Dometic RV Fridge How to & Troubleshooting Guide

dometic RV fridge how to and troubleshooting guide

An RV provides an excellent way to travel with family and friends. You get to see the country and enjoy the sights in a relaxed atmosphere. A refrigerator is a crucial part of the journey since you need to store foods and cool your drinks. Therefore, it is necessary to pick an RV refrigerator that is reliable, easy to use, and durable. That will ascertain you will have a comfortable trip no matter how long it takes. There are several manufacturers to choose from, but Dometic RV is the best choice for you.

Dometic Group is a top Swedish home appliance manufacturer founded in 2001. The company traces its history to Electrolux, an organization that developed the first Dometic RV refrigerators. Today, the company sells its products worldwide, which means you can easily find spare parts for your refrigerator no matter where you drive to in your RV. There are also qualified technicians with training in handling Dometic RV refrigerators.

If you are interested in buying a Dometic RV refrigerator, you need to know how to use and care for the unit. Bear in mind that good maintenance improves performance and longevity. You should also be able to identify signs of trouble and make the necessary repairs. Here is a comprehensive guide to the use, care, and maintenance of your Dometic RV refrigerators.

Why is my Dometic RV fridge not cooling

Your RV fridge works much harder than the one you have at home. It needs to withstand movement, varying elevation, and changing temperatures. If your RV fridge stops cooling, your food could spoil, and if you are driving through a hot area, you will not have cold drinks. It is therefore essential to know how to fix this problem when it occurs. Use the following troubleshooting guidelines to find the cause of the issues and then make the necessary repairs.

Gas working but not electric

  • If the fridge runs on gas but not electricity, there is a problem with your electrical circuit.
  •  Use your multimeter to check the element to ensure that the control board sends power to your heating element. If the control board provides electricity, and the fridge will not get cold, replace the heating element, and it should work.
  • If there is no electrical power getting to the heating element, check the 120V circuit. Make sure that you inspect your breaker and circuit, then repair any damage.
  • Check the fuse and control board relays for damage if the circuit and breaker are working. Remove the control board panel and check the fuses. You can replace the blown fuses or control board.

The fridge works on electricity and not gas.

If your fridge works on electricity but not on gas, there is a problem with the gas circuit. Check whether you have propane; if you do not, get a new tank, and your fridge should work. If you have propane, check that the burner is working correctly. Restart the refrigerator to see whether the flame ignites. If it starts then blows out, you may have a damaged flame sensor.  Make the repairs, and your fridge will work.

The fridge is working, but the freezer is not working.

  • If your freezer will not get cold even though the fridge is working, it is a sign that you may have an insulation or cooling problem. Remember, ambient temperature affects the RV fridge temperature. That said, RV fridges do not get as cold as your home fridge. However, if your RV fridge does not stay below freezing, you can check the following to find the cause.
  • If it is hot, install a fridge fan, and performance will improve. If you already have a fan, make sure that it is working correctly. Also, make sure that you always park your RV with the fridge side in the shade.
  • Next, check the cooling system and the insulation. If the insulation is not working, then the cooling system will not handle the heat. Make the necessary repairs, and the system will work.

How to reset a Dometic RV refrigerator

It is advisable to reset your Dometic RV refrigerator after installation. You should also reset it if it is the first time you are using it in a long time. Follow these steps to reset your Dometic RV fridge.

  • Turn off all electrical power connected to the fridge.
  • The reset button is usually on the inside of your fridge, so it should be easy to spot. Push and hold the switch for 10 seconds.
  • Release the button and wait for 10 seconds before pressing it again
  • Repeat the process and wait for 5 seconds.
  • Finally, repeat steps 2, 3, and 4.  
  • That should reset your fridge.
  • Reconnect power and then turn on your fridge.

Dometic is not cooling on electricity

RV fridges generally run on both electricity and gas. If you notice that the fridge is not cooling on electricity, you can change to propane, and it will keep working. That said, it is essential to ensure that you make all necessary repairs as soon as you can. To do that, you will need to find the cause of the problem. You can follow these easy steps to do that.

