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How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use

by Glen

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use
How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use

My refer takes hours to get cold when first plugged in. If I start it the night before on propane about how much propane would it use?

ANSWER: Hi Glen, I am happy to tell you that running your RV's refrigerator on propane for 24 hours to get it cold will barely use any propane. In fact you can run your RV's fridge for several weeks before you will even see the propane gauge show any change.

Most Refrigerators that come in RVs are Absorption Refrigerators. They are not like the fridges in your home that use electricity to run a compressor and fan system to keep your fridge cold.

I will try not to get too technical here; Absorption Fridges are sealed systems with no moving parts. The system uses a combination of Ammonia and water that needs to get heated up to a boiling point in what is known as the generator in the sealed system. When the water and ammonia begins to boil they pass into a Separator which separates the water from the ammonia.

The water and ammonia now start their separate journeys through the absorption system. The water moves on to an Absorber. The ammonia takes a trip to the Condenser, where the Ammonia gets to cool down and return to a liquid state. The ammonia then goes to an evaporator where it combines with some compressed hydrogen gas and evaporates into a very cold vapor. This cold vapor moves to cooling coils that are inside the refrigerator, cooling the interior of the refrigerator starting with the freezer.

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Finally the vapor goes to the Abosorber where it mixes back in with the water and the whole process starts all over again.

The heat to boil this ammonia/water combo is provided by either a small propane burner or heater powered by electric. On most RV fridges there are buttons that are labeled "Automatic". When you press the automatic button the refrigerator will automatically use electric when it is available and propane when electric is not available to run the the cooling process.

The amount of propane needed to run this absorption process is minimal, so you will not see a large amount of propane being used by your fridge. In fact most RVers start their fridges the night before they are going to start their trip, as an Absorption Fridge takes a good 24 hours to get cold. In most cases the freezer section of the fridge is the first part of the fridge to start cooling down. Also the hotter it is outside the longer it will take for the fridge to get cold.

Below are some steps you can take to help your fridge get colder sooner and how to keep it cold during your travels.

1. Make sure that the refrigerator is level. The cooling process of the fridge depends on gravity and if your refrigerator is not level it will not perform efficiently.

2. Most RV refrigerators do not have fans inside to circulate the cold air around the food in the freezer and refrigerator section. You should purchase a couple of battery operated RV Refrigerator Fans. These fans should be placed in the bottom of both the freezer and fridge section of your fridge. The fans normally run on D Cell batteries and do a good job of circulating the air in the compartments. The batteries usually last over a month.

3. Don't over fill the compartments in the fridge. You need to leave some space between the food items so that the cold air from the fridge can circulate.

4. A properly maintained refrigerator will work more efficiently. Take a look at the video below for some tips on how how to maintain your fridge.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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No Milk Cartons!
by: TX Griff

Re: the comment using milk jugs as potable water jugs. DON'T DO IT!

Any container originally holding dairy products is unsuitable for later use as potable water storage. Apparently the dairy product cannot be fully cleansed from the container; microscopic pieces remain no matter how, or how often, you clean the container.

So go ahead and use them as ice blocks, but don't drink, or allow pets to drink, the defrosted water. Instead, use the water to wash yr hands on a hike, or water yr RV house plants, or rinse the kids feet on the beach, etc.

To make potable water ice blocks, use well washed soda bottles or reuse water bottles.

Dry Ice Cool Down
by: C Lloyd

We can not turn on frig LP 24 hrs in advance. So, we buy small amount of dry ice take it to RV in cooler and load in frig freezer to accelerate the cool down.

No Video
by: Anonymous

The comment which popped up when I tried to run the video says: "No Video." ? ? ?

Note From RVing Al: Thanks for bringing that to our attention, we have fixed the video. Happy RVing

How much propane is use to cool a frig
by: Mary K

I don't know it it works but I use ice block from freezing milk carton or jugs to cool the frig and freezer faster. I wash them up and fill them with water and freeze in the chest freezer in the house. I put then in the frig and freezer when I them on. I use the defrosted jugs of ice/water for the dogs water dishes or to cool the coals before we got to bed. A few of the jugs of water I fill with filtered water to use in the coffee pot.

I also freeze small water bottles (you have to open them and remove about 1/2" of water) to take along on day trips. The bottled water melts slowly and stays cold for a long time. I just refill them with water from the jugs and freeze. I rotate frozen bottles of water from the frig to the freezer and back to the frig to help keep both cool on hot days.

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