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Ask Dave: Why does my RV’s freezer ice over so quickly?

Dear Dave,
Why does my RV’s freezer get frost in it after a couple of days? The freezer is on top. It started about two months ago. We do not live full time in our trailer. —George, 2018 Jayco Jay Flight 24RBS

Dear George,
According to specs and walkarounds that I have seen, it looks like you have the 8-cubic-foot Norcold absorption refrigerator. The freezer is the first stage of cooling in this type of refrigerato,r as the evaporator coils are just behind the back wall. Keep in mind that these refrigerators are not frost-free and will most likely need to be defrosted occasionally.

However, since yours just started doing this a couple months ago, there are some things you can look at.

First thing to check in the freezer and refrigerator

The first thing I would look at is the actual temperature you find in the freezer and refrigerator cabinets. Take an actual reading and you might find the unit is starting to cool down more than before, which could be due to the thermistor or temperature sensor.

The thermistor is located on the condenser coil inside the refrigerator cabinet. It senses the temperature to tell the module board to cool. As you can see by the photo, the higher it is placed, the colder the unit will run. This is due to warm air rising so the thermistor gets warmer air the higher it is placed. You might want to lower it about half-way.

Another thing to look at is air flow. Make sure you have not blocked the shelves with food items or tin foil. If there is not good air flow, the warm air rises and gives a false reading. It’s a good idea to have a small battery-operated fan inside to move the air.

Check to make sure freezer door is sealing properly

Next, check the door and gasket to make sure it is sealing properly. A weak seal or torn gasket will allow warm moist air inside the cabinets. That will cause frost and icing. Take a dollar bill and shut the door on it, then slightly tug on the dollar. It should have some resistance. If not, you will need to adjust the door or gasket to get it to seal.

Use the dollar bill at several places around the entire door, especially around the freezer section. It’s common for doors to settle, as we tend to put heavy items in the door shelves and then bounce down the road. You might have to shim the lower hinge to get the door to seal at the top.

For those of you that own a big 5th wheel or diesel pusher, you will need to use a $100 bill, as maintenance for those rigs is much more expensive! 😆

A helpful tip is to place a small, flexible cutting board on the bottom of the freezer. This will make it easy to pull out and get rid of ice by bending it.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Elaine
1 month ago

We put the thin flexible cutting boards, taped together, on the back wall of the freezer. When the ice forms, we flex the cutting boards and the ice breaks apart. Makes for easy defrosting!

Rosemary M.
1 month ago

The idea of placing the flexible plastic, thin cutting boards on the freezer bottom is the best idea. I did that once I saw a previous post offering that tip. It has solved my “icing” issues and since the cutting boards were ones I already had but was thinking of replacing due to them being so “cut up” and “scuffed” it was a very inexpensive solution

DAVE TELENKO
1 month ago

Dave, good information, especially the $100 bill-good to have some humor in this world!
Thanks
Snoopy

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  DAVE TELENKO

I was about to make a $100 bill statement and I see you beat me to it!

Glenn
1 month ago

Just for reference, the cooling coil inside would be the evaporator coil. The condenser coil is on the outside rear of the unit.

Scott
1 month ago

I like the flexible cutting board idea…thanks

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