So, you are on the road in your RV, traveling to your favorite camping site. You have a stack of food and drinks in your RV refrigerator. Suddenly, your RV refrigerator stops working, or at least the bottom part has. In the heat of an RV, it could mean it won’t take long for your food to go bad.
If you find the RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is working, you may think it strange. However, you are not alone, and there are many RVers in the same position.
If you are an old-timer, you’ll know the RV refrigerator mechanism and how it works. Coolant goes to the freezer before forwarding to the RV fridge. Also, the bumpier the road, the higher the chance it can affect the cooling and reduce the refrigerator’s cooling capacity. (Learn How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving)
It can be easy to say drive smoother, yet this isn’t the only reason for issues. Luckily, you can use our guide and find out the solution. You may not find the answers to a Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling, but freezer is, but you will know why yours may not be working correctly.
Why Does My Camper Freezer Work But Not the Refrigerator?
Before reaching the refrigerator, the refrigerant must first pass through the freezer first. If the RV refrigerator isn’t cooling, but the freezer is, this indicates an issue with airflow.
A diffuser is used to transfer cold air from the freezer to the fridge in some situations as both areas are cooled off the same cooling unit.
Your RV freezer should be 0 degrees in an ideal scenario, while the RV refrigerator around 34 degrees. As with another refrigerator, the main compartment of your RV refrigerator shouldn’t be over 42 degrees.
To measure the temperature, use a refrigerator thermometer. Driving on steep roads can be a key reason for RV refrigerator failure.
As a result, if you hit a steep or uneven road, be sure to turn the RV refrigerator off. Besides this, always try to make sure your RV refrigerator is level; try using a carpenter’s level.
Can a Fridge Stop Working But Freezer Still Works?
If your freezer is cold but the refrigerator is warm, the parts that cool the refrigerator and freezer may be working properly. Instead, the problem may reside in the air that is already getting to the freezer, also getting to the refrigerator. (Read Must Have RV Camping Accessories)
Here are a few things that can affect the performance of your refrigerator.
Lack Of Air Circulation
In hot climates, poor air circulation occurs all the time. Your refrigerator may not provide the cooling it should once the ammonia and hydrogen burn rate becomes slower than the rate ambient air heats. You can install a fan with a higher PRM behind the RV refrigerator’s open space on the rear.
This increases airflow in the refrigerator’s chamber and equalizing the temperature between the RV refrigerator and surroundings.
The thermistor is a vital part of the RV refrigerator where it has a negative temperature coefficient, which affects the cooling period of your RV refrigerator.
Surrounding temperature rises can influence the cooling potential. As a result, you can get a warm air mixture flowing faster, and resulting in unnecessary cooling resulting in a subsequent drop in refrigerator cooling.
The fix here is to replace the refrigerator’s cooling with a new one. This allows the refrigerator to operate efficiently and with no temperature control issues. Using a refrigerator without a thermistor for extended periods can be harmful to the refrigerator. (Read Our Cleaning RV Awning Guide)
RV refrigerator problems can be caused by the temperature sensor when they are loose or fall from the fridge. Make
Blocked Refrigerator Exhaust
The hot air inside an RV refrigerator cannot escape and usually happens when the exhaust of your RV refrigerator is clogged from dust or pollutants. To fix this, start by removing the vent cover on the roof of the RV. Upon removing the vent cover, inspect it for blockages that stop hot air from escaping.
An RV refrigerator needs a coolant of ammonia mixture. This coolant goes to the freezer before the refrigerator. The problem arises when the ammonia mix dries down and your RV fridge runs with an empty tank. Have the tank refilled, make sure not to use the RV refrigerator, and keep it turned off.
How Do You Reset an RV refrigerator?
Here’s the troubleshooting process you can follow to check and reset the 12-volt system of your fridge.
- Turn Off your refrigerator.
- Disconnect all the following from the power board: (a. 12 VDC positive and negative wires, b. AC power cord, c. Gas valve solenoid coil wires, d. Spark/sense electrode assembly wires.)
- Remove refrigerator power board cover.
- Reconnect a, b, c, & d you disconnected in step 2.
- Turn on your refrigerator.
- Locate Pins 15 on 16 pin connector (P1). (Pin 15 will be an empty socket on the right in the top row.
- Take an insulated jumper wire and short Pin 15 to the power board ground lug for 10 – 15 seconds. You will hear a clicking sound when you have set the controls.
- Turn off your refrigerator.
- Turn on your refrigerator and check if there is a “no co” code displayed. If there is, repeat steps 7 – 9. When the code is cleared, proceed to step 10.
- Turn Off the refrigerator.
- Disconnect a, b, c, & d. as instructed in step 2.
- Install your refrigerator power board cover.
- Reconnect the following to the power board: (a. Spark/sense electrode assembly wire, b. Gas valve solenoid coil wires, c. AC power cord, d. 12 VDC positive and negative wires from the power board)
- Place your refrigerator back in its location and turn it back into operation mode.
One thing to do here is to make sure you are running at the right voltage. If you re running at less than 12 volts, it can affect the performance of the refrigerators.
What Would Cause a Refrigerator and Freezer to Stop Getting Cold?
The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in all things refrigerator to troubleshoot your fridge. If your fridge’s cooling capacity is compromised, the refrigerator will be affected first.
The bouncier and curvier the road gets, the more the refrigerant swivels around. Make sure your RV rides as smoothly as possible to prevent refrigerant clogging up the system.
It is important to keep the unit level for your RV refrigerator. You can use a thermometer to check if your RV refrigerator is working, but you can check by touching the cooling coils inside the freezer and refrigerator.
If you’re using gas, check behind the refrigerator to see if the flame is present. If you have an electric refrigerator, check to see if the heating element is hot enough. A burn could occur if you touch the heating element.
Until the refrigerant is sent to the fridge, the freezer compartment is cooled first. So, if the freezer is perfect, but the refrigerator isn’t, you’re most likely dealing with airflow issues.
In certain instances, a diffuser is used to transfer cool air into the fridge from the freezer.
The diffuser duct can become clogged with ice at times, and you can tell by listening to the evaporator fan. If you don’t hear noise from the evaporator fan, don’t panic as the fan cycles on and off, so try later. (Read Full Time RV Living Tips)
Troubleshooting A Domestic Refrigerator
RV refrigerators are different than conventional models. For starters, they quickly start warming up when you open the door. It will take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours for the refrigerator to start cooling, so try tossing in as many cold items as you have and give it a go.
A refrigerator provides cooling by absorbing heat, so if it doesn’t have anything to take heat from, it will become noticeably warmer.
If you find a Dometic refrigerator, not cooling but freezer works here’s what you can do:
- Defrost layers of ice
- Check to see if the refrigerator’s door seals are tight.
- Check to see if the air flow for the top and bottom is unobstructed. The upper refrigerator vent needs to receive maximum airflow, or heat accumulates.
- Clean the refrigerator’s burner as detailed in your Dometic manual. If you see the flame size compromised, it negatively affects cooling performance.
Try turning off the Climate Control switch as some users report it improves cooling efficiency over time.