3 way fridge venting

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 12:25
ThreadID: 31895 Views:5515 Replies:2 FollowUps:3
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Having read TLC's post (16/2/06) of his fridge venting problems, prompts me to do the same. We bought a new "Carry-Van" slide-on camper recently (www.carry-van.com). On our delivery trip home, we had many days where temps were in the high 30's, and no way could I get the fridge to cool properly until I removed the top vent (there was no bottom vent fitted !). I researched the matter when we got home, also asked Dometic about this - they weren't very impressed that a RV manufacturer didn't use two vents. I will say that there were two 50mm holes drilled in the floor (as the lower vent ?) but these were mostly covered by the bottom of the fridge anyway. It seems our slide-on wasn't the only one with a single vent - take look at the pics gallery on their website - there is one pic with 3 campers side by side, none of which have two vents. We cannot believe a manufacturer would overlook such a basic item and risk 'bad press' for the sake of a $50 vent. I could mention many other problems with the camper, but I won't. Our experience with "Carry-Van's" warranty processes mean that interstate buyers like us are more or less stranded - more fool us I guess.
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Reply By: Member - Cocka - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 23:29

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 23:29
Gun, sorry to hear about your dissatisfaction.
I've no idea how the system works inside your Carry-Van but I gather the fridge is wired up to the carry-vehicle along with the other electrics, and is supposed to keep everything cold. What about when your not travelling, will it flatten the start battery or have you a dual battery system ??

Fridges are heat exchangers and the heat they withdraw from within the fridge must be allowed to dissipate, otherwise they will stew in their own heat & eventually burn out the motor. Also running continuously will stuff the battery.

Do what ever is necessary to increase the air flow across the motor & condensors. If there is room, install a small computer fan to circulate the air in the cavity or acrosss the motor. They are light & as cheap as chips and available from Jaycar, just wire it into the fridge power supply circuit.

If any ducting to bring in fresh outside air across the motor can be installed it will increase performance 200%. The cooler the ambient temps the better the fridge will work. I put a fan in my Chescold & nearly turned it into a freezer.

Good luck
AnswerID: 161596

Follow Up By: Gun - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 01:16

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 01:16
Thanks Cocka. Got some advice and have since fitted a (Dometic) bottom vent, installed a thin polystyrene warm air deflector and two 12v computer fans (wired in series for high air flow, low noise). Fridge works like a charm now. To answer your question, fridge is the absorbtion type (no motor) and is mounted under the bench (which used to get REAL hot), it runs off an internal battery which is charged by vehicle when on the vehicle tray. I've used spare contacts on fridge rotary switch so that fans work whenever switch is on 240v, 12v or gas. As other threads state, the key to getting absorbtion fridges to work properly is to restrict the air space to the back of the fridge only, and have air free-flowing in and out of this area via the vents. Pity a manufacturer like "Carry-Van" don't understand this. As for the water tank they built into the slide-on, well that's another story.....
FollowupID: 416321

Reply By: angler - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 11:26

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 11:26
The installation of the typical three way fridge is set in concrete. The manufacturer supplies with each fridge a complete set of instructions on how to install and how to set up the venting system. All measurements are included as to what size all vents should be as well as at what level they should be mounted in relation to the fridge.
For example the top vent should be above the top of the actual fridge and the internals should be completed with a gently curved shroud to assist with heat extraction. Of course the little box on top of the fridge cabinet doesn't look good so the van builder omits this, after all the average van builder knows more about three ways than the manufacturer (NOT).
If you look at my web site there is a picture fo the fridge area of our van that shows a box atop the cabinet. Thats how it should lookn. I sell vans and rest assured most are not mounted correctly, and the builders will not listen to any advise offered by fridge manufacturers on how to install their product. Dometic will often sight the fridge and just say "its not installed correctly and therefore its no our problem" Rightly so I reckon.


look for the van pictures!
AnswerID: 161646

Follow Up By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:07

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:07
Doing the job properly can make an extraordinary difference to the operation and energy consumption of almost any type of fridge.

Unfortunately hardly any are done as well as they can be. Vehntilation is part of the answer but one neds also to make sure that incoming cool air actually flows over the cooling fins (it may buypass them). It is often worth putting in some simple baffles to direct the air.

Also necessary to ensure there are places that can trap ockets of warm air above the fridge.

Adequate cable size is essential and you may be surprised just how big 'adequate can be'.

There is a comprehensive two-part article on fridges and their installation on my website.
Collyn Rivers
FollowupID: 416562

Follow Up By: Gun - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:08

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:08
Thanks ANGLER and COLLYN for your advice. I didn't know all that much about these fridges until we bought a slide-on that had a poorly installed fridge. For a RV manufacturer to use only one fridge vent is negligent in the extreme. Although I now know a little bit more, it has cost me time and money, and after I told Dometic about this, I can only hope they were true to their word by 'having a chat' with "Carry-Van". I'm sure Dometic will also speak with others at various forums, meetings and shows, which will make this particular RV manufacturer a joke amongst their peers.
FollowupID: 417564

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