RV Refrigerator Not Cooling? Here’s How to Troubleshoot

Is your RV refrigerator not cooling? This is a more common issue than you think, and one of the ways to troubleshoot it may not be what you expect. Before you call a professional or spend a lot of money on potential repairs, you may want to move your RV! Believe it or not, if your RV fridge is not cooling the food inside, it could be because of how you are parked. For the refrigerator to work properly, your RV must be level.

When your RV refrigerator is not getting cold, it’s likely not the same type of issue you would find in your fridge at home. This is because most RVs don’t utilize the same kind of refrigerators you may be used to in your home. Instead of using a compressor to cool the items inside your fridge, a fridge in an RV uses gas absorption. Instead of creating cold air like a compressor refrigerator would, in an RV fridge, the heat is drawn out and absorbed by a chemical solution. This solution depends on gravity to travel through the coils, but if the fridge isn’t level, the chemical coolant can’t travel through the coils and cannot do its job, resulting in RV refrigerator problems!

In general, most of the newer RV refrigerators will still be able to function even if they aren’t level, but only for a short period of time. Typically, if a fridge has been not level for over 30 minutes, that is when the RV refrigerator cooling unit can become irreparably damaged. Unfortunately, if the refrigerator has not been level for a significant amount of time, you will likely experience long-term RV refrigerator problems and will either need to rebuild the RV refrigerator cooling unit or purchase a new appliance.

Luckily, to prevent damage to the RV refrigerator cooling units, all you need is a simple tool: a bubble level, which you can get for under $10! Before you park and stabilize your RV, place the level on a shelf in the freezer or refrigerator. Once you are stopped and stable, check the level and make sure that half of the bubble is within the center circle, which indicates the fridge is level.

If the bubble level indicates the RV and RV fridge aren’t level, move the RV from the final stopping point, turn the engine off and set the parking brake. Next, determine how many blocks needed for each tire position and place two stacked blocks against each tire for a configuration like a ramp. Drive the RV up the blocks and stop once you’re at the center of the top blocks. Check your level to make sure everything is now leveled, and make sure the RV is in park, and that the parking brake is on.

Another common reason that you may be having trouble with RV refrigerator cooling units is if your RV hasn’t been used in a while. When the fridge is off, the chemical coolant fluid isn’t flowing, and sediment can build up, stopping operation.

When you notice your RV fridge not cooling, it can cause panic, but if you ensure you are keeping your RV level when parking it each time you stop, you can cause yourself long-term problems and headaches!

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