There are times that camping can take you to very remote destinations such as mountains, lakes and oceans. But remember you will still have to eat while out there. How then will you preserve the foods you carried along with you?
Eating stale food while camping should be the last thing you should probably dream of. In such remote places, even accessing medical services in case misfortunes like this happen is very difficult. You need, therefore, to find a way of keeping your food fresh all through the camping duration.
A cooler is an option you can consider for this as it can keep your foods cold and chilled. However, accessing ice which is always used in this kind of preservation can be difficult in such remote destinations. Due to the fact that you will be required to buy the ice on a daily basis makes it so costly as well.
This is why you need to invest on an RV refrigerator that uses propane. A propane refrigerator can be used in any locality provided there you have propane and RV deep cycle batteries. But how much propane does an RV refrigerator use?
This is the question we seek to answer plus any other relevant information that relates to it. Read along and equip yourself with the necessary information.
How a propane RV refrigerator works
If you find it convenient to make this addition to your recreational vehicle, then you have to know how it operates. This is so important especially when you develop some technical hitches while you are already at the campsite. A clear understanding of how it operates can surely bail you out.
This refrigerator makes use of a sealed piping system that contains hydrogen, ammonia and water. This system is slightly different to that of the RV generator. The propane’s flame heats up the boiler that is already filled with a solution of ammonia and water.
The solution, when heated up, bubbles up through the percolator pump which leads to the release of vapor of hot ammonia. Water is then brought back to the boiler. This raising vapor gets to a condenser which acts as the medium for transferring heat into room air before it is turned back to a liquid state.
The now formed liquid ammonia is drained into an evaporator with hydrogen gas. A vaporizing reaction between liquid ammonia and hydrogen gas occurs. Sufficient heat energy from the refrigerator’s interiors is drawn, therefore, cooling it down plus its contents.
This hydrogen-ammonia mixture also gets drained into the absorber chamber where the ammonia gets dissolved in water again. Hydrogen gas gets released and goes back to the evaporator.
The remaining water-ammonia solution gets drained to the boiler again. This cycle is what brings the cooling effect needed for the preservation of your foodstuff. This is a good alternative to electricity especially in the most remote regions where there is no electrical power.
Most RV campers are shifting to this cooling method just to be on a safer side because you never know when camping will take you to such places. Let electricity not hinder your need to explore.
What is the actual amount of propane that an RV refrigerator can use?
You can run your RV refrigerator for weeks without even noticing any change in the propane gauge. The most recent types have been designed with fuel economy and low emissions. This is quite different to the earlier versions that were heavy consumers of propane.
These new versions are more efficient in terms of combustion making them even safer. This is because with fewer emissions, only a small number of dangerous products can be released into the atmosphere. You can, therefore, install a dual fuel generator that uses propane too and fail to vent it outdoors and you will be still very safe.
It is not easy to gauge how much propane your refrigerator will consume. But if it is 12 cubic feet fridge, then it can consume approximately 1.5 pounds of propane on a daily basis. With this, the energy of about 1,400 British Thermal Units (BTU) is produced every hour.
In any case you are using the small fridge that is about 4 cubic feet in size, note that it will be consuming less than a pound of propane daily. Additionally, there are also larger versions that can consume close to 2 pounds of propane daily.
You should actually take these figures as approximations as the consumption rate can differ depending on brand.
How can you lower the consumption of propane?
However much the above figures aren’t that high, there is always need to save the little resources that we might be blessed with. To make your fridge operate efficiently, here are some tips that will help minimize propane consumption by your RV refrigerator:
- Do regular maintenance
Regular maintenance will help you notice any faulty areas and repair them to improve your refrigerator’s efficiency. This helps in ensuring that there are no leaks or any other complications. If the refrigerator is properly maintained, the propane consumption rate will definitely be reasonable.
Check on rust, soot or any other item that can cause obstruction resulting in the hindered performance of the fridge. In case there are, make sure that they are removed and repairs done where necessary.
- Ensure the RV and the fridge are leveled
The refrigerator performs optimally when the motorhome is on level ground. This fridge’s cooling system is largely dependent on gravity. It does not matter whether you are using a newer or an old version; the ground needs to be level to get the best out of your RV’s fridge.
So you need to check on this every moment you have to pack the RV whether at home or in the pack. It is only through this that there will be an efficient flow of propane, water, hydrogen, and ammonia; all of which are very important for your food preservation.
If you operate the refrigerator on a ground that is not level, it can permanently get damaged. It will cost you much to replace the cooling unit and this is something that is avoidable by packing your RV on a level ground.
- Get your RV refrigerator some battery-operated fans
Most RV refrigerators currently in the market are not designed with fans. The fans are often very useful in the circulation of cold air around your foods in the freezer and refrigerator. They work just in the same way most camping fans work. Whenever these fans are missing, it becomes difficult for air circulation to be done efficiently.
To ensure this isn’t lacking, you need to invest in battery-powered fans for the RV refrigerator. Have these fans placed in the bottom section of both the freezer and freeze parts. The fans will do a good job in making sure that air circulation within the compartments is efficiently done.
The cool-down time can be reduced by close to 50% if the fans are well placed to sufficiently provide the cooling air. With this, you will have succeeded in minimizing the burden placed on the propane’s shoulders. Most importantly, the fridge’s efficiency will have improved.
- Reduce the temperature settings if the outside temperature is low
The outside temperature also has a great hand on the performance and efficiency of your RV refrigerator. If the outside temperature is so high, it takes long for the cooling to happen in the fridge. In such a case, the fridge’s temperature has to be increased.
On the other hand, if it is cold outside, have the RV refrigerator’s temperature setting lowered. But you should also take note if the fridge’s temperature settings have been preset. There are some fridges whose temperatures have been preset by the manufacturer and cannot, therefore, be changed.
Lowering the temperature setting in the cold environment makes it easier to cool the food. Therefore, minimal amounts of propane will be used in the process.
- Have cold foods placed first in the fridge
The initial cool-down of your refrigerator will take about 4 to 6 hours. It is for this reason that some campers have it turned on a day to the departure. During this process, foods are placed inside. Ensure that cold foods are given precedence in the process.
As a means of allowing the unit to cool down, it is important to minimize the workload towards the achievement of this process. By placing cold foods first instead of the warm ones, a little propane will be used in the initial process of cool-down.
Again, do not over-pack the fridge. Ensure that there are spaces in between the foods for proper air circulation as well.
- Minimize obstructions at the fridge’s back
In most instances, the heat that often gets produced during the cooling process is vented at the back of the fridge. The lower vent on the fridge is what brings in cold air. At the same time, hot air leaves the fridge in equal measure.
But in case there are obstructions to this flow at the back of the refrigerator, the cooling process will have been hindered. You should, therefore, constantly examine the back of the refrigerator to ensure there are no debris, leaves plus any other materials.
Additionally, ensure that the unit is some inches away from the RV’s walls. When the excess heat is not allowed to escape, the efficiency of the refrigerator will have been minimized and, therefore, much propane will be used.
How much propane does an RV refrigerator use? This article has tried to answer this question in the best possible way. The propane consumption differs from one RV refrigerator to the next but all this depends on the knowledge you have regarding yours. Understanding your RV refrigerator before installation is very important.
Arming yourself with sufficient information regarding this new addition will be very instrumental whenever you are camping. You need to know how much propane your fridge will consume so that you are arm yourself with the right amount.
Anytime you are done with the installation, you can use the above tips to help minimize consumption as well as improve the performance and efficiency of the cooling unit. Once you consider all these, you will have a camping experience like no other.
It is now your time to give all this a trial. Have you learnt something new from this piece?