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Residential fridge venting


4rickyg

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Good morning. 05 Navigator with a residential fridge. I believe the coach originally came with an RV fridge since there is the vent door on the side of the coach and the vent in the roof.

   My question is. Since I have the fridge out while I'm redoing the floor should I Cover up these holes With a piece of insulation board?  Or does the residential fridge produce some heat that needs to escape? Thanks

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Yup,  close them off.  You don't have holes to the outside for your fridge at home.  Plus, it can get so cold outside that the fridge won't work if you leave the vents open - ask Tom Cherry. 

  - Rick N 

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52 minutes ago, waterskier_1 said:

Yup,  close them off.  You don't have holes to the outside for your fridge at home.  Plus, it can get so cold outside that the fridge won't work if you leave the vents open - ask Tom Cherry. 

  - Rick N 

You DO NOT want to ask me…LOL…

Bottom line.  The residential unit needs a 100% SEALED back or outside wall.  The air spaces on the sides and top and bottom and back need to be open and have no insulation like a gas refrigerator.  That is how your home unit works.  If it was an upgrade, you need to seal, from the inside, if possible, the roof vent….or pop the top and seal.  Roll or batt insulation works well.  I would use insulation and a piece of 3/16” paneling or plywood on the inside.

The lower vent and the louvers in the frame need to be insulated.  I bought a panel of white foam from Lowes, the kind used to retrofit and insulate a garage door.  I cut and formed (serrated knife) pieces and stuffed them into the vertical Louvers.  I used a foam tape to hold in place.  Then I covered the whole inside of the back side of the cover with a commercial grade of window sealing tape….the stuff you use when you replace a home window.  I did the same for the side louvers.  Basically, the frame louvers are insulated and taped on the back side and are as thick as the side wall.

There has only been one person that ever had, he thought, a heat problem…he measured it and the engineer in him wanted to fix something that was probably NOT an issue.  He installed a 12 VDC FAN with a thermostat….no one else, to my knowledge, did that and we have had, literally, hundreds of conversions.  Under NO circumstances should the original insulation between the side walls and the gas refrigerator be left in.  Yank it out.  

BTW….under no circumstances, should any surround or ulpholstered  frame be used.  The 1” or so of gap and side clearance is needed to get the conditioned inside air into and circulated on the sides and back….same as your home unit.  In the unlikely event of a 2” or so side gap, then a small surround that allows a 1” gap might be needed.  

NOW….what fount of knowledge did I drink from to reach these earth shaking conclusions.  My original SAMSUNG, NEW, unit shut off each night when the outside temp hit the mid 30’s.  I was at a mountain CG part of a dealers lot and they did the install.  I thought I had a bum unit.  Then a little research and reading the installation criteria and the operating ranges.  The newer (2017) units are designed for “residential” use…INSIDE. The older units would work in an unheated garage or a back porch.  NOPE.  YOU now order an “all weather” unit.  New Energy regs redesigned the compressor and insulation….unintended consequences of Government edicts.  The Samsung repair tech said my failure was a common service call in Raleigh where someone replaced a freezer or combo unit sitting on the back porch and it shut off when it got cold.  Solution was to move inside or build a heated enclosure.  No one KNEW that the location did not meet the new operating range.  Same for hot climates….

I just found and added the pictures of my vent covers....

Vent Cover 1.jpg

Vent Cover 2.jpg

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41 minutes ago, Tom Cherry said:

You DO NOT want to ask me…LOL…

Bottom line.  The residential unit needs a 100% SEALED back or outside wall.  The air spaces on the sides and top and bottom and back need to be open and have no insulation like a gas refrigerator.  That is how your home unit works.  If it was an upgrade, you need to seal, from the inside, if possible, the roof vent….or pop the top and seal.  Roll or batt insulation works well.  I would use insulation and a piece of 3/16” paneling or plywood on the inside.

