Keeping food and drinks chilled in an RV can be quite the challenge. RVs get warm and have limited energy at their disposal. Anything you can do to make your fridge more energy efficient will go a long way.
Passive approaches like insulating your RV better, parking under the shade, and getting an efficient RV fridge will give you tangible gains. Adding some RV fridge fans is a fast and active solution that promises positive results.
Yes. Well installed RV fridge fans work. They will make your fridge cool faster and maintain temperatures efficiently
How Do RV Fridge Fans Work?
Before understanding how RV fridge fans work, you first have to know why you might need them.
It all stems back to how a fridge works.
A compressor, a refrigerant, and a series of heat tubes shuttle heat out of the fridge’s interior, depositing it to the outside. The heat tubes attach to fins on the outside of the refrigerator that dissipates the heat to the surroundings.
Over time, the air around the fins gets warmer, making it harder to cool the refrigerant in the tubes, making the fridge work slower.
RV fridge fans seek to remedy this by actively creating an airflow that shuttles away the hot air and provides a cool breeze over the refrigerator’s cooling fins, making the entire unit more efficient.
Where Does an RV Refrigerator Fan Go?
Your RV fridge fans can either be vent fans or intake fans. Vent fins are the most common and are installed outside the fridge straight onto or near the fins.
Intake fans go inside some fridges and work to improve airflow in the fridge hence spreading out the cold air throughout the cooling chamber faster.
The vent fans are the most common and the most efficient.
How to Install RV Refrigerator Vent Fans
Since the vent fans will be the most efficient when they add a cool draft of air to the back of your RV fan where the cooling fins sit, you will need to plan and adapt the installation to your fridge’s and RV’s layout.
Here are the goals your design should achieve
Check this too: Dometic RV Air Conditioner How to & Troubleshooting Guide
An Air Channel Behind the Fridge
Most fridges in the market have their cooling fins behind the fridge. That is why the actual fins or the covering metal plate behind your fridge get warm. Manufacturers also advise you to leave some space behind the wall and the back of the fridge to encourage natural airflow for better cooling.
Assuming you already have this space behind your fridge cabinet, you can create the air channel by:
- Adding some air intake to the bottom of the space behind the fridge
- Adding some exhaust near the top of the space behind the fridge
Usually, bare openings or spaces will be good enough. If your fridge is a tight fit, you can achieve the intake and exhaust by installing elaborate ducts to bring in the fresh air and vent hot air to the outside of the RV.
Adding Exhaust Fans (Or Intake and Exhaust Fans)
Once the air channel is in place, you can strategically install fans at the exhaust (top end).
In most cases, the exhaust fan will suck air through the intake via negative pressure, and an intake fan isn’t necessary. Add one if you have extra fan sets lying around.
Ensure that the exhaust fan is a tight fit so that it forces all the air through its fan opening, causing sufficient negative pressure to pull fresh air through the back of the fridge.
This elaborate installation will take some bit of fabrication and is the most efficient. You have to be very handy or hire someone to help you install such a fan.
Check this too: Microwave How-To and Troubleshooting Guide
Fridges With a Top Vent
Some fridges already have an inbuilt intake and exhaust vent at the bottom and top of the metal sheet protecting the fins on the back.
If your fridge has this design, you can slap a commercial RV fridge exhaust fan to the top exhaust slot to encourage airflow and make the fridge more efficient.
Are RV Fridge Exhaust Fans Worth It
To an extent, yes. RV fridges always sit in tight spaces with limited airflow compared to most in-house fridges.
You can get extra efficiency and save on power by using fans to encourage better airflow.
If you have the time, you can design your exhaust outlet such that it blows the air to the outside of the RV or out next to the RV’s ceiling fan to vent your RV refrigerator better. The intake to cool the air channel behind the fridge should be as low as possible and in a shaded place.
Adding a dust screen to the intake will keep the back of your fridge clean, making the fins more efficient at exchanging heat with the cool air your new fans will be forcing in.
ProTip: Some RV fridges already have exhaust fans built-in. If yours has one, avoid the quick way of adding a fan straight onto the fridge. Go with the elaborate approach that creates an air channel behind the fridge.
Can RV Fridge Fans Make Your Fridge Cooler?
Yes. They can. Well, technically, they will make it cool faster and more efficiently. Your fridge will still cool to the set temperature.
Check this too: How to Keep an RV Fridge Cold While Driving
By making the heat exchange more efficient, well-installed fridge fans will help your RV fridge achieve its lowest set temperature fast and make it easier to maintain that temperature.
The compressor will run less often hence making your fridge more energy-efficient too.
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