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Residential refrigerator venting


Dave Pumphrey
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I installed a Haier HRQ16N3BGS 4 door french door fridge last summer, & it has been great until we did a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN in November.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/YuF4Wzmx1Xp2xtJx9

The fridge just fit width of opening exactly, we had to remove the cabinet below to gain enough height.

Built a platform lower than the cabinet it replaced, luckily our furnace is on the other side under the sink.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/apWZvjqgU3LTp49t7

The first night we stayed in Luray, VA. to tour the caverns. Temp overnight went to 23 degrees.

When we got up the next morning, we discovered the ice in the bin had partially melted, as had the ice cream.

The fridge still was cold, no problem there.

2nd night we arrived in Pigeon Forge. Low temp high 20's.

Got to remembering something about newer fridge's not working in cold environments.

When I did the install, due to the tight fit, I left the roof vent & back vents open to the outside for ventilation.

The 2nd night of the trip, I closed off the inside of the rear vent with duct tape, & put a light bulb behind the fridge.

The freezer was fine the rest of the stay. By the 4th day, temps were in the 50's, so I took out the bulb.

After that trip, I shut down the fridge for the winter.

Thinking ahead to the trip next month to the Gathering, I am thinking of cutting a piece of 2" foam to put in the top vent under the cover.

Also covering the lower vent (on outside panel) with some of the foil covered insulation.

May test this solution this week. If this proves successful, just need to figure if it needs to come out in warmer weather.

I am thinking at some point, for cold operation, I may need to establish air circulation to the back from inside.

There is already just under 2" at the top, I would just need to vent the bottom.

 

 

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Hi Dave,

I don't claim to be an expert, but I replaced our old Norcold with a residential fridge a few months ago and I did some research and reached the conclusion that when in a home this fridge was surrounded by ambient room temperature, whatever that may be. I don't have a whole lot of circulation room around our fridge in the motorhome either, but I do have about 2" at the top and the normal floor-to-fridge space at the bottom. So I sealed and insulated the RV fridge vents at the back of the compartment. In addition to that being better for the fridge (I think), we didn't want that outside air coming inside anyway.

I may be AFU, but it makes sense to me. Let us know how it works out.

 

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Your frig is designed to operate in a residential setting like in your home and should not be vented to the outside of the coach. In winter the cold air is a problem and in summer the hot air is a problem. Hopefully you can find a way to draw air from inside the coach. We have a Samsung and it draws the air from the bottom and vents it out the top and sides. Another big mistake people make when converting from an absorption frig to a residential is putting insulation on the sides. This is a no no for two reasons, one is air flow and the other is many modern refrigerators have Freon lines in the sides of the frig that dissipate heat. The insulation impedes the heat transfer from the sides.

 

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Guest Cruzbill

Dave, I think you are on to something, re: venting at the bottom. Your home fridge sits on the floor, I think your platform may be part of the problem. If its not too late, can you throw a piece of 1/2" ply over your 2x4 platform to make a floor for the fridge? I just finished replacing my Norcold, and I used block foam to seal the roof vent opening from the inside and I cobbled up a cover for the outside wall vent out of a piece of masonite and block foam. 

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I had done a bunch of research prior to putting in my Samsung.  I did remove all the side insulation, left about 1/2" gap on both sides, left a gap at the top of the fridge (as much as I could allow considering the tight fit), closed off both the rear vent and ceiling vent, and left the vent in front of the furnace open with some wire mesh in front of it.  My efforts were to provide good as ventilation as possible.  

The rear panel I used some 1' thick styrofoam insulation and cut it to fit tightly between the louvers, using foil tape to hold it in place and also used a seperate piece that snugly fit into the opening.  For the roof vent I used standard insulation. 

If you look at the residential refrigerators they rely on ventilation with a fan forcing the air up from the bottom of the fridge and out the rear through a fairly small slotted opening.  The air then is then allowed to escape around the sides and top.   Leaving the bottom open can only help bring in cooler air for the heat transfer. 

Haven't really put my install to the test on a long trip but I believe it will work fine. 

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1 hour ago, Cruzbill said:

Dave, I think you are on to something, re: venting at the bottom. Your home fridge sits on the floor, I think your platform may be part of the problem. If its not too late, can you throw a piece of 1/2" ply over your 2x4 platform to make a floor for the fridge? I just finished replacing my Norcold, and I used block foam to seal the roof vent opening from the inside and I cobbled up a cover for the outside wall vent out of a piece of masonite and block foam. 