The lower vent and the louvers in the frame need to be insulated.  I bought a panel of white foam from Lowes, the kind used to retrofit and insulate a garage door.  I cut and formed (serrated knife) pieces and stuffed them into the vertical Louvers.  I used a foam tape to hold in place.  Then I covered the whole inside of the back side of the cover with a commercial grade of window sealing tape….the stuff you use when you replace a home window.  I did the same for the side louvers.  Basically, the frame louvers are insulated and taped on the back side and are as thick as the side wall.

There has only been one person that ever had, he thought, a heat problem…he measured it and the engineer in him wanted to fix something that was probably NOT an issue.  He installed a 12 VDC FAN with a thermostat….no one else, to my knowledge, did that and we have had, literally, hundreds of conversions.  Under NO circumstances should the original insulation between the side walls and the gas refrigerator be left in.  Yank it out.  

BTW….under no circumstances, should any surround or ulpholstered  frame be used.  The 1” or so of gap and side clearance is needed to get the conditioned inside air into and circulated on the sides and back….same as your home unit.  In the unlikely event of a 2” or so side gap, then a small surround that allows a 1” gap might be needed.  

NOW….what fount of knowledge did I drink from to reach these earth shaking conclusions.  My original SAMSUNG, NEW, unit shut off each night when the outside temp hit the mid 30’s.  I was at a mountain CG part of a dealers lot and they did the install.  I thought I had a bum unit.  Then a little research and reading the installation criteria and the operating ranges.  The newer (2017) units are designed for “residential” use…INSIDE. The older units would work in an unheated garage or a back porch.  NOPE.  YOU now order an “all weather” unit.  New Energy regs redesigned the compressor and insulation….unintended consequences of Government edicts.  The Samsung repair tech said my failure was a common service call in Raleigh where someone replaced a freezer or combo unit sitting on the back porch and it shut off when it got cold.  Solution was to move inside or build a heated enclosure.  No one KNEW that the location did not meet the new operating range.  Same for hot climates….

I just found and added the pictures of my vent covers....

Vent Cover 1.jpg

Vent Cover 2.jpg

Nice job! Looks professional 

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Thank you guys for all the responses. That's exactly what I was thinking. Think I will remove the vent cover on the roof And put some sort of plate over the hole.

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3 hours ago, JDCrow said:

Nice job! Looks professional 

Remember your roof has insulation.  Not that it would matter much, but some batt insulation or a couple of inches of flat foam like I used for the cover would not hurt.  

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Posted (edited)

My Coach came from the factory with a residential fridge. It still has the roof vent and rear vent. Also, they insulated the sides of the fridge with bat.  I was surprised to see that the roof vent was open and also to find the insulation on the sides of the fridge. I have since closed off the roof and rear vents. It’s clear the factory built the Coach as if it was getting the RV fridge and then just substituted it for the residential unit 

Edited by Chargerman
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12 hours ago, Chargerman said:

My Coach came from the factory with a residential fridge. It still has the roof vent and rear vent. Also, they insulated the sides of the fridge with bat.  I was surprised to see that the roof vent was open and also to find the insulation on the sides of the fridge. I have since closed off the roof and rear vents. It’s clear the factory built the Coach as if it was getting the RV fridge and then just substituted it for the residential unit 

I believe, in talking to a later Dynasty owner that there was no insulation in his Factory OEM Res Refer. The issue is air circulation and getting air to the back of the refer for proper cooling. Sometimes Monaco did not know what they were doing....or someone put in something that was not supposed to be in....If it works....great. but with the newer refrigerators, you need the SAME side and top clearance that the installation manual calls for. The Refer manufacturer sets the specs....  We have found other instances were Monaco never bothered to read the install specs as to wire and current requirements.  If you ever upgrade, I would be leery of leaving the insulation in...

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Steven, our 2007 Executive came with a residential refrigerator and the side access door was not vented and it did not have the screen vent

on the ceiling.   

The way to tell if a coach was factory equipped with a residential refrigerator is it will have eight 6-volt house batteries.  

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Yes my Coach does have 8 house batteries and it shows the residential fridge on the build sheet. Maybe the original owner decided on the residential fridge late in the build process. 

