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Old 03-18-2019, 09:40 PM   #1
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Absorption fridge - lifetime vs. use patterns?

Reading through the various instruction manuals for our new RV (yes, I am one of those strange guys that reads full manuals for entertainment)....I noticed that the Dometic fridge manual says to NOT leave it running for extended periods when not otherwise being used. I had been leaving it on while parked and plugged in the driveway for the past few weeks...but reading that cautionary note in the manual prompted me to shut it off until the next trip.

Aside from the obvious savings in energy usage, does anyone have any technical opinions on absorption fridge lifetime versus usage patterns?
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:55 PM   #2
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We never left ours running for any extended period of time...

... but we would fire it up about a day before we actually needed it to be nice and cold.
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
We never left ours running for any extended period of time...

... but we would fire it up about a day before we actually needed it to be nice and cold.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:34 PM   #4
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Note that it says "when otherwise not being used" I read that as "nothing in it".

If you keep it running with stuff in it (and its level) there should be no problem keeping it running.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:32 AM   #5
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I've let mine run for days and weeks at a time over the years and it was still working fine after over a decade of use. I've always been more concerned about lack of use... than over use!
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:26 AM   #6
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Mine gets turned on in about a month, left on til some time in October. There are times I have to turn it off to let the freezer defrost. Other than that for years have let it run without a problem. I think the key is "when not in use"
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:49 AM   #7
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^^^ditto on all. I left mine on either LP or 120V on previous TT for the two years we had it. Had a 3-Way in a Lance truck camper for a few years and never turned it off. They always had a few cold ones and the basic "party in the back yard" items in them. Very few moving parts to worry about. Remember the saying on a recent TV commercial..."a body in motion will stay in motion". This hold true for everything about our lives today. Use It Or Lose It.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:13 PM   #8
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The old Servel fridges lasted 30 plus years

They do need to be fairly level for long periods
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:51 PM   #9
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Ours is a Norcold. Stays plugged in or on propane constantly. Almost 3 years, n issues. Wife uses it for overflow from house and it is opened frequently. When working outside is quicker to pull drinks from RV than go in house. I do keep frozen water bottles in base of freezer and use a fan inside fridge area. I have only stopped it once for defrosting.

Use it or lose it applies in this situation.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:50 PM   #10
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Ours is a Norcold. Stays plugged in or on propane constantly. Almost 3 years, n issues. Wife uses it for overflow from house and it is opened frequently. When working outside is quicker to pull drinks from RV than go in house. I do keep frozen water bottles in base of freezer and use a fan inside fridge area. I have only stopped it once for defrosting.

Use it or lose it applies in this situation.

Interesting!! Another great thread would be..."How many times a week do you go running out to the camper to steal something you ran out of in the big house?" If the MH were a Convenience Store, I would be rich!!
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by thor1958 View Post

.....cut....

Aside from the obvious savings in energy usage, does anyone have any technical opinions on absorption fridge lifetime versus usage patterns?
The manufacturer’s recommendation may be based on accelerated corrosion of components when in use, but I’m just guessing.

I see no reason to leave it on for extended periods if not in use. And by that I mean well over a week. If using it on consecutive weekends to tailgate at football games, for example, I would leave it running.
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:23 PM   #12
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THANKS everyone for replying to my original post...the general consensus appears to be use it or lose it, so that's what I'll proceed with. And that's what I was hoping to hear, since I do like the idea of having some "cold ones" in there even when parked in the driveway for long periods. For my scientific curiosity I will eventually measure the power consumption using a kill-a-watt meter, but it can't be very much.
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by thor1958 View Post
THANKS everyone for replying to my original post...the general consensus appears to be use it or lose it, so that's what I'll proceed with. And that's what I was hoping to hear, since I do like the idea of having some "cold ones" in there even when parked in the driveway for long periods. For my scientific curiosity I will eventually measure the power consumption using a kill-a-watt meter, but it can't be very much.
If you could post your "watt" findings, I know I would be interested...

Actual readings are always more accurate than "rated" specifications
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by thor1958 View Post
Reading through the various instruction manuals for our new RV (yes, I am one of those strange guys that reads full manuals for entertainment)....I noticed that the Dometic fridge manual says to NOT leave it running for extended periods when not otherwise being used. I had been leaving it on while parked and plugged in the driveway for the past few weeks...but reading that cautionary note in the manual prompted me to shut it off until the next trip.

Aside from the obvious savings in energy usage, does anyone have any technical opinions on absorption fridge lifetime versus usage patterns?
On our old camper it had a norcold fridge, they are based on ammonia and a heating element to cool and not like a house that has a compressor and Freon,and we had to change the 12v heating element a few times, the tech at the rv place said when there empty the fridge runs more and eventually burns out the element.
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:18 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mo_Mike View Post
If you could post your "watt" findings, I know I would be interested...

Actual readings are always more accurate than "rated" specifications
I put a volt-amp meter on our 120V lines going into the distribution panel and measured various currents as I turned things on and off throughout the coach. Just about every high-current item I turned on (water heater on electric, hair dryer, convection oven on convection, fridge on 120VAC, etc.) drew between 10amps and 12amps.
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:35 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I put a volt-amp meter on our 120V lines going into the distribution panel and measured various currents as I turned things on and off throughout the coach. Just about every high-current item I turned on (water heater on electric, hair dryer, convection oven on convection, fridge on 120VAC, etc.) drew between 10amps and 12amps.
Attachment 16290
That's interesting, and reminds me that even when I get around to measuring the power draw with the kill-a-watt device, that even if I measure the instantaneous current draw (as you have) it likely won't be continuous at that level, coming on and off as needed. So the total power consumption will depend a lot on the interior RV temp conditions. But when it's June here in GA that poor RV parked in the driveway will really be cooking inside...then I'll bet the fridge will draw power continuously...at least until be re-locate to our cooler MI location(!).
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Gritz Carlton View Post
Interesting!! Another great thread would be..."How many times a week do you go running out to the camper to steal something you ran out of in the big house?" If the MH were a Convenience Store, I would be rich!!
If you put in one of those "Frosty Dispensers": I'd be broke!
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:50 PM   #18
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we leave the fridge on with water and other refreshments in it. as above said. it's grate for working outside. you can take a brake in the RV with a cold one.

i have a inverter in my 31E and when i unplug from the house to excersize the generator, the inverter says about 300 watts. the only other 120v things on is the tvs in standby "phantom" power. so i would say 300 is 95% fridge.

BTW my fridge is a 6 cubic foot dometic.
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:05 AM   #19
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So how long can you keep the fridge on with battery power before you run them low
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:36 AM   #20
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we leave the fridge on with water and other refreshments in it. as above said. it's grate for working outside. you can take a brake in the RV with a cold one.

i have a inverter in my 31E and when i unplug from the house to excersize the generator, the inverter says about 300 watts. the only other 120v things on is the tvs in standby "phantom" power. so i would say 300 is 95% fridge.

BTW my fridge is a 6 cubic foot dometic.
We leave ours on all the time. Whenever I measured the power draw it was about 400 watts or less while running. The post above that says their 120 VAC draw running the fridge was 10 or 11 amps (1200+ watts) is ridiculously high.
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