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The Proper way to Defrost Your RV Refrigerator

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RVing in Cold Winter Weather – Guest Post by Ryan Cornmesser

Kimberly No Comments
2015-11-30 07.48.10
With winter being upon us and things freezing (it was 4 here in PA this morning), I wanted to share some winter tips for you full timers who might be new to this.
First things first, most newer and even a lot of older trailers and 5ers have dual tanks, and you can leave both tanks open and it auto switches. DO NOT do this. In the middle of the night it your heat will drain both tanks and you will woke up frozen with no way to get warm. Instead, only open one tank that way if it runs out you can just go switch the to other and refill the empty one. I will even keep a spare tank handy in the winter just in case. If you are going to be gone from your rig all day, check your tanks before you leave. Coming home to frozen pipes or pets is no fun.
I recommend getting online or go to a truck stop and get thermometer with an alarm. Set it to like 40 degrees or something. That way in the middle of the night when propane runs out, the alarm will sound, you can get up and turn on the still full tank and save everything from freezing.
If you are parked for a long time, skirt the bottom of you rig with something to keep the cold air out from under it. Styrofoam insulation and 1×1″ is cheap at any hard ware store. This will keep your rig warmer and pipes warmer.
For your city water supply, you can use heat tape and insulation on your hose, but be careful, stuff can melt. I instead recommend spending the money on a hose that has the heat strip built in. They seem expensive, but they are well worth the investment.
Throw rugs are cheap and easy way to keep your toes comfy in the cold months.
We insulate our windows, but this can cause a cave like atmosphere. So we usually cover them at night and open them during the day to pull some solar heat in.
Be prepared for an over load of moisture. We keep our roof vent cracked open and you may find you might need a small dehumidifier. In the winter months moisture will build quickly and cause mildew or mold. Keep buckets of damp rid stashed in bathrooms and kitchen. Use your bath room and kitchen fans when showering or cooking to help reduce the influx of moisture. Keep an eye on walls, especially around furniture and mattresses where moisture can become trapped.
Be extremely careful for electric heaters and fireplaces.  You may have 50amp breakers in you rig, but only 15amp power outlets.  The wiring in many RVs was never meant for that kind of stress. Some older rigs actually have aluminum wiring which can melt with current over load. We personally have had an outlet melt but it never tripped a breaker.  If we want to augment our heat while parked, we use a heavy duty extension cord slid out thru the gasket of our slide out and plugged into the shore power box.  We do no plug it into an outlet in the trailer.  And this goes without saying, but always use caution in the small space.  Fires can happen fast if you or your young ones are careless with a heater.    DO NOT use a kerosene heater.  There is no where for the fumes to go and you could suffocate.  ALWAYS REMEMBER that in most RVs the pipes and under belly are warmed by the propane furnace, so if you are running electric heat it will make the furnace not run as much which could lead to frozen pipes and sad campers.

Keep a heat gun and bottled water handy. At some point, your pipes will probably freeze. Newer rvs use pex pipe and it can withstand a certain amount of abuse. Old rigs used copper pipe and will crack if frozen. Learn your rig, learn where the pipes go and what they are made of just in case. Our rig is fully insulated and the pipes still froze. I found out the pipe had rubbed a hole in the insulation while driving. I was able to fix it since I knew where the pipe ran.
Watch for ice and snow build up on the roof and slide outs. While it’s never happened to us personally, I have heard of some campers having the roof collapse from an overload of snow. Remember that most roofs are just rubber, so don’t try to shovel it off or you may damage roof. And be careful if you are up on it, they get very slippery.
2015-11-30 08.27.39
Check on things constantly as temperature drops, you can catch things before they happen if you pay attention.
ABOVE ALL, be safe and maintain a positive attitude, even in a bad situation. That can be the difference between having an adventure, and just being miserable.
* some images pulled from google images and copyright belongs to their respective owners.
2015-12-22 16.49.18(1)Bio:

Ryan Cornmesser is the owner of New Ideas Co. whose work takes him all over the country with his wife and children and dog.
The family run business is computer repair, networking, security, phones, and custom stickers and t-shirts, as well as radio control parts and accessories for the RC hobby with the whole family lending a hand.
While traveling he and his family always try to lend a hand whenever possible to other.
Ryan blogs about his experiences on http://travelingtek.com

Understanding How your RV Refrigerator Works

Kimberly No Comments


As I reflect on all the questions that we were asked during our seminars – Absorption RV Refrigerators are still the number one topic of all.  So, I thought I would provide more information on how to help this appliance work more efficiently with providing some great facts that you may not be aware of.
Compressor vs. Absorption type refrigerators – there is a big difference.


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The compressor (residential) is an electric motor with a refrigerant pump, whereas, absorption (RV) is done through chemicals and heat.

Recovery time is vastly different from our residential units. For every minute the door is left open – it will take one hour to recover the cold air lost.

RV refrigerators cool better when there are a fair amount of items being stored. However, over packing is a bad thing – temps will go up because of lack of airflow. Try to keep your refrigerator stocked well without over packing.


For cooling properly these 3 things are needed:

  • Is it level?
  • Is there proper ventilation?
  • Do you have a heat source ( i.e. propane or electric)?

It is not critical to have the refrigerator level while traveling. The rolling and pitching movement of the RV helps the refrigerator operate efficiently.

To check for proper temperature, place a cup of water with a thermometer inside the cup. Wait 2 to 3 hours to check if the unit is already cooled down. If hot (unplugged), turn on and wait to check after 8 to 24 hours.

Most refrigerators will have at least one auxiliary fan on the back side, check that it is working properly.  If more air flow is needed – add an additional fan(s).


If the odor of ammonia is present with a yellow film coating on the back side of the refrigerator, the cooling coil seal is broken.  This means the coils will need to be replaced.

8 cubic foot and larger units should be at least 43 degrees F. or less at 110 degrees F.

Proper temperature for the freezer is 0 degrees F. and inside the main cooling box is 37 – 42 degrees F.

Place ice cream at the coldest part of the freezer which is the lower left side.

Hopefully, some of these facts about the Absorption RV Refrigerator will help you better understand this appliance.

Evada Cooper (Lady E) is a full time RVer who is a published author of a cookbook titled, “The RV Centennial Cookbook –Celebrating 100 Years of RVing (1910-2010 She has produced 12 recorded segments withRVNN.TV called “RV Kitchen with Evada Cooper”. Evada offers RV Kitchen seminars across the United States. She and her husband, Terry Cooper –The Texas RV Professor, manage their online business, Mobile RV Academy, while traveling full time in their own 5th wheel.


FREE Webinar – Save Your Spot!

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RV Maintenance – Ask the Texas RV Professor
Join us for a Webinar on October 6
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
This is a FULL hour of “Ask the Texas RV Professor” with Terry Cooper for members of the Fulltime Families organization.Are there things that you want to ask the Master Certified RV Technician and instructor? Here is your chance to get FREE advise on what’s going on with your RV. The Professor will take any questions about the BOX of the RV…Everything behind the driver’s seat to the back bumper.
Please pre-submit your questions. He will answer them in the order of receiving them.Terry Cooper has been in the RV Industry for over 30 years. He has worked all the way from manufacturing units (in his younger years) to teaching a full blown RV maintenance program at Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX. He currently travels doing professional training at dealerships and teaches online via Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA.

The Professor is a certified trainer of Propane with the Texas Railroad Commission; Licensed Insurance Claims Adjustor; Owner of Mobile RV Academy which provides RV maintenance programs for the consumer.

Title: RV Maintenance – Ask the Texas RV Professor
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®/iPad®/Android™ smartphone or tablet



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