4 Reasons Why Your RV Fridge Freezes Everything

You’ll need a fridge that works properly to enjoy a long journey with your RV. But problems can arise, like an RV fridge that freezes everything unexpectedly. When this happens, food and drink items can get ruined, or you can be stuck waiting for items to defrost. This is a bad way to start your camping trip, and doing a few things before embarking on your next adventure can ensure it doesn’t happen. 

Why does the refrigerator in my RV freeze everything?

An RV fridge can freeze everything if it has a defective thermistor, a broken thermostat, incorrect temperature settings, an improper door seal, or even blocked air vents. To prevent this, perform regular fridge checks, replace faulty parts, and set your temperature correctly. 

The refrigerator in your RV is designed to keep food cool and fresh for long trips. The cooling system for your RV fridge uses a coolant like ammonia to keep it cold enough safely. When the refrigerator has a leak or defect, it can cause temperatures to change too much, causing everything to freeze. 

Through various tests on RV fridges, this freezing problem was analyzed and solved based on the most common causes listed below. Keep reading to become an RV fridge expert. 

Why Your RV Fridge Freezes Everything

Your RV fridge could freeze everything because of a defective thermistor, broken thermostat, incorrect temperature settings, or a worn-down door seal. All of these problems can result in faster freeze times. 

The refrigerator in your RV is an essential appliance. It keeps food and beverages cold and preserves them for a long time, but you have a problem to address when everything starts to freeze. 

Consider these potential causes below to help identify why you are struggling with an RV fridge that continues to freeze everything. 

Defective Thermistor

A thermistor is a temperature sensor, and in an RV fridge, it’s responsible for detecting proper cold settings to communicate with the cooling unit. When this part is defective, temperatures will drop significantly. 

When your RV fridge is too cold, everything will freeze inside. If you have a defective thermistor, you can remove and replace it so temperature settings are accurate again. 

Broken Thermostat

A broken thermostat could cause your RV fridge to freeze everything, including the food inside. Knowing what is causing a broken thermostat is crucial before you start looking for a solution.

To avoid this, keep your thermostat in good working order by regularly checking the temperature and adjusting it as needed. This allows you to monitor temperatures to ensure everything is working correctly. 

Incorrect Temperature Setting

The RV fridge should be set at a temperature appropriate for the food you store. If you don’t know how to set your RV fridge properly, you could end up with all frozen food and drink items. 

On average, you should set your RV fridge between 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below 32 degrees is cold, and average freezers are set to 0 degrees. 

Improper Door Seal

A door with a rubber seal gasket on an RV fridge creates a tight close to keep the cold air inside. This lining also prevents an exchange of heat from outside the refrigerator and inside the fridge. 

This is important to keep humidity levels lower inside the fridge. You might be thinking, why would my fridge freeze everything if it got warmer? 

However, this is one of the most common causes because it allows moisture to build up inside the fridge. This moisture will get colder as the fridge runs more to try and compensate for the lost temperature, leading to frozen foods. 

How Do I Keep My RV Fridge From Freezing? 

If you are struggling with an RV fridge that keeps freezing, try to replace any faulty parts, pack them correctly, and adjust the temperature settings accordingly. 

Replace Any Faulty Parts

A faulty or failed part is the most common problem with an RV fridge and frequently leads to items freezing. This could be a defective thermistor, worn-out seal gasket, or broken thermostat. 

You should look to upgrade and replace any faulty parts to keep your RV fridge from freezing. But this requires some technical knowledge, and we will cover how to make these repairs. 

Don’t Overpack It

If you have a small RV fridge that doesn’t have enough space between items, then you should try packing more tightly as you would in a regular freezer. But avoid overpacking it. 

Leave enough space in the fridge for any vents so proper ventilation exists. 

Adjust Temperature Settings

Put the temperature settings at the proper range to keep your RV fridge from freezing. As mentioned, the recommended range is between 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do You Fix A Refrigerator That Freezes Everything?

When your RV refrigerator stops working properly, there are a few different things you can do to fix it yourself. This includes installing a new thermistor, installing a new seal gasket, cleaning the fridge coils, or adjusting the air ducts. 

Install A New Thermistor

The first reason is that you have a faulty thermistor, so there is no way to regulate the cooling system properly. Before installing a new one, check the resistance range to see how it responds to temperature changes. 

You can attach an ohmmeter to the thermistor wires to measure this resistance. Compare it to the recommended range for your fridge to see whether a new one is needed. 

First, unplug the fridge and remove the thermistor cover. Be sure to move the refrigerator to an easier-to-access area if possible too. 

The thermistor is held in place with a mounting clip and wire harness. Pull it off the clip and unplug the harness. This makes installing the new one easier, as all you need to do is attach it back to the clip and plug in the harness. 

Lastly, you can put the cover back on and plug in the fridge to restore power. 

Install A New Seal Gasket

If the thermistor is fine, check the seal gasket on the fridge door. Open and close the fridge to see how well the gasket is sealing. 

A replacement is necessary if you notice extensive wear, rips, cracks, or tears. This is an easy repair and only requires a screwdriver, some screws, and a new gasket kit. 

Clean Fridge Coils

All RV fridges also come with coils to help the compressor run properly. When they get dirty, it causes the compressor to work harder, making the temperature drop below expected levels. 

As a result, this leads to the fridge freezing everything. You’ll need access to the back of the refrigerator to clean the coils. Use a small vacuum for the best results. 

Adjust Air Ducts

Lastly, any modern RV refrigerator over a specific size will have adjustable air ducts. These are important because they allow for optimal ventilation. 

If they are positioned wrong or blocked, you need to adjust them for better airflow. This will help for improved ventilation and no more freezing. 

Why Is My Fridge Freezing Everything All Of A Sudden?

So your refrigerator starts freezing everything suddenly, and you don’t know what caused it. There are a few potential causes like the ones we’ve discussed, but when it happens suddenly, you should check the air vents and temperature sensor. 

Blocked Air Vents

A reliable ventilation system with multiple air vents for a smooth flow is critical for a fridge’s success. When these air vents get blocked accidentally, it can eliminate that airflow and cause freezing.

This can happen when overloading the inside of your fridge with too many food items. To fix the problem, we recommend organizing everything inside the refrigerator to ensure the vents are free and open. 

This can happen because the blockage of vents causes cold air to remain inside the fridge for longer. This results in unexpected freezing. 

Damaged Temperature Sensor

A damaged temperature sensor or thermistor will cause sudden freezing in your fridge. Without a working sensor, there is no way to regulate the temperature, so it only drops well below the recommended level. 

After this happens, items in the fridge can freeze quickly because the fridge reaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It only takes two hours for foods to freeze at this temperature. 

Why Is Ice Building Up In My RV Fridge?

When your RV fridge has ice and frost building up, the issue is slightly different than food items getting frozen. But generally, it has something to do with humidity or a seal allowing moisture inside the fridge. 

An RV fridge with ice building up likely has high humidity levels because of repeated or excessive door opening or a poor seal. The best way to prevent this is by ensuring that the seals on the door are tight and there are no gaps around the seal.

For example, if it’s a hot summer day and you open the fridge door often, moisture will creep inside the fridge and build up on your food items. Over time, this turns into ice build-up when temperatures drop. 

The same is true if your fridge door has a poor seal when closed. This seal gasket can wear out over time, so a new fridge door seal is one of the easiest ways to eliminate ice build up. 

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