  • Ensure that the control board is working and sending electricity to the heating element. You can do that by using a multimeter on the heating element. If there is no power supply to the heating element, check the control board.
  • Inspect the control board for blown fuses and problems in the relays. If there are problems, make repairs or replace the control board.
  • Check that the circuits are not tripped, reset and switch on the fridge again to see whether it works correctly.

Dometic RV fridge not cooling on gas.

Gas RV fridges require a propane tank to work. Therefore, you need to ensure that the tank is correctly connected to avoid fire accidents. If you notice that your gas RV fridge is not working, you should repair it immediately. Here are easy steps to troubleshoot the unit and make the necessary repairs.

  • Check the pilot light and ensure that it stays on. If it keeps going out, your fridge will not cool. One of the reasons the light may keep burning out may be due to a thermocouple issue. The thermocouple regulates the amount of gas that goes into the fridge’s burner. Inspect it and if it is damaged, replace it immediately.
  • If that does not fix the issues, check the gas line to ensure that it does not have too much air. If there is too much air, the pilot light will ignite but will not stay on. Power down the gas valves and then reset the fridge using the process above to fix this issue. If you have a newer model, you can fix this issue by pressing the power button.
  • Another reason the unit is not cooling on gas could be due to a leaking cooling unit. If your coolant leaks, you will notice a strong ammonia smell and yellow residue on the cooler and surrounding pipes. Plug up the leak and get a professional to fix the problem for you. It is not advisable to repair the cooler if you do not have experience working with coolers. You could get hurt if you do.
  • If you have not driven your RV for a long time, you may have an ammonia sediment buildup. That happens when liquid ammonia drips into the cooling unit, such that when you turn on the fridge, it stalls. That is because the sediments do not allow liquid ammonia to move through the cooling unit.  
  • You should avoid leaving the fridge inactive for long periods to prevent this problem. It is difficult to repair, and most of the time, you will have to buy a new fridge for your RV.
  • If you have a cooling issue after storing your RV during winter, you must check that the cooling unit is not frozen. A frozen cooling unit will not work, but you can fix it using a 60-watt bulb.

Dometic refrigerator troubleshooting no power

If there is no power or your fridge will not power on, you need to fix that problem immediately. That is because the refrigerator is essential while on the road. You will need to store up food until you get to the next town. Here is how to troubleshoot this issue.

Check the fuse

A blown fuse is a common cause of no power problems on your Dometic refrigerator. Start by checking the fuse; replace it, and you should have the power to run your fridge. RV fridges have two fuse connections, and you need to check both to find the problem. The first fuse is outside, and the second one is on the RV fuse box. Check the external one first and if it is in good condition, check the other one. If any fuses are blown, replacing them should solve the problem.

Contact points

If the fuse is working correctly and you still do not have power, check power output from the fridges’ power supply. Then, inspect all the connections to the refrigerator and check all wires.

If you find any deposits on the connections, clean them off, and your fridge should start working. Rust and corrosion can interfere with the power supply, and your fridge will not work. If you have an extensive breakdown, consider using a wire brush to clean it off.  It is essential to check connections when you get your RV out of storage after a long time. After cleaning off the rust on your fridge connections and wires, it should power on quickly.

External power source

If the above-mentioned actions do not work, you need to use an external power source to power your system. That is because there may be a problem with your appliance’s circuit. You can contact the company for help. Remember that opening the main panel may void your warranty, so read through the document before you begin repairs on the machine.

Dometic fridge not cold enough

It is inconvenient when your fridge is not at the right temperature. Food will spoil, and if you love cold beer or lemonade at the end of your day, you may not get it. It is therefore essential to find the problem and make repairs where possible. Follow these troubleshooting steps to find the problem.