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1 hour ago, Chargerman said:

Yes my Coach does have 8 house batteries and it shows the residential fridge on the build sheet. Maybe the original owner decided on the residential fridge late in the build process. 

It still don't need insulation that will block the air flow.  Monaco was not the smartest....and the later ones came without any insulation, I think, on the side walls.  

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Rick... mine also came with a residential frig according to the build sheet. I do have a vented wall access and I also have the frig vent cover on the roof but there is no hole cut in the roof. Looks like it was just put on to cover the hole where the solar wires come in. I still have the original frig (maytag French door) and will have to look to see if there is insulation along the side. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In reference to the subject of closing of venting,  on the interior of my coach (2006 Camelot). where fridge is installed, they never added any trim and I see insulation on both sides and cold air comes in through the bottom. I already see that I need to close off the vents outside and top. My question is so I leave the insulation and add some to the bottom prior to adding some trim?  
Thank you

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9 minutes ago, GypsyJo said:

In reference to the subject of closing of venting,  on the interior of my coach (2006 Camelot). where fridge is installed, they never added any trim and I see insulation on both sides and cold air comes in through the bottom. I already see that I need to close off the vents outside and top. My question is so I leave the insulation and add some to the bottom prior to adding some trim?  
Thank you

I think your residential frig needs some air circulation.  Trim around the front and insulation along the sides will inhibit air circulation.  I chose to not do either of those when installing my residential.   I did close off the roof vent and taped up the vent holes on my side wall access panel.

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Thank you. I was wondering. They had insulation on top, sides and said leave the vent door alone. I saw where everyone closed off the vents. Thank you

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28 minutes ago, GypsyJo said:

Thank you. I was wondering. They had insulation on top, sides and said leave the vent door alone. I saw where everyone closed off the vents. Thank you

This is sort of a "recap" of what we know, and have shared from personal experiences, as well as what Monaco did and the evolution of the Factory Refrigerators

Joanne,

In your case, I can speak with some first hand and knowledge. Monaco was in a transition period and had just started installing Res Refers. In the Camelot's they had the Norcold's as standard with the Dometic as an option...and special order Res Refers.  I have had both...the Norcold in a Winnebago and the Dometic in my Camelot. In talking to others that had the Norcold, it had a different front....typically, a frame or surround.  The Dometic was a push in with minimum side clearances.

In your case, the insulation was to prevent the conditioned air from escaping and being sucked up into the burner in the back. I also think there was a concern about CO from the burner. Bottom line, in 2007, Monaco, at least on the Dynasties, dropped the insulation.  The sides are open and whatever the Res Refer manufacturer specified, like in your home, there was air circulation. Monaco also dropped the vented rear or lower panel.  There is just a frame and an uninsulated blank panel, that is locked in just like the vented ones.

I can also tell you from my Samsung upgrade that the Dometic had a custom designed top, rear sheet metal panel. That was something that Monaco had to put in to seal off the top and make a flue to vent out from the Top, or in my case the side.  Mine was left in as it was not necessary to remove it...  I spent time with the installer and had designed my own mounts....which they copied in the future.

The other thing that you need to know is that the improvements in the energy ratings of the newer refrigerators has also changed the "environment".  As long as your refrigerator is working and you don't have any issues, then I would leave it alone. BUT, if you ever need to replace it, you will have to remove the insulation and also insulate the two side vent or access panels and the frame louvers. The newer refrigerators have a reduced "Ambient Operating Range". Therefore, at least the Samsung's, will shut down if both the top and bottom vents are left as is. Been THERE....DONE that.  Fixed that....NO issues and we have been below freezing as well as in the low 100's.  One of the MOST important points on any upgrade is to ALLOW AIR to circulate around the refrigerator and follow the installation diagram or specifications. 

By sealing or insulating the outside wall behind the refrigerator, that acts as a plenum and the air can circulate over, beside and under....to get good cooling. 

One of the most common mistakes was in the early years, was to make a solid wooden or in some cases, vinyl surround over the front and totally seal the sides of the refrigerator. There were some issues and folks finally began to accept that the Factory units had to have air circulation "openings" on the sides and tops.

