How to Maximise the Efficiency of your Caravan’s Refrigerator

Caravan refrigerators shoulder a huge responsibility as you head out on outback holidays in the summer months. Here are a few handy ways to maximise the efficiency of your caravan’s refrigerator to ensure your supplies and frozen goodies don't spoil during your next summer camping holiday:

 

1. Start the cooling process early

The night before you leave on your caravanning trip, power on your caravan refrigerator and let the cooling process begin while you’re still on the grid. This will give your fridge a few extra hours to kick-start the cooling process, and keep your supplies cold before you head out.

 

2. Leave some room in your caravan refrigerator

We understand how tempting that little unused corner of a fridge shelf is. But packing too many things will block air circulation inside your caravan fridge, and slow down the cooling process drastically.

 

3. Install a refrigerator vent fan

A 12V fan can be used as an additional cooling option for both compressor and 3-way absorption fridges. Dometic have a specific fan for their 3-way absorption models which is installed behind the refrigerator to remove heat in high ambient areas. 

4. Keep the refrigerator’s air vents free

The air vents behind your caravan’s refrigerator serve as the only exit for hot air created during the cooling process. Inspect these vents on a regular basis to ensure that there aren’t any physical obstructions preventing heat from dissipating. Generally fridges over 100 litres will require two vents: one at the top and one at the bottom. This helps force air across the back of the refrigerator out the top vent.

Here is a guide to ventilation requirements for Dometic compressor refrigerators:

For small to medium sized Dometic fridges (CRX50, CRX65, CRX80 & CRX110), minimum of one vent is required. This should be mounted in the van wall, parallel to the compressor at the top of the fridge. Vent options include:

Medium Sized Optional Extra:

- AS1635 lower vent - White

- AS1635 lower vent - Black

Large Sized Optional Extra:

- LS300 - Dometic Fridge Large Vent and Frame, LS300

- LS300-B - Dometic Fridge Large Vent and Frame, LS300-B, Black

For the CRX140 is a little different, the fridge compressor is mounted on the top of the fridge. It is best to only use one vent mounted at the top rear of the fridge. Install the fridge in a way that you can pull air from the front, up the side of the fridge over the compressor and out the vent.

The compressors above 140 Litre, (RUC6408X & RUC8408X), these large sized fridges require two vents, one at the bottom and one at the top. In this case it would be best to choose the 2 x LS300 vents.

 

5. Cleaning and maintenance

This is particularly important for LP gas powered caravan refrigerators. For absorption fridges, Dometic recommend cleaning the coils on the back of the fridge with a soft bristled brush. For both compressor and absorption models, Dometic recommend cleaning the interior liner of the refrigerator, using a lukewarm weak soda solution. When cleaning the finned evaporator, gasket, ice tray and shelves only use warm water.

For other brands and models make sure you do regular cleaning as per the instruction manual, there are some great tips in there!

 

6. Minimise external heat

The ambient temperature of the region you’re visiting can have a drastic effect on the efficiency of your caravan’s refrigerator. If temperatures outside are on the high side, turn up the refrigerator’s cooling setting, and vice-versa. After a point, however, the fridge might not be able to tackle the high ambient temperatures, and in such cases, your best bet is to park your caravan in such a way that the side where the fridge is located is in the shade. An awning installed right outside can also shade your refrigerator effectively.

 

In addition to the above tips, good caravan refrigeration practice includes keeping your refrigerator on level ground. This will help the cooling unit last longer, and save you unnecessary repair or replacement costs. You can additionally pair your refrigerator with an icebox, dividing the load between the two in such a way that more frequently accessed items are kept in the icebox. This will reduce the number of times you have to open the fridge, thus maintaining its interior temperature and maximising its efficiency. Iceboxes also double up as excellent portable coolers that you can carry with you to the beach or to a picnic spot in the woods, helping you chill out in style and make the most of your camping holiday!

 

7. Know what your fridge is capable of:

3-way absorption fridges are only designed to run off a 12V power source while the auxiliary battery is being charged by the alternator via the start battery. In other words, you should only run a 3-way fridge on battery while driving from point A to point B. 3-way fridges are most efficient fuel source is gas or 240V. If you want to power your refrigerator from battery and solar, you should purchase an upright compressor fridge.

 

Have any further questions? Give one of our product experts a call on 1800 787 278!