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Old 04-24-2018, 11:03 AM   #1
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Best practice for cooling fridge on propane.

Hi all.

I was curious about how you go about cooling off your fridge prior to travel. I know that a lot of you start yours a day or so before departing, but this isn't an option for us.

So some background:

Since we bought our AS 19' CCD in 2003, the routine for me is upon arrival at storage place, turn propane tanks on, go inside and ignite all burners of stove for a minute or two. Then start furnace a same amount of time, and then water heater. Finally I start fridge. Sometimes takes 10 button "clicks" to start to se the meter thing move toward green. Normally the needle sits dead center to a little bit in the green zone. We have a Dometic RM 2452.

So now I start loading in stuff that I know won't cause problems during travel- nothing heavy on the plastic shelves. They are VERY expensive to replace if they break. I know this...

I also place a couple of Coleman Ice pacs in the fridge to sort of keep things cool until the unit cools down for several hours. This has worked for me for years.

About a year or so ago, I began having issues where the fridge did not cool down- freezer not freezing etc. I brought it to my guy and he checked out the pressure, adjusted this and that and everything good again. Still doing same method as above.

I also purchased a little fridge thermometer to monitor temp. When I was at the repair place, I was told that I should not be using the cold packs, and in fact I should let the fridge cool when it is empty. My guess is that he thinks the thermostat is somehow be fooled into thinking the unit is actually cool. But I keep the cold packs away from any interior probe.

Cooling empty is fine, except I have a bunch of food that should stay coolish. I've been schlepping a stainless steel Coleman cooler on trips lately, just in case of total failure, at least I can get a bag of ice.

So sorry for the long post here. Do you have a routine for proper fridge hygiene? Does it sound reasonable that my problems are related to cool food going into the fridge to soon? It seems odd that I did my routine as stated above for years without a problem. I acknowledge tht like it's owners, the fridge is 15 years older....

Thanks.

JL
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:21 AM   #2
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If the fridge starts correctly on propane, no prob adding blue ice [or ice] along with cold items from home -- do not add warm items IMO. Put blue ice in fridge AND freezer. No such thing as "fooling" the stat with blue ice!



We pre-chill the fridge in exactly this way. No prob.

If it does not cool down quickly, you may have other problems with the stat [or slide thermistor?], but to answer the primary question -- no prob adding blue ice first.

Realize -- the stat does not KNOW the difference between blue ice and food !!!!

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Old 04-24-2018, 12:28 PM   #3
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We’ve noticed ours getting more finicky after 10 years.
Seems like it’s a little more susceptible to solar gain, too.
Spoke to a Dometic tech about it and he basically said if there’s a problem you’ll smell the ammonia.
We got a little fridge fan to circulate the air and it’s helped a lot. I think if I’m still having poor performance I’ll try a fan for the vent stack.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:37 PM   #4
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Realize -- the stat does not KNOW the difference between blue ice and food !!!!

As long as the fridge and freezer get cold, the source of the cooling makes no difference. Blue ice, real ice, cold food, beer, or the fridge's cycles. Cold is cold is cold.

The only "fooling" that is taking place is that cold contents may already be colder than the thermostat setting, so that the fridge can't keep the food as cold as it was when the food was first put in. But a bit of experimentation and experience should show you the thermostat setting you need in order to keep the food as cold as it was when you first put it in the fridge.

The main issue is your health with regard to frozen food in the freezer, that needs to stay frozen to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. A trick I learned years ago is to freeze a shallow plastic cup of water-- an empty Jell-O cup is good for this. Fill it half full and freeze it. Place a penny on top of the ice. As long as the penny stays on top of the ice, everything has stayed frozen. But if you ever see the penny inside the ice, you know that thawing has occurred, and anything that can't be safely thawed and refrozen will have to be discarded.
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Old 04-24-2018, 01:26 PM   #5
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I used to carry a folding cooler. I'd put some food in it with ice, and start the trip. By the end of my first days driving, the real fridge was cold and I'd transfer everything over. As the days progressed, I'd stop at a WalMart and stock up on groceries.
Consider keeping a couple 2 lt. soda bottles from home, fill them with water and freeze them. They act like block ice and don't leak.
Throw away the melted ones when you can. If you're frugal, use the water for dishes or pet bowls.

