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Post Info TOPIC: New Frig?


RV-Dreams Community Member

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New Frig?


Hi -

I scanned through a few older posts and wanted to get some current feed back.

Moved into our new/used rv home in over 100 degrees (Texas) to find out the air conditioners and refrig didn't work. That's just part of it. Everything has maintanance.

So had the RV guy come out and he got the air working for now. He said the Dometic frig was dead. After hunting on the internet I have come to realize that rv people are very proud of their frigsbiggrin

What are your thoughts on buying another rv frig vs a regular compact frig? If you like the idea of the rv frig, do you know where we can get a deal?

Thanks for your help!!



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Did he say what was wrong with the frig. Sometimes it just requires replacing the control board (easy DIY project) or have the RV Tech replace the coils on the back if there is a leak. Both are less expensive than buying a new RV frig.

However, the least expensive solution is to replace the frig with a compact apartment or bar frig, only problem is thay only work on AC current. No propane or 12 volts. So you need to camp where you can get electric or run a generator most of the day.

Depending on your plans for camping in the boondocks or at electric equipped RV sites you'll need to decide which is best.

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I have to echo what The Bear said.  I recently looked at a 5th wheel that had a full size fridge same as you'd put in your sticks n bricks.  Great to have all that room in the fridge, but we like boondocking.  This fridge won't run on 12 v or propane so it was a no go.  If a regular fridge will work with your particular lifestyle, then you might want to go that route.  If you're going to spend a lot of time "off the grid" then it might not be such a great idea.

Cindy T



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Cindy T

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Our reefer recently died, a Norcold 1210 unit less than 4 years old (but used full-time everyday). The cooling unit died, reason unknown. I desperately wanted to use my extended warranty to swap out the gas-absorption reefer for a nice residential unit, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen, the warranty people require serial numbers for the bad and new units. Bummed.

We don't boon dock. We rarely use the inverter. Some residential units require pure sine wave power and my inverter is modified sine wave. And of course my 2000W inverter is too small, most of the big reefers require 2600W. But be aware of this requirement for some units.

Why would I wanted a residential reefer? 2 reasons. First, the fire hazard. Norcold did recalls to limit their liability when the reefer burned up and destroyed rigs (not to mention possibly killing the people in the RV). I wasn't comfortable worrying about if the reefer was going to catch on fire. Second, it never did a decent job of keeping ice cream cold in the summer. Truth be told, that is the only item it couldn't handle. I could have added a secondary reefer in the basement, but I feel the reefer should be able to handle the job without me spending more money and giving up space in the basement for another unit.

Our Norcold is 14cf and I could fit a 21cf residential unit in the same space. It would need to be modified to prevent the doors from opening while traveling, and some way to secure items on the shelves to keep them from shifting. Not insurmountable problems and I suspect fairly easy to rectify.

Just my thoughts on the RV reefers. As already mentioned in earlier posts, the decision depends on how you plan to use your RV.



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NorCal Dan,
Just a note for you. We have had a residential fridge in our coach (Ge Profile) since we bought the coach in 1999. It runs great on a modified sine wave Heart 2000W inverter and I have plenty of power left over for all my other electronics. I don't try to run the microwave/convection oven on this inverter (well, maybe a quick 30 seconds) but otherwise that inverter was done an excellent job with our power requirements.
BenMary,
If you do a lot of dry camping (boondocking) you will want to keep and RV fridge. However, if you only dry camp from time to time (like Janet and I) you may be able to replace the RV fridge with a household fridge and not a compact apartment fridge. Several companies make reasonable sized fridges in the 20 c.f. range which will fit in the same general space occupied by and RV fridge. Some modifications are usually necessary, but not too much.
If you don't go residential then I would look to replace it with another full sized RV fridge unless you will only be using this occasionalonal weekend trips.

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Bill Adams



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If a residential refer is put in place, how does one keep it cold while traveling on the highway?
Power it from a generator in the truck?

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Roz


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Jerry,

Both Bill and Dan have motorhomes.  We either run the diesel genset or for trips of only four hours let it sit.  Unless the door is opened often, very little heat gain plays into the equation.



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The inverter powers the frigde while on the road. The engine alternator keeps the batteries charged while driving but the batteries (we have a BIG battery bank) would keep the fridge running for 8-12 hours without a charge.

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Bill Adams



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RV refrigerators cost a lot more than residential for a couple reasons. Reason one is that the design that can run on propane or electric. Even though this is the original design of a refrigerator, the residential compressor type is now simpler and cheaper to build. The second reason is the cost of all those recalls and repairs due to fires has to be recovered. Who do you think pays when a manufacturer designs and pays for recalls and repairs?

Now for some getting a residential is a no brainer, they don't boondock or/and they have the inverter, batteries and generator that they need already installed plus they are willing to deal with the downsides of needing to use more electricity. Many RV fridges do not keep ice cream hard, but the newest ones seem to do so. Our waistlines tell us not have ice cream in the RV, but obviously we are in the minority.

