Troubleshooting to Repair an RV Refrigerator
Your refrigerator is one of the most important features of your RV. While it’s a pure luxury to have cold food on the road, it’s also what makes the difference between camping and traveling by motorhome. You want to be able to store food, keep it fresh and be able to feed yourself for a few days.
So if something goes wrong with your unit, you’ll want to know how to fix an RV refrigerator yourself. We’ll cover some common problems and how to address them.
Common Problems with your RV Fridge
If your fridge is not cool enough, too cold, or it’s fluctuating in temperature, you likely have a problem with a part called the thermistor. Another symptom of this problem is a build up of frost in your fridge or freezer unit. Thermistors are the part that sense the internal temperature of the fridge and control whether the unit actively cools itself off or shuts off at the proper temperature. When the thermistor gets old, it senses the temperature poorly and thus doesn’t tell other parts of the fridge to control it correctly.
A simple fix is to move the thermistor to the part of your fridge that becomes cool last. That way the cooling unit will stay on longer and get the fridge down to the right temp before shutting off. But if your thermistor doesn’t work even after moving it, it might be time for a new one. Thermistors are cheap and easy to buy online. You can even replace them yourself. We recommend watching a few tutorial videos first.
Another common RV refrigeration repair is the door’s seal. If you’re having trouble maintaining the temperature of your fridge, check to make sure the door is sealing properly. Even when opened frequently, a fridge should be able to cool itself back down to the set temperature relatively quickly. If it doesn’t seem the unit is able to do that, you might just have a problem with the door seal. Seals are easy to replace as well, and can sometimes save you the trouble of troubleshooting for a more complex or costly problem. To check for a seal defect, listen for escaping air and feel around the edge for any spots where cool air might be escaping.
A simple RV Refrigeration repair is to upgrade or install your fridge’s fan. Unlike home refrigerators, your RV fridge needs to circulate the cool air with a fan. These are inexpensive parts that will cool the temperature off quickly and make a huge difference.
Advanced RV Fridge Repairs
If your fridge is powered by propane, you might have a problem with the pilot light staying on. This is usually a fuel problem and means that you don’t have gas flowing at a consistent level to keep the flame going. You can clean the tubing that connects these pieces, but always be careful when working around fuel and flames. We recommend letting professionals help when you’re unsure.
Another fuel-related problem has to do with how your RV has been stored. If you’ve had your RV sitting on an uneven surface, the fuel lines could have built up sediment and might be clogged. Your motorhome needs to also be level while it’s parked at your campsite. Level ground ensures proper circulation of the unit.
If you have a yellow stain on the back of your RV refrigerator, you likely have a serious problem. This stain is the result of a leak in the cooling unit. And if you’ve narrowed your problem down to the cooling unit, you might want to consider buying a new fridge. Replacing this part is very expensive, sometimes more so than a new fridge entirely. In either case, this is one repair that you’ll likely want to call in an expert for.
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