RV Refrigerator: Propane or Electric?

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RV refrigerators don’t work the same way your home unit does. Your RV unit uses heat to create a chemical reaction which, through evaporation and then condensation, cools the cold box.

The primary heat source for RV refrigerators is a small propane burner. Most units also include a 120 volt AC electric heating element for use when the RV is hooked up to campground shore power.

When you are not hooked up to shore power you will need to operate on propane. In camp, with shore power, it’s a matter of choice as to which you use; propane or 120 volt. You may prefer electricity simply because it increases the time between propane fill-ups. But a refrigerator uses very little propane compared to a water heater or furnace.

For more about RV refrigerators read
RV Refrigerator Basics and Is it okay to travel with my RV Refrigerator on propane? at RVbasics.com

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4 Responses to "RV Refrigerator: Propane or Electric?"

  1. Steven, I have a travel trailer that I use for dry camping, when I use the propane for the Refrig. it heats up the inside of my refrig area, it is not insulated properly. What can I do to properly insulate the area and get the extra heat to leave out of the top vent area. There is no stack going out of the roof area, just the bottom vent and the top vent. I am also thinking of getting one of those solar fans that you can put in the area to help too. Do you know if these are any good. I saw them at Camping World…. Oh, we live in AZ where it is hot to begin with, so exta heat in that area is not good…. Enee

  2. If they move air then they will help but I have questions about how much air that actually move. Try one and see if it helps. If your refrigerator is plugged into a regular outlet (check the outside access panel) then consider getting an inexpensive 120 volt ‘personal’ fan a plug that in to the outlet.

    You can shade the wall area around the refrigerator from the sun to reduce heat absorption and you can temporarily remove the access and vent covers to allow more air to move.

  3. You need to burp your r v refrigerator this requires removal turn on side for 2 hrs then upside down for 24 hrs then install and it won’t over heat.

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