RV Fridge Replacement Guide – Quick & Easy Steps

Over time, it may be necessary to replace your RV refrigerator due to damage or wear and tear. This guide will provide you with quick and easy steps to follow for a successful RV fridge replacement. Whether you need to remove a window to get the old refrigerator out or disconnect electrical and gas lines, we have all the information you need to complete the installation of your new RV refrigerator.

Key Takeaways:

  • Replacing an RV refrigerator is a manageable task with proper preparation and knowledge.
  • Consider the cost of RV refrigerator replacement and weigh it against the potential benefits of upgrading to a newer model.
  • Before installing a new RV refrigerator, measure the dimensions of the old refrigerator to ensure a proper fit.
  • Choose a new RV refrigerator that fits the dimensions of your RV and meets your cooling and storage requirements.
  • Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your RV refrigerator in optimal working condition.

Reasons for RV Refrigerator Replacement

RV Refrigerator Replacement

There are several reasons why you may need to replace your RV refrigerator. One common reason is damage that cannot be repaired, which can be costly. In such cases, it may be more economical to replace the refrigerator altogether. Additionally, many RV owners choose to upgrade their fridge for improved efficiency, more storage space, or modern features.

Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. RV Refrigerator Replacement Cost: When evaluating whether to replace your RV refrigerator, it’s important to weigh the cost of replacement against the potential benefits. Assess the repair costs and compare them to the price of a new fridge. You may find that a new refrigerator offers better value in the long run.
  2. RV Fridge Upgrade: Upgrading your RV fridge can bring a range of advantages. Newer models often come with enhanced energy efficiency, better temperature control, and modern features like ice makers or digital displays. Additionally, upgrading can provide additional storage space, accommodating your specific needs during your RV travels.

By considering the RV refrigerator replacement cost and the potential benefits of an RV fridge upgrade, you can make an informed decision that suits your budget and enhances your RV experience.

Preparing for RV Refrigerator Replacement

how to remove RV refrigerator

Before you can install a new RV refrigerator, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare your RV and remove the old refrigerator. By following these preparation steps, you can ensure a smooth replacement process and avoid any potential issues.

Shutting off Gas and Power Sources

First, locate the LP gas line connected to the back of the refrigerator. To safely disconnect it, turn off the gas supply using the shut-off valve and carefully remove the connection. This will prevent any gas leaks during the replacement process.

Next, ensure that your RV is not plugged into a 120-volt power source and that all batteries are disconnected. This step is crucial to avoid electric shock and ensure your safety while working on the refrigerator.

Removing Securing Mechanisms

Inspect the old refrigerator to see if there are any steel plates or screws securing it in place. If so, you will need to carefully undo these fasteners to free the refrigerator from its position within the RV. Keep track of all the screws or plates you remove, as you will need them during the installation of the new refrigerator.

Troubleshooting Existing Issues

Before removing the old refrigerator, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot any existing issues it may have. Common problems include insufficient cooling, temperature fluctuations, or leaks. By identifying and addressing these issues before the replacement, you can prevent them from recurring with your new refrigerator.

Insufficient CoolingCheck the temperature settings and ensure they are appropriately adjusted. Clean the condenser coils and ensure that there is proper ventilation around the refrigerator.
Temperature FluctuationsInspect the door seal for any damage or gaps. Replace the seal if necessary. Ensure that the RV is level, as an unlevel orientation can cause temperature fluctuations.
LeaksCheck for any visible signs of water or coolant leaks. Inspect the water lines and connections for any damage or loose fittings. Tighten or replace as needed.

By thoroughly preparing your RV and troubleshooting any existing issues, you can ensure a successful RV refrigerator replacement process. Once you have completed these steps, you’ll be ready to move on to measuring and removing the old refrigerator, which we will cover in the next section.

Measuring and Removing the Old RV Refrigerator

Removing RV refrigerator

Before installing a new RV refrigerator, it’s crucial to measure the dimensions of the old refrigerator to ensure a proper fit. This includes both the interior cubic foot measurement and the exterior dimensions. If the new refrigerator is larger than the space available, modifications may be necessary.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to measure an RV refrigerator:

  1. Start by measuring the height, width, and depth of the existing refrigerator from the outside. Make sure to include any protruding parts or handles in your measurements.
  2. Next, measure the interior of the refrigerator to determine the cubic foot capacity. This measurement is essential to ensure that the new refrigerator can accommodate your storage needs.
  3. Compare the measurements of the old refrigerator with the dimensions of the new refrigerator you wish to install. Ensure that the new refrigerator will fit both the space available and the desired storage capacity.
  4. If the new refrigerator is larger than the old one, you may need to make modifications to the surrounding cabinetry or the RV itself. Consult a professional or the manufacturer for guidance on modifying the space.

