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Do I Need An RV Fridge Fan? What Does It Do?

Do I Need An RV Fridge Fan? What Does It Do?

If you’re having issues with temperature control in your RV fridge, it’s possible that an RV fridge fan could make all the difference. There are many reasons for poor cooling of an RV fridge, of course, but a number of them may be resolved with a simple fan for RV fridges. 

In the past, we’ve looked at RV refrigerators in general and how they work. We’ve also discussed the best RV refrigerators for different types of campers. More recently, we published an entire post on pretty much everything you need to know about an absorption refrigerator and how it uses heat to keep things cold. We even wrote about the problem of an RV freezer frosting up.

In today’s post, we’ll look at why an RV fridge may have difficulty cooling consistently, and we’ll show you several different types of RV fridge fans that are capable of solving the problem so that your produce doesn’t freeze and your milk doesn’t get warm!

What Does an RV Fridge Fan Do?

The goal of an RV fridge fan is to increase consistent cooling across your refrigerator’s interior so that food is cooled uniformly. 

A consistently, uniformly cooled fridge interior means there are no overly cold spots to freeze refrigerated items, and there are no overly warm spots to warm up fridge contents to unpalatable or even unsafe temperatures.

A fan works to dissipate hot air that comes into the fridge every time it’s opened (especially in hot weather) and moves the fridge’s cold air throughout the fridge interior.

A good fridge cooling fan distributes the cool air evenly so that your fridge has good, even temperature control. It’s all about circulation!

Why Do Some RV Refrigerators Cool Inconsistently?

There are a number of reasons why RV refrigerators can have inconsistent cooling. RVers are generally aware, for example, that typical 2-way (propane/120V) or 3-way (propane/120V/12V) RV fridges can generally only cool to about 40° below ambient temperatures. In conditions of high heat, sometimes that’s just not enough.

However, there are other reasons why inconsistent cooling – cold spots and hot spots in particular – can be a problem with RV refrigerators.

Fridge Size

A small, empty fridge the size of a small RV fridge

Many RVs have very small fridges. It doesn’t take long for a small fridge to be overfilled. Lots of food and beverages stuffed into a fridge make air distribution difficult.

RV fridge compartments can be small, so they’re often jam-packed with food and beverages. This can prevent air from circulating well, causing hot and cold spots in the fridge. That can cause food to freeze or spoil.

Blocked Fins

The fins at the top of the refrigerator compartment are where the heat is removed from the compartment, allowing the interior to cool down. Putting too much food near the fins (especially on the top shelf) can block the flow of air, and interrupt the cooling process.

Interruption of Cold Air Sinking

Because cold air is denser and heavier, it sinks (falls) from the cooling fins down to the rest of the fridge below. However, excessive fridge contents being packed in tightly can stop the process of the cool air sinking into the interior to cool the fridge.

Fans for RV Fridges

We’ve discussed how fans help circulate the cold air in an RV refrigerator, keeping temps in the fridge more uniform. 

Now let’s take a look at the different types of fans that are available to accomplish this task.

Battery Operated Fans

Every fan requires a power source and RV fridge fans are no exception.

There are small fans available for RV refrigerators that are battery-powered. This type of fan is simply placed on a shelf or on the floor of the fridge. 

One of the benefits of this type of fan is how easy to put in place since there isn’t really any installation required. You simply put the batteries into the battery compartment and set the fan inside the fridge.

Battery-operated fans placed in the fridge run constantly when the fridge is in use, so you’ll want to check reviews for comments about battery life. You’ll want to be sure batteries don’t need to be replaced constantly.

Beech Lane RV Fridge Fan

This RV fridge fan from Beech Lane is fairly popular. It has a simple on/off button and offers a high air output thanks to its 3,000 RPM motor. 

This fan requires two D-cell batteries to operate (not included), and with dimensions of 3.78 x 3.31 x 3.23 inches, it doesn’t take up a lot of room in the fridge.

One excellent feature of this particular battery-operated fan is the fact that Beech Lane offers a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty should the fan fail or be damaged. 

Beech Lane RV Fridge Fan, High Power 3,000 RPM Motor, Easy On and Off Switch, Multiple Side Vents Increase Airflow, Durable Construction (Natural)
  • HIGH POWER 3,000 R/M MOTOR AND DURABLE CONSTRUCTION - PATENT PENDING -While competitor versions use around 700 R/M motors, the Beech Lane fan uses a...
  • PROPRIETARY SPRIDERWEB TOP NEW FOR MORE AIRFLOW - We listened and have upgraded and re-engineered the top opening to make sure the most air possible...

Camco Airator Deluxe

Camco’s fridge fan is another battery-operated option to cool an RV fridge more evenly. 

