RV Refrigerators Not Cooling In Hot Weather – How To Fix?

RV refrigerators are different from the usual refrigerators we see in our homes. They don’t have a fixed place to operate from. Rather, it should work in different temperatures, environments, and altitudes. However, sometimes the cooling system may fail to cool the food.

RV refrigerators not cooling in hot weather can happen due to ventilation issues, especially when the fridge is overloaded, insulation problems, faulty thermostats, cooling fans, and many other malfunctions. 

Knowing the cause and how to fix it can resolve the problem. Let’s find out the details.

RV Refrigerators Not Cooling In Hot Weather

Why is the RV refrigerator not cooling in hot weather?

As just mentioned, there are several reasons why the RV refrigerator is not cooling in hot weather. 

Usually, the outside temperature may impair the parts and operations of the refrigerator. Here are some of the common reasons:

  • Ventilation issue
  • Insulation issue
  • Malfunction of the cooling fan
  • Faulty thermostat 
  • Unleveled position of the refrigerator
  • Bad cooling unit

Due to any of these reasons, the refrigerator may fail to generate an adequate amount of cooling in hot weather. 

As a result, the food or anything else inside the RV fridge can be wasted. So, let’s see what you can do to avoid such situations. 

Read Also: Dometic RV Fridge Not Working On Electric? Causes & Fixes

What to do when RV refrigerator not cooling in hot weather?

In hot weather, if the RV refrigerator is not working up to your expectations, try following these steps for troubleshooting and fixing the problem.

Check ventilation

RV refrigerators are absorption refrigerators. It rejects more heat than compression refrigerators. That’s why, if the ventilation is poor, the heat rejection may get hampered, and the overall efficiency of the fridge will be affected. 

You can observe ventilation issues very easily. If it’s overloaded with so many foods or you notice the refrigerator is getting too hot, then a ventilation issue can occur.

A solution to this problem is never to overload your refrigerator. Besides, always park your RV in a cool, shaded place. Using an external fan is also a solution, which we’ll discuss later.

Fix insulation issue

RV refrigerators are different from residential refrigerators. These are not as powerful as a home refrigerator can be. So, if there are any insulation issues, the refrigerator will fail to generate sufficient power in hot weather.

Both vacuum panes and foam insulation are used to insulate the refrigerator. Over the years, the insulation can get damaged. Also, the magnetic insulation of the door can be hampered. 

You can check it by putting a piece of paper on the door. If it’s hard to pull the paper out, then it’s okay. But if it easily falls, then there may be a leak in the fridge.

In such cases, you have to properly insulate the RV refrigerator to ensure proper cooling on summer days.

Use of external cooling fan

We’ve already discussed that without proper ventilation, RV refrigerators may fail to cool on hot days. 

For proper ventilation and cold air circulation, sometimes a battery-operated external fan can be very useful. You can use small 3-inch square fans that we use in computer chassis for cooling.

Attaching three or more, depending on the refrigerator size, can provide good air circulation throughout the fridge. Three fans will cost around $8. The whole installation cost can be about $20.

This will reject heat and keep the inside of the refrigerator cool, even on hot days.

Level the refrigerator

Since you might need to park your RV in several different spots, it might not always be level with the ground. 

In such cases, the RV refrigerator won’t work correctly and eventually will fail to get cool in summer.

If the cooling effect seems insufficient, check if the RV is level or tilted a bit. Try to park it in some level places. Or, according to experts, you can use a hitch jack to level the vehicle. 

There’s no hard and fast rule for leveling, though. If it seems level, it should work fine.

Check the thermistor

There’s a thermistor in every fridge that senses the temperature and maintains the cooling effect accordingly. Sometimes the thermistor in the RV refrigerator may malfunction due to scorching weather. 

In such cases, it fails to send accurate data and thus the cooling system may not work properly.

To identify the problem, you’ll need to disconnect the thermistor cable. Then turn ON the refrigerator. If the refrigerator then works at full cooling potential, then the problem is in the thermistor.

Replacing it will resolve the issue. It’ll cost around $30 to $60, depending on various models of the fridge. 

Replace cooling unit

If none of the above-mentioned factors are causing problems with the cooling effect of the RV refrigerator in hot weather, the main cooling system may not work to its full potential. 

However, the cooling system will work fine for 15 to 20 years if it is not damaged externally. 

For troubleshooting, you have to check each of the previously mentioned factors first. If everything is okay, then it’s time to consult with technicians. 

They’ll measure refrigerant pressure, check wiring and other properties, and replace anything that needs to be replaced.

The cost of this service will depend on the severity of the problem. So, discuss it before they start fixing the fridge. 

Read Also: Why Is Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling? (Causes & Fixes)

Tips to Help Your RV Refrigerator Work Better in Hot Weather

Though an RV fridge can work completely fine in normal conditions, its performance can drop in extremely hot weather. So, to keep your RV refrigerators functional on summer days, here are some tips.

  • Turn the fridge on about 24 hours before you load stuff in it to enhance the cooling effect.
  • Avoid putting hot foods or pots inside the fridge.
  • Don’t overload your fridge; otherwise, it’ll affect the inner air circulation. 
  • Try to maintain a level surface with the ground, or the fridge will not work well.
  • Purchase an affordable, battery-operated fridge fan and keep it inside the fridge. It’ll help circulate the air properly and keep the RV refrigerator cool even on hot days.
  • Keeping a thermometer inside the RV to frequently check the fridge temperature is a good practice so that you can know when the fridge is not cooling properly. 

Read Also: 7 Common Residential RV Refrigerator Problems [Solved]


An RV refrigerator is not like those general refrigerators that stay at home. Rather, these have to perform in different weather and temperature conditions. So, often, people have much confusion about an RV fridge. Here are some FAQs to clear them.

How can I cool my RV refrigerator faster?

You can use a small fan, which will cost nearly $15-$20 to circulate the cold air evenly inside the refrigerator and cool it faster. Moreover, try to avoid putting too many things on the refrigerator shelf. Thus, it’ll cool faster than usual.

How long does an RV fridge take to get cool?

Well, the time an RV fridge will take to cool down can vary depending on many factors. However, it can take 4 to 6 hours, or sometimes even 24 hours, to get cool properly. So, it is recommended to start the refrigerator 24 hours before you go somewhere with an RV.

What type of refrigeration is used in RV fridges?

In RV fridges, absorption refrigeration is used. In this cooling method, ammonia and water are used as refrigerants. Also, with this method, the refrigerator can run on either propane, gas, or electricity, which makes it more flexible. 

Final words

RV refrigerators are designed to work in different environments. But these are not as strong as residential refrigerators. That’s why simple problems can affect the performance of these refrigerators.

Cleaning the refrigerator regularly, ensuring proper ventilation and insulation can be highly effective in case of inadequate cooling effect. For any severe cases, consulting with professionals is recommended.

Read Also: Dometic RV Refrigerator Reset: 4 Steps to Get It Done!

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