Portable Propane Refrigerator
How RV Propane Fridge for Camping Works?

A portable propane refrigerator is a closed system unit that uses propane instead of electric motors. Operating on the principles of a standard electrical refrigerating unit, it is mostly used in recreational vehicles and is popularly known as an absorption refrigerator.

How Propane Fridge Works?

propane-refrigeratorPropane powered refrigerators come with five basic parts; the generator, condenser, separator, evaporator and absorber. A propane burner is affixed to the generator that heats it up. The generator is filled with water and ammonia, which starts to boil upon heating up.

Propane refrigerators have attached pipelines through which the solution starts draining It separates the ammonia and water molecules based on their weight difference. Gaseous ammonia rises while water heads towards the absorber where it waits to get used.

Meanwhile, the vaporized ammonia travels to the condenser, which converts the gas back into a liquid. From there it is sent to the evaporator chamber where it gets mixed with compressed hydrogen and again evaporates into a freezing vapor. This vapor is then pumped by the generator through the cooling coils into the propane fridge. As the vapor passes through the coils it is led to the absorber where it reunites with the water.

Here a chemical reaction takes place in which the hydrogen travels up the pipeline and water and ammonia get combined in a liquid form. This cycle repeats itself as the water and ammonia flows back into the generator.

Operating an RV Propane Refrigerator in a Camper

  • Make sure your camper with your propane powered refrigerator is level to ensure smooth refrigerator operation. You can place a level on the fridge or on the counter.
  • Open the propane bottles and turn the propane knob located at the front of the unit in a counterclockwise direction and turn on the switch. Ascertain that the battery is connected to the camper. Camper refrigerators use some DC current to start and operate initially.
  • Locate the switch, often a dial or button, and turn it on. A light indicator will glow if it's on. Listen carefully for a click, followed by a buzzing sound as it turns on and lights the pilot. If the refrigerator does not turn on after a minute then turn it off as a safety precaution. Not doing so could lead to expensive propane refrigerator repair, or even a dangerous gas build up and an explosion. Wait for some time and follow the previous steps to turn it on.
  • Turn the hit button to set the temperature and allow it to stay on for a day until it cools itself enough for use.

How to Determine Best Propane Fridges to Buy

In determining your refrigeration needs decide whether you want a full-sized or a single-user fridge. Also, determine the location of the fridge in your cabin or home and its daily consumption of gas.

Pick the type that serves your requirements. Buy propane refrigerators that can also use kerosene or electric fuels for flexibility.

Remember to pick up the accessories that are required by the units. Some propane powered refrigerator units need extra fittings like glass shelves, deli drawers, hose and regulator kits, etc.

Popular Propane Gas Refrigerator Models

Consul-CB-2426Consul Propane Refrigerator CB-2426 is a 7.8-cubic-foot capacitive unit that measures 57 x 24 x 27 inches . It has a daily fuel consumption of 0.275 gallons and a small interior light powered by dry-cell battery.

With a reversible door that opens both ways, the unit houses a 1.1-cubic-foot capacitive separate freezer. Other features include, three shelves for convenient storage, thermostat controls for efficient cooling, a front pushbutton igniter for easy and convenient operation and a flame safety valve for precaution against hazards.

Some users have complained that the unit emits a distinct propane smell after defrosting.

Manufactured in Brazil, this unit costs $1300 (still under the $1500 range).

Danby-DPR2262WCDDanby DPR2262WCD is a 7.8-cubic-foot capacitive propane refrigerator with an hourly gas consumption of 1600 BTU (high) and 700 BTU (low). It has an automatic ignition for fuel saving convenient operation and a fail-safe burner-off feature for emergency situations. The fridge is equipped with three wide wire shelves and a separate vegetable crisper for enhanced storage.

This refrigerator model also has other features, such as a refrigerator light powered by dry cell battery to locate items conveniently, integrated egg storage and door shelves offering large storing spaces, CGA and AGA approved handles for durability and comes with a one-year warranty on labor and parts and five years on the absorption part.

This propane gas refrigerator measures 24 x 28.5 x 56.5 inches and is priced at around $2000.

You could opt for inexpensive propane gas refrigerator models if you are tight on budget. Used propane refrigerators are also a fair idea as they usually need less maintenance. Since, they do not have compressors, users don't have to worry about their compressors going bad.

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Updated February 2011