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Assisting the fridge


Cliffy

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When we were away in Spain this year the fridge was struggling to cope with the heat (35 Deg) i have read somewhere that putting a fan in the back of the fridge helps, I think it was using a computer cooling fan and permanently fixing it behind the fridge. I do not want to go to those lengths as it rarely gets that warm in the UK.

 

We have a small room fan, I thought maybe I could take the lower fridge cover off and just stand it in the back when we are having problems. Would this work?

 

 

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Guest Joe90
In my last van I actually hard wired in two computer fans that had thermal probes that I attached to the top of the condenser unit, and the fans themselves extracting heat from the top vent as opposed to blowing in from the bottom, and it seemed to help, however in my current van we had similar temperatures in France this year,39 degrees at one point, and my coping strategy was always have the fridge vents on the shady side of the van if you get my drift, ,helped by our roll out awning, or seek shade under trees, and I removed the top vent completely for a week or so whilst it was so bloomin hot, and it was fine all of the time by just taking those measures..
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In our last van our low tech solution (ha!) was to put freezer blocks in the fridge as soon as the sun was heading upwards.

 

It made a small improvement. Another aid was we carried a small 12v/240v cooling box which we put items in that didn't need to be super cool like salad items.

 

We plonked items in there also to cool them before placing them in the fridge too, like a stubby bottles of beer, every little helps :D

 

Martyn

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Joe90 - 2015-07-14 10:02 PM

 

In my last van I actually hard wired in two computer fans that had thermal probes that I attached to the top of the condenser unit, and the fans themselves extracting heat from the top vent as opposed to blowing in from the bottom, and it seemed to help, however in my current van we had similar temperatures in France this year,39 degrees at one point, and my coping strategy was always have the fridge vents on the shady side of the van if you get my drift, ,helped by our roll out awning, or seek shade under trees, and I removed the top vent completely for a week or so whilst it was so bloomin hot, and it was fine all of the time by just taking those measures..

 

Glad to know it is not only us having heat problems, we started doing as you suggest looking for shade and parking with the fridge facing north. We have the added complication that the hab door when wide open covers the fridge vents, so we had to wedge it half open or keep it closed.

 

Can't complain though it is better than being wet or cold. Oh the joys of motorhoming!

 

 

 

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Cliffy - 2015-07-14 9:50 PM

 

 

When we were away in Spain this year the fridge was struggling to cope with the heat (35 Deg) i have read somewhere that putting a fan in the back of the fridge helps, I think it was using a computer cooling fan and permanently fixing it behind the fridge. I do not want to go to those lengths as it rarely gets that warm in the UK.

 

We have a small room fan, I thought maybe I could take the lower fridge cover off and just stand it in the back when we are having problems. Would this work?

 

Probably, though it may be a bit too fierce! I'd suggest before you get to that level of complication, you just remove both fridge grilles when it is particularly hot. Taking one out won't help much as the air has to get in, travel up over the cooling fins, and then escape. It is a fairly feeble airflow and the grilles obstruct it, so leaving one in place will provide almost as much resistance as both. If that works, you need do no more. If the fridge still struggles, you may be able to improve the airflow by fitting a deflector at the upper grille, or you may need to add a fan. If it is a Thetford, they do a kit that includes all the necessary bits. Not sure about Dometic.

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Guest Joe90
A company in the midlands that specialise in selling goods for the leisure and motorhome market, a Google search of their name will bring up their details, I believe they now also sell online, where previously you had to send for a catalogue.
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Shop around before using CAK tanks. Their postage charges can be very 'inventive'. *-)

 

I had no choice when I needed a specialised plastic pipe fitting for my fresh water tank. The part was not cheap but acceptable. The postage charge was a ripoff.

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1st rule of thermodynamics, Heat cannot, of itself, pass from one body to a hotter body.

The process of cooling means moving heat energy away, more ventilation has to be good.

One out of the box suggestion, how about one of those water sprays lightly onto the fins, the evaporation would take a lot every off. obviously you would need to make sure that you didn't wet the heating elements. but in extremes it might be worth a try.

