Refrigerator Hack

Beech350guy

New Member
Jun 6, 2020
9
Oklahoma
Hi everyone! We just wanted to share a little hack that might help some in hotter climates. We used to own “Smart RV Products”, and used to manufacture the “Fridge-Fix” line of products for RV refrigerators. Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines featured the Fridge-Fix a couple times, and we are so thankful for their articles!. For roughly 8 years we helped RV’ers solve problems with their refrigerators. We have since moved on, as our family requires more time now, but we thought we would share a little hack.

If you look at how RV refrigerators are installed, the access panels are part of the problem in hot climates. There is a stupid amount of bad information online, some of it is even dangerous. Half of the battle in hot weather is getting the heated air out of the cooling unit area. If you look at the design of the access panel, heated air actually has to defy the laws of physics to leave the rear of the fridge. Meaning, heated air has to descend to leave the panel grates. When poor performance is experienced, the easiest thing to eliminate is the overheated rear compartment. Obviously, we have a high-wall product, but this technique can be used on any of the fridge installations.

I made these brackets out of old hangers, and needle nose pliers. Pay no attention to the water stained plywood in the pic, that was done by an enthusiastic 9 year old with a hose during a wash :). In a light rain, even with this little hack installed, the rain does not run into the compartment. That being said, if its going to storm hard, I usually reinstall the panels as normal, then put the brackets back in when the hot weather comers back.

It’s really simple: If the cooling unit fins are exposed to ambient air, the fridge will stay much cooler. Even if its 120 degrees outside, if there is ambient air at the cooling unit fins, your fridge will function much better. In our experience, even if the RV is in direct sunlight, it doesn’t matter. If the cooling unit has ambient air running through the cooling fins, your battle will be much easier.

Hope this helps!

Finished Product:
3B4E12F1-DA9C-466E-83B3-8F5D07C76AE6.jpeg
8E202269-5BED-4B5E-92F2-070CCF9FBE52.jpeg 9FC0D9A1-E0EF-4551-9B89-DD820E866B34.jpeg 802DC6BF-9587-4ED0-B830-2AC1B2128488.jpeg DC5D09DF-DB76-42DF-A736-45CF0AC72330.jpeg
 

Beech350guy

New Member
Jun 6, 2020
9
Oklahoma
Great idea, a lot here install computer fans in the back of the fridge to achive the circulation. But if you combine the two ideas, it may work even better.
Hi again, you are right, computer fans on the upper access panel do indeed help. As long as the fans are extracting the air from the upper panel, and not forcing the air into the lower panel.

If the fans are forcing air into the lower access panel, it makes a positive pressure, and could force carbon monoxide into the trailer.

As for the Fridge-Fix, we produced close to 100K units. We feel very thankful for the wonderful customers that we had over the years, but life took us in a different direction. We love our new pup, and this forum is a lot of fun!
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,240
Ontario
When I still had the pup, I installed a single computer fan in the lower vent sucking air in, and two in the upper pushing air out, this along with a properly made baffle made all the difference in the world.. I could have the fridge cooled down in just a few hours, usually 2, sometimes 3..
 

Senor Mule

Member
Aug 16, 2022
18
I just gutted a recently purchased 2007 Aliner. For my Dometic fridge, I was planning to isolate the outside access area and segregate the upper and lower sections (lower access is for propane lighting and control with a small channel for air passage duct from upper to lower section, and upper access panel is the electric switches and cooling fins). I planned on mounting double computer cooling tower fans with a second set stacked on them. I did this on numerous computers , and the fan acts as a doubler. You install a rheostat on the "outer fans" and run them slightly slower they will speed up due positive air pressure behind them. The reason to do this is to not over speed the outside ones losing efficiency.. You get 3 times the air movement without the electrical draw of 2 fans. The purpose of this will be to use the upper as an intake and lower as an exhaust. This will also keep out moisture at the floor / cabinet interface and exhaust all CO from the propane burner out of the camper.
I also plan on now incorporating the hinge proposed by Beech350guy - that is a really clever idea!!!!
 

brettstoner

Active Member
Jun 17, 2014
144
Toledo, OH
On my popup I directed all airflow so the lower vent intake air would flow up through the fins and then out the top vent. From the factory there are many places where air will stagnate or go to the wrong place. I then installed 2 fans to help the natural airflow. Worked great and zero issues.

