How to Fix RV Refrigerator Not Cooling but Freezer Is?

Last Updated on March 17, 2022 by Ted Mosby

One of the worst nightmares that you can confront while camping or traveling in your RV is your RV refrigerator stop working.

The common issue that I have heard from various RV owners is their RV refrigerator not cooling, but freezer is working. I’ve researched for days and came up with some solutions that I will mention below. So, read on the post till the end.

Just imagine you are on the road with your family to find your favorite campsite. You have everything in the RV, such as your gear, luggage, and food and drinks in the refrigerator.

But suddenly, your RV refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer is working fine. So, it is evident that you will be baffled.

So, what is the reason that your RV refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer is working fine, and how can you fix that?

Well, the most common cause is if you are driving on a rough and uneven surface, there are more chances that you may confront this issue. So, it is essential to make sure you are driving smoothly, and to prevent the RV refrigerator is not a cooling issue.

If you are an experienced RVer, you might know that the refrigerant goes to the freezer first and then to the refrigerator. It means your RV refrigerator will be affected first and then your RV fridge.

In this scenario, the very first aspect that you pay attention to is to ensure that the refrigerator is leveled correctly.

If it is, then allow it some time as it takes much more time than a freezer to cool down. If one of these steps fix the issue, the other will also work as well.

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However, there is no need to get frustrated as this is a common issue with most of the RV owners, and it doesn’t require you to have any extra skills to fix the RV refrigerator not a cooling issue. Below are some most common RV refrigerator issues and the ways that you can use them to troubleshoot them.

So, let’s get started!

RV Refrigerator Troubleshooting

RV Refrigerator Troubleshooting

As an RV owner and frequent traveler, you must have to put your RV refrigerator at the unit level. In doing so, the best thing that you can use is a carpenter’s level. Moreover, to figure out whether your RV refrigerator is working properly, you should have a thermometer. But if you don’t have one, you can figure that out by simply touching the coils of both freezer and refrigerator.

If you are in gas mode, you should look behind the refrigerator to confirm the presence of flame. And if your RV refrigerator is running using the electric mode, make sure there is sufficient heating. As I’ve stated above, the freezer takes less time than the refrigerator to cool down, and it cools down first.

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So if the RV refrigerator is not working, but the freezer is working fine, this is a hint that there is an issue with airflow. Generally, the freezer transfers cool air to the fridge through a diffuser, and if the diffuser duct gets blocked by ice, you can figure this out by hearing the noise of the evaporator fan.

If you are unable to notice any sound from the evaporator fan, try it again as it tends to cycle on and off.

How to Fix RV Refrigerator is Not Cooling, But Freezer is Working?

RV refrigerators are not the same as conventional ones. They tend to start warming up as soon as they opened. The RV refrigerator can take up to 24 hours before it starts cooling. An RV refrigerator also tends to absorb heat to provide cooling, and if t finds no heating source, it will become extremely warmer.

So, below are the points that you should consider to fix the RV Refrigerator Not Cooling Issue,

  1. If the ice is piled up in the fridge, give it some time until it defrosts completely.
  2. Make sure that the refrigerator door seals are tight enough.
  3. It would help if you also verified the propane pressure using a manometer.
  4. Check the airflow on the outside top and bottom areas. The upper refrigerator vent must have unobstructed airflow so that the heat doesn’t accumulate.
  5. By following the instructions of your Dometic refrigerator manual, clean the burner.
  6. Switch off the Climate Control option to determine whether it improves things or not.

Tips to Fix RV Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer is

RV refrigerators are robust and are able to work fine even if you handle them roughly. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any faults or errors. The most common issue with an RV refrigerator is sometimes it gets failed to provide cooling while the freezer works fine.

The common causes of why an RV refrigerator is not cooling include thermostats, heating, control boards, etc. It would help if you gave it enough time until it starts cooling.

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Then Grab this easy-to-read illustrated eBook. This eBook will cut out all the confusion and give you straightforward information so that you can make an informed decision and you can save $$$$ and time with the information mentioned in this eBook.

Also, this eBook will help you understand RV Life and help you with the journey all the way.

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Here are some reasons that may cause the RV refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer is;

1. Air Circulation

Are you from a region with torrid temperatures? Then you might be well aware of the lack of air circulation. Since hydrogen and ammonia burn slower than the pace at which surrounding air gets heated up, your RV refrigerator will compromise on its cooling capacity.

But what the best you can do is to use a fan and place it with greater PRM right behind the opening area of your RV refrigerator. This way, the airflow in the refrigerator chamber will be enhanced, which will create a balance between the surrounding temperature and the RV refrigerator temperature.

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2. Temperature Sensors

Temperature Sensors

Another big reason why an RV refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer works fine is temperature sensors. Temperature sensors, when attached loosely, can slip, fall, or move away from their position. So, it is required to double-check whether they are properly connected to the fin or not.

