How Long Does It Take For An RV Fridge To Get Cold?

On long trips in the RV, your refrigerator is crucial for storing food and drinks. But you need to allow some time for the fridge to get cold. As you gear up for your next RV journey, you’ll need a functional refrigerator to make the trip enjoyable. But after an RV fridge has been unplugged or stored away for a while, cooling it down to get cold enough for storage takes time. 

How much time does it take for an RV refrigerator to cool down?

The size of the RV refrigerator determines how long it takes to get cold, but you can expect between 6-24 hours. This allows it to reach the ideal temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Many compact RV fridge designs will get cold in 6 hours, while larger, full-size models take around 24 hours. 

The length of time for an RV Refrigerator to be cool depends on its size and other factors like fridge condition and your power source. Now that you understand what to expect for cool-down times, it allows you to plan for your next trip. Keep reading for more about cool times and other tips if your fridge isn’t getting cold. 

All information about RV refrigerators, coolants, compressors, and more have been gathered from the most reliable sources, like the FDA. Other brands also recommend specific cool times for their products to get cold. 

How Long Does It Take For A RV Refrigerator To Get Cold?

The refrigerator has a cooling system that uses a compressor to create cold air inside the fridge. This cool air is then circulated throughout the refrigerator by an evaporator coil. 

The refrigerant then absorbs heat from the surrounding environment, reducing its temperature. It usually takes 24 hours for a refrigerator to get cold and reach a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for an RV fridge. 

This is because the refrigeration process is based on a cooling cycle. This is due to the constant rotation of the compressor, which in turn produces heat that needs to be dissipated.

However, not all RV fridges have a compressor. This significantly impacts the time it takes to get cold, and you should keep this in mind when looking for your next RV refrigerator upgrade. 

How Do I Make My RV Fridge Cool Faster?

When an old refrigerator is left unplugged for a while, it gets warm and takes longer to get cold. This can be frustrating if you are pressed for time or have an upcoming trip for which the fridge is needed. 

Luckily, some tips work well to help your RV fridge cool even faster. Check these out below and see if they work for you. 

Keep The Interior Empty

The interior of an RV refrigerator should be kept empty to keep the temperature down. Too much food in your fridge can cause your RV refrigerator cooling unit to work harder to get cold. 

This leads to added time to reach the desired temperature level. On average, it takes 1-2 hours less to cool an RV fridge when it’s empty than one stocked with miscellaneous items. 

Use Ice Bags Or Packs

While we did say to keep the inside of the fridge empty, there is one occasion when this rule can be forgotten. To help your RV fridge get cold and cool down faster, consider packing it full of cold items. 

This includes bags of ice, compact ice packs, and other frozen items that will cause the interior temperature to drop lower. 

Install A Fridge Fan

Not many RV and motorhome owners know about small fridge fans. They are small and affordable with battery power and can be placed inside the refrigerator to help cool it down faster. 

Most RV fridges don’t use compressors, meaning airflow can be a problem which is why it takes so long for these refrigerators to get cold. This is the perfect solution without breaking the bank. 

Check The Air Vents

This is a common problem that many people face. Air flow is vital to make your refrigerator work efficiently. If you want to get your refrigerator running faster, then you should check the air vents on your refrigerator to see if they are clogged or dirty.

When these vents are clogged, the refrigerator will not be able to get cold fast enough. It may also be difficult for your fridge to maintain a consistent temperature.

How Long Does It Take For A Dometic Refrigerator To Cool?

If you want a high-quality RV fridge, consider getting a Dometic Refrigerator because it cools faster and lasts longer. 

On average, it will take 8-12 hours, but this can change based on the exact size and model you decide on. For example, the Dometic CRX 65T will cool in half the amount of time it takes the Dometic DMC4101 to cool. 

The smaller models will get cold enough in six hours for you to store feed safely. It takes at least 12 hours to do this with a larger model, and estimates range between 12-16 hours until it reaches desired temperatures. 

It’s also possible to decrease these times by using some of the tips mentioned, like adding ice or a fridge fan inside. 

Why Is My RV Refrigerator Not Getting Cold?

When you have an issue with your refrigerator, you should first check that your fridge has power. Assuming power is running correctly, you’ll need to inspect the refrigerator for problems like poor airflow, bad senses, dry coolant, or damaged components. 

Poor Air Flow

One of the most important things with a refrigerator is airflow and proper ventilation. Without it, temperatures are tougher to monitor and maintain, and items in the fridge can unexpectedly freeze or spoil. 

If your fridge isn’t getting cold, this could be the problem. Check the vents in the back and inside to ensure they are clean and not blocked by anything. 

When the vents don’t provide enough airflow, you can use a compact fridge fan to help increase airflow. This helps improve the efficiency of the refrigeration chamber. 

When you use a larger refrigerator, it’s also equipped with exhausts in the rear. Check that these are cleaned and remove anything that might block them. 

Damaged Thermistor

There is no refrigerator without a reliable and fully functioning thermistor. This component will trigger the cooling cycle of your fridge. 

The thermistor can pick up on rising temperatures, triggering a faster flow to help drop the temperature back to desired levels. When the thermistor is malfunctioning or damaged, your refrigerator cannot get cold. 

We don’t recommend ever running a fridge that lacks a thermistor; it will likely cause other damage too. 

Faulty Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are also crucial for any fridge, but luckily they are easier to fix than a bad thermistor. These sensors can easily get knocked loose or fall out of position, so identifying this as the cause is important. 

Dried Out Coolant

Your RV refrigerator may not be cooling correctly because the coolant in your cooling unit is dried out. This can happen if the unit doesn’t get used for a long time or gets exposed to extreme temperatures. 

It’s not difficult to inspect the cooling unit, but refilling the tank with the required coolant type is the easiest fix. You should also check for leaks because this can cause the same issue and is much more expensive to fix. 

How Cold Should Your RV Refrigerator Be?

The RV refrigerator should be set to less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a healthy food supply. If the temperature is too high, the food may spoil, and if it is too low, the food may freeze.

The recommended cool times mentioned above are based on the temperature range of 35 to 40 degrees. Avoid letting your fridge drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Many of the top RV refrigerators have adjustable settings to preset your temperature range. This removes the risk of any inaccurate temperatures that can cause food to freeze or go bad. 

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