Fridge Venting - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-21-2013, 07:44 PM   #1
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Name: Jim
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Fridge Venting

A while ago I posted a thread concerning venting a 1981 Bigfoot trailer fridge as there is no roof vent for the exhaust while on propane and only a vent on the outside. I was told that this is normal.
I now have a computer fan mounted on the outside of the vent (while parking) drawing the exhaust to the outside, and wired the fan from the rear of the fridge. It seems to do a good job of exhausting as I can smell the exhaust as it is drawn outside. Does anyone see any problem here? Thanks, Jim
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
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This is a pretty common modification. If you Google "RV refrigerator fan" you will see endless variations on this theme.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
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Yes, using computer fans is pretty common. But the ones I've seen in use are permanently mounted on the inside of the vent... blowing to the outside.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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Is your Bigfoot a Gaucho Model with the small fridge? I think the only one with a roof vent is the CB Center Bath model with the big fridge that vents out the roof. I think yours is the short fridge. Many Casita trailers have the same problem you mentioned.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:38 AM   #5
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In the 80's Bigfoot made a 19' and a fifth wheel with a chimney, and a roof vent, for the fridge. I think the 17' foot had the two vents on the side, but in later years had the chimney. The side vent configuration is probably the most common in little fibreglass trailers.
An exhaust fan is good, the manufacture of my fridge recommends that if you add a fan, then you should put it above the bottom vent pointing up at the large loose coil of tube in the middle of the fridge.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:25 AM   #6
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Many of our trailers have the same issues with lack of fans and insulation. I have added foil insulation around the fridge and sealed it off completely as well as add a fan at the rear & one inside the fridge as well.

There are lots of threads on this site on the topic, here is just a sampling:

How to Improve Fridge Performance in Hot Weather - an old thread

Bigfoot Refrigerator Fan

Insulating a Fridge

Too much ventilation in Fridge
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
In the 80's Bigfoot made a 19' and a fifth wheel with a chimney, and a roof vent, for the fridge. I think the 17' foot had the two vents on the side, but in later years had the chimney. The side vent configuration is probably the most common in little fibreglass trailers.
An exhaust fan is good, the manufacture of my fridge recommends that if you add a fan, then you should put it above the bottom vent pointing up at the large loose coil of tube in the middle of the fridge.
David, are you saying that the fan is actually installed in the lower vent but is actually pointed upwards rather than venting towards the vent where the fumes can be dispersed.
Thanks, everyone, for their responses as well....very helpful.
BTW my fridge is a Instamatic IM 30 3 way and I have actually seen the temps drop to 0 Celsius (32 F) after operating only on propane for 6 hours, so it seems to be very efficient.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jimmied View Post
David, are you saying that the fan is actually installed in the lower vent but is actually pointed upwards rather than venting towards the vent where the fumes can be dispersed.
......
That is how I installed my fan. It is attached horizontally below the heat exchanger and blows up through the fins and out the top vent. The key is moving cooler air over those fins.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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Side venting is perfectly fine for absorption fridges- they're mainly for combustion air intake/ dissipation of heat anyway. Not much in propane "exhaust" other than carbon dioxide and water.

That is, if the fridge is working properly, which leads me to suggest:

If you can "smell the exhaust", you may have a combustion problem. Sounds like incomplete burning to me!

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Old 02-22-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
If you can "smell the exhaust", you may have a combustion problem. Sounds like incomplete burning to me!
If you can inspect the flame, it should be blue. If it is at all yellow, your don't have enough oxygen.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #11
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A properly burning liquid propane flame should have a "titch" of yellow just at the tip:



Image from this link

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Old 02-22-2013, 07:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
A properly burning liquid propane flame should have a "titch" of yellow just at the tip:



Image from this link

Francesca
Francesca, such a great pic and thank you......mine is blue very similar to pic "B" and cannot see any yellow at the tip....I will inspect it more closely.....I still plan on putting in a computer fan on the outside of the upper vent while camping, as it does draw the exhaust and heat to the outside much faster than just letting it disperse on its own.
Thanks for all the all replies as well, as I feel better operating it, but sure wish it was vented to the roof as newer fridges have this feature but back in the 80's I presume the manufactures had different thoughts on venting.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jimmied View Post
... sure wish it was vented to the roof as newer fridges have this feature but back in the 80's I presume the manufactures had different thoughts on venting.
I don't think this has anything to do with vintage. Refrigerators are vented through the roof where practical, but most of our little trailers have under-counter refrigerators (with no roof access) or curved bodies which don't have a flat area for a roof vent over the refrigerator. Even a current high-end motorhome or huge fifth-wheel trailer will have the exhaust vent through the wall if the refrigerator located in a slide-out, which can't have a roof-mounted vent.

I agree that exhausting through the roof is preferred, and I think that was the preference even in the 1980s.
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