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Old 04-15-2019, 09:32 AM   #1
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External Fridge Fan - My Build Sheet

I've searched and read the topics regarding the external fridge fan.


The problems seeking solution appear to be insufficient cooling. The general consensus is that the external fan is not neded.



My interest in this fan deals with elevated temps that lead to fridge failure.


The previous owner on my 2012 Casita (sold) added a fan and controller that are thermostatically controlled and temporarily turn power off to the fridge if the fan is insufficient to maintain a safe temp.


https://www.arprv.com/


Have any of you experienced fridge failure like this? Do you think the external fan would help ?


Thanks



Have any of you encountered fridge failures caused by high temps?
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:37 AM   #2
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I had the fan on my previous 2ndG E19 and never used it, in fact Escape no longer offers it as an option. It can always be added later if needed but I dropped on my current build.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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fridge fan

I opted for it in my 17' with 4' optional fridge. Since last July I've heard it run a couple of times with factory installation. Of course I may have been in 100 temps.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgiaBill View Post
I've searched and read the topics regarding the external fridge fan.


The problems seeking solution appear to be insufficient cooling. The general consensus is that the external fan is not neded.



My interest in this fan deals with elevated temps that lead to fridge failure.


The previous owner on my 2012 Casita (sold) added a fan and controller that are thermostatically controlled and temporarily turn power off to the fridge if the fan is insufficient to maintain a safe temp.


https://www.arprv.com/


Have any of you experienced fridge failure like this? Do you think the external fan would help ?


Thanks



Have any of you encountered fridge failures caused by high temps?
I had a 2013 Casita and understand the "why" of the external fridge fan. Casita ignores the recommended installation instructions for the Dometic fridge which causes cooling problems. The Casita forum has multiple threads discussing possible solutions to the bad installation and the attempts to resolve it. Adding the external fan was a patch created to try to mitigate the installation problems. As Casita's are built in Rice Texas, the external fan was nicknamed the "Texas Fan".

Escape installs the Dometic fridge per the installation instructions and DOES NOT NEED AN EXTERNAL FAN. The external fan creates cooling problems for the fridge and has causes fridge failures due to the fan's installation.

I have used the Escape fridge in 117 deg f temps and it worked fine. Granted, I will try to avoid these temps when possible but due to ignorance on my part of the temps that occur in Las Vegas in May, it happened. If the fridge works in those temps, there is no reason to risk the problems that an external fan creates.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:39 AM   #5
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Back in 2014, the Texas Fan was an option. I got it. There is no on/off switch. It runs off its own thermostat. During my Big Trip, when I was camped for several days and it was flammin' hot, I'd hear the Texas Fan kick on. The frig never once got above 41 degrees. Did that mean the fan worked or wasn't needed? Donno. Now there are different refrigerators and maybe different installation. But IMHO, if you have a 1st Gen trailer and having problems keeping the refrigerator cool, it may be worth looking into installing a fan.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Back in 2014, the Texas Fan was an option. I got it. There is no on/off switch. It runs off its own thermostat. During my Big Trip, when I was camped for several days and it was flammin' hot, I'd hear the Texas Fan kick on. The frig never once got above 41 degrees. Did that mean the fan worked or wasn't needed? Donno. Now there are different refrigerators and maybe different installation. But IMHO, if you have a 1st Gen trailer and having problems keeping the refrigerator cool, it may be worth looking into installing a fan.
The 1st Gen trailer fridges are somewhat marginal in operation the same as the Casita fridges. You are absolutely right in feeling that they could benefit from some of the mods that are done to the Casita fridges to mitigate the cooling problems.

Reace did a great job of installing the 2017-Current fridges. It's comforting to know that Escape actually read the installation instructions!

I know, I know. It's a guy thing. If all else fails, read the instructions!
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:59 AM   #7
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Uhhhhh what are instructions
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:25 AM   #8
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Like Donna, our 2014 19' had the optional fan installed which ran quite a bit when we were in hot temperatures and our refrigerator worked fine (don't remember an on/off switch but, if there was one, we never touched it). I think the fan was more of an issue when the old Dometic refrigerators were used. We opted for one on our 21'; however, with the on/off switch, we now have the option whether to use it or not.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
I had a 2013 Casita and understand the "why" of the external fridge fan. Casita ignores the recommended installation instructions for the Dometic fridge which causes cooling problems. The Casita forum has multiple threads discussing possible solutions to the bad installation and the attempts to resolve it. Adding the external fan was a patch created to try to mitigate the installation problems. As Casita's are built in Rice Texas, the external fan was nicknamed the "Texas Fan".

