10 Simple Ways To Increase Your RV Refrigerator Efficiency

There is no reason your RV refrigerator can’t perform the same as a conventional refrigerator. You can maximize your RV fridge efficiency by following these ten simple tips.

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside, we always want a nice, cool drink after a day of adventure. Sometimes it’s hard to do. With RV refrigerators, you can enjoy the same cooling refreshment you have at home in a compact and portable unit.

It’s not much fun to show up at the campsite to find your drinks still warm, since keeping things cool in a moving, tight area is a lot more challenging than keeping things cold in a traditional fridge.

It is to RVers’ advantage to provide assistance to their appliances by improving their refrigerators’ efficiency so they can keep them cool in the summer.

Here are a few tricks to make your RV refrigerator well-functioning, whether you’re looking for a proactive way to improve your appliances or are dealing with a problematic one.

Follow along and ensure that you won’t be too far from fresh food and cold beer no matter where your travels take you with these tips and tricks for taking care of and maintaining RV refrigerators.

1. Be sure to stock your refrigerator with cold items

Make sure your fridge stays cool by storing the coldest things first.

To prevent your refrigerator from having to cool everything on its own, buy drinks that have already been pre-cooled rather than from store shelves.

Get your cold items into the fridge as soon as you leave the grocery store.

You refrigerator will have to work harder to keep your cold food and drinks cold every second they remain out in the open.

2. Organize your fridge

Organize your fridge so that you know where everything is before opening the door and deciding what you want to eat.

There is an unsustainable amount of cool air escaping from your fridge every second it is open.

Avoid rummaging through your fridge’s contents without a reason. It will put less strain on your condenser coils and batteries.   

3. Do not crowd the space in your fridge

RV refrigerators are likely to be smaller than those at home.

Trying to cram the same amount of contents into a smaller space won’t help your fridge thrive.

It is important for your portable refrigerators to have enough space to allow the air to circulate so they can absorb gas.

Cool air from the freezer will have difficulty spreading throughout the refrigerator if your evaporator coils are completely blocked off by fresh produce.

4. Don’t rush to cool your fridge

You need to properly cool your RV refrigerator before you can pack anything inside.

From the freezer to the rest of the unit, an RV refrigerator typically takes 24 hours to reach optimum temperature.

You can let your refrigerator cool off by turning it on and leaving it empty for 24 hours.

You can also use a few other simple organization strategies to meet your refrigerator’s needs once it has cooled.

5. Make Your RV Refrigerator More Energy Efficient With A 12V Fan

We are going to start with our most technical tip. Most RV fridges lack the same built-in fan found on residential refrigerators that helps circulate air between the fridge and freezer.

A 12V DC fan, also known as a muffin fan, can boost the air inside your refrigerator by using the same wires that power it.

RV refrigerator evaporator fans work best when installed near the evaporator coil, which makes them more efficient at distributing cold air throughout the fridge.

6. Keep your fridge away from direct sunlight

It may seem adequate to have your fridge inside your RV, but the fans in your refrigerator carry warm air into the outdoors, and only the thin exterior of your vehicle protects the mechanical elements of your fridge from the sun.

When the side of your vehicle that houses your refrigerator faces the midday sun, even the best fridges will struggle to keep up, much like you’ll notice a sharp temperature rise when the front windshield of your RV is exposed to the sun.

Two removable vents on the outside of your vehicle will let you know exactly where your refrigerator is.

A gazebo or awning can be installed to shade a particular area of the rig if it isn’t possible to park the entire side of the rig in the shade.

7. Be sure to check the temperature regularly

Keep track of your fridge’s efficiency with an inexpensive remote-controlled thermometer.

Use a readout monitor to monitor what’s happening inside your refrigerator by placing a tiny sensor in the back.

By monitoring your fridge’s performance over time, you’ll be able to notice any problems before they become serious.

It is normal for the temperature inside your fridge to fluctuate slightly, and your monitor will notify you if the fridge starts to get a little too hot.

8. Inspect the door seals to make sure the refrigerator closes properly

Cold air can still leak through tiny cracks even if your door stays closed.

Refrigerators are equipped with a magnetic vinyl strip that is often damaged by everyday use.

Check the door seal of the fridge to see if any air is coming through even if everything appears sealed off.

In the event of an air leak, ice will accumulate inside your unit and your propane or battery system will have to work harder to keep your unit cool.

Even if you haven’t noticed any leaks, you will have to replace the seal eventually.

You can get a new seal from your fridge manufacturer, and you can do the switch yourself with just a pair of pliers.

With the pliers, remove the old seal and slide in the new seal while applying pressure along the edges.

9. Keep the freezer defrosted on a regular basis

Gas absorption fridges naturally accumulate ice. Without regular monitoring, ice can eventually clog up around evaporator coils, restricting airflow. A large amount of ice can eventually completely stop the unit from functioning.

Keep your RV fridge smelling fresh by turning it off after every trip and leaving the door open for 24 hours.

10. Maintain a clean exterior

Make sure you check around your RV refrigerator’s mechanical components every six months or so to see if there have been any cobwebs, dust, or other buildups around the vents.

Keeping up with maintenance will keep everything clean, and an air compressor will quickly take care of larger build-ups.

Unchecked dirt build-up can clog air and energy lines in your RV refrigerator, regardless of how prepared it is to handle small bits of dirt.


All RV refrigerators should be checked and balanced regularly, even if they aren’t experiencing problems.

The best thing an RV owner can do to ensure there are no red flags is to schedule a maintenance check with a professional every year so that your fridge and air conditioning unit is checked.

It is essential to have a quality refrigerator in your RV. Your RV refrigerator will keep your food and drinks cold, no matter if you’re on vacation or traveling full time.

Make your fridge run more smoothly with these tips, and you won’t have to worry about replacing it for decades.



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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