You may not realize that RV gas absorption refrigerators are designed quite differently than their residential counterparts. In order for the refrigerator in your RV to work properly, your trailer or motorhome needs to remain in a level position.
Some RVers prefer to tilt their RV a degree or two to help drain rainwater and dew. Tilting your rig off-level by a degree or two usually doesn’t present any problems. Most modern RV refrigerators will still function properly in such a position.
But if your fridge runs while tilted for longer than about 30 minutes, you run the risk of damaging the refrigerator’s cooling unit.
RV refrigerators use gravity, rather than a compressor, to create the heat that ultimately makes the inside of the refrigerator cool. When the refrigerator is tilted for an extended period of time, the gravity-fed chemicals inside the unit may stop circulating.
On some refrigerators, the processor that runs the refrigerator might not sense that the chemicals have stopped flowing, and will continue to provide power to the heating element – sometimes with disastrous results.
In this video, you’ll learn how long you can park on an un-level surface, if going up a steep hill will damage your RV refrigerator, and how a bubble level will help you keep your refrigerator operating properly.
It’s amazing that you can damage your refrigerator if you let it operate for only 30 minutes while tilted. Bill mentioned in the video that if you’re concerned about how level your rig is, you could use a simple bubble level to ensure you’re ‘level enough’.
Place the bubble level on the freezer plate inside the freezer, and check the level once you park and stabilize your rig. Try to keep half of the bubble in the center circle at all times.
Further reading on RV gas absorption refrigerators:
- Investigating Absorption Refrigerator Fires Part 1
- Investigating Absorption Refrigerator Fires Part 2
- FAQ about gas absorption refrigerators answered by Thetford
- Absorption refrigerators on Wikipedia
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