Escape installs the Dometic fridge per the installation instructions and DOES NOT NEED AN EXTERNAL FAN. The external fan creates cooling problems for the fridge and has causes fridge failures due to the fan's installation.

I have used the Escape fridge in 117 deg f temps and it worked fine. Granted, I will try to avoid these temps when possible but due to ignorance on my part of the temps that occur in Las Vegas in May, it happened. If the fridge works in those temps, there is no reason to risk the problems that an external fan creates.
Dometic has a preferred method of venting the refrigerator which is through the roof but they also list alternative methods of venting ( Trailer Wall)
Casita did not invent the so called “ Texas Fan “ . The fan is an option supplied by Dometic
We have several friends who own new stick built trailers where the refrigerator is vented through the wall and utilizes the Dometic fan
We have the Dometic refrigerator fan on our 2013 Casita SD and. find it quite helpful in maintaing proper temps . The only issue we have is when you travel with the fan on , the motor turns one way electrically and the wind tries to turn it the other , stalling the motor
As you know Casita provides a fan switch inside the trailer for easy access.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Dometic has a preferred method of venting the refrigerator which is through the roof but they also list alternative methods of venting ( Trailer Wall)
Casita did not invent the so called “ Texas Fan “ . The fan is an option supplied by Dometic
We have several friends who own new stick built trailers where the refrigerator is vented through the wall and utilizes the Dometic fan
We have the Dometic refrigerator fan on our 2013 Casita SD and. find it quite helpful in maintaing proper temps . The only issue we have is when you travel with the fan on , the motor turns one way electrically and the wind tries to turn it the other , stalling the motor
As you know Casita provides a fan switch inside the trailer for easy access.

Hi Steve! From the Dometic installation manual:

Upper and lower side vent application:
  1. Choose this type of installation when a roof vent installation is not possible.
  2. A baffle should be added.
  3. The refrigerator must be equipped with fan(s).

Casita doesn't install a proper baffle - that is something owners sometimes do as a mod - and the fan(s) are an option. The Casita forum guys were doing the fan mod long before Dometic added it to their installation manual as a mandate when the upper and lower side vent installation method was used.

Per the Dometic manual, the upper and lower side vent is not the optimal method to install the Dometic fridge - a correctly dimensioned baffle and fans are required to mitigate the problems created by this installation method. Why install the fridge this way when it can be installed with a roof vent without them?

Oh, if the fridge is installed with a roof vent, the fans are not needed and can cause the fridge to fail.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:20 PM   #11
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Thanks for the Responses

Thanks so much. I'll pass on the external fan, save a little money, and spend it on the next option.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
The 1st Gen trailer fridges are somewhat marginal in operation the same as the Casita fridges. You are absolutely right in feeling that they could benefit from some of the mods that are done to the Casita fridges to mitigate the cooling problems.
Agreed. This thread aimed to get to the root cause of fridge issues in a Classic 19 (Dometic RM2510). Some info was gathered from the Casita forum and other internet sources. I believe Iíve succeeded since performance is much improved. There were several items that needed correction or I believed could be made better. Thread is long but summary at the end (post #89). I like now having the external fans and yes Dometic does call for them with sidewall top vent, but I believe biggest improvements were from insulating around the fridge and new propane regulator set properly. Newer fridge installations are much improved with no gaps around fridge and a roof top vent.
Refrigerator Test
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:27 AM   #13
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I was up at ETI about 3 weeks ago and was informed by Reace that some of the Dometic fridges now come factory installed with a fan. He said it was a hit or miss thing though and Dometic didn't provide a way to order one or the other.. they just came either way randomly! My guess is that in 6 months they'll all have built in fans after they get through the existing stock of fanless fridges.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by paulk View Post
I was up at ETI about 3 weeks ago and was informed by Reace that some of the Dometic fridges now come factory installed with a fan. He said it was a hit or miss thing though and Dometic didn't provide a way to order one or the other.. they just came either way randomly! My guess is that in 6 months they'll all have built in fans after they get through the existing stock of fanless fridges.
I got this reply from Melisa on March 24>>>
  1. Is there an option for a fan to help the heat buildup on the fridge components? Yes an Exterior Fridge fan But with the 21í escape it comes with a 6cuft fridge. If you forget to shut the fan off it will blow a fuse that you will have to take to a shop to have replaced.
There seemed to be a consensus that the fan is not helpful and possibly harmful. And yet, now it may be standard.