On my hybrid I again used baffles to control the airflow from the lower vent intake, through the fins, then out the top vent. However I noticed the refrigerators interior temps were highly dependent on ambient temps. Sometimes food would freeze and other times it was 40+. The fin temp was highly variable as well. After logging it for a few days in different temps I installed a fan controller with three fans. The fans turn on as needed based on fin temps. Now my fridge is a consistant temp regardless of outdoor temps. This is the way to go.
 

karen Hoffmeister

Active Member
Nov 6, 2021
167
T
Hi everyone! We just wanted to share a little hack that might help some in hotter climates. We used to own “Smart RV Products”, and used to manufacture the “Fridge-Fix” line of products for RV refrigerators. Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines featured the Fridge-Fix a couple times, and we are so thankful for their articles!. For roughly 8 years we helped RV’ers solve problems with their refrigerators. We have since moved on, as our family requires more time now, but we thought we would share a little hack.

If you look at how RV refrigerators are installed, the access panels are part of the problem in hot climates. There is a stupid amount of bad information online, some of it is even dangerous. Half of the battle in hot weather is getting the heated air out of the cooling unit area. If you look at the design of the access panel, heated air actually has to defy the laws of physics to leave the rear of the fridge. Meaning, heated air has to descend to leave the panel grates. When poor performance is experienced, the easiest thing to eliminate is the overheated rear compartment. Obviously, we have a high-wall product, but this technique can be used on any of the fridge installations.

I made these brackets out of old hangers, and needle nose pliers. Pay no attention to the water stained plywood in the pic, that was done by an enthusiastic 9 year old with a hose during a wash :). In a light rain, even with this little hack installed, the rain does not run into the compartment. That being said, if its going to storm hard, I usually reinstall the panels as normal, then put the brackets back in when the hot weather comers back.

It’s really simple: If the cooling unit fins are exposed to ambient air, the fridge will stay much cooler. Even if its 120 degrees outside, if there is ambient air at the cooling unit fins, your fridge will function much better. In our experience, even if the RV is in direct sunlight, it doesn’t matter. If the cooling unit has ambient air running through the cooling fins, your battle will be much easier.

Hope this helps!

Finished Product:
View attachment 69823
View attachment 69824 View attachment 69825 View attachment 69826 View attachment 69827
his looks good. Do the prongs on the louvers attatch to anything? I see two more white prongs inside. Also, what is the flap /shade? And how is that attached?
Thanks. Much better for us who are not electrically handy- installing a second fan.
K.H.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,394
the OP's method provides 100% ingress for mudwasps to set up home (as happened in our camper, before we bought it). To include a micro nest inisde the "boiler" chimney.
Yep.

After having a spider set up shop in the propane burner, I learned that lesson and bought louver screens from a local RV supply. No problems since then.

I would rather figure out some sort of sun shade that doesn't require keeping the louvers opened altogether.
 

Sharpie

Member
Nov 2, 2009
62
Ontario Canada
That's a great idea. Over the years I have installed computer fans on my top vents to draw air to keep the fridge cooler when camping. It has worked amazing getting air flow through and around the back is the best way to keeping the fridge working properly and opening that vent looks like another plus on cooing and getting the heat away from the camper. Thanks for the idea.
 

Londonbrewer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
29
Nice mod, definitely going to fab some of these up. I always end up leaving the cover on the ground and always worry I'm going to drive off without it, or drive over it.

I have a single fan exhausting the heat which works wonders. I'm always thinking maybe I should add a second... But figured it was diminishing returns.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,863
Oakland, California
M
Would any nests be built during operation of the fridge? I would think that the heat would be a big deterent.
ost of the time your PUP is idle - thats when they are mroe likely to move in. But an open "door" - is still an invitation. See photos for some of what we found.
 

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