Once you have measured the old refrigerator and ensured compatibility with the new one, it’s time to remove the old refrigerator from the RV. This process requires careful disconnection of electrical and gas lines, removal of screws or plates securing the refrigerator in place, and maneuvering it out of the RV.

Here are the steps to safely remove an RV refrigerator:

  1. Start by disconnecting any electrical connections supplying power to the refrigerator.
  2. Next, shut off the LP gas line and disconnect it from the back of the refrigerator. Ensure that the gas supply is completely turned off to avoid any leaks.
  3. Remove any screws or plates that secure the refrigerator to the surrounding cabinetry or the RV wall. Keep track of these fasteners as they will be needed when installing the new refrigerator.
  4. With the necessary connections and fasteners detached, carefully maneuver the refrigerator out of its enclosure. Be cautious not to damage any surrounding surfaces or components.

Once the old refrigerator is successfully removed, you can proceed with the installation of the new RV refrigerator.

Tools NeededDescription
Phillips screwdriverTo remove screws securing the refrigerator
Adjustable wrenchTo disconnect gas and water lines
Tape measureTo measure the dimensions of the old and new refrigerator
Protective glovesTo handle the refrigerator safely

Choosing a New RV Refrigerator

best RV refrigerator

When it comes to selecting a new RV refrigerator, there are several important factors to consider. The type of refrigerator, its size and capacity, and the brand are all key considerations in finding the best RV refrigerator for your needs. Two highly regarded brands in the RV industry are Dometic and Norcold, known for their reliable and high-quality refrigerators.

First and foremost, it’s important to determine the type of refrigerator that suits your RV lifestyle. The two most common types are two-way and three-way refrigerators. Two-way refrigerators operate on both propane and electricity, while three-way refrigerators add a 12-volt power option. Consider your power source availability and preferences when selecting between these options.

Size and capacity are also critical factors when choosing an RV refrigerator. Measure the dimensions of the existing fridge space in your RV, considering both the interior and exterior measurements. Ensure that the new refrigerator will fit properly in the allotted space, allowing for easy installation and access. Additionally, consider the storage capacity you require for your food and beverages during your trips.

“The size and capacity of your RV refrigerator should be carefully chosen to meet your specific needs. You want to ensure enough space for all your essentials, while not compromising on workspace or other RV amenities.” – RV Enthusiast

Comparison of Dometic and Norcold RV Refrigerators

BrandFeaturesPrice RangeCustomer Rating
DometicWide range of models, energy-efficient, advanced cooling technology$500 – $3,500+4.5/5
NorcoldReliable performance, automatic temperature control, spacious interiors$600 – $3,000+4/5

Both Dometic and Norcold offer a variety of models with different features and price ranges. Dometic refrigerators are known for their energy efficiency and advanced cooling technology, making them ideal for off-grid adventures. On the other hand, Norcold refrigerators are praised for their reliable performance and spacious interiors, providing ample storage for all your food and drinks.

Ultimately, the choice between Dometic and Norcold comes down to personal preference and specific needs. Consider your budget, desired features, and available space in your RV when making your decision.

Remember, choosing the right RV refrigerator is essential for keeping your food fresh and ensuring a comfortable journey. Take the time to research and compare different models to find the one that best suits your RV lifestyle!

Installing the New RV Refrigerator

RV refrigerator installation

Now that you have selected the perfect RV refrigerator for your needs, it’s time to proceed with the installation process. Installing a new RV refrigerator requires careful attention to detail and a few extra hands to ensure a seamless transition from the old to the new. Follow these steps to successfully install your new RV refrigerator:

  1. First, consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions provided with your new refrigerator. These instructions will outline specific steps and requirements for a proper installation.
  2. Before removing the old refrigerator, gather the necessary tools and equipment, including wrenches, screwdrivers, and any specific parts or hardware needed for the installation.
  3. Next, you will need to remove the framework around the old refrigerator. This may involve removing screws, molding, or other components that hold the fridge in place. Take your time and be cautious to avoid causing any damage to the surrounding area.
  4. Once the framework is removed, it’s time to carefully maneuver the new refrigerator into place. As refrigerators can be bulky and heavy, it’s important to have assistance from another person or a professional to ensure a safe and smooth installation.
  5. Connect all electrical and gas lines according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s crucial to double-check that all connections are secure and properly aligned to avoid any potential hazards or leaks.
  6. Finally, once the new refrigerator is in place and all connections are secured, take a moment to inspect the installation for any loose components or gaps. Ensure that the refrigerator is level to allow for optimal performance and minimize the risk of issues such as uneven cooling.

