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RV Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is: What to Do?

RV Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is: What to Do?

If you have a caravan and have noticed that the refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer is, it’s time to take some action. The last thing you want on your next camping trip is for food to spoil due to temperature issues, so let’s get to the bottom of this. In this article, we will cover some of the most common issues that cause RV refrigerators to stop cooling, as well as some of the possible solutions. Read on to find out more!

How Do RV Refrigerators Work?

Before we dive into the possible issues, let’s first take a look at how RV refrigerators work. RV refrigerators are powered by either propane or electricity and often feature two cooling units – one for the refrigerator and one for the freezer. In order to keep food cold, these cooling units use low pressure liquid ammonia gas which expands and contracts as the temperatures change. [3]

How Do RV Refrigerators Work?

How Does a Compressor Refrigerator Work?

A compressor refrigerator is a type of cooling system that uses a sealed unit to contain the refrigerant, which is then pressurized and circulated by an electric motor. This creates cold air which is then released into the fridge compartment.

When it comes to RV refrigerators, there are two main types: absorption and compressor.

An absorption refrigerator works through a combination of heat and ammonia to produce cooling. This type has no compressor, meaning it is quieter and more energy efficient than a compressor fridge. However, absorption fridges are not as effective in colder climates and can be slower to reach the desired temperature.

Compressor refrigerators use an electric motor-driven compressor that runs on either propane or electricity to cool the refrigerant. This type of fridge is more reliable and efficient, making it the preferred option for RV owners. [3]

How Does an Absorption Refrigerator Work?

An absorption refrigerator is one of the most popular options for RVs. It works by using a combination of heat, pressure, and ammonia gas to move coolant throughout an enclosed system. The gas absorbs heat from inside the fridge, which then causes it to condense and give off cold air. This process can be repeated multiple times until the desired temperature is achieved. [3]

How Does an Absorption Refrigerator Work?

RV Refrigerators vs Household Refrigerators

It’s important to remember that RV refrigerators differ from the ones in your home. The major difference is that RV fridges are powered by propane, electricity, or a combination of both. Propane fridges can be used while on the go and off-grid, but they don’t cool as effectively as electric models. [3]

Diagnosing Issues with Your RV Refrigerator

It’s always a challenge when your RV refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, especially if it’s the middle of summer. Luckily, these issues are usually relatively easy to diagnose and fix with a few basic tools.

The first thing you should do is check that the temperature setting is correct on both parts of your fridge (the freezer and the refrigerator). If the setting is too low, it won’t get cold enough. You should also make sure that the vents are open and not blocked by anything which can cause air flow problems.

If the settings and vents seem okay, check to see if your fan is running. Your refrigerator may have a cooling fan in the back or in the top of the unit which helps circulate cold air. If it’s not working, check to make sure it’s plugged in and if necessary, replace any worn or broken parts. [1]

How to Properly Clean a Condenser Coil?

If the condenser coils of your RV refrigerator are clogged with dirt and dust, they won’t be able to properly disperse heat. This could cause the refrigerator to not cool down enough. To clean them, you will need a vacuum cleaner with a long wand attachment and some compressed air in a can.

Start by unplugging the RV refrigerator so you don’t get a shock. Next, locate the condenser coils and use the vacuum to remove dust and dirt from them. Once that is done, you can use the compressed air to blow away any remaining debris. You may need to do this several times to make sure you have removed all particles.

Finally, check the fan blades on either end of the condenser coils for any buildup and clean it with a soft cloth. Make sure you don’t damage the blades when cleaning them, as this could prevent proper air circulation. [3]

How to Properly Clean a Condenser Coil?

When & How to Replace an RV Refrigerator?

If your RV fridge isn’t cooling, but the freezer is working just fine, it’s time to consider replacing it. It can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to RVing, so here are some tips and advice on how to go about it:

  1. First of all, decide which type of refrigerator is best for your RV. There are three main types – absorption, compressor and 3-way models.
  2. Consider the size you need – bigger may not always be better! You want the fridge to fit comfortably in the space you have available with enough room to open and close the door easily.
  3. Check what type of power source your RV can provide to the fridge – most require either DC current or AC power.
  4. Compare features, such as interior lights and adjustable shelves, to make sure you find one that meets all of your needs.
  5. Research prices online and shop around for the best deals on a new RV refrigerator – you may want to wait for a sale if budget is an issue.
  6. Finally, make sure you know what type of procedure should be followed when removing and installing the new refrigerator – professional help may be necessary. [3]

How to Test the RV Refrigerator Cooling Unit?

