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RV refrigerators are present in almost all rv’s, unless you buy a very small tent trailer which is so basic that it functions like a tent. Even tent trailer or pop up campers will normally come equipped with a good refrigerator.
People RV all the time during weekends, weekdays and some people go rving full time. Having your own food in rv makes it awesome and you don’t have to go to restaurants to get a meal for lunch or dinner.
Lets gets straight to the answer. SO, you are here to figure out what to do with your fridge. Should you turn it OFF when not in use and then turn ON when you need it? Or should you just keep it ON all the time just like how you would do for your home refrigerator. Well, the answer to this question is this:
You can keep the refrigerator in RV ON all the time provided you take your RV out at-least 2 to 3 times a month or once or twice a week. If you do not take your RV out that many times or if you go camping once in three months or so, then there is no point in keeping the RV refrigerator ON as it will only cost you for electricity bills.
Having said this, it is not compulsory that you turn it OFF or keep it ON all the time as both have their own downsides and upsides. And it totally depends on how often you camp in your RV.
What? you say both ways.
Yes ! Both ways it makes sense and both have downsides and upsides depending on you camping habits. Think of it this way, does it make sense to keep the refrigerator in your home ON all the time? And do people turn it OFF when they are away for months?
Yes, now you get it. Both the ways make sense and are logical. Lets see in details, the downsides and upsides of keeping the refrigerator ON all the time and turning it ON and off.
Upsides and downsides of turning fridge ON/OFF
First of all, lets assume that you have a normal rv refrigerator and not a residential one installed in your camper or trailer.
A residential refrigerator is built differently and a RV refrigerator is made specifically to support the usage in your RV.
Now, what does that even mean. A RV refrigerator is based on a absorption mechanism and it means there aren’t any moving parts like compressor inside similar to how you would have in a refrigerator used in homes. So, how does that do any good?
Well, they are designed that ways so that they support and do well even if there is movement and they also help keep the refrigerator function well, even if it is turned ON and Off.
In fact, it only makes sense to have a refrigerator that would not go bad even if it is turned on and off, as Rving is something that would be done sometimes a week or months.
People do full timing but not all of us do it. The RV refrigerators are built specially to support this kind of usage. Okay, enough of talking on how they are made and the difference it makes. Lets see downsides and upsides of keeping them ON all the time.
1.Keeping the refrigerator ON all the time even when you are not camping in the RV will mean you will spending on the electricity bills for no reason.
Think about it this way, you camp once a month or once in two-to-three months, will you need to keep the food cold and use it after 2 months? And even if you had a food that could be used after 2 months, does that food need to remain cold? You will hardly find any food of that kind. A soda for example may or may not need cooling and you could use it after 1 month.
Thus, the point is; it makes no sense to keep it ON to keep food good as you may not really use the food itself.
2. Keeping the refrigerator ON does not guarantee it will work Longer.
So, people most of time are confused as to whether the fridge will remain good or not if they were turned ON and OFF often. Well, as we already saw the Rv refrigerators are designed specially for campers and it does not affect the functioning nor its life if its turned ON and off or kept running all the time.
3. Keeping the Refrigerator OFF when not in use saves you on electricity bills and money.
4. Keeping the refrigerator OFF when not in use can result in molds and related issues.
Yes, you keep it off and it gets molds. What? So, how does it make sense to keep the refrigerator OFF. Then i better keep it ON. Yes, there is a possibility of this but it can be avoided by keeping the doors open when its OFF.
A refrigerator when not in power will start to get warmer and if the doors or fridge and deep fridge are kept open then it will start to form the mold which could be difficult to go and can even cause health issue once you start using it.
5. A propane run refrigerator when kept off could be difficult to cold when you start using it.
A propane run may cause the refrigerator difficult to cold when you start using it after a gap of month or more. Not all will face this but yes a rust may get accumulated making it difficult to start the propane based refrigerators.
If its dual energy that also runs on electricity, then it may start well on electricity. Problem is only seen with propane energy as it gets harder to ignite it with time.
Effect on refrigerator life
Confused. How do i take it? What should i really do to keep the rv refrigerator long lasting. Well, keeping the refrigerator ON all the the time will not make it long lasting neither will keeping it ON/Off reduce the life (unless you do it so frequently that it will break down due to some other issues).
Specially designed RV refrigerator are good enough to keep going even if they were kept off for months.
Normally, people who aren’t full timing would need their RV once a week or twice-thrice a month. And that means keeping the refrigerator on all the time can make sense and you will need to keep the food cool which you will need or the next camping trip.
Yes, once the season is over, you wouldn’t take the RV out for 2-3 months. And that time keeping the RV refrigerator off will be a good idea.
A refrigerator when kept ON without really using it will on an average cost you a bill of around 20-40 dollars depending on the size of the refrigerator. Now, is that something that you really want pay or not is up-to you. I myself do not keep the refrigerator ON when i know i wouldn’t be taking it out anytime soon (at-least 2 week).
Having said this, there are good reasons to keep the refrigerator ON all the time or other way round depending on your usage. So, the answer here would be to “analyse your usage and go ahead with turning it OFF when you feel so“. Absorption mechanism makes sure the refrigerator is in good condition even when it is not turned ON.
RV in storage – what to do
Season is ending and you are all prepared to put the RV to storage either in rented space or in your own space. So, what about the refrigerator should i keep it ON or just put it OFF. Well, as we saw above keeping the refrigerator OFF during such time would be a thing to do. People do keep the refrigerator ON even during that winter time. But, it will cost you electricity bills and if you are okay with that then sure, go ahead with keeping it ON.
What does keeping the refrigerator ON during off season do anyways? It can save you from a slight chance of getting mold and causing other similar issues. With a refrigerator ON you would be less worried about that but make sure you keep at-least something inside it like a soda bottle or water bottle.
If you have thought otherwise and thinking of keeping the refrigerator off then makes sure to follow certain procedures. Make sure you clean the refrigerator fully. Take out everything inside it out and not a single piece of food should remain inside it.
Even a slight food pieces should be enough to make it stink the next time you take it out. The second thing you need to do is it make sure the door of the refrigerator are kept open. Both, the main door as well as the freezer door.
If the door is not kept open, the warming of the refrigerator will lead to molds which will be difficult to remove and cause damage and will be bad for your health the next time you use the refrigerator.
Before you camp again
If you kept the refrigerator ON all the while, then you need not be worried about anything as such. But, if the refrigerator was off all the time, then check if any molds got formed. And if yes, make a proper cleaning of the refrigerator before you start using it. It could be bad for your health and food may get spoiled with mold inside. That’s the first step.
If it was a off season and you are about to use the rv again then check the RV refrigerator at-least a week before. This will give you time to clean it properly.
During normal breaks of a week or more make sure you turn ON the refrigerator at-least a day before or two. This gives time for the refrigerator to start cooling and when you put the food inside, it will remain fresh for more time.
A good thing to do is to put some water bottles before starting it. This will give your proper idea, as to how effective the cooling is. You can drink some water and feel the temperature rather than using a thermometer or feeling by your hand.
Using the rv refrigerator the right way can actually extend its life. Not using the refrigerator while driving is also one of the best practices to follow. Wondering how to keep the refrigerator cold while driving then? I had posted this article about the same, have a look.