Is it safe to use the RV residential refrigerator while driving?
RV refrigerators come in many shapes and designs. 2-way or 3-way refrigerators are common, but residential refrigerators are becoming increasingly popular due to their increased space and consistent cooling. Some devices can work 24/7, while others need to be turned on and off. So, is it safe to use an RV residential refrigerator while driving?
Residential refrigerators can be turned on while the camper is in motion. Many users like to switch off the ice machine to prevent water spills or ice chunks from forming. It’s also a good idea to put the fridge in economy mode while travelling, but there’s no real danger to using the fridge while driving.
Some types of RV refrigerators need to be turned on and off, which can be a real hassle for drivers. It’s best if you can keep your food at a constant temperature and don’t have to remember to turn devices on and off before hitting the road. Below we’ll talk more about RV residential refrigerators, what you need to know about driving with them on, and some important safety tips.
What is the difference between an RV residential refrigerator and 2-way/3-way models?
Before we dive deeper, it’s important to define what a residential refrigerator is. Many of us know a refrigerator when we see one, but don’t understand its mechanics or what type we’re dealing with. There are some differences in the way residential refrigerators work, so you need to know if you have one.
A residential refrigerator is exactly what it sounds like: the same type of refrigerator you’d use in a standard home. These refrigerators use alternating current to keep the interior cold, and they rely on a compressor. They require constant power, so they usually draw from the vehicle’s battery. Some models can also be powered by solar panels or an electric pedestal.
These machines are designed to run 24/7, so they are designed to function even while the vehicle is in motion. The constant heating and cooling process that would take place if it were turned off would be dangerous to the food inside.
Residential refrigerators are becoming increasingly common in RVs. They tend to be larger, more stable, and require less effort to run.
Other common RV refrigerators are 2-way or 3-way models. 2-way refrigerators run on AC or LP gas (those are the two ways listed in the name). 3-way models can work on mains power, LP gas or just battery power of the camper.
These refrigerators are usually a little smaller and are the main types of refrigerators that people refer to when they talk about turning off a refrigerator while driving. They are often turned off so that propane does not run while the vehicle is in motion. In some circumstances, this can lead to fire. However, you are safe from major hazards like these when you choose a housing model.
Rv residential refrigerator risks
While it’s generally considered safe to drive with your refrigerator running, everyone should understand some of the potential risks of using an RV residential refrigerator while driving.
Most of these risks are simple inconveniences, but others can become bigger problems.
First of all, the ice machines can be a problem if you are dealing with a residential refrigerator. Everyone loves to have access to an ice cream maker, especially if you’re traveling in warmer areas.
But the ice machine contains a supply of water that can slosh around and freeze when the vehicle is in motion. This can lead to spills around the refrigerator and unnaturally large chunks of ice. Ice can also freeze on the sides and walls of the fridge/freezer, and that will be tricky to remove.
Residential refrigerators can also drain your battery faster than a refrigerator that relies on a backup power source. If you’re driving, this is usually not a big problem, as it doesn’t take much to work. But if you’re boondocking and rely on one battery for everything, you can drain the charge faster than usual.
Another potential issue is the warranty. Some campers are built with residential refrigerators included, but other people have chosen to install their own units. If you take a refrigerator designed for home use and use it in an RV, you can void the warranty if something goes wrong.
While driving risks are minimal, you may have to pay for repairs out of pocket because the warranty is not designed to cover road-related damage.
How to use the RV residential refrigerator safely while drIVing
Now that we know a few of the risks that come from using a residential refrigerator while driving, let’s talk about how to avoid these problems. Many RVers use these types of refrigerators without any problems, and they have some useful tips for those who are worried.
First of all, you can turn off your ice cream maker or empty it completely. If it’s not trying to process water and freeze while the RV is in motion, you’re safe from most spills and unwanted ice blockages. You can also turn off the ice cream maker without turning off the entire fridge/freezer, so this method is simple and convenient.
Another safety tip is to put the fridge in low-power mode while you’re on the go. When most residential refrigerators are put into economy mode, their door heaters are turned off. This reduces moisture accumulation and keeps everything clean and dry. Again, it’s easy to turn this mode on and off, but it still keeps the contents of the refrigerator cool.
Finally, it’s best to use the refrigerator your RV came with. Some aren’t built to house housing models, so you can overload the RV with extra weight and space if you add one yourself. This decision comes down to everyone’s personal choice, but there is a greater risk of malfunctions if you install a refrigerator yourself.
You can also void the product warranty so you don’t have a safety net if something breaks on the road. If you want a residential refrigerator, it is best to buy an RV with a built-in refrigerator.
At the end of the day, it’s safe to operate an RV refrigerator while driving, but it’s just good to be aware of the risks and downsides.