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Topic: How close must you be to true level to not harm refrigerator

Posted By: wildroot on 08/10/16 05:14pm

My RV does not have automatic levelers and getting it really level is most times a real problem.Does it harm the operation of the Refrigerator if I am not at trus level.And if so, is there a time limit on how long it can be unlevel without doing damage?


Posted By: mgirardo on 08/10/16 05:21pm

Newer RV refrigerators are more tolerant and will be fine if you aren't completely level. We rarely are completely level. With over 7 years and 300+ nights of camping without being completely level, our refrigerator works just fine.

-Michael


Michael Girardo
2017 Jayco Jayflight Bungalow 40BHQS Destination Trailer
2009 Jayco Greyhawk 31FS Class C Motorhome (previously owned)
2006 Rockwood Roo 233 Hybrid Travel Trailer (previously owned)
1995 Jayco Eagle 12KB pop-up (previously owned)


Posted By: dave17352 on 08/10/16 05:24pm

If you comfortable to use the inside the refer is to. Another rule is 3 degrees front to back and 6 degrees side to side which is a lot more than you might think.


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Posted By: Big Katuna on 08/10/16 05:26pm

Like Dirty Harry said; do you feel !ucky?

It needs to be pretty level fore and aft.

If you face the fridge, it needs to be very level side to side.

If its off some the other way its OK.


My Kharma ran over my Dogma.


Posted By: MobileBasset on 08/10/16 05:27pm

I just get the RV level enough that it is comfortable to be in without things rolling off the table or feeling like I am walking up an incline. That seems to be level enough for the fridge because it always works great.


MobileBasset
2014 Itasca Spirit 25B on Chevy Express 3500 chassis
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Posted By: downtheroad on 08/10/16 05:52pm

I go with half a bubble...If it's within half a bubble on the level then it's good to go.


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Posted By: harley-dave on 08/10/16 05:55pm

downtheroad wrote:

I go with half a bubble...If it's within half a bubble on the level then it's good to go.
Yep, its half a bubble for us too. Haven't had a problem with the frig in 5 years.

Dave


2005 Winnebago-Itasca Sundancer 31C
2010 Harley-Davidson Soft tail Deluxe
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1999 Chevrolet Tracker 4X4
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Posted By: pianotuna on 08/10/16 06:37pm

Hi,

Damage can start in 15 minutes or under from overheating. I solved that by adding this device.

fridge protection

The damage is cumulative and can not be reversed.

I used to aim at 1/2 bubble and that can be a real chore.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.


Posted By: Teacher's Pet on 08/10/16 06:54pm

Just added ARPrv unit to our 1200 Norcold. Kind of interesting to be able to see the temp of the flue. The basics as explained to us by the installer of the unit. Ours is running 348° on Electric and around 360° on gas. We are level. At present we are in the defrost mode to clear the fins at the back of the refrigerator and the flue is at 131°. Temps in the mid 600° area can lead to boiler failure. The ARPrv shuts down the refrigerator cooling unit to cool down in the mid 400° range on the flue. When preset temps are met it restarts the refrigerator's cooling unit. So the potentially damaging high temps in the cooling unit can't be reached.

* This post was edited 08/10/16 07:04pm by Teacher's Pet *


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Posted By: The Logans on 08/10/16 07:13pm

It is leveled to the floor of the freezer compartment (that's what the little bubble that came with your RV is for). You're not trying to level the RV, just the fridge (the two are not the same).

When we first get each new RV, we find a place where the fridge shows as completely level, the we shim a bubble level till it shows as completely level, and glue it down (where the driver can see it). That way we know that the RV is level to the fridge.

We always have used a quarter level as "close enough".


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2018 Jayco Alante 31v


Posted By: Ed_Gee on 08/10/16 08:13pm

dave17352 wrote:

If you comfortable to use the inside the refer is to. Another rule is 3 degrees front to back and 6 degrees side to side which is a lot more than you might think.


That "rule" is specifications right out of the manual of my Dometic refrigerator.


Ed - on the Central Oregon coast
2018 Winnebago Fuse 23A
Scion xA toad


Posted By: Bordercollie on 08/10/16 09:47pm

Our Dometic Fridge's cooling unit died at about the 10 year mark. We had our rig parked in our driveway at a small nose up angle during a lengthy home renovation/remodel. Angle of rig was not uncomfortable, bubble level was somewhat off center. After replacing our Dometic fridge with a Norcold fridge, our mobile service guy advised us that when parked and fridge is run for extended time, fridge should be as near level as possible. The theory is that recent year cooling units, made in Asia, are not made as robust, use a different coolant mix, and are not as tolerant to running off level for extended times as older cooling units were. ??????


Posted By: Strabo on 08/10/16 10:12pm

If on propane they are no problem slightly off level. We dry camp in the desert all the time, never truely level, but within reason.


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Posted By: Old-Biscuit on 08/10/16 10:21pm

Strabo wrote:

If on propane they are no problem slightly off level. We dry camp in the desert all the time, never truely level, but within reason.


propane is not more tolerate then electric.......cooling unit does NOT recognize source of heat.

