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Old 09-10-2004, 08:21 AM   #1
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Refrigerator temp rising over time

My refrigerator temperature rises the longer the refrigerator is on, if the outside temperature is above 80 degrees. When I first turn thr box on it will come down to a reasonable temperature, 35 degrees, in about a day. After several days the temperature will climb and can reach 49 degrees. I have removed the box and insulated the sides in such a way that there is zero clearance thinking the exposed side to the high temperature that exists in the back of the box was effecting the box. This did not have a notisable effect. I have installed a fan on the coils. This did not have a notisable effect. I contacted Dometic and they acknowledge this as a problem under some conditions. They sent me an installation manual addressing this problem that required no more than a 1 in. clearance between the rear of the coils and the wall to the rear of the box. This has never been accomplished in any Airstream, so my question. Do you notice an increase in temperature over time in your refrigerator?
This is the second refrigerator that had acted this way in this trailer.
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Old 09-10-2004, 01:44 PM   #2
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What part of the country are you located in?? Is this something you've noticed this past summer or is it year round?
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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I live in NJ but the problem is not location sensitive, only outside temperatures that are about 80 degrees anywhere. In fact if I leave the thermostate set where I would normally have it set for summer operation and the temperature drops below 75 degrees the box will freeze dropping to 29 last weekend.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:53 PM   #4
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HowieE

It sounds like a clogged roof vent or at least the hot air generated by the coils is not venting. Perhaps the hot air that should rise and exit at the top of the vent shaft is not getting out causing a build-up of heat in the vent shaft over time and therefore the inability of the air circulation to cool the coils sufficiently to cool the refrigerator.

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Old 09-10-2004, 02:58 PM   #5
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Have you noticed a performance difference between propane and electric?

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Old 09-10-2004, 03:11 PM   #6
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The vent is clear and there is no differance between gas and electric.
It is Dometic's comment that the refrigerator will not work in high ambient temperatures with more than 1 in. clearance behind the coils that I am looking for conformation of from others. Since all Airstreams have that wide area behind the refrigerator they should all experience the same problem.
I had hoped a fan word cause enough circulation but it did not.

I will be on the road till Tuesday before I can respond to any additional comments.
Thanks
HowieE
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Old 09-10-2004, 04:50 PM   #7
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Vent area

The only place that there needs to be no more than 1" clearance is right at the fins. Anywhere else is of no concern. The clearance at the fins needs to be small so that the rising air mostly goes through the fins.

In my Airstream, there is a plywood "shelf" right at fin level that meets the 1" clearance criteria. I do have a thermostatically-operated fan, but the box cools nicely without the fan. It does cool down faster with the fan operating. My fan is in the bottom and augments the thermal air currents across the fins.

My former TrailManor had very poor venting and myself and a lot of other owners used aluminum sheet to direct the airflow over the fins. That change made the boxes operate very well when they cooled very poorly before.

RV Mobile has some good graphics that show good and bad venting. They like to see the baffles with 1/4" of the fins for best performance.
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Old 09-11-2004, 05:19 AM   #8
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Pahaska, Wonderful graphic!

I am stumped. How could Dometic sell an appliance that performs poorly in temperatures most of us experience during our camping.

Rick
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Old 09-11-2004, 05:24 AM   #9
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For what it's worth, my frig. works ok in the Airstream. I did put a thermostaticly controlled fan in the bottom to gently move the air to the top and it helps a lot. Have you checked the door gaskets for air leaks? It sounds like the losses exceed the cooling capacity. One or the other has to be addressed. A clogged vent would not be good as would anything that can restrict the flow of air into and up the frig. compartment. I have to admit that my new frig. does not work as well as the old one that I replaced but it is satisfactory. The new design that permits off level operation somewhat does not do much for thermal efficiency-everything must be just right for it to work well. One last thought, be sure the frig. is level when you level the trailer. Check it with a bubble inside the freezer compartment on the shelf.
Good Luck,
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:06 AM   #10
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Some poor Airstream venting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alston
Pahaska, Wonderful graphic!

I am stumped. How could Dometic sell an appliance that performs poorly in temperatures most of us experience during our camping.

Rick
The current Airstream trailers under 25' are prime examples of poor venting as shown in the bottom graphic on
the RV Mobile page That is the reason for the noisy fan that has resulted in numerous posts on this forum.

My previous 22' International not only suffered from the noisy fan syndrome (I replaced the fan, baffled it, and ran it at part speed), it also suffered from the vents being partially blocked by door being open. The 22' Safari still has that problem. Shame is that in both the 22' International and 22' Safari, the situation could have been greatly improved by simply locating the upper vents somewhat higher on the trailer side. As it is, the fins are in a pocket of hot air and depend on the fan to move any air at all.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:24 PM   #11
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Thermostatically controlled fans?