3. Thermistor Issues

The thermistor is one of the critical components that play an important role in the performance of an RV refrigerator. If the surrounding temperature is rising, these thermistors compromise on their cooling ability.

As a result, there will be an excessive flow of the heated mixture, which will generate high cooling temperatures inside the freezer but low cooling for the refrigerator.

The simplest way to fix the RV refrigerator is not cooling the issue if it is because of Thermistor is unplugged to replace it with a new one. This process will enhance the RV refrigerator performance and will prevent hindrance in temperature regulation.

It would be great if you never used the fridge for an extended period without a Thermistor, as it can be detrimental for the RV refrigerator.

4. Clogged Refrigerator Exhaust

The hot air inside the RV refrigerator needs a way to get out. But if it doesn’t find a way out, mainly because the refrigerator exhaust is blocked, it will force the RV refrigerator to stop cooling. The ventilator of the refrigerator can be found on the backside of the refrigerator form, where it founds its way out through the vent cover.

However, if the vent gets clogged due to dust, it blocks the way out of hot air. As a result, your RV refrigerator compromise on its equilibrium and the freezer temperature.

In that case, to fix your RV refrigerator is not a cooling issue, you have to remove the vent cover and figure out the clogged areas that are blocking the way out of hot air.

5. Refrigerator Refrigerant

Refrigerator Refrigerant

All the refrigerators use refrigerant, which is a mixture of ammonia. It travels to the freezer before hitting the refrigerator, and that is why an RV refrigerator stop cooling first when the freezer works fine.

If the ammonia dries up, your RV fridge will continue to run with an empty tank but will not produce cooling. In that case, the very first step you should take is to stop using the RV refrigerator until you get its tank refilled. Another point that you must consider before refilling the tank is, to defrost the ice inside the fridge.

5. Uneven Terrains

Everyone knows that ammonia is denser than water, and that is why it flows at a slow pace than water flows. So, you have to make sure that it reaches the chamber swiftly and without any hindrance, which is nearly impossible if you are driving on an uneven surface.

It is also a big reason why your RV refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer does. The uneven surface disturbs the proportion of the burned mixture, which, as a result, the RV refrigerator compromise on its cooling abilities.

In that case, the only solution that you have got is Gravity. Oen of the biggest obstacle that disturbs the flow of ammonia is the angle at which the vent and the cooling unit are situated. To avoid it, you can keep the structure straight keep it under six degrees. These options will help you to maintain the equilibrium of both the refrigerator and the freezer.

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Normal Refrigerator vs RV Refrigerator

A normal refrigerator and an RV refrigerator are completely different not only because of their concepts and functionality but also because of their material and building style.

A normal refrigerator is built up with materials like aluminum, brass, copper, etc. While on the other hand, an RV refrigerator doesn’t include any such materials. They are meant to withstand rough treatment and variable conditions.

A normal refrigerator is made of copper, aluminum, brass, etc., that is soft and does not have the ability to withstand or survive on uneven surfaces. In comparison, the RV refrigerator’s main component that makes them durable and heavier is their steel construction material.

Ideal Cooling of an RV Refrigerator and Freezer

The most suitable cooling for an RV refrigerator should be around 34 degrees, while the freezer should be at zero degrees. Similar to any other refrigerator, the RV refrigerator’s main compartment shouldn’t surpass 42 degrees.

Again, as an RV owner, you should keep a refrigerator thermometer with you to check the temperature. The most common reason for an RV refrigerator failure is driving your RV on rough terrains.

However, to avoid that from happening, you should turn off the refrigerator before hitting the road.

Wrapping Up

That is all about how to fix the refrigerator, not cooling, but freezer works. I’ve discussed everything in detail, and now I sincerely believe that you will be able to determine what could be the problem with your RV refrigerator and why your RV refrigerator is not cooling.

If you are still unable to tackle the RV refrigerator, not cooling issues by yourself, I highly recommend hiring a professional to let them figure out what needs to be solved.

It is also possible that your RV refrigerator is fine, but the problem is related to your RV’s electricity system, so calling a professional would be great.


Does airflow affect the RV refrigerator cooling capacity?

Yes, airflow impacts greatly on your RV refrigerator cooling capacity. It requires a good airflow so that it can produce cooling that it should be generating. If your RV refrigerator is not cooling, you should pay attention to airflow to make sure it is getting sufficient airflow.

What are the causes that prevent RV refrigerators from stopping cooling?

There are many reasons why your RV refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer works. It may be because of the clogged refrigerator exhaust, temperature sensors, air circulation, thermistor issues, or you are driving on uneven and rough surfaces.

What should I do if my RV refrigerator stops cooling?

If it is not a simple fix, you should remove all the foods out from it and call a professional to fix the issue.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.