Top 5 Reasons Why Your RV Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

Top 5 Reasons Why Your RV Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

Owning a recreational vehicle (RV) allows you the freedom to hit the open road and explore new places whenever the mood strikes. Perhaps that’s why over 40 million people own RVs in the United States.

But perhaps what makes RVing so unique and enjoyable is that it offers many of the convenient features you’d find in a home. Things such as a comfortable bed, a cooking stove, and a refrigerator to keep your food fresh.

However, much like a home refrigerator, your RV refrigerator can sometimes experience problems – and when it does, it can put a damper on your RV adventures.

So, in this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why your RV refrigerator isn’t cooling properly and how to fix them. Let’s get started!

How Cold Does an RV Refrigerator Need to Be?

RV refrigerator

Before getting into the reasons your RV refrigerator isn’t cooling as it should, it’s important to understand what a proper level of cooling is.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that your refrigerator temperature be set to 40°F or below for food safety. The sweet spot, however, is around 34°F to 35°F. RV freezers should be set to 0°F or below.

Food stored in temperatures higher than the recommended levels can quickly spoil and become dangerous to eat. So, if your RV refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, be sure to address the issue as soon as possible.

5 Common Reasons Why Your RV Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

Now, let’s look at the top causes of RV refrigerators not cooling as well as they should. The most common reasons include:

1. Power Supply Issues

One of the primary reasons why your RV refrigerator may not be cooling properly is due to insufficient power supply. The power supply to your RV refrigerator can be affected by a variety of factors, including low voltage, poor wiring, and faulty components.

RV appliance fuse check

To ensure that your RV fridge is getting an adequate amount of power:

  • Inspect Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Check the fuses and circuit breakers related to the RV refrigerator. A blown fuse or a tripped circuit can disrupt the power supply to the fridge, causing inadequate cooling. If you discover a blown fuse or tripped breaker, replace the fuses or reset the circuit breaker as needed.

  • Avoid Overloading One Circuit

Make sure that you are not overloading one circuit with too many appliances. Every circuit has a specific amperage rating, which represents the maximum amount of current that it can carry. Exceeding the amperage rating can cause your RV refrigerator to not cool properly or even shut off completely.

  • Check the Connection 

Lastly, check that the connection between the power source and your RV refrigerator is secure. A loose or disconnected wire can prevent the necessary power from reaching the fridge. So, make sure that all connections are tight and secure.

2. Insufficient Ventilation

RV refrigerators require proper ventilation to function optimally. If there is limited airflow around the fridge, it cannot efficiently dissipate heat, resulting in ineffective cooling.

To ensure proper ventilation, you must inspect the area surrounding your RV refrigerator. Make sure that the vents are not blocked or restricted in any way. Additionally, check that there is no furniture blocking the airflow around the fridge.

If you discover a ventilation issue, take immediate steps to correct it. For instance, you might need to modify the surrounding area slightly, such as rearranging furniture. Another potential solution is to install an RV vent fan near the refrigerator for supplemental air circulation. This will help the fridge to dissipate heat more efficiently, resulting in better cooling performance.

3. Faulty Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the most important components of an RV refrigerator. It is responsible for sensing and regulating the temperature inside the fridge. As such, if it malfunctions, your RV refrigerator will not cool properly.

To check if the thermostat is working correctly, try adjusting it and observe the changes in temperature. If the temperature does not change when you adjust the thermostat, that’s a sign that it is malfunctioning.

In this case, you need to replace the faulty thermostat. This may require professional assistance since it is a delicate and complicated process. So, if you are not comfortable carrying out this work yourself, contact an experienced technician for help. They will be able to diagnose the issue and provide the necessary repairs.

4. Cooling System Problems

broken RV refrigerator

Another common reason for RV refrigerator cooling issues is problems within the cooling system itself. The cooling system in an RV refrigerator is a complex mechanism that includes components like the condenser, evaporator, and compressor.

If one or more components are malfunctioning, it can result in poor cooling performance. The best way to diagnose and fix this issue is by having a professional inspect the fridge’s cooling system. They will be able to identify any problems and provide the necessary repairs.

In some cases, certain parts of the cooling system may need to be replaced – which a professional RV service technician can do.

5. Refrigerant Leak

A refrigerant leak can significantly impact the cooling performance of your RV refrigerator.

Refrigerant is a crucial component that absorbs heat inside the fridge and releases it outside, allowing for the cooling process to occur. When there’s a leak in the refrigerant system, it disrupts this cycle and leads to inadequate cooling.

To detect a refrigerant leak, you’ll need to have the RV refrigerator serviced by a professional technician. They will use special equipment and techniques to determine if there is indeed a leak and can repair it accordingly. Refrigerant leaks should be fixed as soon as possible since they can cause further damage to the fridge’s components if left unchecked.

How Often Should You Service Your RV Refrigerator?

RV refrigerator repair

For optimal performance, it’s recommended to have your RV refrigerator serviced once every RV season. This will help ensure that any potential issues are detected and addressed in a timely manner, helping you avoid costly repairs down the line.

If you use your RV on a frequent basis, or if you’ve noticed any issues with the fridge’s cooling performance, you may need to have it serviced more often. A professional technician can assess the condition of your fridge and advise you on the best course of action.

In addition to servicing your RV refrigerator, it’s important to maintain it properly. Cleaning the interior on a regular basis and ensuring that the vents are clear of any debris can help keep it running smoothly. Additionally, checking the seal around the door every now and then will help prevent cold air from leaking out. Taking these steps can extend the life of your RV refrigerator significantly.

FAQs About RV Refrigerators


As you can see, RV refrigerators can be a great addition to your recreational vehicle, but they do require some upkeep. By taking the time to service and maintain your RV refrigerator, you can get years of use out of it before needing to replace it. If any issues arise, consult a professional technician for the best advice on how to proceed. With proper care and maintenance, your RV fridge should give you years of dependable service.

At RV Service Club, we want to help you get the most out of your RV appliances. That’s why we offer experienced technicians, comprehensive repair and maintenance services, and the highest-quality replacement parts.

So, if you’re in need of RV refrigerator repairs or any other RV service, contact us today!

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Jared Thompson

Jared Thompson is the founder and owner of RV Service Club, a one-stop shop for all RV needs. With a deep understanding of the unique challenges and joys of RV ownership, Jared has dedicated himself to providing top-tier mobile repair and maintenance services to fellow RV enthusiasts. His passion for ensuring the safety, comfort, and reliability of RVs on the road led him to create a convenient and comprehensive solution for RV repairs. Jared's commitment to customer satisfaction and his team's expertise have made RV Service Club a trusted partner for RV owners across the country.

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