Friday, December 8, 2023


Novel approach to fridge placement could lead to disaster

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

An RVer asked if it was possible to install an LP-fired RV refrigerator in such a way that the lower venting of the fridge would come from the “toy hauling” section of his RV. No, we don’t mean stepping into the cargo area to get access to the refrigerator, we mean installing the refrigerator inside the “living area” of the RV, on a common wall to the cargo area. If you’re thinking about it, in a word, “Don’t.”

There are several factors in play here. The first, and most serious, revolves around personal safety. Remember, an LP-fired fridge requires oxygen for the burner flame. It may not seem like a lot, but with the enclosed space of the cargo area, the oxygen can be consumed in a hurry. Second, a sometimes nasty byproduct of an improper combustion process is carbon monoxide, which is that invisible, tasteless, odorless gas that will kill you dead in a hurry. Simply on account of safety, installing an RV refrigerator where it does not directly vent to the out-of-doors is a major safety blunder.

The next area of concern is that of adequate air movement. You’ll see that all RV refrigerator outside compartment doors are thoroughly vented. That’s because air flow from outside the rig is drawn up through the outside vent door, over and around the refrigerator’s cooling coils, and then upward and out of the rig through the roof vent. On a hot summer day just having the side of the RV where the refrigerator access door is pointed toward the sun can raise Cain with keeping the refrigerator cool. Many RVers have found keeping that side of the rig in the shade goes miles toward keeping the beer cooler.

Now if you put the vent door on the inside of the rig, air flow is certainly restricted even if the cargo compartment door is open – which it certainly won’t be much of the time. Kept shut in the hot sun, the interior temperature of the cargo area is going to get much hotter – probably hotter than the outside air temp. Again, you’re shooting yourself in the foot with a heat ray gun.

RV refrigerator placement is a design issue best accomplished at the plant, not on a do-it-yourselfer basis.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Robert Cummings (@guest_48232)
4 years ago

Add an extra battery & use a 12V fridge or freezer. There is good info & selection on Look for Danfoss fridges or freezers.

Robert Cummings (@guest_48238)
4 years ago

Oops, sorry, it’s Sundazer, they use Danfoss compressor systems, also carry Novacool units.

Jeremy Pratt (@guest_48213)
4 years ago

I’d replace the boiler and gas system with a dutch aire compressor then you could do this and it would perform much better than absorption ever would. This is the same system as residential fridges use.

marty chambers (@guest_48209)
4 years ago

Would a removable “awning” that you could shade the outside screen of the fridge? Making sure that there is plenty of air flow of course but blocking the sun.

Karl Eby (@guest_48137)
4 years ago

You didn’t mention the open flame in an area which gasoline vehicles may be stored.
Leaking gasoline or vapors could be catastrophic.
Same reason it’s recommended that you turn your refrigerator off when refueling the motor home or tow vehicle.

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