Gravity flow is critical to proper function.
Overheating is a result of gravity flow being disrupted.
That is why 'reasonably' level is level enough as long as the gravity flow is not impacted.

Nothing to do with whether propane or electric is used.
If it did matter then logic would dictate electric cause it is typically 18*F lower than propane


Is it time for your medication or mine?


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Posted By: Rainier on 08/10/16 10:21pm

MobileBasset wrote:

I just get the RV level enough that it is comfortable to be in without things rolling off the table or feeling like I am walking up an incline. That seems to be level enough for the fridge because it always works great.


x2


Posted By: Earl E on 08/10/16 10:46pm

We have been Rving for 30 years and never had a fridge poop out on us. As long as we can comfortably use the RV, the fridge seems to work fine. No need to get too uptight about it.


2007 Northwoods Arctic Fox 32 5S Fifth Wheel used for fulltiming for several years--SOLD
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Posted By: Valkyriebush on 08/11/16 08:05am

Ive read 3 degrees front to back, 6 degrees side to side? My fridge is going on 13 years and I have been pretty careful about staying near level.


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Posted By: pianotuna on 08/11/16 09:45am

Hi Strobo,

Ok you are off by 3 degrees front to back and 6 degrees from side to side. Now does the flame burn straight up and down? I doubt it somehow. I'd far rather use electric where the heat transfer to the boiler should not be affected much at all.

* This post was edited 08/12/16 03:21am by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: olcoon on 08/11/16 12:49pm

Here is something for you to think about. How many of us leave the fridge running while traveling down the road? I know it can be dangerous, especially when stopping to refuel. But many of us do it, especially when making a long drive from one campground to another & it's in the summer when temps are hot. Is your fridge level then? Can't be for more than a second or two.


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Posted By: dave17352 on 08/11/16 12:51pm

olcoon wrote:

Here is something for you to think about. How many of us leave the fridge running while traveling down the road? I know it can be dangerous, especially when stopping to refuel. But many of us do it, especially when making a long drive from one campground to another & it's in the summer when temps are hot. Is your fridge level then? Can't be for more than a second or two.


the sloshing around alleviates the problem of trap fluid or gas or ammonia or what ever the heck it is


Posted By: pianotuna on 08/11/16 01:34pm

dave17352 wrote:

olcoon wrote:

Here is something for you to think about. How many of us leave the fridge running while traveling down the road? I know it can be dangerous, especially when stopping to refuel. But many of us do it, especially when making a long drive from one campground to another & it's in the summer when temps are hot. Is your fridge level then? Can't be for more than a second or two.


the sloshing around alleviates the problem of trap fluid or gas or ammonia or what ever the heck it is


X2


Posted By: The Logans on 08/11/16 01:38pm

X3


Posted By: Strabo on 08/11/16 02:06pm

I can tow our hauler up hill with propane running the fridge,and down hill. No problem.


Posted By: Old-Biscuit on 08/11/16 11:08pm

olcoon wrote:

Here is something for you to think about. How many of us leave the fridge running while traveling down the road? I know it can be dangerous, especially when stopping to refuel. But many of us do it, especially when making a long drive from one campground to another & it's in the summer when temps are hot. Is your fridge level then? Can't be for more than a second or two.



RV Fridge Mfgs address that very issue in their owners manuals.

One only needs to understand HOW an absorption fridge functions to grasp the concept of why operation while in transit is not an issue and being stationary AND off level IS

Rear the owners manual for info.


Posted By: kyhawk on 08/12/16 09:05am

As long as you keep your camper rocking while you're set up, you don't have to be level.


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2008 Winnebago Aspect 26A
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Posted By: Bigrick on 08/12/16 09:27am

kyhawk wrote:

As long as you keep your camper rocking while you're set up, you don't have to be level.


Just don't come knockin'!


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Posted By: Old-Biscuit on 08/12/16 11:34am

Strabo wrote:

I can tow our hauler up hill with propane running the fridge,and down hill. No problem.


The same can be said using electric heat source via generator of inverter.

Source of heat has no bearing on function


Posted By: Bordercollie on 08/12/16 12:11pm

I wonder how much effect, if any, there is in operating a modern fridge, in hot weather, slightly off kilter, for extended periods, without driving.


Posted By: Old-Biscuit on 08/12/16 11:28pm

Bordercollie wrote:

I wonder how much effect, if any, there is in operating a modern fridge, in hot weather, slightly off kilter, for extended periods, without driving.


What do you mean by 'modern fridge'?

IF it is an absorption fridge ........off level operation causes overheating, overheating causes crystallization of sodium chromate, crystals plate out which causes blockage, blockage interferes with gravity flow causing more overheating, more crystallization, more plating , more blockage-------

Damage is accumulative and permanent. 20 minutes of off-level operation can cause overheating.


Posted By: DrewE on 08/13/16 01:38pm

Bordercollie wrote:

I wonder how much effect, if any, there is in operating a modern fridge, in hot weather, slightly off kilter, for extended periods, without driving.


How slight is the slightly off kilter?

If it's well within the spec limits for the fridge, it should be perfectly fine. If it's well outside the spec, it's not fine at all. One degree off level won't cause any problems; the pipework has enough slope that the fluid still flows properly by gravitation.






