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Taming My RV Refrigerator Temperatures

Cathy Lea.
My Roadtrek has a small Dometic™ brand evaporative refrigerator that works nicely except the cooling is very much affected by the outside temperature. This is not like my home refrigerator. My RV refrigerator has given me enough surprise ice cream soup and frozen eggs to force me to use temperature alarms that make me pull over while driving or get me up in the middle of the night to turn the dial and save my food. I am forced to constantly adjust the cooling level to compensate for the heat of the day or the cool of night.

Many years and several different refrigerator alarms later I stumbled across something interesting.

Before each trip I put two plastic bottles (sized so they fit into the RV refrigerator door) full of tap water into my home freezer until they are solid. I also fill several gallon sized freezer thickness zip-top bags (with the double zip strip) full of ice cubes from home. I put the bottles into the RV refrigerator door and pack the bags of ice cubes into the freezer around any frozen food I take along. If all the bags of ice cubes don't fit into the freezer, put them into the bottom of the refrigerator next to any dairy products like milk. Do not put the bags on the RV refrigerator shelf next to the fins, that could interfere with the air circulation.

This adds thermal mass to the refrigerator that helps to smooth out the highs and lows so I don't need to adjust as often. With normal use opening the door only for short periods of time when needed I can keep a bag of ice cubes in the refrigerator for up to five days before it turns to water. Since this is the same water that I drink at home, the melted ice cubes become a nice cool beverage during the heat of the day.

Be careful to only use translucent or opaque plastic bottles for the ice water. Some clear plastics can put toxins in the water when exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures.

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