This little fan has a high-volume air circulator and also has a replaceable activated charcoal pack to absorb odors. 

It has an on/off switch and dimensions of 3.25 x 3.6 x 4.38 inches.

Sale
Camco 44124 Fridge Airator with On/Off Switch, White
  • high volume air circulator
  • replaceable activated charcoal pack absorbs odors

Hard-Wired (12V DC) Fans

This type of RV refrigerator vent fan requires 12 volts to operate so these need to be hard-wired to a 12V source of power. 

12V fans are installed by mounting the fan to the fins of the fridge. They prevent the buildup of frost and ice on the fins and distribute the fridge’s cool air throughout the refrigerator’s interior more evenly.

DutchAire RV Refrigerator Fin Fan

This RV fridge unit has two ball-bearing fans and stainless steel mounting clips to attach it to the fins. The fan runs constantly unless manually turned off by the user.

The kit comes with installation hardware and draws .23 amps total. The wiring can be connected to the 12V light inside the fridge or run through the drain tube to the back of the fridge and connected to the 12V power supply located there, (as long as there’s a constant 12V power supply at the back of your fridge).

According to reviewers, installation of this fridge vent fan is easy.

RV Refrigerator Fin Fan
  • Stainless Steel Fastner clips
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty

Quick Products QP-CRRF Clip-On RV Refrigerator Fan

This hard-wired fan also circulates the cool air throughout your RV fridge and prevents frost buildup on the cooling fins. It has two-speed operation and an on/off toggle switch. 

Like the previous fan, this one has built-in clips to attach it directly to the fridge’s cooling fins and connects to your fridge’s 12V power source, either at the interior light or behind the fridge. 

Sale
Quick Products QP-CRRF Clip-On RV Refrigerator Fan
  • Circulate air throughout your RV refrigerator to maximize cooling efficiency and stop frost build-up on the cooling fins due to dormant air
  • Two-speed operation and fan power is controlled with an easy-to-use toggle switch on the front of the fan

Pro Tip: Use a Wireless Fridge/Freezer Thermometer 

A wireless fridge/freezer thermometer allows you to see what the temperature is on the interior of your fridge and freezer WITHOUT opening the door. This is extra important in an RV fridge, especially when ambient temperatures are high.

AcuRite Digital Wireless Fridge and Freezer Thermometer

A wireless digital thermometer like this one is very easy to install.

Two temperature sensors are provided. You’ll simply set one temperature sensor in the fridge and the other in the freezer. They can either be strapped onto a shelf or suctioned onto the wall. (Silicone straps and suctions cups are provided for both sensors.)

The digital display is magnetic and can be attached to the fridge door or mounted on a wall at eye level. The wireless range is 75 feet.

Two AA batteries are required to operate EACH sensor and three AAA batteries power the monitor. That means you’ll need a total of four AA batteries and three AAA batteries to power the system.

Sale
AcuRite Digital Wireless Fridge and Freezer Thermometer with Alarm and Max/Min Temperature for Home and Restaurants (00986M), 0.6, White
  • Digital Thermometers: Includes one refrigerator thermometer and one freezer thermometer that transmit readings to the digital display
  • Easy-to-Read LCD Display: Comes with magnetic backing for fridge mounting and a keyhole for mounting on a wall

Not all RV refrigerators require an additional fan to circulate air. But if you’re experiencing warm and cold spots inside your RV fridge, one of these fans will likely fix the problem quickly and easily!

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Judy Bowen

Monday 29th of August 2022

Is there any right place to put the little battery operated devices?

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 30th of August 2022

Hi Judy! Since cool air sinks, and the fans generally blow air upward, placing the fan on a lower shelf is a good bet!

Mark

Monday 29th of August 2022

I tried the AcuRite but found a better option. Now I have the temp and humidity for the coach ambient air, the fridge & freezer, and a fourth sensor that I put in the wet bay. (Mine is not heated, so a just in case use.) It also shows me the min and max for the last 24 hours for all sensors.

AMIR Indoor Outdoor Thermometer with 3 sensors $29.99 on Amazon.

Gary

Monday 29th of August 2022

Why is the price here different than on the Amazon site?

TheRVgeeks

Monday 29th of August 2022

Hi Gary! The Amazon links they provide are supposed to be dynamic... as in they always show whatever the current price is. But occasionally they don't keep up with changes, since Amazon adjusts prices the way airlines do (as in quite a lot)! Sorry for any confusion, but we don't have control over it. We hope that the actual prices are lower sometimes, too!

Troy

Monday 29th of August 2022

As usual great article and advice. I installed one and will never “not” have one again!

TheRVgeeks

Monday 29th of August 2022

Thanks Troy! Good to hear about your experience, too.

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