I stopped provisioning so fully at home and tried to remember I wasn't driving to the Moon, I was still in the USA and stores were plentiful and a break was welcome.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:43 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone.

No ammonia smell. We freeze a 1/2 gallon costco milk bottle filled with water and place that in the Coleman SS cooler. Lasts a while when temps aren't excessive, and then we can drink that water when it thaws.

I like the penny on the ice trick, though I am almost afraid to know

I have taken the burner and thermocouple assembly out and carefully tried to clean it somewhat. Sometimes that makes a difference along with cleaning the flu. If it is above 65 degrees and the fan in back of the fridge doesn't cycle on and off, I know that there s a problem.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:48 PM   #7
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I like the penny on the ice trick, though I am almost afraid to know
It's a trick widely practiced along the Gulf Coast, where one may be forced to evacuate for a tropical storm and not be able (or willing) to take all of one's frozen foods along from home. When one returns from an evacuation, one absolutely needs to know if the power has been out for long enough for frozen foods to spoil. But the trick works the same way in an RV freezer, as long as the cup containing the ice and coin is relatively wide and shallow so it doesn't tip over in transit.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:57 PM   #8
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That’s a great trick.
Waaay less subjective than my “the Ben and Jerry’s tastes refrozen” technique.
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:00 PM   #9
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I like the penny on the ice trick, though I am almost afraid to know
I do a variation on that for emergencies. When Irma was headed my way, I left, but I put four ice cubes in a ziplock bag in the home freezer. If you return and have ice cubes, your power wasn't off long enough to thaw, if you have a frozen puddle, it thawed and re-froze.
It's a good RV tip too.

Fortunately, I had a tiny thaw but mostly cubes. I didn't throw out anything, and even the milk didn't spoil. Two blocks away those houses lost power for a week.
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:31 PM   #10
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I always bring a cooler with blue ice packs because I usually have leftover food from a weekend trip and need to get it home after dropping the AS at the storage place. Also, I don't always go directly home from the storage facility.

As such, I generally keep items in the cooler until the fridge/freezer have cooled sufficiently. My freezer cools down really fast - the bottom surface of the freezer is very cold within an hour of starting up.

If everything isn't down to 40F by the time I go to bed, I usually just put the items (not a lot) in the fridge/freezer with the aid of the blue ice packs.
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:29 PM   #11
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Like y'all I packed frozen food in the freezer and cold packs in the fridge of the unit in my old truck camper. I'd plug in to an extension cord at the house or 'fire' up the propane in a parking lot to cool it down more. Usually the cold packs and frozen food kept everything cold either way. The fridge would cool down and all was good.

Except the flame would blow out when driving down the road on propane. Then the refrigerator would become an "ice box" again.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:06 AM   #12
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I also had a 19, what I recall was the fin slider on the right top side. I don't recall which way it was to make it cooler. Read your manual to find out. Maybe your fin slider is moved to the warm vs the cool. It can only be moved up or down.

My routing was turning it ON the night before say around 10P, so when we were heading out by 4'ish, it was already cold.

I also got an Camco Airator.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:19 AM   #13
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Thumbs up Frozen Penny Test

I have used this method to determine power failures since the mid 50s. It is one sure fire method to determine if the power has been off for a substantial period. Works at home as well as in the trailer.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:37 AM   #14
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. . . what I recall was the fin slider on the right top side. I don't recall which way it was to make it cooler.
. . .
Usually you move the thermistor UP for colder.

[ Mnemonic = "It's colder up North" ]

Happy Trails!

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