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Old 09-15-2018, 10:36 PM   #1
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Fridge and freezer icing up

We just completed four weeks in our 2018 interstate. About one week into our trip we noticed that the fridge upper cooling component was starting to ice up. Needless to say, it didn’t improve over the course of the trip. We were not in warm climate nor did we leave the fridge open for any length of time...
Thoughts?... is this common? Seems to be a bad situation... as excessive iced up on the components cannot be a good thing!!
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Old 09-15-2018, 11:02 PM   #2
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Mine does the same thing, even if I let it run in storage with no one opening the door.

My first thought was that with two persons breathing in the cramped confines of the AI, the high humidity hitting the cold plate when the door was opened was the cause. Then, I found that it does the same thing with good ventilation in hot weather.

Frozen foods quickly glue to the plates with ice. The ice on the portion of the thermostat tube that is in the freezer seems to affect the temperature of the box.
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:14 AM   #3
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The freezer in our 2013 AI with Novacool 3.1 fridge/freezer combo frosts over in the freezer dept. too. On a recent 6 week trip the temperature on the top fridge shelf ranged from 31 def F when we started the trip (freezer and fridge was jam packed full, no frost present) to 36 at the end of the trip when the freezer was very frost and unit was only about 1/2 full. All with temp knob set at 4. Not sure how much of the drop in temp was due to frosted freezer compartment. I made a clip to help hold the freezer door shut, but can't tell that it reduced the frost any.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jldejong View Post
We just completed four weeks in our 2018 interstate. About one week into our trip we noticed that the fridge upper cooling component was starting to ice up. Needless to say, it didn’t improve over the course of the trip. We were not in warm climate nor did we leave the fridge open for any length of time...

Thoughts?... is this common? Seems to be a bad situation... as excessive iced up on the components cannot be a good thing!!

Totally normal. After a few weeks ice build-up is common. Higher humidity makes it happen faster.

We are all used to the frost-free refrigerators and freezers in our homes. But frost-free uses more energy thus not built into 12V RV/boating refrigerators.

When I shut off the refrigerator after a month on the road I always place a towel on bottom and leave the door open to defrost.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:52 AM   #5
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As the frost builds thicker around the cooling plate surrounding the “freezer” section of the fridge, causing the flap door to bind and not close properly, this in turn will send more cold air from freezer to lower compartment and vice versa with warmer (and more moist) air into the freezer cooling plate, exacerbating the frost buildups. I put self adhesive weatherstripping tape around the edges of the cooling plate where the swing door closes, this stops the frost from forming next to the door and seemed to help with keeping the freezer solid ice cold yet with less frost buildup.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:31 AM   #6
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As the frost builds thicker around the cooling plate surrounding the “freezer” section of the fridge, causing the flap door to bind and not close properly, this in turn will send more cold air from freezer to lower compartment and vice versa with warmer (and more moist) air into the freezer cooling plate, exacerbating the frost buildups. I put self adhesive weatherstripping tape around the edges of the cooling plate where the swing door closes, this stops the frost from forming next to the door and seemed to help with keeping the freezer solid ice cold yet with less frost buildup.
AIR99 - that is a great idea. I also need to add some form of latch to mine as the freezer door always seems to end up opening when driving down the road. That doesn't help the frost issue.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:49 AM   #7
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I have found that when not in hot weather I need to adjust the little plastic temp controller that is attached to the fin at the back of the fridge to a lower setting or the freezer will build up frost faster than normal.

Once frost starts to build up in the freezer it will cause temps to rise in the lower section of the fridge.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:17 PM   #8
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As mentioned, normal for such fridges, though not common anymore for those of us used to frost-free residential units. I want to add, frost-free eliminates frost by shutting of compressor and letting temp rise to around 40-42°F. It does so for a set amount of time and then turns back on. And the cycle continues. Some ubber expensive units like Sub Zero use heaters to accelerate the defrost cycle. Yes, frost free only means YOU do not do the regular defrosting but the fridge still has to defrost by itself. This cycle happens many times in 24hrs. This allows much of the frost to melt. BUT the by product of that is water (lots of it). Do you see any water drain or water catch basin in/under your NovaKool. ZIPPO! If they made this a frosty-free, water would be spilling out the door into the floor or worse hidden under the fridge, unless they put a drain (or 2 in case of separate freezer/fridge & at least 1 catch basin).

