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RV Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is: Diagnosing The Problem!

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Designed to preserve food and drinks, the fridge is considered by many RVers to be one of the most commonly used appliances in recreational vehicles. As a result, people tend to get very anxious when they run into a fridge-related issue like “RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is“. The last thing you want to see while on the road and far from service stations is a malfunctioned fridge.

Fortunately, in a couple of cases, you should be able to locate the source of problem and then carry out necessary repairs all by yourself. As long as you have a firm grasp on the fridge operation, you could get your refrigerator up and running with a bit of luck. This article contains informative details about the cooling principle of RV fridges and how to keep everything in working order. Keep them in mind and you could enjoy your RV road trips to the fullest.

The Operation Of RV Refrigerator: What You Have To Remember

Before you start messing around with the RV fridge, you must know about potential causes. Generally speaking, cool airs in most RV fridges generate in the freezer and then move down to the main compartment. Therefore, in the case the freezer is running but the refrigerator is not cooling, there are a couple of places you have to check out:

  • The evaporator coils
  • The defrost timer
  • The evaporator fan
  • The damper control assembly
  • The thermistors

rv refrigerator problem

As always, make you that you use suitable tools and gears while inspecting the fridge. You must not underestimate the dangers posed by electric appliances. All it takes is one moment of carelessness and you would end up with injuries. At all times, stay focus and make sure you know exactly what you are doing.

RV Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is: The Troubleshooting Guide

1. Clogged Evaporator Coils

RV fridges produce cold airs by drawing air from the outside and blow them through the coolants-contained evaporator coils. That means if the evaporator coils are clogged with frost, it would prevent airs from passing through and reduce the cooling effect of the refrigerator. So the first thing you have to do to solve the RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is issue is to assess the evaporator coils. In the case it appears that the coils have too much frost on them, you should use a hairdryer to apply hot airs to coils. After you take care of the frost-clogged coils, the refrigerator would run normally again.

2. Malfunctioned Defrost Timer

If the coils get clogged regularly, there is a good chance that the defrost timer is not working as designed.

In case you don’t know, the purpose of the timer is to activate the heating element periodically which keeps the coils free of frost. Needless to say, a defective defrost timer would be unable to take care of the frost in time and the result is frost-covered coils. The timer could be found in the temperature control section of the fridge, take it out and check if it’s still operational or not. Replace the timer unit if it shows signs of damages.

rv refrigerator troubleshooting

3. Broken Evaporator Fan

Once you conclude that both the evaporator coils and the defrost timer are not at fault, the problem may lie with the fridge evaporator fan. If the fan broke down, the refrigerator cannot receive the cold airs produced by the evaporator coils in sufficient quantity. For most of the time, you would be able to determine whether the fan is the culprit or not by listening to the fan noise.  If you feel that the fan is unusually noisy, you should consider getting a new one as soon as possible. Keep in mind that you have to find the correct model for your RV fridge.

4. Defective Damper Control Assembly

All cold airs that come to the refrigerator section from the freezer section are regulated by the damper control assembly. Hence, any issues that happen with the assembly would lead to a reduction of the cooling capacity of the refrigerator. Exam and inspect the assembly to see if the flow of cold airs could pass through without restriction or not. In many cases, replacing the assembly would put an end to your “RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is” issues.

5. Damaged/Flawed Thermistors

At this point, the last thing you have to check out is the fridge thermistors. Generally speaking, thermistors are designed to measure the temperature of their locations and transmit the value to the fridge thermostat. Damaged/flawed thermistors would cause the thermostat to misinterpret the temperature and inevitably lead to the issue of “RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is“. Given the fact that thermistors are exposed to electrical currents which degrade them, you must check up on the thermistors every once in a while.  

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