The fridge is one of the most important appliances in your RV. It preserves the food, drinks, and other stuff stored inside it so you can use them at a later time. If you are traveling with your family or friends, the fridge also keeps items for consumption altogether instead of opening up several coolers to rummage through during meal times.
Problems start to occur when this appliance fails its job—that is why your camper life might be cut short if left unchecked. Here’s why does my RV fridge keep shutting off? Where do I begin looking first? Can I solve it on my own? How do I fix this? These are issues that run through every RVer’s mind whenever their refrigerator stops working.
For those who don’t know anything about why does my RV fridge keeps shutting off, we will go into that as well as what can be done to prevent this from happening.
My RV Fridge Is Not Working? – Possible Causes And Solutions
There Is An Issue With Inner Components
A common reason why your RV refrigerator shuts off after a short while is if the thermostat (the piece inside) or its wires are bad. Remember that it takes two things to make this happen: electricity and heat! To test if it’s the thermostat, follow these steps:
1. Unplug the fridge from its power source for about 30 seconds. This makes sure there is no residual energy left in the device itself. This means you have a better chance of not getting shocked by touching it throughout this whole process
2. Use the ohmmeter to check if there is continuity between either the terminals and their corresponding wires.
3. To check the thermostat, switch off the fridge for about five to ten minutes before you turn it on again. Make sure that you are using a flashlight to see what’s going on inside
4. Then, test if the refrigerator switches on after 30 seconds by connecting it back to its power source. If it doesn’t work, you should definitely invest in a new one!
The Refrigerator Is Positioned In A Poor Manner
You may need to adjust the level of your refrigerator because if it is not leveled correctly. RV fridge shutting off can be prevented if you take some time to check your refrigerator once in a while and adjust its level accordingly.
Steps To Adjust The Level Of Your Refrigerator
1. Open your refrigerator and find the adjusting screws that hold the fridge.
2. If there are two adjusters on each leg, turn them clockwise until you feel a little resistance (if you can’t get enough power to do this easily, then turn them counterclockwise instead). This will make your RV fridge sit more level.
4. The refrigerator should sit level if your adjusters are in the middle of their available range of motion.
Ammonia Sediment Formation
You also need to be aware of the possibility of sediment buildup caused by ammonia. When ammonia is exposed to water, it converts to ammonium hydroxide and forms ammonia sediment. The sediment collects on the evaporator coil and keeps cold air from passing through. The refrigerator will shut off once it detects a high temperature inside the fridge due to a lack of cold airflow.
The good news is that you can flush out the cause yourself.
Step by step procedure on how to flush out Ammonia Sediment Formation
- Turn off your RV at least 48 hrs before flushing the system (because refrigerant has nowhere else to go). Drain all water in plumbing lines; then disconnect your freshwater hose at both ends and attach them together – do not drain the tank because you want pressure in the plumbing lines. Also turn off propane tank(s) so they don’t expand too much when the outside temperature is high. Start the generator and run it for 10 minutes to get the pressure back in the system, then shut off the engine.
- Take off all covers on the fridge, including the vent grille at top of the fridge (if still there).
- Remove any skirting you have around the fridge where water can collect under it.
- Open up some windows if you’re in a hot climate or it’s summer.
- Close refrigerator door(s) but leave them slightly open so you don’t overheat things while flushing out sediment inside cooling tubes.
- You need to obtain caustic soda (Drano), non-toxic RV antifreeze, distilled water & a new metal/foil evaporator coil that is compatible with your fridge (you can check inside the fridge and look at the make and model) in order to flush the system.
- Measure 10 oz. of caustic soda into a bucket; add 1 gal. of distilled water and mix it very well; then add 2 lbs. of non-toxic RV antifreeze (or useless but never add more than 4 lbs.). Mix it very well again using a drill with paddle blade, which is why you need that extra-long mixing handle. You need this when flushing out 4 cooling tubes that are about 3 ft long each! Pour the mixture into an empty gallon bottle so you have room for ice cubes, too. Place a small pizza box or two on top of one another & cover with aluminum foil on top to make a funnel where ice can go (you need room for ice cubes) – use a folding jug funnel (akin to the one used for Brita filters) instead, which costs about $5 at a camping store. Put some ice cubes into it and place a container under the fridge drain plug; open the bottom drawer 3-4 inches but do not open the fridge door(s) yet.
- Flush out sediment by running fresh water through the system over each tube (only 1 tube is needed per loop). You need to flush all 4 tubes because they are intertwined together inside the fridge!
- Use a garden hose or small submersible pump & long flexible tubing that you can buy from Walmart or Home Depot that’s made for fish tanks (you need to use the flexible tubing so you can be outside of the building and still reach the under-sink flushing cabinet).
- Run water through 1 tube at a time – open fridge door(s) then leave open, close drawer and run water into a container that’s under fridge’s drain plug until the ice melts and you have clear frothy looking water coming out. Close bottom drawer and let system flush out for about 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, open the drawer; if there is any residual sediment in a tube, it will come out now; wait another minute or two because some sediment may still come down. Keep doing step 2 (flushing each cooling tube one at a time) until all tubes are clean. Open bottom drawer again after final flush.
- After tubes are clean, shut off the hose & disconnect from tubing inside the fridge; keep flushing water down the drain until it is clear and no sediment in the tube(s).
- If you have a standard RV evaporator coil with a hole at the bottom (to let water out), poke a tiny hole into that opening to help get rid of any residual foam & sediment or debris that’s still in there.
- Clean fridge vent grille top of the fridge using a toothbrush dipped in the solution, then air dry for about 10 minutes. Clean the entire exterior of the fridge using a method suitable for your fridge material (i.e.; non-abrasive cleaner if the surface isn’t metal). Dry completely & put everything back together while keeping the interior of the fridge dry and open.
- After cleaning refrigerator unit: Dry entire exterior surface and interior completely before turning the power back on or the fridge may short out temporarily.
- When you turn the power back on, it will take about 24 hours for the fridge to cool down to a recommended temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit & 41 degrees Celsius.
How Do I Take Care Of The Circuit Breaker On My Rv Fridge?
The circuit breaker on your RV fridge is an extremely important part of your refrigerator. Even though it can be a little bit confusing, once you know why the circuit breakers are there and how to check for problems, you will realize that this can be one of the major factors in why your RV fridge isn’t cooling at all or why it’s only getting warm. Here we will cover why these circuit breakers exist and what to do if they start tripping. We will also discuss why something as simple as a fuse blowing on your boat or RV can cause damage that requires replacement parts that need to be ordered from the manufacturer and why carrying extra circuit breakers may just save you time, money, and even aggravation if such damage occurs.
How Do I Know If The Circuit Breaker Is Bad?
If the circuit breaker is bad it will trip every time you turn on your RV refrigerator. If this happens take out the bad breaker and replace it with a new one of the exact same amperage that has been approved by the manufacturer for use with your refrigerator. You can get these replacement breakers at an RV repair shop or online. Electricity is something to be taken very seriously so always make sure you are replacing it with an exact match, not just any old 15 amp circuit breaker found in your garage or kitchen drawer. While you are doing this why not check if there is anything blocking where the cord plugs into the inside of your fridge where you plug-in appliances or why not check to see if there is a loose connection inside the bay where they plugin.
It can be frustrating when your fridge keeps shutting off. That’s why we want to help you find the solution that works best for you! You may have tried a few of these solutions, but if not, don’t worry – they’re all easy and won’t cost much money. Did one of these methods work? Let us know in the comment section below!