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Old 06-21-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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Question do i have to defrost fridge every month?

Hello everyone,

I am a newbie to the forums and to owning an Airstream.

I have recently bought a '76, 26' Argosy and I believe it has the original fridge in it. It is currently at a restoration guy's place.

A few questions I need some help with regarding this fridge:

He told me that I would probably have to defrost this fridge about once a month.

1. Is this true? If so why?

2. How does one defrost this kind of fridge correctly, just turn it off and open up the doors and then let be open for...um how long? and then close everything and turn it back on?

3. Is it also true that the trailer has to be very level before it will work? I will be doing some driveway living for a year or so in the trailer a concrete drive way.

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BrianD. View Post
Hello everyone,

I am a newbie to the forums and to owning an Airstream.

I have recently bought a '76, 26' Argosy and I believe it has the original fridge in it. It is currently at a restoration guy's place.

A few questions I need some help with regarding this fridge:

He told me that I would probably have to defrost this fridge about once a month.

1. Is this true? If so why?
Yes, more in humid weather, more when you open the door a lot, more of the door seals are leaking. Less in dry weather, etc.

Fridges work by having part of the fridge below freezing which cools the rest down. Most fridges for stick houses have a timer that does it automatically every 12 or 24 hours, during which the temperature in the fridge spikes by 20 degrees or so.

Quote:
2. How does one defrost this kind of fridge correctly, just turn it off and open up the doors and then let be open for...um how long? and then close everything and turn it back on?
It depends how much of a hurry you're in. The minimal work method is to eat all the food, fold up some beach towels and put them under the fins, and prop the doors open for a day. If you don't want to eat all the food, put it in a cooler or another fridge, or pick a cool night and put it outside someplace where raccoons can't get it.

Otherwise, you can put cake pans full of boiling water on each shelf to move things along. Don't scrape, you'll make an expensive hole in the cooling unit.

Quote:

3. Is it also true that the trailer has to be very level before it will work? I will be doing some driveway living for a year or so in the trailer a concrete drive way.
They do have to be level and can be permanently damaged if run out of level for more than an hour or so. And the earlier fridges are more sensitive in this area. I believe that front-to-back level is more important than side-to-side.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:33 PM   #3
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wow! thanks jammer for taking the time to answer all my questions.

so this will be a lot of trouble to do this once a month here in Atlanta,Ga which is quite humid! Man! There is ALOT of things to think about and logistical things I had never dreamed of when planning to live in this rv to save a year or so in rent!

I guess it's like a house really, one has to know lots of things about taking care of many different 'parts' to the house.

Brian
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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It isn't that much of a hassle. It's mainly about planning for the freezer, especially, and the fridge to get empty before you go grocery shopping and doing it then. As with much of RV living you have to learn to have just enough of everything without having extra crap in the trailer you don't need.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:43 PM   #5
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I would think that you only need to really "defrost" the fridge if you are using it full-time. We use our trailers & fridges every other weekend or so in the summer months and clean them out after each trip. We've "lived in it" for up to three weeks at a time and it never accumulated enough ice to warrant a defrost on the road. But they aren't "frost-free" like modern residential units...we are camping after all!

Shari
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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Yep, you will need to defrost maybe once per month but you can do it in 15 to 20 min. by using a hair dryer. Mine has a drain to the outside so there is very little mess or clean up.

How do you plan on emptying the holding tanks??
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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I would think that you only need to really "defrost" the fridge if you are using it full-time. We use our trailers & fridges every other weekend or so in the summer months and clean them out after each trip. We've "lived in it" for up to three weeks at a time and it never accumulated enough ice to warrant a defrost on the road. But they aren't "frost-free" like modern residential units...we are camping after all!

Shari
I WILL be using it full time, for about a year or so here in hot, humid, Atlanta weather. So I guess I will be doing this frequently
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:00 PM   #8
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hi brian welcome.

looks like u will have MANY questions about living in ONE stream in ONE driveway.

my suggestion is start ONE thread on this, with all/most of your questions and needs and solutions.

this will evolve into a LONG thread and u will have MANY folks subscribed and following it and your adventure.

give it a funky attention grabbing title like...

"how to live in a driveway without pissing everyone off or going to jail"

or

"help me live like a king in a driveway" or "the encyclopedia of driveway livin' in hot'lanta"...

this will SAVE you retyping the background 100s of times and will save readers from hopping around.
__________

of course virtually EVERY issue u might discover is covered here already, so READ and SEARCH for the buried gems.

check out the "full time" forum section for a lot of been there/done that wisdom.

and the STICKIES for newbies on many of these 'how to rv' issues.
________

1. how often the fridge needs DEfrost varies by USER and LOCATION. mine is on 24/7 and is defrosted 3-4 times a year.

this takes LESS than 1 hour, so all the food can be stored in a COOLER during the process.

with the fridge/freezer doors prop'd open and a small fan, it ALL melts enough for removal in 15-20 minutes.

the fridge fins SHOULD drain water via the pan/drain hose

but the FREEZER is sealed, has no drain and that water will need to be soaked up and moved with sponge or towel.

