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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Heat Relief for Refer

How hot does the boiler on the back of an RV refrigerator get? We have a 2-way (LP and 120-volt AC) refrigerator in our coach. This past weekend we tried to use the refrigerator on electric power and noticed that it was not cooling like it should have. That metal box on the back of the refrigerator was hot to the touch. It almost seemed too hot. The ambient temperature outside was also quite high.
Rod, (Rapid City, SD)

Rod, the rear components of any absorption refrigerator will get very hot. That's why correct leveling and proper venting of that heated air is so crucial for optimum operation of the cooling unit. Cleanliness also plays a part in the overall effectiveness of the operation as well. Extremely high ambient temperatures will lay a huge impediment on any absorption unit as it tries to transfer heat from inside the box. It's probably not realistic to expect inside temperatures to sink much lower than about 30-degrees below ambient in such conditions. Plus the heat buildup at the rear of the refrigerator will be amplified as well adding to the detriment.

The boiler section of the cooling unit will always be the hottest under normal situations since that is where the heating element and LP burner are located. Blocked cooling units will experience hotter than normal temperatures at the absorber vessel and along the absorber coils as well, but typically the entire rear of the refrigerator will get quite warm. As long as you are level and there is a clear chimney effect behind the refrigerator, there's not much that can be done until the ambient temperature drops some.

The addition of an auxiliary exhaust fan will help if you continue to experience such high temperatures. Also a battery operated fan inside the refrigerator will be beneficial for more even cooling throughout the storage compartment. Try not to leave the door open too long when surveying those tasty choices as I do when I'm searching for that late-night snack. Open the door, remove the object and close it right away. There could be a thermostat issue at work here, but not enough information was provided to delve into that. Chances are, the high ambient temperatures are the cause of the seemingly inefficient operation of the refrigerator.


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