Ray's comment is logical, but if the insulation is sealing the unit...."mostly" and you don't have any cooling issues (Freezer stays at Zero and ice cream is hard), then it is, to me, a toss up. YES, you do need air circulation, but there were many early Res Refers that were installed this way. It also depends on where and when you use it. If you don't camp in the sub 32 dF or limited....it works. If during the hottest times, your have no issues with the cooling or the freezing, then you appear to be getting enough air.  Past having a smart thermodynamic engineer perform heat loss and heat gain calculation, that is my best guess. I do AGREE with him...but in your case, generic advice has to taken into account versus real world operating experiences.

The above is meant to try to explain the history and the logic and the evolution and what we know now. It was made for everyone's benefit and you brought up a good point......Hope this helps.

 

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Thank you for your reply. I had a residential refrigerator installed this spring and am just learning what I can and can not do. 

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10 minutes ago, GypsyJo said:

Thank you for your reply. I had a residential refrigerator installed this spring and am just learning what I can and can not do. 

Well, I misunderstood as most Engineers tend to do. If you have a recent installation, I would be concerned.  You do need air circulation and that typically means from the side. And since you have a newer one, the importance of sealing off the rear is needed.  You can let it go for a while. Don't know the brand, but the Samsung will typically operate as follows.  When the unit "shuts down" as in quits cooling, the temperatures will obviously rise. You can change the settings to no avail. The ONLY THING, and I verified this with the factory Samsung tech that did a warranty visit, is to "UNPLUG" it....typically for at least a minute....sometimes more. Mine got COLD and the compressor was not working properly...and it would restart....but then in a few hours, it would shut down again.

Don't know the installer or your relationship with them or the brand, but the conventional, proper method would be to remove the insulation when they put it in. MOST installers, unless they are in the "north" or like in the mountains of NC, are not aware of the operating parameters. Many here have had issues....some NOT.  The proper fix to to seal off the roof vent with insulation or if it is a side vent, insulate it and the louver on each side.

You don't need to be an RV tech to seal the cover.  See the pictures above in my first post. It is simple. You need something like this. 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Insulfoam-Common-1-25-in-x-1-6875-ft-x-8-ft-Actual-1-25-in-x-1-6875-ft-x-4-5-ft-Garage-Door-Insulation-Kit-1-R-4-8-Faced-Polystyrene-Garage-Door-Foam-Board-Insulation/50244957

I had something in the shop....similar to the panels that I used when I did my daugher's garage door.  You will have to measure the protrusion of the louver.  Lowes has 1/2" "Go Board" or Waterproof Backer board. I may have had that....I remember using a serrated kitchen knife and a box cutter (razor knife). I THINK that I only cut and sort of formed or knocked off the edges to get the inside the louvers. I probably used metal HVAC tape to tape around the louvers and seal each piece of foam in. Then I put a thickness over the whole back and then mummy wrapped with some leftover window tape and the metal HVAC tape. I notched out the locks and the bottom tabs.  Then I did the same in each side louver in the frame....taped in place, then cut a piece to go over it and then taped the whole thing up. Took maybe a hour for both.

 

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Our 08 Dynasty came with a Jenn Air residential fridge. No roof vent. Wall vent has a solid removable door. It is painted with all the swoops. Makes it easier to service the fridge. The outside wall is insulated the same as the rest of the unit.

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33 minutes ago, birdshill123 said:

Our 08 Dynasty came with a Jenn Air residential fridge. No roof vent. Wall vent has a solid removable door. It is painted with all the swoops. Makes it easier to service the fridge. The outside wall is insulated the same as the rest of the unit.

Mine is the same.  Also, access through the removable side wall door, is needed to remove the refrigerator is to remove the hold down bracket attached to the rear refrigerator frame and the coach floor.

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  • 2 months later...

Wondering if anyone knows where to get a solid cover.  I have a residential fridge so no need for vents.  I‘ve only seen a couple coaches have them.  Possibly custom??  With all the eyes on this site, I’ll give it a shot.

happy trails,

mhrookie

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