  • Start by checking the topography of the area you are driving through. Absorption cooling systems do not work well if the ground is not level. That is because the cooling is gravity-operated. For instance, if you are driving through bumpy country roads, your fridge will not be cold enough.
  • If the ground is level, you need to check the ambient temperature. Ambient temperature affects the Dometic RV fridge temperature, and at above 90°F, it will not cool satisfactorily. Check the condenser fins for obstructions and remove them. You can also install external fans behind the cooling unit to enhance the performance of your fridge.
  • Check the thermostat/resistor inside your fridge. If you think it may be the problem, turn the refrigerator as low as possible and disconnect the thermostat/resistor (Thermistor). If it cools normally, then you need to replace your Thermistor. After that, your system should work correctly.

How to adjust the temperature on Dometic RV fridge

If you are using your RV for the first time after storing it for a long time, the refrigerator will take some time to cool down to the right temperature. You can put in cold foods after you switch the fridge on to speed up the process.

  • To adjust the temperature, use the thermostat knob inside the fridge. Turn it clockwise or anticlockwise, depending on your temperature preference.

How to remove the Dometic RV fridge door

It is essential to adjust your Dometic RV fridge door after using it for a short time. Modifying the door will ensure that you will not have to replace the door gasket. However, you will need to remove the fridge door when making this adjustment. Follow these steps to remove the refrigerator door.

  • Start by loosening the upper trim panel by removing the screws under the plastic.
  • That will expose the upper hinge pin. To remove the hinge pin, lift the hinge plate out. In case your fridge has a Hex-shouldered pin type, you can use a screwdriver to unscrew it.
  • Finally, lift the door off the lower hinge pin to remove it.

When adjusting your fridge door, you will need to add flat washers on the lower hinge pin until the gap in the upper bushing is gone. That may require a little trial and error, so make sure that you set aside time to do it. The adjustment is necessary as the lower bushing on the door wears out due to the door’s weight and food in the door panel. When the bushing starts to wear out, the door settles, resulting in a gap on the upper side. With time, the door will drop, and then the gap will become big enough for your Dometic fridge door to come off on its own.

Check this too: Frigidaire Puresource 3 Water Filter How to & Troubleshooting Guide

How to replace the drain hose on the Dometic RV fridge

A damaged drain pipe will result in water pooling at the bottom of your fridge. The drain pipe on your Dometic fridge is usually white and is made with corrugated plastic; the plastic can become crumbly as it ages. When the plastic is brittle, it will split and crack, and water from the evaporator coil will drip on your fridge floor. Follow these steps to replace your fridge drain hose.

  • To start, you will need to purchase a ½ ínch PVC tube of about 2 feet in length and two small zip ties.
  • Turn the plastic fasteners to detach the lower access panel.
  • Remove the old drain hose and, in its place, put it in the new clear PVC line.
  • Be careful when removing the hose from the floor to preserve the sealant. That said, you can also use RV caulk or silicone if the sealant tears.
  • Push your new PVC hose onto the drain pan nipple and fasten it with your zip tie.
  • Attach the hose to the pipe using the other zip tie.
  • Push your new PVC hose through the floor until an inch sticks out, and then cut it.

How to defrost Dometic RV fridge

Good maintenance is essential for your fridge. One of the best ways to do that is by regularly defrosting it. Follow these easy steps to defrost your fridge.

  • Turn off the fridge by turning the power button to the off position.
  • Empty your fridge but leave the drip tray below the finned evaporator.
  • Keep the door open.
  • Allow the water to run into the drip tray and out of the fridge through the drain hose.
  • To speed up the process. You can fill the ice tray with warm water and place it on the freezer shelf.
  • After all the ice has melted, wipe off excess moisture and clean the fridge.
  • Wipe the fridge exterior with a moist cloth.
  • Switch on the fridge, set the thermostat to its highest setting for several hours, and reset it to its normal position.
  • Put the food back into the fridge.
  • Remember, do not use an ice pick or knife to remove ice from your freezer shelves. You could damage the walls and cause a leak in the ammonia system.
  • Do not use a hot air blower to melt the ice as the heat could damage the plastic or metal parts, for instance, by warping them.

How to make Dometic RV fridge colder

  • If you want to make your fridge more chilled, you can start by turning the thermostat to the number 5 position, the coldest setting on most Dometic RV refrigerators.
  • You can also make your fridge more chilled by installing a fan behind the cooling unit, and that will make your fridge colder.

