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Old 02-09-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
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House or RV Fridge

I'm in the rebuild stage of a full monty. Shell is back on, wiring in and interior skins back in. I'm trying to decide on a fridge for it, so I'll know the size. I have been searching for comparisons of RV units and it seems that a lot of folks are putting in a house type unit. If you have any suggestions on either kind, please let me know.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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For all the work you're putting into this, in my opinion it makes no sense to put in a household fridge. The latter would impose penalties related to weight, travel style, camping options and resale. Maybe a rationale exists if you were planning on parking this and not using it for travel.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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A household refrigerator will probably require a dedicated 110v 20-amp circuit. No 12v option, no propane-fired either. That means you'd be stuck with a large current draw from an inverter if you weren't hooked into shore power 24/7.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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120v fridge will work although there have been some sporadic reports of them failing early due to vibration from people who put a lot of miles on their RVs. Obviously they will only work when there is 120 volt power. The smaller fridges do not require a dedicated outlet and don't draw much power but they do draw enough that a typical inverter installation can't support one.

You might also consider the 12v refrigerators sold mainly for the marine market:

Products - Dometic

Network Solutions E-Commerce Web Site - CR Series Built-In AC/DC Refrigerators with Flush Flange
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:52 PM   #5
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For really custom solutions, long distance sailers will build their own heavily insulated refrigerators and power them w/ Danfoss 12V compressors which are very efficient - usable w/ solar, for example.

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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Seems like the question is simply "Do you intend to travel in your trailer, or to leave it permanently parked?" If it is never going to move, and will always be wired up to a 110 power source, then a conventional 110 only fridge would work, and would be the cheapest option. If you intend to actually travel in the trailer, then it seems the RV style fridge would be the default choice, not only because of these fridges' ability to use gas or electric, but also their durability (shock, vibration, etc).

If you intend to travel, but always expect to be staying at an RV park with full hookups, then I would still recommend the RV style fridge, so that it can run off of propane while on the road to keep the contents cool. Any fridge you use will require cool down time of many hours. Many RVers will power up their fridge a good 12 hours before getting on the road and put their perishables in as the last step before leaving. If you are considering trying to use a 110 only fridge for travel, I would suggest you would be as well off with a cooler and ice.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:23 PM   #7
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A Lot of Folks...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmaster View Post
... it seems that a lot of folks are putting in a house type unit. If you have any suggestions on either kind, please let me know.
I've been pulling a travel trailer of one kind or another for almost 40 years. I don't recall seeing more than a couple household fridges in any TT used for camping or even travelling from one RV park to another.
Both instances I remember were Airstreamers who making do with a small, dorm-size fridge until they could replace their Dometic.

I've seen full-size, household refers in those rundown travel trailers that have become permanent residences, all too common here in NM.

Is your lovingly refurbished Airstream to be a travel trailer or a fixed-mobile residence? The answer should guide your decision how to equip it.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Seems like the question is simply "Do you intend to travel in your trailer, or to leave it permanently parked?" If it is never going to move, and will always be wired up to a 110 power source, then a conventional 110 only fridge would work, and would be the cheapest option. If you intend to actually travel in the trailer, then it seems the RV style fridge would be the default choice, not only because of these fridges' ability to use gas or electric, but also their durability (shock, vibration, etc).

If you intend to travel, but always expect to be staying at an RV park with full hookups, then I would still recommend the RV style fridge, so that it can run off of propane while on the road to keep the contents cool. Any fridge you use will require cool down time of many hours. Many RVers will power up their fridge a good 12 hours before getting on the road and put their perishables in as the last step before leaving. If you are considering trying to use a 110 only fridge for travel, I would suggest you would be as well off with a cooler and ice.
Very good post!

In spite of intent to camp with hookups only, please note that most national parks and the great majority of national forest campgrounds will not have electric supplied to campsites.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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Amen. When we first started we mostly wanted to camp with hookups...now it seems we dry camp more often than we have hookups and don't even think about it! Being set up to dry camp and boon dock opens up whole new camping opportunities to enjoy.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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What I have seen in trailers for sale is they do a cheap and dirty rebuild and put a house fridge in just to say it has one. When you only have 30A it runs out pretty fast when you start running everything on 120V. I run mine on gas when traveling. If it is never going to go anywhere again then a 120V fridge is the way to go. If it is a camper forsale I would see a 120V only fridge as a negative. What other short cuts have they made besides the fridge.

