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Old 05-16-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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2010 27' FB International
pocatello , Idaho
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Leaving Fridge Running

I have a 2010 27' International that we use mainly on weekends. We keep it at a storage facility without electric hookup during the week. It does have solar panels. We turn the fridge off when not in use. The fridge takes a while to cool down after not being used during the week. Does anyone keep their fridge running all season - maybe turn it down when not actually using it. I don't think it draws much power, but not sure about LP.

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Old 05-16-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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In terms of usage, it should run for weeks on a bottle of propane without a problem. Personally I wouldn't leave it running unattended like that, though.

We leave our fridge running at home now that we have a level spot for the camper, but on electric, and we're home in the evenings and all.

I suggest considering other options - for example, if you use some blocks of ice, you can cool the fridge down much faster. Dry ice is even faster if you have a convenient way to get it.

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Old 05-16-2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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I wouldn't run it on LP in storage. It may also be against the rules of the storage facility. We bring ours home the night before we leave and plug it in and turn on the fridge, it's always cold the next day when we pack it. Also only pack it with cold items like pop etc, if you pack it with warm pop etc it will work harder to cool back down. Some people freeze their water bottles and that also helps.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:27 PM   #4
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Heat operated RV stile refrigerators are very very inefficient compared to the home compressor types. On 120 volt power, they may average between 200 and 300 watts per hour, while a modern home type, double door one will run 50 to 100 watts per hour. Your storage facility will be footing a bill which is going to be reflected in the charge they must make for the use. From the energy use, they are, hands down, very inefficient. And the same is true with Propane, while a cylinder will last quite a while, the actual amount of energy used is considerable over months of operation.

One can debate the "wear and tear" issue of far more running hours. I don't think it is clear one way or the other if long term operation of an RV type refrigerator is more, or less, damaging to the total life of the cooling unit. Some feel it is, some do not. I have seen lots of opinions, but I have never seen any long term real tests which look credible and show one side or the other is best.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:36 PM   #5
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We store our Bambi at home covered under a port and we leave the frig running on shore power full time. The AC is also set for 87 in summer months (cooler when we need to be in it for some reason)...and furnace at 40 degrees in the winter. When we hit the road we run it on propane and also pack it with cold or items so they help maintain the cold...

I agree that you should check with your storage facility to make sure it's OK to leave the frig on propane while in storage,...they may not allow that. They may not even be keen on with electricity.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Heat operated RV stile refrigerators are very very inefficient compared to the home compressor types.
Believing that absorption-type refrigerators were efficient, I was sure you were wrong about this, until I looked it up. You're right. Our Dometic NDR1062 refrigerator's AC heating element is rated at 325 watts. I am sure it does not run continuously, but even at 30% cycle that would mean 100 watts per hour. That's kind of like leaving a big incandescent light on all the time.

On the other hand, for those who keep their trailers at home and plugged in, having a second refrigerator can be handy. We use ours regularly, so it is never turned off. The electrical cost is about $80 (in our local area) per year, assuming 100 watts per hour average.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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I like to measure things and bet you will find that, on average, the heater runs well over half time. My old 310 motorhome with the electric refrig and buzz box Univolt on (another very inefficient device) use to take 6 KWh a day just siting there doing nothing. At the average rate of about 12 cents a KWh that is 72 cents a day or over $22 a month.

If you have an absorption unit that "won't keep up and cold" in hot weather, the heater element (and yours is rated at 325 watts) will be operating full time.

If you or anyone wants to have fun and be shocked at how much things run or cost to run, buy a Kill O Watt meter for about $25 and you can measure stuff, over time, like an RV refrigerator. You may turn a few things off...LOL.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
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in addition to good advise above i'll mention that the freezer cools much quicker than the fridge. you can try first loading the cool stuff into the freezer until the fridge cools.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:45 PM   #9

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the important thing is we have a working fridge.

Propane usage is negligible, only time it's on AC is when plugged in at home.

Cools much faster on LPG, usually started the day before we leave.

I would NEVER leave it on, AC or LPG, in remote storage.

Kind'a like leaving the iron plugged in when no one's around.


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