By following these installation steps and referring to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can confidently install your new RV refrigerator and enjoy its benefits during your future travels.

Installation TipsImportant Considerations
Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructionsProperly align and secure all connections
Have assistance to navigate the bulky fridgeInspect the installation for any loose components
Remove framework around the old refrigeratorEnsure the refrigerator is level for optimal performance

Note: For complex or unfamiliar installations, it’s always recommended to seek professional assistance to ensure a safe and successful installation.

Troubleshooting RV Refrigerator Installation

While installing a new RV refrigerator can be straightforward with proper preparation, occasionally, issues may arise. Here are a few common troubleshooting tips:

  • If the refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, check the thermostat settings and ensure proper ventilation around the fridge.
  • If there is a gas leak or unusual odor, immediately shut off the gas supply and assess the connections for any leaks.
  • If the electrical components aren’t functioning, check the power source, fuses, and wiring connections to troubleshoot the issue.
  • If you encounter any other installation-related problems, consult the manufacturer’s customer support or consider seeking assistance from an RV refrigerator repair service.

By troubleshooting installation issues promptly, you can address any potential problems and ensure that your new RV refrigerator operates optimally throughout your journeys.

Maintaining Your RV Refrigerator

To keep your RV refrigerator in optimal working condition, regular maintenance is necessary. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your fridge stays clean, efficient, and functional for years to come.

Cleaning the Interior and Exterior

Regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of your RV refrigerator is essential to prevent the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and odors. Start by removing all food items and storing them safely. Then, using a mild detergent or vinegar solution, wipe down the interior surfaces, including shelves, drawers, and door seals. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before restocking your fridge. For the exterior, use a soft cloth or sponge and a non-abrasive cleaner to remove any stains or spills. Don’t forget to clean the vent area to ensure proper airflow.

Checking for Leaks and Malfunctions

Regularly inspecting your RV refrigerator for leaks or malfunctions is crucial to prevent potential damage and costly repairs. Look for any signs of leaking water or unusual sounds, which may indicate a malfunctioning part. Additionally, check the door seals for any cracks or gaps that could cause cool air to escape. Testing the thermostat and temperature control settings periodically can also help identify any issues with temperature regulation.

Maintaining Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is vital for the efficient operation of your RV refrigerator. Ensure that the vents on the back and sides of the fridge are not blocked by any obstructions, such as furniture or storage items. This allows for optimal airflow and prevents overheating. If necessary, use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or debris from the vents. Regularly inspect and clean the condenser coils, as accumulated dust can hinder performance.

Monitoring Temperature Settings and Leveling

Monitoring the temperature settings of your RV refrigerator is essential for food safety and energy efficiency. Use a fridge thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature remains between 35°F and 40°F for the refrigerator compartment and below 0°F for the freezer compartment. Additionally, it’s important to keep your RV level to prevent any issues with the fridge’s cooling performance. Use a bubble level to check the levelness and adjust as necessary using leveling blocks or jacks.

Preventing Issues and Costly Repairs

By following these maintenance tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your RV refrigerator and prevent the need for costly repairs or replacements in the future. Regular cleaning, inspection, and proper ventilation will help your fridge operate efficiently and effectively, ensuring that your food stays fresh and your RV adventures are worry-free.

Maintenance TipsFrequency
Clean interior and exteriorEvery 1-2 months
Check for leaks and malfunctionsEvery 3-6 months
Maintain proper ventilationEvery 3 months
Monitor temperature settingsEvery 1-2 weeks
Level the RVAs needed

Energy Efficiency and RV Refrigerators

RV refrigerator energy efficiency

When it comes to choosing an RV refrigerator, energy efficiency should be a top consideration. The energy consumption of your refrigerator is influenced by factors such as the type of fridge, insulation quality, and cooling system. By selecting an energy-saving RV refrigerator, you can not only save money on your energy bills but also extend the life of your RV batteries.

One way to identify energy-efficient RV refrigerators is by looking for models that are Energy Star certified. These fridges are designed to operate efficiently on limited power sources like propane or DC power. The Energy Star certification ensures that the refrigerator meets strict energy consumption guidelines, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice.

