Your ultimate hub for all things RVs

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use? Everything You Need to Know

You often want to take a tour outdoors while driving in your motorhome without depleting your amenities. And you might be wondering how much propane does your RV refrigerator use?

Generally, a standard RV refrigerator uses about 36,000 BTU of propane daily, about .37 gallons or 1.5 lbs of propane daily. A standard RV propane tank holds about 30 pounds of propane.

Modern RVs typically have a built-in refrigerator unit with a volume of about 10 cubic feet that runs on propane or electricity, depending on the source of power you want to use.

While most RV refrigerators consume about one pound of propane daily, you would need about 5 gallons of propane to keep your RV refrigerator running continuously for 2 weeks.

However, the amount of propane your RV refrigerator uses depends on several factors, like size and age. Nonetheless, you need to consider a few factors impacting the built-in refrigerator’s overall performance.

Read on as I walk you through how an RV refrigerator consumes propane and ways to improve its efficiency. I will also highlight tips on maintaining your RV fridge and alternative storage options to cool your perishable foods.

How does the absorption refrigerator work?

Suppose you want to maximize the RV’s refrigerator for improved efficiency. In that case, it is important to know how your refrigerator works. Essentially, an RV cooling system is quite different from the one you have at home.

Did you know RV refrigerators can also be called “absorption refrigerators“? The fridge that you use at home typically uses compressed freon to cool the interior.

Conversely, your RV cooling system uses a mixture of hydrogen, ammonia, and water to create the desired evaporation effect.

Subsequently, the resulting solution is heated by propane, moves through the built-in percolator pump, and releases hot ammonia in the form of vapor.

The water is moved to the boiler system, and vapor moves directly into the part known as the condenser. Heat is then transferred to the exterior surface through evaporation.

During this dynamic process, the liquid ammonia moves into an evaporator and combines with hydrogen. Liquid ammonia and hydrogen gas combine through a complex vaporization reaction.

This helps extract the built-up heat energy from the interior, thereby keeping your food fresh and water cold.

Afterwards, the hydrogen-ammonia mixture moves into an absorber chamber. Ammonia then dissolves in the water once again.

While this happens, hydrogen gas moves into an evaporator, and this process starts all over again.

This process enables your RV cooling system to generate propane heat that keeps your items cool.

If you are camping in the woods on your customized RV, you should use propane as a power source to conserve battery life. You don’t have to use your RV onboard generator if you have propane.

How much propane do RV refrigerators consume?

Modern RV cooling systems are often thermally efficient when compared to older units. But size increases the amount of power required.

Generally, a modern RV refrigerator has sufficient internal volume to save enough propane to last a few days without refilling.

Nonetheless, a few factors can reduce or improve your built-in fridge performance.

For instance, newer RV models are efficient regarding combustion and are a safer option in reducing toxic discharges.

And those who enjoy outdoor camping activities in their RV can even install a twofold fuel generator in their mobile home that uses propane.

Opening the door frequently can contribute to the amount of propane your RV refrigerator uses. Also, remember that other factors come into play to determine the amount of energy the RV consumes.

How can you reduce the propane the RV refrigerator consumes daily?

You can address energy efficiency in several simple ways. For beginners, If you realize that the RV refrigerator uses more propane than usual, you can try these steps.

Perform routine maintenance

An RV also needs regular maintenance, like your home appliances, to ensure everything runs smoothly. This can help repair all the faulty areas and prevent them from becoming a larger problem.

Ensure you check for corrosion, leak, and rust. Also, check for a buildup of soot on the RVs exhaust vent.

Soot can show your RV refrigeration has inefficient combustion. If left unchecked, a buildup of dust and spider webs can significantly affect system airflow.

Ensure the RV and refrigerator RV are leveled accordingly

RV refrigerators typically perform well if they are placed on flat ground. This is important because gravity is active in feeding the refrigerator its cooling fluids.

If you park the RV on a sloped ground, the cycling procedure that mixes all the fluids internally is affected. When you leave the RV to run on uneven ground, it will likely experience mechanical fault due to inefficiency.

Hence when in doubt, check your RV’s floor level to determine if the built-in refrigerator is well aligned using a hand level.

Install fans inside the cooling system.

The refrigerator you use at home has a cooling fan that keeps all your internal components cool and fresh. But if you notice any cooling issues with your RV refrigerator, there might be a problem with proper thermal functions.

To solve this problem, place a fan in the bottom of your RV’s refrigerator to assist in cooling. Adding a fan in the RV’s fridge can help with a good thermal exchange.

The fans work by expelling cool air from the refrigeration system, minimizing the RV’s cooling load.

Ensure there is proper ventilation.

Absorption refrigerators often eliminate heat from the back. Subsequently, the lower ventilation brings in cool air and expels hot air.

But when something is blocking or obstructing the airflow, this could interfere with the proper cooling process.

As a suggestion, you can store some of your basic items in a cooler, as this will prevent you from opening your refrigerator multiple times, interfering with the RVs refrigerator’s efficiency.

Final Thought

The RV refrigerator is definitely an amazing innovation. And similar to most home appliances, it is essential to perform regular maintenance to maximize its efficiency.

Proper maintenance practices can improve its lifespan.

Allow the refrigerator to cool properly before loading. Avoid overpacking, and always remember to keep it properly leveled.

With these invaluable instructions at your disposal, your RVs built-in cooler can minimize propane consumption and still keep your perishable items fresh and cool.

1 thought on “How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use? Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Many thanks to the author for the detailed discussion about the uses of propane in an RV Refrigerator. Also, thank you very much for sharing the tips about reducing propane usage.


Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link