RVs is often increased by leaving lights, fans, and other electrical appliances on.

It results in a lack of cooling when the pressure becomes too high, which hinders electricity’s flow to the refrigerator.

Energy for the refrigerator becomes even scarcer since the freezer receives its share of electrical power first.

This causes the freezer to remain cooler than the refrigeration chamber. There’s no reason to think that the refrigeration chamber won’t cool down, but it will take much longer than it would in the freezer.

Your refrigerator’s performance is also influenced by the voltage as well as the electrical current.

The refrigerator, as well as the remaining appliances in the RV, will be affected by a reduction in voltage. Ensure that your RV’s voltage does not fall below 110 volts in order to enjoy your road trip.

Safe travels!



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!

Leave a Comment



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!

Recently Published Guides