Have you wondered why you might need an RV refrigerator fan? Have you ever camped out in the hot sun and thought that an ice-cold beer would be nice right about now? We’re sure you have.
Unfortunately, even the best RV refrigerators work less effectively in hot weather, meaning your cold beer may not be as chilled as you would like it to be.
So how do you ensure a cold fridge, regardless of the weather?
RV refrigerator fans are a great way to keep your RV fridge cool and make it run more efficiently in warm weather. Read on to get the low down so you can guarantee a cold beer every time.
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Why Do RV Fridges Need Fans?
Is your RV’s fridge cooling in hot weather? It’s a common cause of complaint. The mercury on the thermometer rises, and refrigerators stop cooling so well.
But why does your RV fridge work less effectively when the weather is hot outside? Before answering that, you need to understand how these refrigerators work.
You can get loads more information in our post about the different types of fridges for RVs, but we’ll summarize it here.
Most RV refrigerators are absorption fridges. An absorption fridge works by converting a coolant alternately into gaseous and liquid form. In the process, the coolant absorbs heat from inside the fridge, the ambient temperature helps cool it, and the heat is vented outside.
The higher the ambient temperature, the less efficient the cooling process is, making the fridge less efficient.
That’s where an RV refrigerator fan comes in.
What Is An RV Refrigerator Fan?
An RV refrigerator fan is a small, electrically powered device that helps to circulate the air.
Used inside an RV refrigerator, the fan circulates the air, helping to keep the temperature inside the fridge more consistent, which can help prolong the life of your food.
In addition, the fan can also help to prevent ice buildup on the fridge coils, which can reduce its efficiency.
Used outside the fridge, the fan blows air across the vents, helping to improve the exchange of heat generated during the cooling process, making the fridge’s cooling yet more effective.
Where To Fit A Fan On An RV Fridge
You can install an RV refrigerator fan in two locations:
- Inside the fridge – this helps to circulate cold air inside the fridge, making the cooling more effective in hard-to-reach corners such as the door.
- At the back, the fan improves airflow over coils to improve the effectiveness of the cooling.
What Do RV Refrigerator Fans Do?
We have already mentioned that you can install your RV fans in two places. Based on where you place them, they serve a different functions.
RV Fridge Fin Fan
Refrigerator cooling fins get cold and have a cooling effect on the air around them. But with no airflow inside the fridge, the air doesn’t circulate, so you end up with pockets where the cool air simply does not reach.
You might have noticed that the beer stored inside the fridge is colder than the beer stored in the door. It’s because the cold air isn’t reaching the door as effectively as the shelving.
Fin fans are installed in front of the cooling fins. They help circulate the cold air around the inside of the fridge, although not necessarily evenly. They also help speed up the cooling process, making the fridge more fuel-efficient.
There are two types of fin fans: fans that clip on directly to the fins and ones that you can attach anywhere. If you opt for the standalone versions, place them near the fridge fins for the most significant effect.
RV Refrigerator Vent Fan
The vents on an absorption refrigerator allow the heat from the cooling process to dissipate into the surroundings. The vents are usually on an exterior wall on the refrigerator somewhere.
The coils don’t cool so effectively when the ambient temperature is high. We can improve the situation by improving the airflow over them, allowing the heat to dissipate more effectively.
There are two types of vent fans. One is a simple standalone fan that blows air directly onto the coils at the back of the RV’s fridge.
The other is more effective and is a permanent fixture in the RV’s side wall. You can fit these vent fans in the existing external fridge vent. They work by extracting the warmed air, improving ventilation, and, therefore, the cooling process.
Best RV Refrigerator Fans
This product is an outside ventilation fan. It fits easily into your RV’s ventilation outlets and improves the airflow across the back of the refrigerator. You can buy the fans in two sizes: 120mm and 90mm.
You can also buy these fans as a pair, one to blow air inwards in the inlet vent and the other to vent air out in the outlet vent. That configuration provides maximum airflow benefits.
This product has several nice things, such as automatic fan control (shuts them off at 68F), a manual controller with six-speed settings up to 2000 RPM (for the 120mm one), an IP55 weather-resistant exterior, and an easy-to-install design.
What We Liked
The fans draw low power (just 0.48 amps), even though they can move a lot of air. You can connect them to the 12V DC supply of the RV, and they also have the auto-shutoff based on temperature, which saves you further power.
Despite the super-high RPMs, these fans do not make much noise. The highest noise rating is just 28 dBA.
The cable provided is relatively long, and you can run it down the entire length of the RV’s vent shaft.
Since the fan installs on the RV’s ventilation grill, it must be dustproof. Otherwise, it would get damaged pretty quickly. This product has an IP55 rating to protect it from dust.
What We Didn’t Like
It takes a bit to understand how the clips need to go into the grill. Videos are available online, but the instructions are not worth much.
It can be challenging for someone with limited knowledge of electric connections to connect the fans to a 12 V connection point.
- IP55 rated
- Low noise
- Easy to install
- Very high RPMs
- Both auto and manual operation modes
- Instructions are quite poor
The DutchAire RV fridge fan is a helpful device for those hot weather days when your RV fridge cannot cool as well as it should. You get a pair of fans inside a 10 x 2-inch box with wiring and a manually operated switch.
The good thing about these fans is that they are pretty easy to install. All you need to do is plug them into the 12V output from the refrigerator light. In addition, they have clamps built into the back to install them on the fins easily.
They are quiet, but you can hear them when you open the fridge, so they’re not entirely noise-free. On the other hand, they can run on 0.23 amps, so they’re low on power consumption. Another great thing is that they don’t let ice build up on the fins or themselves.
What We Like
We love that they are so easy to install. It hardly takes five minutes to install them by clamping them onto the fins of the fridge. Then, you can connect them to the fridge light and have them going in no time without having to splice or crimp wires.
They are frost-free. Plus, they don’t let frost accumulate on the fins, which further reduces the cooling power of the fridge.
These are not battery-powered fans, so they will work constantly. Ideally, you don’t need to keep replacing batteries since they wear out quickly in the cold.
They have a set of installation walkthroughs for different RV fridge brands, making it even easier to set them up.
What We Didn’t Like
DutchAire could have added a sensor that shuts off the fan when the fridge is opened so that they don’t blow cold air right at you.
They do have a 31dBA noise level, which can be annoying if you focus on it. It’s hardly going to keep the entire camp awake, though.
The wire provided is too short if you want to use the drain line to power the fans.
- Well built
- Manual on/off switch included.
- Installs in minutes
- Frost free
- It can be a bit noisy.
More Tips For Cooling Your Fridge & Keeping It That Way
RV refrigerator fans help keep your fridge cooler, so your food lasts longer even when the ambient temperatures rise. They are a worthwhile investment for anyone who lives in sunny and hot areas and loves camping in their RV.
For the most effective cooling with RV refrigerator fans, we recommend using one of each type – a vent fan and a fin fan.