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Replacing Not old with residential


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My cooling unit has quit after many years.  The Norcold sits above the furnace.  Any suggestions on the best residential refrig to replace without too much changing to the opening.

 

August Schuh

2000 Monaco Dynasty

 

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There are a couple of options that don’t require changing the opening, as I recall I think Haier has one and maybe Fisher-Paykel?  I’m sure members will chime in with their experience. 
 

As for the most popular counter-depth fridges that fit well in the opening WITH mods (there’s a great tutorial by @Bob Nodine in the files section), they seem to be:

1. Samsung RF-18 (least expensive at about $1,300 often less on sale)

2. Fisher-Paykel (more expensive, some have more options, don’t have some of the issues common to some Samsungs)

3. GE - more expensive, but has water and ice through the door. @Steven P has a write up with pics and can tell you the model #. 
 

Personally, I did #1 and am very happy with it (there’s a write-up in the “Appliances” section with some pics), but if I did it over I would do #3 just to get the ice and water through the door. 

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August, "assuming" you have the 1200LRIM unit in your coach, you have several options. The Samsung is the most often used unit as it's dimensions are almost identical to the 1200. That said, one of the things to consider on your coach is the height of the top shelf inside the fridge since the furnace will not allow you to lower it. I replaced mine with the Samsung R197 back in 2014. We're full timers and it's been flawless so far. No changes inside the coach as to batteries  and/or inverter. I did add a water filter for the ice maker, but other than that it's been good. The only negative, and it doesn't apply to us is there is no 'off' button on the fridge. You have to turn off the batteries or unplug the unit if you put it in storage.....I don't recall the other models but I'm sure others will chime in shortly. It's a PITA trying to match your opening to a new fridge as many web sites do not offer the specs on the fridges...Dennis

 

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We replaced the whole backend with an Amish built all electric unit about 4 years ago. Except for monthly defrost duty it has been flawless for 40k miles of fulltimin’.  Shipshawana, Indiana.

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Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

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I replaced my Norcold with the Samsung RF18 but the Samsung is quite a bit taller and I needed to modify my opening.  I also have the furnace underneath which made it even more challenging.  It can be done but a lot of work including lowering the Suburban furnace all the way to the floor and cutting the intake/exhaust holes for the furnace 1 5/8" lower to make it work.  Here's a writeup that I did.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/samsung-install-finally-done-461001.html

If you went with a standard top freezer, 2 door, residential you can probably find one that would work without modifying the opening.

Although my install was a lot of work, the benefit of the Samsung was worth it.  Took an extended trip out west recently, in Wy with sun beating down on the passenger side of the coach the refrigerator performed flawlessly, keeping a constant temp in the freezer and the refrigerator.  Much more room and the icemaker continually drops ice. 

Good luck

Edited by jacwjames
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HI.  We had a Norcold 1200 in our 2006 Dynasty.  We kept the box, which was in great shape, and replaced the refrigeration unit with a 120v HVAC unit from JC Refrigeration.  https://jc-refrigeration.com/products/.  Did the install ourselves, following written and video instructions. Came out great.  The unit gets cold and freezes hard. It only draws 600 watts so it can run off the inverter no problem.  We didn't want to change or re-do the cabinetry,  so this was a great way to upgrade the refrigeration and keep a good aesthetic. 

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5 minutes ago, Bootlegger said:

I just recently replaced my Never Cold with a residential fridge.  I hired a local rv company to install mine and it took them about 2 hours, including removing the driver side window.  My pick was based on what was available in my area.  It works great.  

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Frigidaire-18-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-Black/1000225699

 

The refrigerator looks like a viable option, does it run off a MSW inverter?

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1 hour ago, Kevin R said:

Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

Kevin, did you do this yourself or hire an RV company to do it.  I'm not sure I could handle this myself.

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32 minutes ago, Bootlegger said:

I was told that any refrigerator should work off of an inverter as long as your inverter is built for it.  I am not an electrician, so I will let the experts chime in on this question.

I had that same question, most said they had no issues with the MSW investor. The Samsung appears to say that in their instructions, and that’s why it’s a popular choice for RV manufacturers on new RVs

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3 hours ago, Dennis H said:

August, "assuming" you have the 1200LRIM unit in your coach, you have several options. The Samsung is the most often used unit as it's dimensions are almost identical to the 1200. That said, one of the things to consider on your coach is the height of the top shelf inside the fridge since the furnace will not allow you to lower it. I replaced mine with the Samsung R197 back in 2014. We're full timers and it's been flawless so far. No changes inside the coach as to batteries  and/or inverter. I did add a water filter for the ice maker, but other than that it's been good. The only negative, and it doesn't apply to us is there is no 'off' button on the fridge. You have to turn off the batteries or unplug the unit if you put it in storage.....I don't recall the other models but I'm sure others will chime in shortly. It's a PITA trying to match your opening to a new fridge as many web sites do not offer the specs on the fridges...Dennis

 

You can turn them off (somewhat) on the freezer control panel by pushing I believe it is the two buttons on the right of the three that are there. Without looking I believe I have it right. That puts it in Salesman Mode the lights will be on but the unit will not cool. I often thought about putting a switch on it but I don’t need another project. This is my second RF18 in two different coaches. 

