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Old 01-20-2017, 12:00 PM   #1
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Residential Refrigerator Installation Question

I am in the process of replacing my Norcold with a 10 cu. ft. residential refrigerator. The manual call for a side clearance of 1", back 2", and top 12" for air circulation (I only have @3-4" top clearance). The question is whether I should close the bottom and top outside vents and let the unit recirculate into my motorhome, or should I seal (as best I can) the refrigerator inside (like the old unit was) and leave the outside vents open? Since I don't have the top clearance, I am leaning toward leaving the top and bottom vents open. What have other done? Pros and cons of each would be appreciated.
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:52 PM   #2
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There is a big difference in the way an absorption and a residential fridge operate. Your old Norcold had an open flame when it was on propane and a heating element when on electric. Your new Frigidaire has a small compressor running on 110v.


Factory RV residential installations seal the fridge from outside air, but leave the top, bottom and sides open to the inside. This keeps the airflow at a fairly even temperature and keeps it away from summer and winter extremes. Look at the fridge installation in your house. It does not have any outside vents.


The 3-4" space on top is more than enough.
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Old 01-20-2017, 02:24 PM   #3
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Gas refrigerators are vented outdoors, in case of a gas leak.

I believe the RVIA regulations require this on any un-attended gas appliance.

If the fridge had a gas leak, it needs to leak outside, not collect in the living spaces. Same with the water heater and the furnace. Probably why there are no factory installed un-vented gas heaters.
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Old 01-20-2017, 03:00 PM   #4
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I sealed off both the side and top vent when I replaced the norcold with a residential fridge. No need for the external ventilation with a compressor driven fridge.

I have about an inch on each side, an inch in the back, and 1.5 inches on top.

Been using it for over a year and its been working well.
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Old 01-20-2017, 03:02 PM   #5
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When I replaced my Dometic with a Residential Fisher & Paykel, I had the same question.

Initially I sealed the access door only thinking the fridge could then vent through the roof (air flow draws air from the lower front, up the back and out the roof vent).

This worked well as long as the coach was sitting still. As soon as we started moving, the air flowing over the roof fridge vent sucked every bit of warm air (it was winter) out of the motorhome. Too much air ventilation.

I then sealed the roof vent and left it as is. It's been working this way since 2013. In fact, I don't think we've ever turned the fridge off since it was installed... and it's doing great.

I did have the thought of cutting a vent hole into the adjoining bath area and installing a 4" exhaust fan, to vent the back of the fridge, but it really hasn't been necessary.

Best of luck with your install.

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Old 01-20-2017, 03:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Dave View Post
I sealed off both the side and top vent when I replaced the norcold with a residential fridge. No need for the external ventilation with a compressor driven fridge.

I have about an inch on each side, an inch in the back, and 1.5 inches on top.

Been using it for over a year and its been working well.

I never ;;I left the rear lower vent as is and that allows for cool air intake for condenser cooling in warm or hot weather .That's my take on it and what I did
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:14 PM   #7
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In my factory residential refrig installation. The sides and top do not have clearance. The bottom has the typical vent and there is about 2 inches of clearance in the rear with an outside vent
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:29 PM   #8
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When I installed my 18 cu ft samsung I blocked off all outside venting, side and top. My house doesn't have a big hole in the wall behind the fridge so why should the coach. There is room for air flow in the back(about 3 inches), the bottom is vented by design of the fridge, the sides have about 1/4 inch on each side and the top has about 1 1/2 inch of clearance. It works great that way.

Dave
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