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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Residential vs Gas/Electric Fridge?

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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 05/25/22 03:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

joelc wrote:

My fridge went in my 2012 5er and I just replaced it with a new fridge. Just to let you know, they do now have a 3rd choice: a 12V compressor fridge that works like a home fridge except on 12V instead of 120. Both Dometic and Norcold make one.

No personal experience, but these types of compressor refrigerators are very efficient ! Much better than running a residential refrigerator from an inverter.

If most of my camping was "plugged in", I would go with the residential because it cost less. If you do a lot of boondocking, the 12VDc refrigerator is the way to go.

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 05/25/22 03:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FootSoldier wrote:


My main question; is why choose a residential fridge in an RV? It seems like we see more and more residential type, rather than the propane option?

Because with a residential refrigerator you can keep ice cream for several days as well as make ice !

I have never seen that on an propane (absorption) style refrigerator.

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 05/25/22 03:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Veebyes wrote:

Best to get an inverter generator which is not running at full RPM all the time. Good on gas but not cheap to buy.

They are getting cheaper all the time !

Now a days, the electronics that run the inverter section and the throttle are very low cost. That does not necessarily mean that low cost is passed on to the consumer! Honda is still very "proud" of their products and charges accordingly !

2112

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Posted: 05/25/22 04:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

FootSoldier wrote:


My main question; is why choose a residential fridge in an RV? It seems like we see more and more residential type, rather than the propane option?

Because with a residential refrigerator you can keep ice cream for several days as well as make ice !

I have never seen that on an propane (absorption) style refrigerator.
We have no problem making ice or keeping ice cream solid for weeks but a larger freezer volume would be nice. We are very limited to what we can put in the freezer.


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JRscooby

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Posted: 05/25/22 04:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:


Because with a residential refrigerator you can keep ice cream for several days as well as make ice !

I have never seen that on an propane (absorption) style refrigerator.


Never paid attention in RVs, but there was a time when absorption fridge was the residential fridge. Dad bought a used 1 just before I was born. I was 9 before family got electric fridge, the gas 1 was moved to basement for Dads beer. (I can remember helping carry groceries to basement when power went off). When I was in Army, that fridge was moved to a lake cabin of extended family member, built past power lines. In 2012 that fridge was cooling drinks on the porch of that cabin.
Before electricity was widespread in homes, ice was delivered in most cities. Most of that ice was made with absorption system.

Lantley

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Posted: 05/25/22 05:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It seems to me a residential fridge is only an advantage if you have electricity.
Without electricity absorption is the next best option.
With that in mind you have to pick your poison. Boondocking still favors an asorbtion fridge. If you plan to boondock frequently asorbtion keeps it simple and requires no further modifications.
I do believe 12 volt DC compressor fridges show promise,but they are still relatively new tothe market place.


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BurbMan

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Posted: 05/25/22 06:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar is a mixed blessing from my experience...if you get a sunny site to take advantage of the solar output, then the trailer bakes and you need a/c to keep cool. A shady site keeps the trailer cool, but kills solar output.

I have 4-6V batteries that give me 420 amp hours, I can park in the shade, stay cool with a fan, and run my absorption fridge for a week without needing the generator or solar.

I think a lot of the manufacturers are installing residential fridges because 1) they are cheaper to buy that a good Dometic or Norcold absorption fridge, and 2) it sounds classier in the brochure to say that the trailer has a "residential" fridge. Let's face it, most trailers with 2 or 3 a/c's are designed to be used on shore power, so having a residential fridge is no issue. You'll never see a trailer that is configured for boondocking with a residential fridge.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/25/22 07:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FootSoldier wrote:

The thought behind trying to get a week on batteries is that I figure we'll be in a hook-up by then. We could go from hookup to another hookup with at least a week in between, I think we could go anywhere we wanted.


If you are going campground to campground, residential makes a lot of sense.

You can make one work but it's not the ideal solution if you do a lot of boondocking away from grid power.

With propane, you can get weeks out of a single 30# tank...no muss no fuss.

Recently, 12v DC fridges have started to be spec'd as standard equipment in RVs. There are pros and cons:
- Biggest pro is the mechanicals are drastically smaller resulting in our new fridge being around 50% bigger.
- We do need solar and an extra battery if we want to boondock.
- It does cool down quicker than a propane (but only issue with keeping ice cream more than a few days in our prior propane units...had to do with eating it not keeping it cold).

12v DC fridges are not a new technology. They have been in use in the marine industry for years. Similar power limitations as RVs but when sailing, the boat is often heeled over 15-20degrees making a propane unit not so functional.


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padredw

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Posted: 05/25/22 07:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2112 wrote:

We have no problem making ice or keeping ice cream solid for weeks but a larger freezer volume would be nice. We are very limited to what we can put in the freezer.


Exactly our experience with an "electric/propane" refrigerator, and we are also from Texas.





stickdog

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Posted: 05/25/22 08:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We just started our 13 year as fulltimers. First 7 years with a gas/electric fridge. We were not boondockers so need for other than the normal assortment of dog bones and supplemental 25ft 30amp electric cord for that rare power pole oddly placed.
We did go to Alaska in '15' so I picked up a couple 3000 watt generators. Only used one at a time as charging the battery, morning toast and coffee, and time in the evening movie and more battery charging.
We returned to Alaska in '18' with our present rig with a residential fridge. We boondocked 12 weeks while we were there and ran the generator daily. Besides the fridge we also have a 5.5 cu ft freezer which is not on a inverter so requires a reliable source of power.
Down here in the lower 48 there are a few locations that require us to use the generator. We only have 2 6 volt batteries so daily recharging is a necessity.


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