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Old 02-07-2019, 09:23 AM   #1
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Fridge froze up in winter

We are living in our 5th wheel for the first time this winter. We have had extremely cold day and night temperatures, everything is ok except the fridge. It stopped working 2 days ago. We closed off the outside vents except the bottom one and put a light bulb in there for heat as advised by the RV dealership closest to us. Still won’t start.
Any info on what to do would be appreciated as it won’t be warming up for a while yet!
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:34 AM   #2
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Your profile picture shows a Georgetown but you mention you’re in a 5th wheel.

Is your fridge an absorption fridge or a residential?

If it’s absorption, it needs 12 volts and propane to work. Given how cold you say it is there, are you sure you still have lots of propane? Are all your other propane appliances working okay?
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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If your fridge is an absorption type, it uses heat to generate the cold inside.
If the temp outside is colder then what the heat source (12 vdc, 120 vac, or propane) can generate to keep the water and ammonia cycle running, the fridge stops working.
To solve this an extra source of heat is needed.
Do NOT!!! turn on more then one source of heat on the fridge.
The light bulb you mentioned is a good way to keep the compartment warmer for the fridge to operate.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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This may not be your issue (or may only be "part" of your issue): Some units have a Low Ambient Switch that turns on the inside light to create an artificial heat load when it's cold outside.

See bottom of page 18 of the attached manual.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Dometic Refrigerator Diagnostic Service Manual.pdf (2.42 MB, 32 views)
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:43 PM   #5
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Following this to see final solution. Please post when you find resolution.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:47 PM   #6
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Mine froze in Michigan at -18 degrees! Got to Florida and repair man said I needed a new fridge! $2100. I took my refrigerator out and laid it on its side and tapped the cooling lines with a screwdriver handle! Put it back in motorhome and works fine now! Sounds crazy but it worked for me! Saved $2100 bucks. Good luck! Gerry
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hittheroadgeorge View Post
We are living in our 5th wheel for the first time this winter. We have had extremely cold day and night temperatures, everything is ok except the fridge. It stopped working 2 days ago. We closed off the outside vents except the bottom one and put a light bulb in there for heat as advised by the RV dealership closest to us. Still won’t start.
Any info on what to do would be appreciated as it won’t be warming up for a while yet!
Water line runs outside to ice maker. Shut it off inside where all the water comes into 5th wheeler
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hittheroadgeorge View Post
We are living in our 5th wheel for the first time this winter. We have had extremely cold day and night temperatures, everything is ok except the fridge. It stopped working 2 days ago. We closed off the outside vents except the bottom one and put a light bulb in there for heat as advised by the RV dealership closest to us. Still won’t start.
Any info on what to do would be appreciated as it won’t be warming up for a while yet!
So we ended up getting the coils thawed out using a small heater and closing the vents, we will keep a light bulb in there until it warms up. It still wouldn’t start so the RV tech came today to “reboot “
All is good now!! He told us we should keep it on propane during the winter months. Live and learn!!!
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:46 AM   #9
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1. Sorry you had this issue.
2. Very happy it is now resolved.
3. Thanks for sharing the issue and the resolution on this Forum. I have a new MUST DO for my own travels in cold weather, to keep the Frig on propane during cold weather.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:13 AM   #10
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Be very careful when using a light bulb for a heater. They have been known to start fires.
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