RV Refrigerator Repair – How to Troubleshoot a Stopping Refrigerator


When the refrigerator in your RV stops cooling, it’s a major problem. You may be able to troubleshoot the problem and fix it yourself, or you’ll need a professional.

If the refrigerator isn’t cooling at all, the first thing you need to do is check that it is actually plugged in and plugged into its dedicated 120-volt AC power outlet (usually found in the lower access panel area of your RV). Then you’ll need to test whether it’s actually running on this source of power by plugging a thermometer inside and watching how it cools over time. This is a very important step, and you need to have some degree of technical knowledge in order to do this.

You also need to check the thermostat to make sure it is functioning properly. If it’s not, the fridge won’t cool, and you’ll need to replace it with a new one from Dometic or another supplier.

Lastly, the freezer door gasket needs to be checked for gaps that allow warm air in and cause a lack of frost. Using a strip of paper between the freezer door and the refrigerator body will show any gaps that need to be sealed. The same applies to the rear ‘cat box’ seal, which must be tight in order to keep warm outside air from entering the freezer evaporator and causing it to not freeze.

If you open the fridge and smell ammonia, the evaporator in the absorption refrigerator is likely leaking. This is a sign that the heat transfer coils in the refrigerator have been damaged and need to be replaced by a professional.

The refrigerator drain pan can get clogged with ammonia sediment, which can lead to a loss of refrigeration ability. This is easy enough to clean, but it’s a good idea to do this on a regular basis in order to prevent the sediment from building up and damaging the fridge.

A faulty thermostat or circuit board in the refrigerator could be the culprit as well, but this will usually require some degree of technical knowledge to diagnose and repair, so you’ll probably need a trained professional for that one. It’s a good idea to start with the simplest troubleshooting methods and work your way up to the more difficult ones.

It’s also a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator once a year, since items are jostled around a lot more in an RV than they are in a normal home. Keeping the fridge clean and having it professionally cleaned regularly can help reduce future problems and save you money on repairs. It’s also a great idea to consider getting a remanufactured refrigerator cooling unit from Cool Fun, which is a cost-effective alternative to buying a new refrigerator outright. They’re available for many popular RV fridge models, and they come with a warranty. Check out their website for more information. You can also contact them with any questions about rv refrigerator repair.

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