10 Tips to Prevent RV Fridge Ice Build-Up Effectively

RV fridge ice build-up can be prevented effectively with these 10 tips: check the thermistor for frost, use a separate thermometer with water, defrost the fins, replace the thermistor if faulty, and order the correct replacement part.

Broken RV Camper Travel Trailer Refrigerator. Caucasian Technician Trying to Fix the Appliance Inside Modern Recreational Vehicle.

RV adventures are fun, except when the fridge stops working. This is a common issue for RV owners, especially when camping. Instead of panicking and calling for help, try these simple troubleshooting tricks.

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1. Check the Thermistor

Young Male Serviceman Working On Fridge With Screwdriver At Home

The thermistor is a crucial part of your RV refrigerator. It detects the fridge’s temperature and communicates it to the control system. If your fridge isn’t cooling properly, check the thermistor.

Excessive frost on it can affect temperature readings. Frost insulates the thermistor, preventing accurate temperature detection. Consequently, your refrigerator may work harder, resulting in unnecessary energy usage or even freezer burn.

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To test the thermistor, you’ll need a multimeter. Before starting the process, ensure the fridge has been running for at least 24 hours. This will ensure that the thermistor is at operating temperature.

  1. First, locate the thermistor. It is usually found clipped onto one of the fins inside the fridge.
  2. Disconnect the thermistor from the circuit board.
  3. Set your multimeter to read resistance (Ohms).
  4. Connect the multimeter probes to the wires leading to the thermistor.
  5. The resistance reading should change as the temperature of the thermistor changes. If the resistance doesn’t change or the reading is erratic, the thermistor may be faulty and need replacing.

2. Use a Thermometer and a Glass of Water

A researcher uses a electric water tester to test the electrical conductivity, TDS, and salt content of a water at home

Measurements are crucial when dealing with temperature fluctuations in your RV fridge. Instead of relying on the built-in thermostat, which might not be accurate, use a separate thermometer. This can give you a more precise reading of the actual temperature inside your fridge.

A common mistake is to measure the air temperature inside the fridge. Air temperature fluctuates rapidly, giving inconsistent readings. To get a more accurate measurement, you should measure the temperature of a substance with high heat capacity, such as water.

Instructions for using a thermometer and glass of water to measure temperature

Here’s a simple method to measure your RV fridge’s interior temperature:

  1. Fill a glass with water and place it in the middle of the fridge.
  2. Let it sit for about 8 hours or overnight. This allows the water to reach the same temperature as the inside of your fridge.
  3. Place a thermometer in the water glass, ensuring the sensor is fully submerged.
  4. Wait for a few minutes until the thermometer reading stabilizes. This will be the actual temperature inside your fridge.

3. Defrost the Fins

Before testing the thermistor, it’s crucial to defrost the fins in your RV fridge. This is because frost build-up can insulate the thermistor, causing it to give inaccurate readings.

Also, a heavily frosted fridge can impede airflow, affecting the appliance’s overall performance.

Step-by-step instructions for defrosting the fins

Defrosting your RV fridge is a straightforward process:

  1. First, switch off the fridge and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Remove all the items from the fridge and store them in a cooler to keep them cold.
  3. Leave the fridge door open to allow the frost to melt naturally. Placing a pan or towel at the bottom can help catch the water.
  4. For stubborn frost, you can use a hairdryer on the lowest setting. Be careful not to melt any plastic parts.
  5. Once all the frost has melted, dry the inside of the fridge thoroughly before turning it back on.

4. Replace the Thermistor

If your tests indicate that the thermistor is faulty, it’s time to replace it. For a Dometic refrigerator, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Buy a replacement thermistor suitable for your Dometic model.
  2. Unplug the refrigerator from its power source.
  3. Locate the old thermistor on one of the fins inside your fridge.
  4. Disconnect the old thermistor from the control board and remove it.
  5. Attach the new thermistor to the fin and connect it to the control board.

Instructions for cutting and attaching the new sensor tip

When installing a new thermistor, you might need to cut and attach the new sensor tip. Here’s how:

  1. Once you’ve removed the old thermistor, cut off its sensor tip.
  2. Now, take your new thermistor and cut off its sensor tip as well.
  3. Using a butt connector or heat shrink tubing, connect the old sensor tip to the new thermistor wire.
  4. Make sure the connection is secure and insulated to prevent any short circuits.
  5. Finally, attach the new thermistor to the fin in your fridge and connect it to the control board.