My advice is to find out how much it will cost to repair the RV fridge. If it can't be repaired or the price seems too close to buying a new one then you have to make a decision based on how much you can spend today against what it is worth to you over time. There are trade offs of staying with an RV fridge vs. a residential. You might end up paying more to add battery, inverter and/or generator to use a residential instead of buying another RV fridge. Of course if the money is not there to spend, go with the cheapest solution of a residential fridge and live with the compomises of where you can camp, including free overnight stays in parking lots. You will have to add latches to keep the fridge closed while traveling and might need to get refrigerator bars to keep stuff in place inside the fridge. You will also need to secure the fridge in the hole so it won't move and that will probably require drilling holes in the fridge. 

We were recently at an RV repair facility that told us they have done a lot of residential fridge installs and some were reinstalls of different models since some residential fridges fail quickly in RVs, even on pure sine wave inverters. They think these fridges cannot handle the bouncing, so check the actual models people buy. They like Whirlpool, which has models that are certified for boats and RVs. Also some fridges work fine on modified sine wave inverters, some don't. Tiffin puts a residential fridge in the Phaeton motorhome that they find works fine on modified sine wave (21cuft GE Profile) but uses a different brand in their Allegro Bus that only likes pure sine wave inverters, which the Allegro Bus has and the Phaeton does not. 

Our friends with the Phaeton find the 21cuft fridge uses 120 amp-hours of battery if they leave it on overnight, but if they turn it off the freezer goes from -1 degree F to 9 to 11 degrees F by morning when they can run the generator to make breakfast. The refrigerator section barely moves from 37 to 39 degrees overnight.

Only you can make the choice and only you can decide what is right for you. Luckily on this forum people are nice and not judgemental. On other forums people get really nasty about this choice and insult people who make choices differently than they made.

 

Edit: Fixed typos



-- Edited by bjoyce on Saturday 30th of July 2011 11:41:24 AM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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The new residential Energy Star refrigerators are a viable alternative for those that boondock and have a large solar system, or are willing to run the generator for a couple of hours a day to recharge batteries.

I recommend only a pure sine wave inverter. While some will run safely on MSW, others will not and it is impossible to tell the differenece since the manufacturers constantly change compenents. In particular icemakers and door dispensors seem especially sensitive. 2000 watts is enough for any refrigerator I have encountered.

I have a spreadsheet that helps with the calculations for boondocking, and has some sample refrigerators in it that have actual, measured via kilowatt meter, data available on energy usage. Anyone interested in that can email me and I can send it. Anyone with actual data (real numbers, not guesses) that has a residential refrigerator and would like to provide me the numbers I will add them to the database.

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The coach we purchase in June also had a dead refrigerator. We agonized over what to do and ended up buying a Whirlpool residential at Lowes. It is larger than the RV refrigerator it replaced. We are thrilled with it. Another plus was it gave us an "updated look" for a fraction of the cost of an RV Refrigerator. We have not put in an inverter yet and intend to. In the meantime we have closed it up and the food was still frozen when we made it to our next location. 



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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 Well, I'm back for more advice! This time it's about the fridge. We think we have room for a bigger fridge but we aren't positive about size or weight capacity. Does anyone here have a large 2 door fridge in their RV? If so, would you recommend we try it? I think we have the appropriate hookups and room, so what size fridge should we look into? I saw some largelg refrigeratorsbut I wanted to hear what the biggest size that people would recommend. Let me know. :)



-- Edited by myagya on Friday 16th of December 2011 03:13:18 PM

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myagya wrote:

 Well, I'm back for more advice! This time it's about the fridge. We think we have room for a bigger fridge but we aren't positive about size or weight capacity. Does anyone here have a large 2 door fridge in their RV? If so, would you recommend we try it? I think we have the appropriate hookups and room, so what size fridge should we look into? I saw some largelg refrigeratorsbut I wanted to hear what the biggest size that people would recommend. Let me know. :)



-- Edited by myagya on Friday 16th of December 2011 03:13:18 PM

How much room do you have to work with? Do you want an RV fridge that will work on both electric and propane?

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You are going to likely be looking for a fridge that is no bigger than about 20 c.f. You will want to measure the width as this is pretty critical and ensure that the fridge will fit. The fridge will also stick out just a bit past the side walls so there is room for the door(s) to swing open. The depth is the second most important so measure carefully and see if you can look inside (from the outside access panel) and see if the floor is flat and there are no vents or other obstructions that might cause an issue. Lastly, you will need to figure out if there is anything under the platform that the fridge is mounted on and if so what it will take to move it as most of the HH fridge units are taller by 6" or more than an RV fridge. It's unlikely you will find a direct replacement and need to make sure you are prepared for a bit of construction work. You will likely also need to have your windshield (or other large window) removed to get the new fridge in and the old one out so plan ahead with the folks that can handle this job as well.
There are several options out there. My brother-in-law just installed a Whirlpool (I am pretty sure) and if you go to the Tiffin RV forum there is one specific fridge that they have found which works well. Good luck with the project, just be sure you understand this it is a project and not a simple replacement.

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Bill Adams



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Myagya,

I have a side by side fridge and a side by side freezer and we love it. Really nice since we are full timers. If you have the space, get it. I don't think you will be sorry.

Mel

2008 Carri-Lite Emerald
2011 F350 Ford Diesel


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