Fridge affected by elevation? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-22-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
RLP
Member
 
Name: Rick
Trailer: 72 Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 88
Fridge affected by elevation?

Do any of you folks know if the performance of a 3 way fridge running on propane is (slightly??, greatly?? moderately??) effected by elevation? Mine seems to cool nicely at 1500 ft but no cooling at 4800 ft. In both locations, freezer freezes great. On 110 volt at both locations everything works fine.

Recently installed this fridge (Dometic RM211) and paid close attention to proper venting of the back coils, incorporating baffles and installing additional vent slightly above top of fridge to exhaust warm air.

It's got me 'baffled' (pun intended).
__________________

__________________
RLP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 08:55 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Elevation will impact how well propane burns & some gas appliance indicate that 4500 feet is when issues may start but I have been at around 8/9000 and the fridge worked. It did struggle a little though but it was also pretty warm when I was camping there at the time.

A few other things that will impact the how well the fridge cools down are:
Too much stuff in the fridge (very common issue)
Ice build up on the freezer section due to fridge being set to high.
Do you have a little fan inside the fridge to circulate the air - found that helps.
I also used last week-end a small little battery fan in the rear vents and it helped cool the fridge right down even though it was 97 in the shade.

Whats your gas regulator set at?- dont hold me to it but I seem to think it is suppose to be at 11 ".

Here is a link to a how to troubleshoot a regulator.
__________________

Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 09:31 PM   #3
RLP
Member
 
Name: Rick
Trailer: 72 Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 88
Thanks Carol. I installed a new regulator and my understanding is they are all set to 11 inches w.c. (water column) which is an industry standard for propane appliances. I will make a simple nanometer and test that at 1500 ft and where I camp at 4800 ft.

Just thought of something - regulator is made (and factory set) in San Marcos Texas which is only a few hundred feet above sea level. Wonder how much it deviates in Kelowna BC (1500 ft)?

I was told that fridges are designed to cool/freeze the freezer first then cool the fridge and also told that they are quite intolerant to gas pressure changes............the operating window is something like 10.6 to 11.4 w.c. So, maybe there is just barely enough pressure to freeze the freezer but nothing left to cool the fridge - hummmmm.

I would love to cram the fridge full but then I would eat to much!! No, I don't cram and try to pack things with spaces between.

No ice build up in freezer.

I have no fans installed inside or out but that is on the to do list.
Thanks.
__________________
RLP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 09:53 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 163
Great question! I live at 7000' and most of my summer camping is done higher than that. My RM211 works poorly but i've always attributed it to the fact that it's a 34 year old fridge. Please tell me that all i've got to do do to make it work right is move.
__________________
Scott H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
As I indicated my understanding is that on most RV's the regulators are set at 11 for best performance for all the appliances.

Hummmm..... is your propane tank getting low? or perhaps its just a malfunctioning regulator.

I would be surprised if being at 4800 feet would cause it to not work .... most of Yellowstone for example is much higher than that (actually almost double) and I dont recall anyone saying their fridge would not work...... mine worked not great - right at 40 as long as I didnt open the door in the heat of day. It dropped down lower at night when it was cooler though.

Sorry cant be of more help.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Scott does it work at your home at 7000'?
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 07:29 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Victor Benz's Avatar
 
Name: Vic
Trailer: Fiber Stream 1982 16 ft
Alberta
Posts: 361
Registry
One other aspect is the propane source. I am in central Alberta, and the further south one goes, the more butane is allowed in the propane. Butane evaporates at a significantly higher temperature. It's not an issue in warmer climes or lower elevations but was quite an issue for me. I had two 20# bottles on my Fiber Stream, one filled in Alberta and one filled in California. Only the Alberta bottle worked well in Yellowstone in mid-September.

Vic
__________________
Victor Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Interesting. Who know! As a backpacker I am aware that in cold weather butane stoves dont burn well at all .... perhaps that explains way in the Great White North the mixture of butane in with the propane is less than it is in the south. So I am assuming that the extra butane in with the propane also has an impact on the pressure in the tank at certain elevations??? How does that work?
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 03:40 PM   #9
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
....So I am assuming that the extra butane in with the propane also has an impact on the pressure in the tank at certain elevations??? How does that work?
Regulator should not care, it's just a diaphram and spring that only allows a certain amount of pressure to reach the line.

Pressure is result of liquid "boiling" to a gas, until pressure get high enough to prevent more gas from escaping liquid. If the mix can not convert from liquid to gas fast enough pressure will drop.

Used a large (80,000 btu) propane heater in my garage during the winter, the tank would frost up (conversion from liquid to gas draws heat from tank so it frosts). If I ran heater on high for awhile flame would slowly die because tank could not keep up the pressure. If I used a pair of 100 lb tanks it would not have this problem.

I know that butane camp stoves are not good in cold weather because the butane draws more heat in order to convert to gas so it does not generate enough pressure to maintain the stove flame.

Elavation may not be the key, temp and butane ratio might be. It's generally cooler at higher elevations preventing butane rich mixture to boil fast enough. But rv fridge does not have much of a burner flame so it seems odd that the flame would shrink that much.
__________________
RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #10
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
Posts: 1,127
Any yellow residue on the outside of the fridge in the area with the coils? Ammonia systems work differently (absorption) in the two compartments (freezer top and cooling bottom) - bottom depends on a cycle that has some water/hydrogen to cool and not freeze. Might want to have the fridge checked for gas content, the yellow residue would indicate an ammonia leak.
__________________
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: http://RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 08:39 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
dylanear's Avatar
 
Name: Dylan
Trailer: 2001 Scamp 13'
British Columbia
Posts: 798
My Dometic fridge worked great from October to June at 7000ft, but that was on 110V AC. Never tried it on propane up there.
__________________
dylanear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Jon Vermilye's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,407
Registry
My Dometic RM 2510 did fine for a week & 1/2 at Leadville, CO - 10,000' on propane. Of course it didn't have to work all that hard - went down to the mid or low 30Fs each night! Sure wish it would do as well now that I'm at 800' and hitting 100F every day.
Jon Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2012, 09:36 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Colorado
Posts: 392
I have a place where I take my Casita at about 10,500 feet in Colorado and, like the above post, I've never had a problem with the Dometic refrigerator cooling. Since they talk about the freezer working fine, I believe the problem with OP might be more connected to poor air circulation in the unit. A small battery powered fan (less than $20) might make all the difference.
__________________
Terry G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2012, 12:22 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
My Dometic RM 2510 did fine for a week & 1/2 at Leadville, CO - 10,000' on propane. Of course it didn't have to work all that hard - went down to the mid or low 30Fs each night! Sure wish it would do as well now that I'm at 800' and hitting 100F every day.
Last week I caved in and wrapped my fridge in some reflective foil bubble type wrap. Put new batteries in the little fan in the fridge, added a small fan to the rear outside of the fridge and left the hatch door open during the day - in the high 90's F over the week-end and I didnt have any shade. Fridge never went above 33F. Best its ever done in those conditions..... way better than I had expected.
__________________

Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fridge


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
3 way fridge gaz Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 08-22-2011 08:10 AM
3 way fridge psyber_guy Classified Archives 0 07-04-2011 06:43 PM
new fridge burr Classified Archives 8 06-30-2011 12:46 AM
3-Way fridge Garrett D. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 01-26-2009 06:32 PM
Took out fridge - now what?? Laura Heiman Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 15 04-06-2006 12:35 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.