John & James, Tell me more about the fans you installed. Where you have them mounted, power connection and brand. Our refrigerator in the 25' CCD works great compared to our 22' (much quieter also), but there is always room for improvement especially in AZ.
Thanks,
Ken
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Old 09-13-2004, 04:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback
John & James, Tell me more about the fans you installed. Where you have them mounted, power connection and brand. Our refrigerator in the 25' CCD works great compared to our 22' (much quieter also), but there is always room for improvement especially in AZ.
Thanks,
Ken
Ken,
The fan that I installed is of the homemade variety. I happened to have and old computer type muffin fan that would operaten on 12 volts. I installed it in a small box and equiped it with and on-off switch and an old window a/c unit thermostat. It was installed on the floor, just in front of the coils in the outside frig. compartment. It runs automatically, operates on 12 volts from the frig. wiring and gently moves the air upward across the coils. I realize that it would be more effective if it had been mounted in the top of the vent but my choice was much easier to install and seems to work fine. My AS does not have any baffles as recommended in the drawings that John posted. It also has considerable space at the bottom, between the coils and the outside wall of the trailer. I wonder what Airstream has to say about this problem and why they build units this way.

James
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Old 09-13-2004, 07:06 AM   #13
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Pahaska, and all

I looked at the diagram you referenced, and it seems that a simple fix is in order.

First, add a light weight alluminum deflector at the top of the vent shaft to direct the air flow towards the top of the vent louvers on the skin. Instead of mounting the deflector on the refrigerator unit or walls, perhaps mounting the deflector to the vent panel would be easiest; this means that when you remove the vent panel the deflector would come with it. Maybe attach the light weight alluminum deflector to the panel with rivets.

Second, add a fan at the bottom of the unit to drive cool air up in the direction of the fins and the deflector to force air over the coils and out of the vent.

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Old 09-14-2004, 04:40 AM   #14
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Rick,

Help me here. What are you referring to as the vent panel? I'm not sure what you mean here.

Jim
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Old 09-14-2004, 08:06 AM   #15
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Jim,

I am under the impression you have the "Bad Venting 2" refrigerator setup as shown in the graphic provider by Pahaska. Is that right? If not, what is your setup?

Rick
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Old 09-14-2004, 08:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alston
Jim,

I am under the impression you have the "Bad Venting 2" refrigerator setup as shown in the graphic provider by Pahaska. Is that right? If not, what is your setup?

Rick
Rick,
Mine is more like bad venting 1, I am not at all sure what is behind the frig and near the top as I have never seen it. My frig is a large one not the double door type but has two doors. I was confused about where you recommended installing the baffle but I think we are talking about two different models.

thanks,
Jim
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Old 09-14-2004, 11:53 AM   #17
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Jim

Ok, now I got the correct picture. If both bottom and top areas are free and clear, then the only thing I can think of is that you need to do away with the dead air space in Bad Venting 1 because you are not able to create the chimney effect needed to move the hot air out fast enough. In addition, you can minimize the suns effect on the trailer by parking in the shade or at least shading the refergerator side of the trailer from the direct sun; but you probably know that. The awning will also provide beneficial shade to help cool the skin of the trailer - assuming the refrigerator is on that side of the trailer. I figure if the skin gets hot and heats the coils, the refrigerator must work harder to dissipate the heat.

I still believe you have a problem with the build-up of heat because of the way you described what happens. Do you know if you can get to the dead air space to add a deflector?

Rick
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alston
Jim

Ok, now I got the correct picture. If both bottom and top areas are free and clear, then the only thing I can think of is that you need to do away with the dead air space in Bad Venting 1 because you are not able to create the chimney effect needed to move the hot air out fast enough. In addition, you can minimize the suns effect on the trailer by parking in the shade or at least shading the refergerator side of the trailer from the direct sun; but you probably know that. The awning will also provide beneficial shade to help cool the skin of the trailer - assuming the refrigerator is on that side of the trailer. I figure if the skin gets hot and heats the coils, the refrigerator must work harder to dissipate the heat.

I still believe you have a problem with the build-up of heat because of the way you described what happens. Do you know if you can get to the dead air space to add a deflector?

Rick
Rick, There is no way to access the top of the frig without removing the whole thing from the trailer. I can't even see the top very well when viewed form the bottom with a flash light. Like I said earlier, I was not having much of a problem anyway and the little fan improved the performace noticably. If i were you, I'd try a fan. They are cheap and easy to install.

Best wishes,
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