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Old 01-05-2016, 10:36 PM   #1
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Freezer in Dometic refrigerator warming up in cold weather on propane

Need some advice from more experienced folks. I did a search for my issue and checked the FAQ's, but didn't find an answer.

We were out all last week in Paso Robles in Central California. Overnight temps got into low to mid 20's. Unit was running on propane. When getting up in the morning, I was finding the ice cubes melted and my thermometer had the freezer temp at 35F. Refrigerator temp per thermometer was 38F. When the outside temps warmed up, the freezer temp started to drop below freezing.

Furnace had been running quite a bit overnight but never seemed to miss a beat. Gas burner for cooktop fired right up in the morning when I got up. Our Ultra-V has 2 30# LP tanks and we never ran out of propane.

After 2 days of this happening, I switched the refer over to electric and had no more problems for the duration of the week, even though the overnight temps were the same.

Is this a normal situation for the freezer to warm when running the refer on propane in such cold weather?

Thanks!

Bob
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:47 PM   #2
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Very strange. I'm interested in hearing other's thoughts on this. Wondering why you were using lp . was electricity not available at the time?
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:35 AM   #3
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You need to put a small heat source in the outside cover of the refrigerator.
Such as a incandescent light bulb.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:40 AM   #4
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Found this.
Do a Google search there's plenty out there on this issue.

Posted on*January 25, 2014

If you are one of the few who use your RV in cold weather, be advised that your refrigerator may not be on board with your plans. RV refrigerators basically depend on their ability to boil a*mixture of water and ammonia in order to operate correctly as those two liquids along with hydrogen and an anti-corrosive are what circulates inside the cooling coil on the back of the refrigerator.

When the temperature drops, one of the first things you may note is the refrigerator simply stops cooling as the burner can not generate enough heat to keep things flowing in the coil. Then, after a time, you may find the refrigerator won’t shut off and freezes everything inside in both compartments.

Having made a second visit to service a refrigerator and finding all the components tested out correctly, I called dealer tech support at the factory and was simply told they did not guarantee operation below 30 degrees, so there was nothing that could be done. Not wanting to simply start pouring parts into an appliance when all the components seemed in good order, I called around to other techs in cold weather parts of the country (we are usually not super cold for prolonged periods here in Bristol, TN.).

What I was told is the problem is common place with RV refrigerators and there is no “by-the-book” cure for the problem. Owners, however, were placing heat sources such as trouble lights in the outside vent area of the refrigerator and sealing off the lower vent with mixed results. I am not sure if it works.

On the Dometic refrigerators, you should have a “low ambient switch” which activates the inside light continuously, so make sure to turn the switch on in cold weather. On the Norcold refrigerators, you can unplug the thermistor inside the lower compartment and the refrigerator should cycle on a back-up system so that may be worth a try also.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:41 AM   #5
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From dometic.


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...UfVRBq4NZyGwPA
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:07 AM   #6
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Try this
http://youtu.be/q16QNhMfDCo


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Old 01-06-2016, 12:59 PM   #7
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All refrigerators rely on the fridge thermostat to trigger when they need to run. If you have, for instance, a refigerator/freezer in an outdoor shop and the fridge thermostat is set to 38 degrees F, then that is what it knows to cool down to. If the outside temperature drops to 30 degrees, the fridge will stay cold enough to satisfy the thermostat.....but the freezer won't be running because the fridge isn't telling it to. So it warms up and thaws out.
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:18 PM   #8
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You guy's are good.
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowrideHD View Post
All refrigerators rely on the fridge thermostat to trigger when they need to run. If you have, for instance, a refigerator/freezer in an outdoor shop and the fridge thermostat is set to 38 degrees F, then that is what it knows to cool down to. If the outside temperature drops to 30 degrees, the fridge will stay cold enough to satisfy the thermostat.....but the freezer won't be running because the fridge isn't telling it to. So it warms up and thaws out.
^^^ Does this only happen when running on propane???

Seems like your propane burner is not putting out enough heat. Could be a partially restricted propane line, a partially plugged jet, a faulty gas valve restricting the flow or a combination of those things.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:49 PM   #10
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I posted a discussion about this in the Appliances section, on October 22, 2015. It's titled Refrigerator Problem in Cold Weather. Rather than repeat it here, do a search for it and see if it helps.
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