Insulation Around Fridge Compartment - Good Or Bad Idea - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-04-2018, 09:15 PM   #1
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Insulation Around Fridge Compartment - Good Or Bad Idea

When I was installing muffin fans behind the upper fridge grille in our 19, I noticed that there was open space between the trailer walls and the fridge. In fact, when I looked past the fridge door from inside the trailer, I could see daylight through the upper vent.

I think it would be a good idea to stuff fibreglass insulation in the spaces around the fridge. This would be good for two reasons (I think) one, to retain heat inside the trailer when using the furnace and two, to hopefully improve the efficiency of the fridge.

Has anyone done this? Is it a good or a bad idea? Standing by for any and all opinions/suggestions.

Doug
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NuthatchBC View Post
When I was installing muffin fans behind the upper fridge grille in our 19, I noticed that there was open space between the trailer walls and the fridge. In fact, when I looked past the fridge door from inside the trailer, I could see daylight through the upper vent.

I think it would be a good idea to stuff fibreglass insulation in the spaces around the fridge. This would be good for two reasons (I think) one, to retain heat inside the trailer when using the furnace and two, to hopefully improve the efficiency of the fridge.

Has anyone done this? Is it a good or a bad idea? Standing by for any and all opinions/suggestions.

Doug
From one of several Dometic installation manuals Doug:

"The space between the refrigerator cabinet and the furniture should be kept to a minimum. This is to exclude the warm air given off by the cooling unit from blanketing the cabinet. If possible fill any void with glass insulation wool down both sides and on top of the refrigerator cabinet."

Based on this, I'd say adding insulation on the sides and top is a good idea.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:09 PM   #3
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Doug: I assume you have the top sidewall vent based on your description. This makes it fairly easy to insulate without pulling the fridge. I used 2” rigid insulation at the top and batt insulation along the sides. I used a yard stick through the upper and lower vent to push it in along the sides. I then rolled some Reflectix and used it as the outer edge with some HVAC foil tape helping to complete the seal. In newer builds Reace seems to have the cabinet much tighter dimensionally and puts batt insulation along the sides from the pictures I have seen.

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Old 08-04-2018, 10:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NuthatchBC View Post
When I was installing muffin fans behind the upper fridge grille in our 19, I noticed that there was open space between the trailer walls and the fridge. In fact, when I looked past the fridge door from inside the trailer, I could see daylight through the upper vent.

I think it would be a good idea to stuff fibreglass insulation in the spaces around the fridge. This would be good for two reasons (I think) one, to retain heat inside the trailer when using the furnace and two, to hopefully improve the efficiency of the fridge.

Has anyone done this? Is it a good or a bad idea? Standing by for any and all opinions/suggestions.

Doug

This past winter I pulled my fridge because I had big gaps around the top and sides and when in a windy area could feel the wind coming into the trailer from the fridge cavity. Also, I use the cabinet above the fridge for storing food and the inside of the cabinet would get warm and food would quickly go moldy.


I pulled the plywood skins inside the cavity and insulated the top sides and bottom with 3/4" Styrofoam then replaced the skin. I then packed the fridge cavity with another 1/2" on the sides and 3/4" on the top, covered the fridge with the reflective bubble insulation and reinstalled the fridge into a "very" tight cavity. Then I took off the outside top side vent and sealed the the fridge to the cavity with aluminum tape to completely seal the fridge cavity from the outside and burner area of the fridge. I used Styrofoam rather than Fiberglas because as soon as you compact Fiberglas you will compromise it's insulating qualities.



Fridge works like a charm now, far better than before. We were down in Utah this spring in 90 degree + weather and it ran on #3 in the day and #2 at night to keep the fridge at about 2 degrees Celsius.


The top cabinet is now cool also so no more spoiled food and moldy bread!
Barry
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:22 AM   #5
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If not obvious, you need to leave some room for airflow over the back of the unit.
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:54 AM   #6
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I think it would be a good idea to stuff fibreglass insulation in the spaces around the fridge. This would be good for two reasons (I think) one, to retain heat inside the trailer when using the furnace and two, to hopefully improve the efficiency of the fridge.
Doug, I would forgo the fibreglass insulation and do rigid like others have. The problem with batt insulation is that you need a good vapour seal or it's effectiveness is reduced drastically as air can still flow through it.

I had thought to put rigid in the walls around my fridge when I had it out, but timing did not allow it as I needed to get it back in as we were taking off right away. Besides, I have had no issues with my newer model fridge and cooling, and removing the fridge, though with ours a two person job, only takes 5 minutes.
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:06 AM   #7
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We had a similar issue on our old (gone now) Casita. The overhead fan was pulling combustion byproducts from the fridge into the cabin. This was disturbing as I have Asthma and it set me off. I used rigid foam, as well as spray foam insulation to make an air tight seal, at least as well as possible. I see it as a safety issue, along with the heat it might introduce.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:21 PM   #8
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I also thought of just spraying expandable foam in the cavities but what if the fridge ever has to be removed? Seems like the foam would 'glue' itself to the fridge and the walls making removal almost impossible.

I would like to use the solid stryofoam stuff but can't see how I could get into the cavities from the rear. I think, like Jim said, the fridge would have to be taken out to do a good job of that.

Doug
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:49 PM   #9
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I would like to use the solid stryofoam stuff but can't see how I could get into the cavities from the rear. I think, like Jim said, the fridge would have to be taken out to do a good job of that.
Might be worth pulling the fridge then Doug. As others have mentioned, once fiberglass insulation is compressed it's insulating properties are lessened. The rigid foam would insulate better and probably mean better fridge performance.

As for the spray foam, I see nothing wrong with a small amount of it along the front and back edges once the fridge is back in place. It could be easily scraped away if you ever had to pull the fridge later.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:53 PM   #10
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Ok, then how difficult it is to pull the fridge? Could Kathy and I do it? What about disconnecting the gas? Sounds like a good place to screw something up.

Doug
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