Aside from certification, consider features that can help reduce energy usage. Look for temperature controls that allow you to adjust the cooling settings according to your needs. This ensures that the refrigerator is not using excess energy to maintain an unnecessarily low temperature. Adjustable shelving is another essential feature, as it allows you to optimize the storage space and maximize the cooling efficiency. LED lighting is also highly recommended, as it consumes less energy compared to traditional lighting options.

Optimizing energy efficiency in your RV refrigerator is crucial for preserving power during extended trips or when relying on limited power sources. By prioritizing energy-saving features, you can enjoy a well-chilled fridge without worrying about draining your batteries too quickly.

Upgrading to a Residential-Type RV Refrigerator

residential RV refrigerator

Some RV owners choose to upgrade their current refrigerator to a residential-type model for their RV. These residential refrigerators function similarly to household units and often offer larger storage capacity and better cooling performance. If you’re looking for an RV refrigerator with more space and improved cooling capabilities, upgrading to a residential-type refrigerator may be the right choice for you.

However, it’s important to note that residential-type RV refrigerators require a dedicated AC power source. This means that they rely on electrical power instead of gas or propane. While this is not an issue if you primarily camp at RV parks or have access to shore power, it may not be ideal for boondocking or dry camping situations where you solely rely on your RV’s batteries. It’s essential to consider your camping preferences and power availability before deciding to upgrade to a residential-type RV refrigerator.

When considering an upgrade to a residential-type RV refrigerator, there are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Power Requirements: Residential-type refrigerators typically require a 120-volt AC power source. Ensure that your RV is equipped with the necessary electrical system to handle the increased power demands. It may be necessary to upgrade your RV’s electrical system or install an inverter to convert DC power from your batteries to AC power for the refrigerator.
  2. Installation Process: Upgrading to a residential-type RV refrigerator may involve modifications to your RV’s cabinetry and electrical system. You may need to reconfigure the space where the refrigerator is located, as residential refrigerators tend to be larger than standard RV refrigerators. Consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions or seek assistance from an RV professional to ensure a proper and safe installation.
  3. Size and Weight: Residential-type refrigerators are generally larger and heavier than standard RV refrigerators. Consider the dimensions of your RV’s refrigerator compartment and the weight capacity of your RV when selecting a residential-type refrigerator. Measure the available space accurately to ensure a proper fit.

If you decide to upgrade to a residential-type RV refrigerator, it’s essential to carefully plan the installation process and consider the power requirements and potential modifications needed to accommodate the larger size and power demands. Consulting with an RV professional can provide valuable guidance to ensure a successful upgrade.

By upgrading to a residential-type RV refrigerator, you can enjoy the benefits of increased storage capacity and enhanced cooling performance. Just be sure to assess your power capabilities and make any necessary modifications to support the electrical demands of a residential refrigerator. With proper planning and installation, you can transform your RV’s kitchen into a more functional and efficient space for storing and preserving your food while on the road.

Buying a Used RV Refrigerator

If you’re looking to save some money on your RV refrigerator, buying a used one can be a great option. There are many places where you can find used fridges for sale, such as online platforms like Craigslist or RV forums. However, there are a few things you should consider before making a purchase.

Inspect Thoroughly

When buying a used RV refrigerator, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect it for any damage or malfunctions. Check the operational functionality of the fridge, ensuring that it cools properly and all features are working as expected. Pay close attention to the seal quality as well, as a faulty seal can lead to inefficiency and potential food spoilage. Consider the age of the fridge too, as older models may have more wear and tear.

Consider the Seller’s Reputation

It’s important to buy from a reputable seller when purchasing a used RV refrigerator. Look for sellers with positive feedback and ratings to ensure a smooth transaction. You can also ask the seller about the fridge’s history, including any repairs or issues it may have had in the past. This information will give you an idea of the fridge’s reliability and whether it’s worth buying.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used RV Refrigerator

  • Cost savings
  • Potential for finding a high-quality fridge at a lower price
  • Availability of different brands and models
  • Risk of purchasing a faulty or damaged fridge
  • Potential for hidden issues or repairs needed
  • Shorter lifespan compared to a new fridge

Buying a used RV refrigerator can be a cost-effective choice, but it’s important to carefully inspect the appliance and consider the seller’s reputation. While there are potential risks involved, a well-maintained and reliable used fridge can provide years of service at a lower price.