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  • 2 months later...

Our fridge had struggled a bit with temperatures around 30C on occasions and we were headed to the Black Forest this summer so were asking the same questions. Having noted some drafts in the winter coming from the fridge surround area I read some posts made by Brian elsewhere and did the following:

Removed the fridge vents and insect screens and with the aid of a torch and an assistant inside the van located gaps between the base and side walls of the fridge enclosure and the walls of the van - sealed them with bathroom sealer or 15mm pipe insulation. Also found gaps where holes for wiring access had never been sealed or where the grommet had shrunk back - sealed using the same methods. Also found above the upper vent a very large hole where 240V cables had been taken through and sealed this with aluminum mesh of the sort used for car body repairs and some temperature resistant under bonnet sealant. With all gaps sealed and air flow maximized over the cooling fins we headed to Germany. All was fine up to about 33C. At this point we followed Brians other advice and removed the fly screens. With this further increase in air flow and the temperature maxing out at 38C our fridge and freezer which we use on gas worked just fine. Conclusion - no need for a fan and wiring etc, just sort out the air flow :-D

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vinylspike - 2015-10-06 10:10 PM

 

Our fridge had struggled a bit with temperatures around 30C on occasions and we were headed to the Black Forest this summer so were asking the same questions. Having noted some drafts in the winter coming from the fridge surround area I read some posts made by Brian elsewhere and did the following:

Removed the fridge vents and insect screens and with the aid of a torch and an assistant inside the van located gaps between the base and side walls of the fridge enclosure and the walls of the van - sealed them with bathroom sealer or 15mm pipe insulation. Also found gaps where holes for wiring access had never been sealed or where the grommet had shrunk back - sealed using the same methods. Also found above the upper vent a very large hole where 240V cables had been taken through and sealed this with aluminum mesh of the sort used for car body repairs and some temperature resistant under bonnet sealant. With all gaps sealed and air flow maximized over the cooling fins we headed to Germany. All was fine up to about 33C. At this point we followed Brians other advice and removed the fly screens. With this further increase in air flow and the temperature maxing out at 38C our fridge and freezer which we use on gas worked just fine. Conclusion - no need for a fan and wiring etc, just sort out the air flow :-D

 

I will look at that, We have the same problem with drafts around the outside of the fridge so it could certainly help with the air flow which I had not thought about. I had a fridge engineering have a look at it from a safety point of view and he said it would not be a problem but I did not ask about the efficiency.

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  • 1 year later...
There has been much written on local MH forums re frig issues in hot weather. The design of the box the frig sits in seems to be an important point to consider. This has been raised particularly by those that have conducted self builds in Toyota Dyna former 20 seat buses. In my case the Autotrails built for AU are fitted with frigs with "tropical " kits. The part number ends in "T" or "ST" I assume tropical or subtropical. I have read that the difference between the "T" & "ST" with the standard setup is better insulation. Temps upto 40C are not uncommon when travelling in the summer months and we have not had any issues while on EHU or gas. I have found that keeping the freezer section full to the brim with frozen food does seem to assist the overall temp inside the bottom section. Maybe the "tropical" version of the frig is the secret to those of you that travel into the warmer parts of Europe or at least reviewing the insulation aspect.  Our vents are lined with flyscreen mesh and with the volume and size of our mozzies there is no way I would consider removing it to improve airflow. Cheers,
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This recent discussion related to fridge ventilation-grille anti-insect mesh

 

http://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Back-to-Fridge-Ventilation/47348/

 

Dometic began to fit mesh to their fridge-grilles about 15 years ago. Before that Electrolux/Dometic fridge-grilles had no mesh, and the grilles of Thetford fridges have never had mesh.

 

As is mentioned in the earlier forum thread, removing the mesh should significantly improve air-flow across the fridge’s rear, but insects will no longer be discouraged from entry through the grilles.

 

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Bear in mind that every time you open the door of an upright fridge the cold air (being heavy) drops out and is replaced by hot air.

So keep the fridge full (use empty bottles or whatever to take up unused space in place of air that is lost every time you open the door..

And open the door as little as possible.

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