5. Order the Correct Thermistor

When replacing the thermistor in a Norcold model refrigerator, it’s crucial to order the correct replacement part. Using the wrong thermistor can lead to inaccurate temperature readings and subsequently, poor cooling performance.

Here are some steps to ensure you get the right thermistor:

  1. First, check the model number of your Norcold fridge. This can usually be found inside the fridge or in the user manual.
  2. Next, look for a thermistor that matches your fridge’s model number. You can do this online or at an RV parts store.
  3. Before ordering, verify the part number with the seller to ensure you’re getting the right thermistor.
  4. Once you receive the thermistor, compare it with the old one to make sure they are identical before installation.

Why does my RV refrigerator keep freezing everything?

If your RV refrigerator keeps freezing everything, it can be due to several reasons. One common cause is a faulty thermistor.

As mentioned earlier, the thermistor senses the temperature inside the fridge and signals the control system to adjust the cooling accordingly. If it’s not functioning properly, it may lead to overcooling and freezing.

Another reason could be incorrect temperature settings. If the refrigerator is too cold, it can freeze the items inside. Ensure you’ve set the temperature between 35°F and 38°F, which is the recommended range for refrigerator temperature.

Lastly, poor air circulation can cause freezing in your RV fridge. When there’s inadequate ventilation, some areas inside the fridge may become too cold while others remain warm.

This can also happen if the fridge is overloaded with food items. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain proper air circulation by not overfilling the fridge and ensuring the vent areas are clear of any obstructions. National RV Training Academy narrows the problems to these points:

Here are 10 bullet points summarizing the key information from the transcript:

  • Check that the cap is on the end of the drip tube to prevent warm air from entering the fridge
  • If the cap is missing, create a p-trap with the tube to prevent air getting in until the cap is replaced
  • Inspect the fridge door seals and clean them to ensure no air is leaking in
  • Avoid putting hot leftovers straight into the fridge as the steam can cause moisture issues
  • Limit how much food you cook and store to reduce moisture inside the fridge
  • Absorption fridges need to be a sealed system for proper operation
  • Frost/ice on condenser coils often indicates excess moisture inside the fridge
  • Make sure fridge is properly levelled for optimal performance
  • Clean off any debris/dust around the fridge door regularly
  • Consider taking an RV technician course if you want to learn to service and repair RVs
National RV Training Academy

How do I keep my refrigerator from freezing in the winter?

Keeping your RV refrigerator from freezing during winter can be a bit tricky. However, with the right precautions and maintenance, you can prevent any cold-weather-related issues.

Firstly, check the seals around your refrigerator doors. Cold air can seep in through any gaps, causing the fridge to overcool. If you find any cracks or damage, replace the seals immediately.

Next, consider insulating your RV fridge. This can be done by installing insulation panels on the walls of the fridge. This not only prevents cold air from entering but also helps maintain a consistent temperature inside the fridge.

Lastly, regularly monitor the refrigerator’s temperature and adjust the settings as needed. During the colder months, you might need to set the temperature slightly higher than usual to prevent freezing.

Why is my fridge suddenly freezing everything?

If your fridge is suddenly freezing everything, it may indicate a problem with the thermistor, temperature control thermostat, or even the damper control assembly.

A faulty thermistor could send incorrect temperature readings to the control board, causing the fridge to cool more than necessary. The temperature control thermostat, which directs voltage to the compressor and fan circuits, may also be at fault.

If it’s not functioning correctly, it could cause the refrigerator to run longer than it should, leading to freezing temperatures.

The damper control assembly, which controls the amount of cold air entering the fridge from the freezer, could also be at fault. If stuck open, too much cold air can enter the fridge, causing it to freeze.

Each of these issues requires a different approach, so it’s essential to accurately diagnose the problem before attempting any repairs.

Why does my propane fridge ice up?

Propane fridges, or absorption refrigerators, can ice up due to various factors, such as high humidity levels. Moist air inside the fridge condenses and freezes when it meets the cold evaporator coils.

To prevent this, ensure proper ventilation and avoid unnecessary opening of the fridge door. Another reason could be a faulty door seal. If the seal doesn’t close properly, warm air can enter and condense on cold surfaces, causing icing. Inspect and replace worn-out door seals if necessary.

Additionally, an improperly aligned or leveled fridge can disrupt the refrigerant flow, resulting in poor cooling performance and potential icing. Lastly, regular maintenance is crucial for the optimal performance of your RV fridge.

Whether you are planning a trip or storing your RV during winter, take the time to check and maintain your fridge to prevent unexpected issues. When your RV fridge isn’t working properly, consider these factors and perform the necessary maintenance.

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