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When we first started full-timing, we bought one of those little refrigerator thermometers and for nine years, it stayed at forty degrees. A few months ago it wet up five degrees so we turned the refer to "Colder". Worked fine. Temp went up so we went to "Coldest". Again, it worked fine for a few days now is going up again. This might be a stupid question but now what do we do?

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The first thing is to check inside the refrigerator and inside of it's outside access panel for any odor of ammonia and outside also look for any signs of a yellow powder or gunk. Either of them indicate a loss of refrigerant, which is quite possible for an RV refrigerator after 9 years of constant use. RV refrigerator cooling units seem to have a typical lifespan of around 10 years when in uses as a fulltimer. Your symptoms seem to be that issue, since continued leaking will cause the until to slowly loose it's cooling ability.


If I am correct there are several options. You can replace the cooling unit, replace the RV refrigerator, or convert to a house type refrigerator with an inverter to power it when not plugged into shore power or running the generator. Replacing the cooling unit is a major job and requires the removal of the refrigerator from the RV and if done for you buy a service shop it will cost about 75% of what a new RV refrigerator cost and it takes much longer to do. Installing a new RV refrigerator would mean that you start over with all new components and a warranty, which is what we chose to do when that happened to us some years ago. More and more RV owners are converting the RV to a household refrigerator with great success and many new RVs now come with a home refrigerator installed. There are significant advantages to that route and about the only thing that you give up in doing so is the ability to operate the refrigerator from propane.


I'll hope that I'm wrong as this will be fairly expensive, but I really think that is what is happening. I know that some suggest moving the thermistor on the cooling fins and while that won't harm anything to try, doing so only changes the temperature range over which the refrigerator operates. You could try disconnecting the thermistor from the control circuit board (usually the only two wire connector on that circuit board), which will throw the unit into a constant cool mode to see if that helps any. Chances are that with your temperature set to maximum cool and still high it is likely already running constantly in an attempt to lower it.


Good luck!

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