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How to Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving

RV Fridge
Written by Mira

Anyone traveling with an RV so far has been through this. You’re driving, and you notice that the fridge is anything but cold. It’s not that your refrigerator is broken, and you should know that it’s quite a common issue for RV owners.

Is it possible to have a cold fridge while driving?

Nine times out of ten, when you’re traveling in your RV, the refrigerator isn’t going to run. There are many tips to maintain your fridge cold as you’re driving, and you need to scroll down for the details.

1. Try to keep the door closed on the fridge

When you turn on the cold setting on the RV fridge, the temperature inside will start dropping until it gets to the temperature you want. Once you open the fridge door for a quick snack, some of the coldness will escape. It makes sense that the inside temperature will rise a couple of degrees since it’s losing the cold air. Going back to the prior cool temperature is going to be difficult for the fridge.

You should remember that anytime you open the refrigerator, it only makes the temperature rise. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t open it at all. You just need to do some planning when organizing the fridge. Inform everyone traveling with you about it. Try to open the refrigerator as little as you can when driving.

For better results, you should also grab a cooler and put everything you need for a day in it. As long as you have plenty of ice, you should be safe for a couple of hours of driving!

2. More, more coldness!

It’s also wise that you set the refrigerator to the coldest setting one day before you go on a trip. Leave it like this until the next morning. Should you need to unplug the fridge, it’s going to be ice cold, which is a good thing.

It’s better not to eat nor drink anything from the fridge in the first hours, though. Everything may be frozen, anyway.

3. Avoid fridge gaps

You need to avoid fridge gaps as much as you can. You must fill all empty spaces with frosty items, with cans and bottles, as best choices. Pack small food items that may maintain the coldness for a longer time. Try not to use ice or anything frozen, as it’s going to melt after a while.

You don’t want the food to go bad. Once the ice is melting, the fridge may leak. You may have noticed that RV fridges aren’t the most reliable appliances, and you don’t want to push it more than you want.

For best results, look for the tips when packing the RV fridge so that everything remains somewhat cold as you’re driving.

4. Install a generator as well

It’s really efficient to connect the fridge to a power generator. You can make several semi-frequent stops, running the generator for a short time. It’s enough for cooling even a warm refrigerator.

With the generator being quite loud, you should consider other people’s comfort. Generators are useful, but they’re also loud and release fumes, which isn’t fun to take.

We hope you know already, but you should never run a generator inside the RV, as the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes is quite high. You should always have the generator a couple of feet away from the RV. You don’t want the fumes to get inside the RV.

Is propane a reliable option?

RV refrigerators don’t resemble the traditional appliances since they are two-way. They receive a source of electricity (it’s typically AC power at 110Volts or alternating current) and propane.

You may very well go with a three-way refrigerator that runs on AC power as the same voltage as DC power at 12 volts or direct current. Propane is also used.

When you have a three-way fridge, it’s easier to keep it running when driving the RV. You don’t use AC power anymore, but the fridge’s 12 volts of DC power for cooling the refrigerator. Don’t do it too often since you may drain the battery pretty fast. You’re saving propane this way, though.

As for propane being safe while driving, the brief answer would be “no.” Propane comes with many advantages, but it can all turn for the worst all of a sudden. A sharp turn, coming to an unexpected stop, and even moving to a different lane can cause a disaster.

If the refrigerator isn’t running, no harm, no foul. The fluids and the coolant in the fridge may shake a bit, but nothing dangerous.

However, if the fridge is on and you turn suddenly, you may affect the propane line. Sometimes, anything around the fridge reaching the propane line may cause damage. And once the harm is done, gas may be leaking out of the broken gas line. Anything flammable close can cause a fire, having the RV ending up in flames in a blink of an eye.

Some states have regulations about how you shouldn’t drive with the propane running, especially when driving through a tunnel.

Is turning off the fridge such a bad idea?

Here’s some fact: when you turn the RV fridge off for eight hours, it’s only going to warm up four F degrees. It happens, and you can try all the tips we’ve talked about for keeping it cold for a longer time. If you feel that it’s running too warm, you can always run the generator.

Let’s go over the most significant and efficient ways to keep the RV fridge as you’re driving. Once again, the refrigerator doesn’t have to run:

  • Place cold items (cans and bottles are exceptional) in all empty fridge gaps
  • Try your best to open the refrigerator door only when necessary
  • Have the fridge ice cold before you get on the road
  • Look for a generator for your RV.

The fair conclusion

At the end of the day, any RV refrigerator is going to get warm at some point. However, you can try several ways of keeping it fresh for a longer time. Just remember not to keep it running as you’re driving the RV! No cold fridge is worth it when you damage the propane line!