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I added the GE GYE18... above my furnace.  Had to lower the floor that the fridge sits on, but did not have to alter the furnace.  I wanted water and ice in the door and have been pleased overall.  My MSW Magnum inverter seems to like it just fine and vice versa.  

20210818_194655.jpg

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On 8/18/2021 at 6:41 AM, Kevin R said:

Check out Home Depot Frigidaire # FFHT1425VV fit in mine nicely all I had to do was make a small trim piece to fill the gap around it since it was a touch smaller than the old one but 13.9 Cubic Ft I believe.

fridge.jpg

I'm liking that fridge a LOT and I've been looking for some time. The one thing that puts me off of a Samsung RF18 is the amount of work required to install it. I have a 2000 Diplomat and it looks quite similar to yours. I have the furnace in the compartment underneath the fridge. Was it literally just replace the Norcold and fill the gaps? (Other than the obvious like disconnect and cap the propane etc). I can get that fridge locally too...and...what's bugging me about the Norcold is the amount of power it uses. Pretty sure it's costing me about $40 per month whereas that one you show costs $40 per year.....So if you're still out there, please confirm the fitment for me 🙂

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@Bob Jones it's best to measure your current fridge and opening and then compare those measurements to the measurements of the fridge you desire.   Those dimensions are on the website where you want to buy the fridge.  Equally important is the air flow space requirements on the top and sides which is also listed. Most of us w the furnace underneath have used slotted steel braces and marine plywood to create a new, sturdy floor for the new fridge, so that may need to be done.  I had some rot and Mildew to fix too. 

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@Steven P - Nice job, and thanks for the post. While I could do it with the Samsung the issue for me is it's a lot bigger so it's also a lot more hassle getting it through the door. It's more $$ and I really don't need that much fridge as it's just me in here 🙂 Also, availability in my area for that fridge is a little harder. 

@Dennis H - that too is a really nice job! I have to keep my furnace as it gets cold up here in the winter (up to -7c or so). Nice to see the person behind your blog. I have read almost all of it from start to finish over several weeks. You did such a nice job on the posts that I felt like I didn't even have to go to any of those places !  🙂

My Norcold actually works very well. The freezer is typically -15c and the fridge is typically 1.8c or lower. And that's in the summer (ambient of 27-35c) and on setting #3 or 2 !!

I installed a row of fans across the cooling fins and then a second fan on the bottom blowing air up to the cooling fins (these are all inside fans). That is what got me the great cooling from the Norcold and I can have frozen ground beef in the freezer unit for more than a month and it will still be red when I pull it out. 

But...it's ~22 years old. Sooner or later the door hinges will go out. But I find the electrical cost for the motorhome per month to be quite high. Typically ~$100 per month. The Norcold draws 450-500 watts and I'm quite certain it's accounting for probably $40-$50 of that monthly bill. As such, it's a power pig. 

The Frigidaire Kevin listed above looks like it's more/less Plug 'N Play, it's cheap at ~$850 CAD ($600 USD) and....it apparently costs $40 per YEAR to operate. I am quite certain it costs the same to run for one year as my Norcold costs to run for one month......At that rate, it does not take long to recoup the costs of the fridge.

So, efficiency is really what I am after because, other that that, I love the Norcold now that I have tuned it up. If I set the Norcold to setting 5 it will easily freeze everything in the fridge compartment! I never use the gas side of it as I don't want to burn the unit down.

When I think about the efficiency of a modern fridge, such as Kevin's Frigidaire, I wonder if it even would cost $40 per year in my locale. Given that the rear of the fridge is more/less open to the ambient temperature, which up here is probably averaged out to 15c over a year, my guess is it might even be more efficient. The flip side is, the Norcold will run for about 12 hours on the inverter/batteries at 500 watts draw. I bet the Frigidaire would last days and probably closer to a week!

From the looks of it, the Frigidaire, in whatever their ambient temp testing is, will use a LOT less power.

332Kw per year = .90 Kw per day = .12c

 X 30 = $3.54 per month!! Assuming my math is correct that would be a massive savings in power to the extent that it would pay for itself in probably 1.5 years. I have a kill-o-watt, I'm going to hook it up to the Norcold and see exactly what it is using in power in a 24 hour period. 

 

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