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Keep Air Circulating Inside Your RV Fridge

Keep Air Circulating Inside Your RV Fridge


avatar   Scott
Trip Date 11/23/2020
Posted On 12/01/2020 09:30:00

Camping | Hacks | Customizations | Florida | RV | Refrigerator | Fridge | Cooling | Ice on the Cooling Fins | Warm Fridge | RV Fridge Not Cooling | Cold Air Circulating Inside RV Refrigerators



Are there times when you've noticed your RV fridge is not cooling properly? Have you ever noticed that you have ice on the cooling fins in your RV refrigerator? Does your RV refrigerator always feel as cool as you think it should, or have you noticed that you have a warm fridge at times?

Especially when camping in hot temperatures, there have been times when our fridge wasn't as cool as it should. We also noticed ice building up on the fins on a few occasions.

Being a do-it-yourselfer, I spent some time researching these issues and reading about the importance of cold air circulating inside RV refrigerators. My most recent project was to add a portable fan inside our RV refrigerator. This short article has all of the information that you need to improve the circulation inside your RV fridge.

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External Ventilation Fans

After deciding that we needed extra fans to help our fridge cool better, my first step was to add some external ventilation fans. While this first project was a bit more complicated, some of the leftover parts were perfect for this next step of improving the air circulation inside the refrigerator.


External Fridge Fans

External Fridge Fans

Related article: Is Your RV Refrigerator Cooling Properly in Hot Weather?

Refrigerator Circulation

One of the most important requirements for an RV refrigerator to cool properly is adequate circulation. Air must be able to circulate throughout the refrigerator cabinet. Sometimes we have filled our fridge so full that there is no way for the air to circulate well. Upon completion of my initial project of installing external ventilation fans, I realized that one of the extra fans would be perfect for creating more circulation inside the refrigerator.

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Parts

Here's the list of parts that you will need if you want to "install" a fan similar to the one that I now have:
  • Computer case fan
  • 12-volt power source
  • Plastic cross-stitch canvas (available in craft stores)
  • Small zip-ties
  • Tape to cover electrical connections


Parts Needed for RV Fridge Circulation Fan

Parts Needed for RV Fridge Circulation Fan

Powering the Fan

I first did a test connection by powering my 12-volt fan with a 9-volt battery. When connected, the fan did spin, so I thought that it might work fine with the lower voltage. After putting more thought into it, I decided that, for the fan to really work as intended, it really did need 12-volts of power. Luckily, I had an extra power supply in our RV that would output 12-volts.

My goal was to hook up the computer case fan to the power supply so that the fan could be placed inside the refrigerator when needed. Before connecting the power, I needed to solve for two issues:

  • accidentally putting a finger inside the fan, and
  • the best way to get the power source cable inside the fridge.

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Getting the Fan Powered Inside the Refrigerator

I needed to decide between two options for powering the fan. I opted to just connect the fan to the 12-volt power source (AC/DC adapter) and run the wire through the refrigerator door opening when we are using the fan. Since the wire is very small and relatively flat, it doesn't seem to be creating a problem with the door properly sealing.


12-volt Power Source

12-volt Power Source

Power Cable through Fridge Door

Power Cable through Fridge Door

At some point in the future, I might decide to connect the power source cable to the 12-volt power inside the refrigerator. To do that, the easiest way will be to run the wiring through the condensation drain hole in the back of the fridge (starting inside the drip pan for the cooling fins). This would allow the wire to run down the tube and out into the external cabinet in the back of the fridge. From there, it can be connected to a 12-volt power source (similar to the connection that I used for the external ventilation fans).

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Protecting Fingers During Fan Operation

To address the finger protection issue, I used plastic cross-stitch canvas. I cut two square pieces, each the same size as the fan (for both the top and bottom). I used zip-ties to sandwich the fan between the two pieces of cross-stitch canvas and hold the layers together. (Since there wasn't much tolerance between the cover and the blades on the back of the fan, I placed an additional piece of the canvas to act as a spacer. By having a double layer of the canvas in each of the four corners, I ensured that the plastic protector doesn't rub on the fan blades.)


Assembled Fan (with Finger Guard and Power Supply)

Assembled Fan (with Finger Guard and Power Supply)

Close-up of Fan Sandwich with Added Spacers

Close-up of Fan Sandwich with Added Spacers

Side of Fan

Side of Fan

Using the Refrigerator Fan to Help Circulate Air

When needed, I place the fan on the top shelf of the refrigerator so that it sucks the air from the sides and blows the air across the cooling fins. I just string the power cable out of the corner of the door and connect it to a nearby AC power outlet.

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Fortunately, I haven't needed the fan running inside the fridge all of the time. On occasion, when I think that the fridge is struggling with ice build up (usually due to high humidity) or not circulating cool air well enough, I just set it inside the refrigerator and plug it in.


Internal Auxillary 12v Air Circulation Fan

Internal Auxillary 12v Air Circulation Fan

Monitoring the Temperature Inside the Refrigerator

We recently purchased an electronic thermometer with a remote sensor. I keep the sensor hanging on a middle shelf near the back of the refrigerator. This allows us to monitor the temperature inside the fridge without opening the door. The refrigerator temperature does fluctuate (especially when the door has been opened for more than just a quick second or after placing warm food inside). I have noticed, however, that the refrigerator seems to more consistently stay at a cooler temperature when we use the fan on occasion.


Temperature inside Refrigerator

Temperature inside Refrigerator

External Ventilation Fans

Don't miss my article, "Is Your RV Refrigerator Cooling Properly in Hot Weather?" to learn how I installed auxillary ventilation fans on the outside of our refrigerator. In addition to including a list of all parts needed and a step-by-step guide on how to complete this project on your own, I also included some background information on why these fans are helpful.

DIY Projects

What DIY projects have you done since being an RV owner?
Keep Air Circulating Inside Your RV Fridge







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