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l1200_kitchen_shotSIGN OF A FAILING FRIDGE

Freezer section still works but fridge won't stay cold
Your refrigerator is losing pressure and is starting to fail.


*If you smell ammonia your cooling unit has failed.  At that point, your cooling unit will need to be replaced. A good thing to keep in mind is that ammonia is extremely corrosive to copper.  There are several parts of an RV fridge that are copper and if you wait too long they will need to be replaced as well.  It will also corrode your shelving. So it is important to keep the refrigerator doors open when you are storing your RV.  Most people don't know that RV Refrigerators can fail whether they are running or not.  If it leaks ammonia while you are storing it and the ammonia stays in the cabinet the damage can be severe.

*Check the back of the fridge (through the access panel outside and behind the fridge) and see if there is a yellow/green powder present.  That is a rust inhibitor inside the cooling unit.  If you can see it your cooling unit has failed.

*If you can hear the fridge running, especially if it's making a gurgling noise, it's likely that your cooling unit is bad.  When the cooling unit is working the noise it makes is barely audible.  You will notice the difference when it's failing, the gurgling noise should get your attention.

It is very important that an RV Refrigerator is level when operating.  While you are driving the RV being level is not an issue for the fridge.  However, when parked the refrigerator cannot run properly if it is not level and can fail within hours.  This is a costly mistake that can easily be avoided by making sure the fridge is level.

Simple Test procedures will enable you to determine whether a new cooling unit is 
needed.  The steps below are easy to follow and could save you money.

1)  Check for an ammonia smell around the
     cooling unit and inside the refrigerator.
     This could indicate a possible refrigerant
     leak. Check for any deposits of yellow
     powder under the burner (in the back 
     of the refrigerator).  That would indicate
     that the cooling unit has leaked.

2)  Determine if the refrigerator works on one
     heat source but not another by testing it in
     the alternate modes. Do you 
     get better cooling results from gas or vice-versus?
     That would indicate that the problem is NOT in the cooling

3)  Make sure the refrigerator is level. Sometimes
     the vehicle is level but the refrigerator is
     not.  Place a level on the bottom of the freezer compartment
     and check side-to-side and front-to-back
4)  Carefully check door gaskets for proper
     seal. A leaking gasket can allow enough
     warm air inside the refrigerator to overcome
     most of the cooling being produced.

5)  Check the venting system to insure that
     adequate air flow is provided at the back of
     the refrigerator. Remove any restrictions
     in the vents, such as filters, bird nests in the roof
     vent, or smashed louvers in the wall


A simple test to check a heating element is to
measure the resistance through the element
with an ohmmeter. The correct resistance, in
ohms, can be calculated if the wattage and
voltage ratings are known. (These ratings are
stamped on all Dometic heating elements.)
Use this Formula:
Volts + (Watts + Volts) = Ohms
Heating element rated 135 Watts at 110 Volts.
110 f (13.5 f 110) or,
110 + 1.23 = 89.4 ohms
The ohm reading should be within 10% of this
figure, or between 80.46 and 98.34 ohms. Use
the lowest setting on the ohmmeter which will
give an accurate reading.

When testing a 12 volt heating element, a
very accurate ohmmeter must be used because
of the very low readings that will be found.
For example, a 200 watt element will have a
reading of .72 ohms (less than 1 ohm).

 A  blockage within the boiler
 tube, caused by too much heat
applied to the burner (oversized orifice
or heating element) or prolonged operation
of the unit when out-of-level or with
restricted ventilation. This type of
blockage consists of hard deposits inside
the boiler pump tube. This condition is
not repairable and the cooling unit must
be replaced.

Extending the life
Propane Refrigerators
Ammonia Absorption
Summer in Phoenix

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