Perry
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:22 PM   #11
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It seems there's an increasing number of Diesel Pusher Moho's that are specifying 110 VAC only refrigerators as their standard installation...

These rigs not only have a diesel generator, but also have large HD type inverters and additional batteries installed to run the frig while on the road...the rig's high output alternator on the power unit can supply plenty of 'charging power' to keep the inverter's batteries topped off when running down the interstate...

Of course, most of these big rigs also only park where there's AC electricity available, so no problem running the frig...

This kind of installation of a large inverter, large battery bank, on board generator just aren't options easily fit into an AS TT - duh...we all know that, right?

Good old propane (and natural gas) refrigerators have been in use forever, and actually operate quite economically - back in the 50's we had one at home as our only frig and it was an old 'sucker' then!

It's really too bad the RV frig's cost so dear, as in reality they are quite a simple design - modern mfg's like to add all kinds on 'bells & whistles' to make them more complicated to operate - better mouse trap, and all that, to justify the large initial purchase price, IMHO...
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:56 PM   #12
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Musicmaster,

If you’ve spent any amount of time on these forums you’ll know that you need to consider the difference between opinion and experience when shifting through the advice.

Many of the opinions given here so far are based on bias and conventional thinking and many of the points offered –about weight, resale, power draw, el cheapo renos, etc. – are just conjecture or plain wrong.

Whether you can use a 110 v. fridge depends mostly on how you plan to use the trailer. If you’re going to be mainly in the boonies then 110v is probably not so workable. I think you already knew that when you posted.

I opted for a small, very light, 8.6 cubic foot LG household fridge for my remodel. I’ve used it for 5 years without a hint of a problem.

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The idea was put into my head by Andy Thompson, the long time Airstream dealer at London, Ontario, when he opined that a household fridge like this is a perfect size for trailer living and could easily be powered by a 1500 watt inverter.

His said it was well built but lighter than an RV fridge and cost 75% less. It could be repaired anywhere by pretty much anyone – no tricky LP or 12v systems. You could actually throw it out and get a new one if it ever broke down.

The fridge normally operates on shore power but when I am going overland for any serious amount of time, or dry-camped overnight, it operates perfectly off of my battery pack.

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Sergei

See my main thread here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227/contemporizing-1976-argosy-d-opinions-please-18448.html#post182701
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:31 PM   #13
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Lot's of good points in the above posts. We had a dorm fridge the first year with our TW. When I finished the refurb,I installed a Dometic and the wife and I both feel like it was worth every penny. Having the option of not needing a hookup, keeping food cold while traveling and having a place to put food at home in case of long term power outage (tornado, hurricane, etc) made the extra cost worth it. A tank of propane will keep your food cold a lot longer than a can of gas for a generator needed to run a 120V only fridge.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:48 AM   #14
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Thanks for all of your input, it is exactly what I am looking for. I have camped several times before in another trailer, yet I have never needed to use the gas for the fridge. I kept the trailer plugged in and turned it on a couple of days before we left. I am in the process of doing a remodel, but as you can tell from the photo it is not one of those "JUST REMODELED" jobs. It is also not a cost issue, the house fridge I had looked at was about 1200.00. I just seem to hear about more problems with the RV fridges. Home models tend to have more room as well. Of course I am a fairly new camper and just have not stayed at too many different places yet. I thought most campgrounds had power, but again I am still fairly new to camping.
It might explain a lot if I tell you my other trailer is a enclosed car hauler with sleeping quarters. I used it for car audio shows and competitions related to my business. I quite often stayed at civic center or speedway parking lots, but I always ran off of the generator or invertor. My car hauler dose have a much better battery bank as well. Thanks Mexray for that insight, it had not crossed my mind about the batts.
I was on Moho sights looking for RV fridge comparisons, that is where the "lots of folks" comment came from. Lots of them said they went back with a house fridge when their RV fridge went out.
Thanks again and keep them coming,
Splastro
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