If you suspect there’s something wrong with the cooling unit, it’s best to test it out first before doing any repairs or replacements. Here are the steps on how to test an RV refrigerator cooling unit:

  • Start by removing the outer cabinet of your RV fridge so that you can access the cooling unit.
  • Disconnect the fan from the cooling unit, then unplug the power cord from the outlet.
  • Check if there’s any visible damage on the RV refrigerator cooling unit, like cracks or dents. If you see any signs of damage, it’s best to replace the cooling unit and skip the rest of the steps.
  • Put a thermometer in a container filled with ice and water, then place it inside the RV refrigerator.
  • Turn on the power switch to see if the fan is working properly. The temperature should drop in 10-15 minutes; if not, there’s something wrong with the cooling unit.
  • If you’ve determined that there is an issue with the cooling unit, it’s best to call a professional technician who can repair or replace the RV refrigerator cooling unit properly. [3]

How to Test the RV Refrigerator Cooling Unit?

How cold should an RV refrigerator get?

When it comes to the temperature of your RV refrigerator, the optimal temperature is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer than that can lead to food spoilage and any colder than that can be a sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you notice your RV refrigerator not cooling but the freezer still working properly, then it could be a sign that it needs some attention. To make sure your RV refrigerator keeps all your food safe and at the right temperature, here are some tips and solutions to help you troubleshoot the problem. [1]

How Long Does it Take for the RV Refrigerator to Cool?

The time it takes for your RV refrigerator to cool depends on several factors, including the size of your fridge, the ambient temperature of the area you are in, and whether or not you’re running a fan inside. Generally speaking, it may take 8-24 hours for your fridge to reach its ideal temperature. [1]

RV Refrigerator Tips For Troubleshooting

Lack Of Air Circulation

One of the most common reasons why an RV refrigerator might not be cooling properly is due to a lack of air circulation. If there is not enough space for air to move between the outside and inside of the fridge, then it won’t be able to cool effectively. This can happen if items are stored too close together or if the door doesn’t close all the way. [2]

Thermistor Problems

Another potential issue that can cause an RV refrigerator to not cool properly is a thermistor problem.

The thermistor is the internal temperature sensor and it needs to be in good working order for the fridge to be able to regulate its temperature correctly. If it’s faulty or out of calibration, then it won’t be able to accurately measure and adjust the temperature inside of the fridge. [2]

RV Refrigerator Tips For Troubleshooting

Temperature Sensors

The temperature sensors inside of the RV refrigerator can also be a problem. If these sensors are faulty, then they won’t be able to accurately measure and regulate the temperature in the fridge, potentially leading to cooling problems. You may need to reset or replace the sensors if this is the case. [2]

Blocked Refrigerator Exhaust

It’s possible that the refrigerator exhaust vents may be blocked. These are typically located on the back of the fridge and they allow heat to escape from the inside of the appliance. If they’re blocked or dirty, then there won’t be enough air circulation to keep it cool. Cleaning or unblocking the exhaust vents should help. [2]

Refrigerator Coolant

If the coolant level inside of the RV refrigerator is too low, then it won’t be able to function properly. This can be caused by a leak or if the coolant has run out over time. If you suspect this is the case, then you should call in a professional technician to check and refill the coolant if necessary. [2]

Road Bumps

One thing to consider is whether the refrigerator has been subjected to a lot of bumps or vibrations on the road. This can cause the internal components of the fridge to become loose and misaligned, which can lead to cooling problems. In this case, you may need to call in a technician to check and adjust any components that could be causing the issue. [2]

Some Quick Tips

If your RV refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer is, here are a few quick tips to help you troubleshoot the issue and get back on the road.

  • Check if the power source is connected correctly. Make sure that all connections are secure and that the power cord is properly plugged into a reliable power source.
  • Check the refrigerator’s thermostat setting. Many RV refrigerators have adjustable thermostats that can be adjusted manually or via a control panel. Make sure it’s set to the correct temperature in order to properly cool your food and beverages.
  • Inspect the condenser coils located at the back of the refrigerator. Make sure they are free from dust and dirt buildup, which can cause overheating and restrict air circulation. Clean the coils if necessary, using a brush or vacuum attachment to remove any debris.
  • Inspect the cooling fins located on the back of the refrigerator – these should also be kept clean to ensure proper air flow.
  • Check for a worn or clogged fan, as this can cause the refrigerator to overheat and prevent it from cooling correctly. If necessary, you can use a screwdriver or similar tool to remove any debris that has collected in the fan blades.
  • Replace any damaged gaskets on the doors and/or drawers. These gaskets help to keep the cold air in and ensure that your refrigerator is properly sealed. [2]

Some Quick Tips

Ideal Cooling of an RV Refrigerator and Freezer

To ensure optimal cooling, the temperature level in both the refrigerator and freezer should be set between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius. If your refrigerator is running at a higher temperature than this, it may not be able to cool properly.