By following these tips and being diligent in your search, you can find a used RV refrigerator that meets your needs and fits within your budget. Ensure you understand the condition of the fridge and any potential risks associated with buying used, but don’t hesitate to explore this option if it aligns with your goals.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Even with proper maintenance, RV refrigerators can experience common issues that may disrupt your travel plans. It’s important to understand how to troubleshoot these problems promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your fridge.

One of the most common issues RV owners face is insufficient cooling. If you notice that your refrigerator is not keeping your food cold enough, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take. First, check the temperature settings to ensure they are correctly adjusted. If the settings are correct, inspect the door seals for any signs of damage or gaps that may be allowing warm air to enter. Additionally, make sure that the refrigerator vents are clear of any obstructions that might impede airflow.

Another issue commonly encountered is leaking. If you notice water pooling inside your RV refrigerator, it’s essential to address the problem promptly. Start by checking the drain tube to see if it is blocked or disconnected. Clear any blockages and ensure that the tube is securely connected. Also, inspect the water supply line and fittings for leaks or loose connections. Tighten any loose fittings or replace damaged parts as needed.

Irregular temperature fluctuations can also be a cause for concern. If your RV refrigerator is experiencing inconsistent cooling, you might need to clean the condenser coils. Dust and debris can accumulate on the coils over time, hindering their ability to dissipate heat effectively. To clean the coils, first, ensure that the refrigerator is turned off and unplugged. Then, use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any debris. Be careful not to damage the fins on the coils while cleaning.

If you have tried troubleshooting the issues mentioned above and your RV refrigerator still isn’t functioning correctly, it may be time to seek professional help. An experienced RV refrigerator repair service can diagnose the problem accurately and provide the necessary repairs to get your fridge back in working order.

Remember, regular maintenance and prompt troubleshooting can help prevent costly repairs and extend the lifespan of your RV refrigerator. By staying proactive and addressing issues as soon as they arise, you can enjoy worry-free refrigeration during your RV adventures.


Replacing an RV refrigerator is a manageable task that can greatly enhance your RV experience. Whether you choose to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model or opt for a used fridge, proper preparation, installation, and maintenance are vital for optimal performance.

By carefully following the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer, you can ensure that your new RV refrigerator is properly connected to electrical and gas lines, and securely fitted in your RV. It’s also essential to take regular maintenance measures such as cleaning, checking for leaks, and maintaining proper ventilation to keep your fridge running smoothly.

With a well-installed and well-maintained RV refrigerator, you can enjoy fresh and cold food during your RV adventures, which significantly adds to the convenience and comfort of your travels. So, make the most out of your RV journey by ensuring your refrigerator is in top-notch condition!


What are the reasons for RV refrigerator replacement?

There are several reasons why you may need to replace your RV refrigerator. This can include irreparable damage, the desire to upgrade for more features or storage space, or the need for improved efficiency.

How do I prepare for RV refrigerator replacement?

To prepare for RV refrigerator replacement, you will need to shut off the LP gas line, disconnect electrical and gas lines, and troubleshoot any existing issues with the old refrigerator.

How do I measure and remove the old RV refrigerator?

Measure the dimensions of the old refrigerator before removing it. Disconnect all electrical and gas lines, remove securing screws or plates, and carefully maneuver it out of the RV.

How do I choose a new RV refrigerator?

Consider factors such as type (two-way or three-way), size, capacity, and brand. Dometic and Norcold are popular options for RV refrigerators.

How do I install the new RV refrigerator?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. This typically includes removing the framework around the old refrigerator, maneuvering the new one into place, and connecting all electrical and gas lines.

How do I maintain my RV refrigerator?

Regular maintenance includes cleaning the interior and exterior, checking for leaks or malfunctions, and ensuring proper ventilation. Monitor temperature settings and keep the fridge level.

How can I ensure energy efficiency in my RV refrigerator?

Look for Energy Star certified models that operate efficiently on limited power sources. Consider features like adjustable shelving and LED lighting that reduce energy usage.

Can I upgrade to a residential-type RV refrigerator?

Upgrading to a residential-type refrigerator offers more storage capacity and better cooling performance but requires a dedicated AC power source and potential modifications.

Where can I buy a used RV refrigerator?

You can find used refrigerators for sale on platforms like Craigslist and RV forums. Inspect the fridge for damage, check operational functionality, and inquire about its history.

How can I troubleshoot common issues with my RV refrigerator?

Troubleshooting steps include checking the power source, inspecting for blockages or obstructions, and cleaning the condenser coils. Consult a professional if issues persist.

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