Posted By: Rice on 08/13/16 04:36pm

dave17352 wrote:

Another rule is 3 degrees front to back and 6 degrees side to side which is a lot more than you might think.


I see this a lot, but always wonder what is "front to back" and "side to side"? If the refrigerator is along a side wall of the RV, the refrigerator's front-to-back is actually the RV's side-to-side.

So what does the "front to back" refer to--the RV or the refrigerator?


Posted By: IAMICHABOD on 08/13/16 06:01pm

Rice wrote:



I see this a lot, but always wonder what is "front to back" and "side to side"? If the refrigerator is along a side wall of the RV, the refrigerator's front-to-back is actually the RV's side-to-side.

So what does the "front to back" refer to--the RV or the refrigerator?


It refers to the refrigerator,as you look at it that is the front.....

So it is 3 degrees front to back ( as you look at it) and 6 degrees side to side or Left to Right.[emoticon]


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Posted By: Big Katuna on 08/14/16 08:15am

IAMICHABOD wrote:

Rice wrote:



I see this a lot, but always wonder what is "front to back" and "side to side"? If the refrigerator is along a side wall of the RV, the refrigerator's front-to-back is actually the RV's side-to-side.

So what does the "front to back" refer to--the RV or the refrigerator?


It refers to the refrigerator,as you look at it that is the front.....

So it is 3 degrees front to back ( as you look at it) and 6 degrees side to side or Left to Right.[emoticon]


Which is opposite of what I understood.

The cooling unit tubes in the back zig zag at angle from top to bottom. Optimally, if level gravity dictates that the flow is even all the way down. If too far off level, left to right, one angle is almost flat (slower) and the other faster.

If you lean the top more to the front, it still flows the same if level side to side.

Bottom line is I get mine level as I can. But not just for the fridge; it drives me cuckoo not being level.


Posted By: Rice on 08/15/16 09:30pm

Big Katuna wrote:

Which is opposite of what I understood.

The cooling unit tubes in the back zig zag at angle from top to bottom. Optimally, if level gravity dictates that the flow is even all the way down. If too far off level, left to right, one angle is almost flat (slower) and the other faster.

If you lean the top more to the front, it still flows the same if level side to side.


Since you showed your work, I'm going to go with your conclusion. [emoticon]


Posted By: dave17352 on 08/16/16 09:52am

I think Big Katuna hit the nail on the head.


Posted By: IAMICHABOD on 08/16/16 11:48am

Where is Chris and Doug when we need a definitive answer [emoticon] [emoticon]


Posted By: pianotuna on 08/16/16 12:11pm

Keep both to 3 degrees and you are covered.


Posted By: Netboy503 on 08/17/16 01:00am

wildroot wrote:

My RV does not have automatic levelers and getting it really level is most times a real problem.Does it harm the operation of the Refrigerator if I am not at trus level.And if so, is there a time limit on how long it can be unlevel without doing damage?


This is what the cooling unit of your RV fridge looks like:
[image]

Your RV should be level enough that the liquid refrigerant can flow down the zig-zag tubing by gravity. If your parked RV is out of level enough that the liquid refrigerant can't flow downhill through that zig-zag maze and gets trapped, damage will occur to the unit.

As others have said, if your RV is level enough so that you feel comfortable while inside, then the refrigerator should be fine. You can see that you would have to angle the fridge quite a bit for the gravity flow of the refrigerant to be impeded.

The situation that could cause damage is if you are traveling with your fridge running, and you park on a relatively steep grade while heading off on foot for sight-seeing or shopping. If you do park on a hill, remember to turn off your fridge until you get back.

Also as others have said, don't worry about the fridge if running while you are driving -- the constant motion prevents the liquid refrigerant from accumulating in the zig-zag tubing.

* This post was edited 08/17/16 01:08am by Netboy503 *


Posted By: Strabo on 08/17/16 01:42am

If your comfy inside, then so is your fridge. Ours shows temp of 28 degrees, works fine, nose slightly up on our hauler.

Any more questions?


Posted By: Harvey51 on 08/30/16 11:29am

Quite often I see a rented motorhome camped way off level. I think about starting a conversation about refrigerator technicalities but always conclude it would be an unwelcome intrusion. As owner of a former rental MH, I am very glad the fridge works well. Maybe somebody saved it by talking to one of its renters.


2004 E350 Adventurer (Canadian) 20 footer - Alberta, Canada
No TV + 100W solar = no generator needed


Posted By: BillHoughton on 08/31/16 11:20am

You might check with the manufacturer of your fridge/RV. The manual that came with our Itasca includes the manufacturer's manuals for appliances. Ours specifies within two degrees either way side-to-side and within six degrees either way front-to-back. I put a dymo-labeler tag above each level bubble (the RV came to us from a prior owner with two, in separate locations) spelling out the limits.

I always level the RV to within two degrees front to back for sleeping comfort, and am happiest when it's within one degree each way; but don't obsess over it.

I hadn't thought about the question of whether the fridge might be out of level to the RV, and haven't checked the levels since I got the RV - good point about testing against the fridge itself.


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