When temperatures are too low, you can experience frost build-up in your RV’s refrigerator, reduced efficiency, and potentially even a broken refrigerator door seal. [4]


What causes an RV refrigerator to stop cooling?

A variety of issues can cause an RV refrigerator to stop cooling. Some of the most common causes are a dirty or clogged condenser coil, a faulty thermostat, low refrigerant levels, or blocked vents.

Why is my freezer working but not cooling?

Your freezer may be working but not cooling if the condenser coil is dirty or clogged, the evaporator fan motor isn’t running, the thermostat is faulty, the thermistor is damaged, or there’s too much frost buildup inside the refrigerator.

Can the freezer fail but not the fridge?

Yes, the freezer can fail while the fridge continues to function. This typically happens when there is an issue with the evaporator fan motor, the thermostat, or the thermistor.

How do you fix a refrigerator that is not cooling?

To fix a refrigerator that is not cooling, you should first start by cleaning the condenser coils, replacing any faulty components, and checking the evaporator fan motor. If these steps don’t work, then it may be time to call in a professional for help.

Why is my fridge warm but my freezer cold?

If your fridge is warm but your freezer is cold, it usually means that the condenser coil or evaporator fan motor may be blocked or dirty. It could also mean that the thermostat or thermistor needs to be replaced. You should also check for any ventilation blockages and make sure the seals on both the refrigerator and freezer doors are airtight.

Should I unplug my refrigerator if it’s not cooling?

Yes, you should unplug your refrigerator if it’s not cooling. This will allow the refrigerator to reset itself and help identify any potential issues with the power supply. Additionally, unplugging the refrigerator can also help prevent further damage from occurring.

How do I know if my refrigerator compressor is not working?

If your refrigerator compressor is not working, you may notice warm temperatures inside the appliance, strange noises coming from the compressor, or higher than normal energy bills. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is best to call a professional for help.

Will unplugging a refrigerator reset it?

Unplugging a refrigerator can help reset it and may be necessary if the appliance is not cooling properly. However, unplugging the refrigerator will not fix any underlying issues or repair any damaged components, so you should still contact a professional for help.

What is the first thing to check when a refrigerator stops working?

The first thing to check when a refrigerator stops working is the condenser coils. Make sure the coils are clean and free from any dust or debris. If the coils are clogged, then it may be necessary to call in a professional for help. You should also check for any faulty components and make sure the evaporator fan motor is running properly. Additionally, check the thermostat and thermistor to see if they need to be replaced. If all else fails, you may need to call in a professional for help.

How do I know if my refrigerator compressor is low on Freon?

If your refrigerator compressor is low on Freon, you may notice that the appliance is not cooling properly or generating strange noises. Additionally, you may also experience higher than normal energy bills. If these symptoms persist, it is best to call a professional for help. They will be able to diagnose the issue and determine if the Freon levels are low. Additionally, they can also help identify any other potential issues with your refrigerator compressor.

Useful Video: RV refrig not cooling ….EASY FIX!


If your RV refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer is, it can be a sign of an issue with the thermistor or evaporator fan motor. Your best bet is to start by cleaning and checking the condenser coils and troubleshooting any wiring issues. You may need to enlist the help of a qualified repairperson if that doesn’t work.

Sometimes, the issue may be that you need to reset the refrigerator’s control board. If none of these solutions help and your RV refrigerator still isn’t cooling properly, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new one.

No matter what kind of RV refrigerator issue you’re dealing with, it’s important to take the time to investigate and determine the underlying cause. Taking a few simple steps can help you diagnose and fix potential problems before they become major ones. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, your RV refrigerator will be back up and running again in no time!


  1. https://vehq.com/rv-refrigerator-not-cooling-freezer-is/#
  2. https://www.rvingknowhow.com/rv-refrigerator-not-cooling-but-freezer-is/
  3. https://vehiclefreak.com/rv-refrigerator-not-cooling-but-freezer-is-causes-fixes/
  4. https://camperadvise.com/rv-refrigerator-not-cooling-but-freezer-is/