As mentioned above, I've decided to pass on the external fan option on my E21. It will be interesting to look inside and see what's there.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:21 AM   #15
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More Fan Questions

The previous owner of my Casita added the fan after his fridge failure, which he attributed to excessive heat. He believed the excessive heat may have been caused by failing to properly level the Casita.


My question is - how far off level can an RV refrigerator tolerate? Jon Vermilye stayed last night in Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia and reported his site was level enough that he didn't have to unhitch.


If we park at a site that is not very level and go for a 2 hour walk, should the fridge be turned off? How about a 6 hour hike? Overnight?
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgiaBill View Post
The previous owner of my Casita added the fan after his fridge failure, which he attributed to excessive heat. He believed the excessive heat may have been caused by failing to properly level the Casita.


My question is - how far off level can an RV refrigerator tolerate? Jon Vermilye stayed last night in Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia and reported his site was level enough that he didn't have to unhitch.


If we park at a site that is not very level and go for a 2 hour walk, should the fridge be turned off? How about a 6 hour hike? Overnight?
Based on my experience, level enough "side to side" that an open fridge door cannot gravity swing unassisted. I use a bubble level in the fridge. From the Dometic manual:

IMPORTANCE OF LEVELING A
REFRIGERATOR
In an absorption refrigerator system, ammonia is liquefied in the finned condenser coil at the top rear of the refrigerator. The liquid ammonia then flows into the evaporator (inside the freezer section) and is exposed to a circulating flow of hydrogen gas, which causes the
ammonia to evaporate, creating a cold condition in the
freezer.

When starting this refrigerator for the very first time, the cooling cycle may require up to four hours of running time before the cooling unit is fully operational.

The tubing in the evaporator section is specifically sloped to provide a continuous movement of liquid ammonia, flowing downward by gravity through this section. If the
refrigerator is operated when it is not level and the vehicle is not moving, liquid ammonia will accumulate in sections of the evaporator tubing. This will slow the circulation of hydrogen and ammonia gas, or in severe cases, completely block it, resulting in a loss of cooling.

Any time the vehicle is parked for several hours with the refrigerator operating, the vehicle should be leveled to prevent this loss of cooling. The vehicle needs to be leveled only so it is comfortable to live in (no noticeable sloping of floor or walls). When the vehicle is moving, the leveling is not critical, as the rolling and pitching movement of the vehicle will
pass to either side of level, keeping the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:16 AM   #17
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Answered my Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoastdancers View Post
Based on my experience, level enough "side to side" that an open fridge door cannot gravity swing unassisted. I use a bubble level in the fridge. From the Dometic manual:

IMPORTANCE OF LEVELING A
REFRIGERATOR

Any time the vehicle is parked for several hours with the refrigerator operating, the vehicle should be leveled to prevent this loss of cooling. The vehicle needs to be leveled only so it is comfortable to live in (no noticeable sloping of floor or walls). When the vehicle is moving, the leveling is not critical, as the rolling and pitching movement of the vehicle will
pass to either side of level, keeping the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing.
Thank you. In particular I wondered how the refrigerator was level enough while moving.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I was up at ETI about 3 weeks ago and was informed by Reace that some of the Dometic fridges now come factory installed with a fan.
To my surprise our 2018 April build 19 came with a fan that I did not order. We were camping in the heat one day and I could hear something from the back of our fridge. On closer inspection I could hear a fan. It must have a thermal switch that turns it on when the temp gets to high.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:46 AM   #19
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We have a 2015 Escape 19 with the small refrigerator. It came with a fan installed as part of the refrigerator, not the Texas fan option. It has run just a couple of times when we were in very hot weather, 100 plus. Our refrigerator generally cools fine. The only problem we have seen is if we park the trailer so that the sun hits the side of the trailer where the refrigerator is installed. I have thought about building an awning to shade the refrigerator when it is in the sun.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
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To my surprise our 2018 April build 19 came with a fan that I did not order. We were camping in the heat one day and I could hear something from the back of our fridge. On closer inspection I could hear a fan. It must have a thermal switch that turns it on when the temp gets to high.
Yes, the stock Dometic fan kits typically have a thermostatic switch that comes on when the condenser air behind the fridge gets above 130F.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg thermo switch.jpg (24.0 KB, 18 views)
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