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Old 11-03-2015, 12:49 PM   #1
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Can I use a "Residential" LP/electric fridge?

Hello,
I'm pretty new here, and we recently snagged a 1974 Argosy which we'll be slowly restoring.

I've been on the lookout for used appliances for when we get to that point, and just located a good deal for an almost new Dometic RGE400 2-way refrigerator (I believe this same one one here: https://www.thenaturalhome.com/servel400.htm).

I was just about to go pick it up and noticed that it seems geared towards residential use. Can I still use it in our trailer?? If not, why?
Thanks so much for your help!
Bonnie
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:10 AM   #2
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The last time I checked (a few years ago) there were 2 main differences.
1. RV models had no side panels. The front flange was wider than the cabinet face. Some models the flange is screwed to the cabinet to hold it in place. And I think the residential model has side panels.
2. The residential model had no 12v system. Which meant no circuit board. Could be a good thing. Seems like most issues are with the board.

Two things I would call Dometic and ask.
1. Is it as durable as a RV model to handle the bouncing down the road.
2. The ad states 'electrical back up'. Is the heater designed for temporary use only and will fail sooner than that of a RV model.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:43 AM   #3
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The small print:

"Never install a gas refrigerator designed for residential use in a moving vehicle. The Servel RGE400 units are not designed for mobile home, boat or recreational vehicle use."
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120 View Post
The small print:

"Never install a gas refrigerator designed for residential use in a moving vehicle. The Servel RGE400 units are not designed for mobile home, boat or recreational vehicle use."

I have two questions about that statement. 1.They talk about level. Am I correct in saying, any absorption (ammonia) unit needs to be somewhat level to run.
2. They also talk about the open flame. Although many RVers do run down the road with their refrigerator on LP, could that be their disclaimer if anything happens.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:04 PM   #5
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Thanks all! Dometic emailed back. At first he said they were designed for cabin rather than RV use b/c it would need to vent and it utilizes 120v rather than 12v. When I replied back that it would be vented in my TT and that I have 120v, he just responded with: "This unit is meant for cabin purposes and is not recommended for RV installation."

So I suppose that is my answer, and I guess I need to rule it out, but I'm still the type who likes to know exactly WHY

You all have brought up some good points as to some reasons why it probably differs from one designed for RV use.

It's a shame though because I can get it for $450 (almost brand new), and I'm REALLY wanting a white fridge which is so hard to find for RV use (at least on my "used" budget). I guess I could always paint the wood panels of a standard RV one...
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:17 PM   #6
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For $450 I would think it is a good gamble. Sal
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noreen&sal View Post
For $450 I would think it is a good gamble. Sal
You might be right...and I could always use it as an extra garage fridge (mine is on it's last legs) if it seems unsafe or unsuitable for the argosy once I get it and look it over...

For this price I think I could probably handle it failing earlier than an RV one due to unintended use. Could there be big SAFETY issues you all can think of, assuming I have it properly secured/locked/vented? (I've already read many LP on/off while driving discussions pertinent to any LP RV fridge...are they built differently that would "clear" them for this?)...

The mention of it not being level potentially impacting the cooling operation...is that not a consideration with standard RV fridges? (sorry if that's a dumb question)

Also, it's interesting they mention that, "Operation on back-up electrical power is the only option when in motion and even then it is not assured" which kind of implies that people might intend to use it in such a way...
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:41 PM   #8
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The RV units are designed to seal the area between the rear and the inside of the RV to prevent the intrusion of LPG or CO (when properly installed). It may be possible to seal a residential unit, but that seems to be just one of several reasons to not use the residential unit in an RV.

Al
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:45 PM   #9
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Is it built to withstand the constant movement of a travelling vehicle? Or will it rattle itself apart?
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
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Thanks Al and Cameron, good considerations for sure!
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:46 PM   #11
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After seeing the mind-blowing prices on a replacement Dometic fridge, I went with an apartment sized 10 cu. ft. replacement. I upgraded my inverter to 1800 watts, and put in twin Trojan T-150s.

So far, so good. The Igloo fridge was $200 on special from Best Buy, so I had some change rattling around in my pocket for the other upgrades. Lots more interior room than the old 8 cu. ft. I've got a couple muffin fans in the back keeping the air moving, and a thin plywood edge between the door and the main ref. body that holds it in place, and keeps the outside air out.

A lot of the high end RV and marine guys (even Lewster!) are recommending this. If I was boondocking more, I'd install a few hundred watts of solar.
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Old 11-05-2015, 04:41 PM   #12
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Well, actually, the marine guys ( and Lewster ) recommend marine grade Danfoss refrigerators. Very low 12vdc draw, ruggedized, quiet and don't care if they are level. When my old Dometic finally dies, that is how I'm going...

Your basic residential or dormitory sized reefer isn't going to like being bounced down the road for very long. Work great if you are are homesteading somewhere.

Mike
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:02 PM   #13
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When the old Dometic in our MH died we replaced it with a residential unit. That was 18 months ago and we've not had a bit of trouble with it. The biggest challenge we had was finding a refrigerator that would fit through the door.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:43 PM   #14
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I put a residential refriderator in my airstream and it was still working after 5 years. From what I understand they are much more efficient.
Mike
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