How to Operate a Gas Fridge

If you are using gas to power your fridge on your RV, follow these steps to operate it. Bear in mind that if the refrigerator has been in storage for a long time, the gas lines may be full of air, and you will need to repeat the process below several times before the fridge starts working.

  • Start by ensuring that the gas valves are in the ON position.
  • Turn the power selector knob to the gas position and the thermostat to number 4.
  • Long press the flame button, then press the piezo igniter several times to start a flame.
  • When the flame ignites, the indicator will show green.
  • Keep your finger on the flame button for 10 seconds after the flame ignites.
  • Release and ensure that the indicator is still pointing to the green field.
  • To turn off the fridge, switch the power button to the off position.  

How to Operate an AC Electric Fridge

If you are using a 230-240V circuit to power the fridge, ensure that the voltage on the data plate is similar to the primary voltage. Then, follow these steps to operate your system.

  • Ensure that the power cord is connected to the power supply.
  • Turn the power selector knob to the AC position and the thermostat to position number 4.

Precautions to take when using a gas fridge

It is essential to take safety precautions when using LPG. That is because it is highly flammable and can cause a fire in your RV if you are not careful. Take the following safety precautions when using gas to power your fridge.

  • If you smell gas, open all the windows and doors in your RV
  • Do not touch any of the electric switches in your Rv if you suspect a gas leak. Ensure that you turn off any open flame.
  • Switch off the gas supply at the source; for instance, turn the manual gas valves to the off position.
  • Do not use the gas system to power your fridge while driving your RV.

How to clean your Dometic RV fridge

It is advisable to clean your refrigerator regularly. That helps improve its performance, longevity, and appearance. In addition, You should clean the fridge when you take the RV out of storage or after defrosting. Follow these steps to clean your Dometic RV fridge.

  • Start by cleaning the inside of your fridge. Use lukewarm water and baking soda solution. Wipe the entire area, and then use a dry cloth to wipe off excess water.
  • Use warm water to clean the evaporator, ice tray, and shelves.
  • Check the vents for obstructions such as nests and spider webs. Remove these and wipe off dust and other small particles.
  • Use a moist cloth to wipe the exterior of the fridge.
  • Do not use harsh abrasives to clean your fridge, as those could damage the materials and make it dull.

Maintenance tips for your Dometic RV refrigerator

Providing good maintenance ensures that your RV fridge works correctly and serves you for a long time. You can prevent damage to your RV fridge and spot problems early. Then, after a maintenance inspection, you can make the necessary repairs. Here are repair tips you can use to provide maintenance for your system.   

  • Ensure you install the fridge correctly. If you do not, it may develop many problems while you are on the road.
  • After each drive, perform a maintenance inspection of the fridge to ensure that all the parts are correctly installed and working perfectly. Also, make sure that all connections and wires are securely attached.
  • Always park your RV with the fridge side under the shade to enhance its performance.
  • Start cooling your fridge before you start your trip. In addition, cool the food you plan to carry in your home fridge to ensure that your small RV fridge does not work too hard.
  • Buy ice during your trip instead of making it in your RV fridge. That will ensure that your fridge does not work too hard, which will improve its longevity.
  • Do not overfill your propane tanks, as that could damage your diaphragm.
  • Make sure that you arrange food in the fridge for maximum air circulation. You can also buy a small fan and place it in the refrigerator to enhance air circulation and aid in cooling.
  • Check the evaporator fins regularly to ensure there is no ice buildup. If there is, use a pan of warm water to defrost it.
  • Wipe moisture off food and drink containers before putting them in the fridge to prevent frost buildup.
  • Keep the fridge door closed to prevent the frosty air from escaping. If you leave the door open, your fridge will have to work harder to keep the food cold.
  • Check that the fridge light goes off when the fridge is closed. If it does not, it will increase the power consumption of your fridge.
  • Make sure that you clean off carbon buildup on the burner and regularly inspect the thermocouple.
  • Periodically defrost the fridge and clean it. That will improve its performance and durability.