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Bill Phillips

     Domestic refrigerators use Refrigerant 12, however some changes may be in the works. RV refrigerators use a mixture of gas’s, in a precise ratio to one another. Also RV refrigerant is under higher pressure. A give away to this is the heavy steel you can see in your RV external (rear coils).

     One of the Most obvious gas’s used in the RV unit is Ammonia! If you did not smell ammonia, that indicates there is no leak in your coils. If there was a leak in the coils very few agencies actually repair them. On the other hand, with most RV refrigerators you can replace them yourself as a complete set not needing to be charged with gas. It’s not the easiest job in the world, but you can do it for around $300-$400 parts cost.

There are two common causes of RV refrigerators loosing their efficiency:

1. The gas’s become non uniform in mix and are scattered throughout the coil system or hung up in pockets. The gurgling sound may be an indicator of this. Remove the refrigerator and "burp" it! This is done by turning it upside down and let set for a period of time. I would let it set over night. Next upright the refrigerator, let it stand for hr. or so then start it on 110V. Give enough time for it to cool, if it feels cool after 45 min. or so, let it run over night with water in the ice cube trays. If you have ice the next day, reinstall it, it’s fixed. If not "burp" it again. It may take 3-4 tries, but after all, the work of getting it out has been done.

2. Some refrigerators which have been performing as expected regularly, will start to lose their cooling capacity usually in their 2nd. or 3rd. day of continuous operation. This is caused by heat building up in the flue area. The air is not circulating fast enough to remove the heat. The heat in the condenser coils is not removed therefore the gas goes around through the system again. Because no additional heat could be extracted from the inside of the refrigerator, the interior cabinet started loosing temperature. This is the point at which you noticed the problem.

     Also inspect for a bird’s nest or possible restriction. An auxiliary fan (thermostaticly controlled would be best) to remove the heat from the flue should correct the deficiency.