By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When an RV fire traces back to the refrigerator compartment, it tends to make RVers a little uneasy. After all, the thought of your rig going up in smoke while all you’ve done is tried to keep your chitlins chilled can be a real nightmare producer.
Enter Fridge Defend, billed as “A new pinnacle of development for an RV refrigerator safety,” with an updated refrigerator safety control. Fridge Defend has been around for a few years, but its latest control device now meets international safety standards which surpass Dometic and Norcold safety devices. Fridge Defend is designed to prevent overheating of an RV refrigerator boiler. With no overheat, the chances of a refrigerator-related fire are substantially reduced.
The company tells us that “the new Fridge Defend model v5.x is designed with international safety standards at its core, taking the safety controller to an international level of performance.” International standards require a stricter level of self-testing than what is required by present RV standards. In this case, any fired boiler such as found in a Dometic or Norcold absorption refrigerator is required to have safety protection to help prevent fires. The v5.x Fridge Defend brings your fridge up to the standards considered acceptable internationally, using the design principles established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
So how does Fridge Defend work for RVers? Fridge Defend protects RV refrigerators by controlling the boiler temperature. If the boiler overheats, the Fridge Defend turns off the heat. But who wants a refrigerator full of warming food? The system monitors the situation, then restarts the fridge after the boiler cools to a safe level. “This,” says the company, “is the key to protecting your fridge from failures that can lead to fires.”
But Fridge Defend doesn’t limit itself to the role of a safety device. RVers dealing with warm summer days may appreciate that Fridge Defend also improves RV refrigerator cooling efficiency. “The Fridge Defend with fan control powers fans that are engineered to be quiet and effective. The fan controller is engineered to improve the efficiency of your fridge in three ways:
1) Specially designed low noise and low power 12V external ventilator fans move hot air away from the fridge and RV drastically improving the fridge performance, especially side-vent/slide-out mounted refrigerators that struggle in hot weather.
2) Small 12V defrost/internal circulation fans further improve efficiency while saving room in the fridge and eliminating the need to buy AA batteries. They only run when the fridge is producing refrigerant which prevents the fridge from cycling too much, while keeping a uniform temperature within the fridge.
3) The fan controller only turns on the fans when they are needed, thereby saving your precious battery power for things like entertainment.”
Bottom line: Fridge Defend saves money by preventing cooling unit failure due to boiler overheating. It also reduces energy cost to operate the fridge, and is the last word in refrigerator diagnostics saving you expensive visits to repair shops. Fridge Defend is a universal product, working on most Dometic, Norcold, and Amish gas/electric refrigerators. Learn more here.
Which burns most often, a manufacturer installed refrigerator, or a replacement refrigerator installed by customer / repair shop ?
I have always installed muffin fans to ensure positive air flow. When we lived up north I installed one fan on the fridge cover. After moving to AL I installed 2 muffin fast one on the cover and 1 near the exhaust cover on the roof. This pushes air in at the bottom and pulls hot air out the top and have never had any problems. I don’t have any scientific proof, but the fridge was always colder, I keep a thermometer in the fridge to monitor temps and it’s always in the low 30s.
Built quality, warranty issues, lengthy repairs, wait time to get repaired and now just “standard testing”. Dometic and Norcold should adopt these things in their refrigerators, especially with regards to safety, mainly FIRE!
Has anyone tried the Fridge Defend? Wondering if it will help with our situation. When it is very humid or sun hitting the fridge side the inside temps go up to around 45 degrees. Food still cold but I just dont like that, prefer in the 30s.
Yes, the Fridge Defend fan(s) will help with the air circulation in the back of your refrigerator and allow it to operate more efficiently. (cool better)
On My new travel trailer I also installed some muffin fans in the refrigerator roof vent. They are controlled by the Fridge Defend, so they are only on when the fridge is cooling. The refrigerator temperature was lowered by 6 to 8 degrees after installation.
If you can shade the side of your RV where the refrigerator is installed, that will also make a small difference.
I was mainly attracted to the Fridge Defend because of the added safety. I have installed one in both my travel trailer and my diesel pusher and wouldn’t want to use a refrigerator without one.
I purchased the ARP Fridge Defend about 3 years ago. We also opted to purchase a fan. The install seemed a little scarey at first, but the instructions are very detailed. I did have a couple of questions about the install, so I contacted the owners and got my questions answered. Greaet customer service. We like to travel with the fridge on, so this system is great for that too. The biggest issue when traveiling with the fridge on is the potential for the temps to increase when out of level on a long uphill climb. The ARP will detect the temp rise, turn off the fridge, and then restart it once we are level again.
we put in larger outside vent