Bill, I did put a piece of 3/4 plywood on top of the frame, & the fridge sits on that, same as sitting on the floor.

I left the rear & top vents open due to the tight fit. 

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I went out to the coach today & had a look underneath the fridge.

It is sitting on it's rollers the same as if it was sitting on the floor in a house.

More than an inch off the floor, so I think plenty air flow underneath to the back.

Probably a good 5" of space in back, & about 2" at the front of the top.

I believe this will provide enough ventilation, so I am going to close off the top & rear vents with some foam insulation.

Thanks for the input, will update after some testing, may not be until the trip to the gathering.

P.S.

I test fitted the Fridge Fixer I just got, it looks like just the ticket.

iIt will have it's first road test on the way south in a couple weeks!

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12 hours ago, Dave Pumphrey said:

I went out to the coach today & had a look underneath the fridge.

It is sitting on it's rollers the same as if it was sitting on the floor in a house.

More than an inch off the floor, so I think plenty air flow underneath to the back.

Probably a good 5" of space in back, & about 2" at the front of the top.

I believe this will provide enough ventilation, so I am going to close off the top & rear vents with some foam insulation.

Thanks for the input, will update after some testing, may not be until the trip to the gathering.

P.S.

I test fitted the Fridge Fixer I just got, it looks like just the ticket.

iIt will have it's first road test on the way south in a couple weeks!

Dave,

Sounds about like how our Samsung is installed and it has been working fine since August 2011 when we installed it. We never turn it off.

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4 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

Dave,

Sounds about like how our Samsung is installed and it has been working fine since August 2011 when we installed it. We never turn it off.

What does the temperature get down to in the winter where you are at?  With the coach sitting outside with no heat on,

I suspect the blocking of the vents would not keep the freezer going in the cold weather, with temps in the 20's here outside Baltimore, MD.

I am going to put the heat on (low) for a coupe days after I close off the vents, turn on the fridge, & see if freezer will hold ice.

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1 hour ago, Dave Pumphrey said:

What does the temperature get down to in the winter where you are at?  With the coach sitting outside with no heat on,

I suspect the blocking of the vents would not keep the freezer going in the cold weather, with temps in the 20's here outside Baltimore, MD.

I am going to put the heat on (low) for a coupe days after I close off the vents, turn on the fridge, & see if freezer will hold ice.

Dave

Can you please explain why would you, (or anyone), needs, (or wants),  a refrigerator with a freezer that "will hold ice" when it's turned OFF?

Thanks

Edited by Mel S - '96 Safari
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8 minutes ago, Mel S - '96 Safari said:

Dave

Can you please explain why would you, (or anyone), needs, (or wants),  a refrigerator with a freezer that "will hold ice" when it's turned OFF?

Thanks

I think you missed part of my post, with the coach heat on, I will turn on the fridge, & see if it  will hold ice.

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No sweat, I sometimes read something a couple times before I "get it".

That is why I want to test it, with very cold temps outside, & somewhat limited air circulation behind, will it stay warm enough back there .

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  • 1 month later...

When I installed my residential, (Samsung) I left the top vent open and closed off the lower outside vent using strips of duct tape on the inside. Keeps out the cold/hot/dirt and bugs. Mine sits on a platform of metal and plywood with about a 4" space. Never have had an issue with it. I installed it in 2014 and we full time.....Dennis

Samsung refrigerator install

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My fridge installer closed off both top and side vents back in 2012 when they installed our Samsung RF-197. Never had any problems even when staying overnight in sub freezing temps with the Aqua-Hot running to keep the coach warm. If the fridge sits in temps below freezing versus what a normal house temp would be the sensors and control board will not turn on the cooling systems as they are being fooled by the surrounding cold temps in the room.

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Guest Cruzbill

i just finished up installing a residential fridge in my '05 Beaver. The way to think about it is that with an RV fridge (propane/electric), the space behind and around the fridge is outside the motorhome, to allow for proper venting for cooling and so that no propane can leak into the inside of the coach. Once you pull out the RV fridge, the space behind and around the fridge is now part of the inside of the motorhome, as normal air circulation around the fridge is sufficient, and there is no longer the threat of propane leaking into the motorhome.   I sealed the roof vent from inside with foam board as well as sealing the sidewall fridge vent with a removable foam board-masonite sandwich. The outside is now the inside.  

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