MIKE makes a great point about the towels. I keep a shammy in it all the time, on or off. Guess how I learned . . . Luckily it was minimal spillage that stayed on top of vinyl flooring
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:23 PM   #9
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This is unacceptable!!!
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:28 PM   #10
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i added small fans to circulate the air much better

no ice up now

mounted to an alum strip with 3m tape
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jldejong View Post
We just completed four weeks in our 2018 interstate. About one week into our trip we noticed that the fridge upper cooling component was starting to ice up. Needless to say, it didn’t improve over the course of the trip. We were not in warm climate nor did we leave the fridge open for any length of time...
Thoughts?... is this common? Seems to be a bad situation... as excessive iced up on the components cannot be a good thing!!
I had a Novakool in my boat (recently sold) as well as the one in my 2013 AI Lounge. Both needed occasional defrosting. Last year on a two month trip in the Interstste we defrosted three or four times.

Incidentally, the Novakool in the boat was original to the boat, a 1998 model, and still functioning just fine.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jldejong View Post
This is unacceptable!!!
And you are very welcome!!!

You asked if this was common. It is not only common but normal for these types of fridge. If the answers you received here are unacceptable!!! then please contact your dealer, Airstream, and NovaKool. Your 2018 unit is under warranty. You might be able to get your NovaKool replaced with a frost-free unit.
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jldejong View Post
This is unacceptable!!!

Interesting reply. You must have never owned a non-frost-free refrigeration device that required routine defrosting. As we have pointed out frost-free comes at a price. First they use more energy and second they create water that must be drained away.

Good luck with finding an RV unit that is frost free.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:35 PM   #14
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'This is unacceptable !!!' means that we are spoiled rotten by frost-free refrigerators. If it is too unacceptable you can take another step back in time and put ice into a cooler. Or take two steps back in time and dig a root cellar under the Airstream.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:38 PM   #15
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Put a fan system in your fridge. No more frost.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:39 PM   #16
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wanainee,
Is your freezer really at 22 def with your added fan or have you maxxed out the temperature that can be read on your freezer thermometer? I would be concerned that a fan on the freezer plate would turn the freezer compartment into another refrigerator compartment, where you have replaced frost accumulation with condensation that drips off instead of accumulating.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jldejong View Post
We just completed four weeks in our 2018 interstate. About one week into our trip we noticed that the fridge upper cooling component was starting to ice up. Needless to say, it didn’t improve over the course of the trip. We were not in warm climate nor did we leave the fridge open for any length of time...
Thoughts?... is this common? Seems to be a bad situation... as excessive iced up on the components cannot be a good thing!!
Hi jldejong,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customer_support@airstream.com*

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Old 09-17-2018, 04:08 PM   #18
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Put a fan system in your fridge. No more frost.
GMFL & wanainee - can your share more details on the fans you have in your refrigerators? In your picture it looks like you both have the same basic refrigerators. I assume they are in AS trailers. It looks like they are in the refrigerator compartment - is that right?

GMFL - yours looks like a purchased item rather than the home made version done by wanainee. Can you share a source? How did you get 12V power to the fans inside the refrigerator?

You are talking to a group of Interstate owners that have some very small refrigerators that don't have much room to add a fan system. The Interstate GT models do have more room, but with separate refrigerators and freezers.

Thanks...
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:12 PM   #19
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I've answered my own questions. First the fans shown in photos posted by GMFL & wanainee are in large LP absorption refrigerator/freezers in Airstream trailers. They have little relevance to the 12V refrigerators in late model Interstates.

This YouTube video shows how to install the Smart RV Products refrigerator fan system.

https://youtu.be/X2XY-cisIXU

Note that these fans are typically tied into the interior refrigerator light found on some larger RV units. It also looks like the Smart RV unit is only designed for LP refrigerators.

https://smartrvproducts.com

Our Interstate 12V units don't have interior light - so powering an internal fan won't be easy. This little battery powered model I found on Amazon might work for an Interstate refrigerator.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Refrige.../dp/B0006IX7TW
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:31 PM   #20
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i used three 80mm muffin fans
wired in series, they spin very slowly and make no noise.

just enough wind to move some air

I did not need one in the freezer as well the freezer is very small
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