2. use DRINKING WATER APPROVED HOSE only, and for the FULL length.

NON drinking water hose may have LEAD or other nasties IN the hose wall, that's WHY they aren't approved for drinking

filters will NOT take out the chemicals in water hose material.

3. do NOT leave the water hose on from the house while away.

depending on PRESSURE these hoses can expand and rupture and DO just that at the worst times.

also the water SITTING in the hose can absorb stuff and will get very very hot.

use a shut off valve NEAR the source and turn it off when away for long periods of time.

also consider USING THE FRESH WATER TANK and pump in the trailer. that's why they exist.

4. leveling blocks should be AS WIDE as the tires so 6 inches at least.

avoid WOOD for prolonged parking, it holds moisture and may attract bugs.

how many blocks for SIDE2SIDE leveling depends on the driveway.

if it is FLAT side to side no blocks may be needed.

5. your multi' valving idea for each hose section is a good idea. IF you turn OFF the main from the hose when away.

a safety feature would be to add a BACK FLOW preventer to the line so water IN the hoses cannot go upstream into the house.

not needed but a nice idea.

6. wheel CHOCKS can be placed between OR in front/behind the tires,

again this relates to the SLOPE/incline and how much movement is really possible...

many rvz SIT on dealer lots with out ANY wheel chocks or only 1 somewhere.

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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@ garry: this is a good idea with the hair dryer. thanks.

not to get too far off the thread's direction, but:
I have already ordered and will have installed a Nature's Head marine composting toilet and keep the old one to put back on in the future when selling it. As for the grey water, I plan to run a long hose across the driveway to the very tall grass and such. I have already bought everything I will need as far as toiletries and cleaning things to all be biodegradable and to let the grey water out a little at a time so as not to 'shock' the surrounding area. There isn't a body of water near by so things should be good.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
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@ 2air': Thanks VERY much for taking the time to answer all these questions! This is some VERY helpful info.

Yes, I do have A LOT of things that need figuring out to make this work! That might be a good idea for having one thread. However, I figure I have much more of a chance at getting more replies by putting my questions in the area where they are related to. I can see what you mean about having to type the same thing, however, that's what 'copy and paste' is for. lol Just like on a website, I would think most people wouldn't want to scroll or click to through many pages as well rather that having things on one page.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:19 PM   #11
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WASH water onto the ground LONG TERM is an issue.

the water will have FOOD debris and human debris and fats and oils in it.

these things are all MAGNETS for bugs and other critters.

the HOSE will be a roadway for these creatures, not a good thing.

better to DUMP occasionally and RElocate the hose...

OR put the water UNDER GROUND (hole for hose, buried) visavis a hillbilly septic tank/leach field.

OR use an evaporative set up.

BIODEGRADE-able is not a set standardized term and the TIME to degrade varies by product.

also the hose will collect FATs/grease along the hose wall/waterline and can PLUG up with crud.
___________

there are many reasons WHY full time living waste management is complicated and regulated.

you will be discovering these reasons.

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:02 PM   #12
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Question

@ 2air': hmm, these are all good points. I like the ideas of burying or the evaporating pool. I saw those things on grey water sites as well. I wanted something not too complicated however since this whole moving into a trailer thing is quite logistical.

I had read somewhere to put a kind of screen on the end of the tube to catch debris from the grey water and keep out the big critters.

I can see what you mean however about the build up of things.

Hmm. Well, then perhaps it would be better to just dump the grey water in a portable, rolling tank and just dump it in diff. locations along the drive way (which on the side I would be dumping is completely wild with tall weeds and what not)? I would think this tank would be easier to clean than a long hose right?

It's just that I don't know how long it takes the grey water tank to fill up AND I don't have any kind of indicator to let me know AND I don't know what will happen when it gets too full, just sloshes back up some of the pipes?

That's a whole other thread I would need to learn about as well!

Brian
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:09 PM   #13
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One thing I can say about all of this is that I will def. be more aware of how much water I use, how much human waste I create for composting and in general, AND amount of things needed or not needed in a small space!
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:12 PM   #14
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time 2 fill the wash tank depends...

but OVER time one learns about how much the tank can hold and when to dump it...

OVER filling the on board wash water tank typically results in a back up into the shower/bath tub.

using a blue/gray water tote is a good idea.

they can be had from 10 gallons up to 40 or so.

these are very heavy when full and much larger than the on board wash tank.

that water could be 'spread into many areas as u suggest.
_________

the fact is for LONG TERM use a traditional outhouse or rented/purchased honey bucket

will be LESS money than a compost toilet and elaborate wash water drain field.

using a small 12v external water pump, one could PUMP the wash water too.

lots of options.

cheers
2air'
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