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Old 09-04-2019, 05:06 PM   #1
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Refrigerator ammonia

This is a question about my refrigerator. We have ammonia smell in the refrigerator side. None of the ammonia smell on the freezer side. What's the fix? Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:07 PM   #2
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Only a couple options replace the complete cooling pack on back or replace refrigerator.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:19 PM   #3
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its a dometic fridge on a 2007 Discovery. It has been acting up hard to cool on house side, not so on freezer side. You say cooling unit on back - is that easy to get to or does unit have to come out?
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:22 PM   #4
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Refrigerator ammonia

The unit has to be removed and the entire cooling pack will come off. Lots of threads on replacing the cooling pack with another absorption unit or with a standard compressor cooling unit from JC Refrigeration. Another popular option is replacing with a residential refrigerator.

Some videos here to get an idea of what it takes.
https://jc-refrigeration.com/videos/
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:28 PM   #5
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If you haven't already, turn the fridge off now. It's toast until you replace the cooling unit or replace the fridge.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick reply and advice. Have turned it off. Last time out was difficult to get it too cool, but finally did. Just picked up from dealer for AC maintenance and only smelled the ammonia after got home and opened frig to keep aired out and mold from forming.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:45 PM   #7
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It is dead, replace the cooling unit with a new one, a replacement compressor unit or a new refrigerator.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:39 PM   #8
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Looks like I'll be replacing my cooler unit as well in the not so distant future. I have small amounts of yellow powder (sodium chromate) emitting from one of the welds in the piping. No ammonia smell noticed yet. Is RC Refridgeration a favored source for procuring the unit?
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:59 PM   #9
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Those replacing with another cooling unit, NOT residential, consider Helium instead of Ammonia. We went Helium several years ago and it works great and is an inert gas (non flammable).. it just sits there and runs. We are almost 100% dry/ boondock campers and I simply don't want to deal with cycling generators, etc., so gas is still my choice
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:09 AM   #10
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It is a ticking bomb at this point make sure all power to it is cut and wire ends capped, no sparks! 12 volt and 110.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:49 PM   #11
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Ok I have disconnected the electric. Gas is turned off. Kept the frig doors open since and opened windows to air it out. have checked several times for ammonia smell and there is none. Also have checked twice for yellow powder in rear at outside vent area. None of that. So the question is could I travel with coach? I suppose I could take the doors off. We haven't decided if it will be a repair of cooling unit or a residential, but would like to use the coach before the season is over. Any advice?
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Ok I have disconnected the electric. Gas is turned off. Kept the frig doors open since and opened windows to air it out. have checked several times for ammonia smell and there is none. Also have checked twice for yellow powder in rear at outside vent area. None of that. So the question is could I travel with coach? I suppose I could take the doors off. We haven't decided if it will be a repair of cooling unit or a residential, but would like to use the coach before the season is over. Any advice?
There isn't that much ammonia and hydrogen in the system and it probably has dissipated through the leak by now. As long as the 115 VAC and propane are off, the heat sources for the fridge boiler, whatever residue there is will not have a heat source.

The risk is that without proper levels in the system the fridge boiler can go to several hundred degrees and ignite the surrounding structure. You've removed the heat sources for the boiler with your actions. I would not have any problems using the RV and just hauling some coolers for the rest of the season.

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Old 09-10-2019, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCVJeff View Post
Those replacing with another cooling unit, NOT residential, consider Helium instead of Ammonia. We went Helium several years ago and it works great and is an inert gas (non flammable).. it just sits there and runs. We are almost 100% dry/ boondock campers and I simply don't want to deal with cycling generators, etc., so gas is still my choice
Jeff, the so called helium units still use ammonia as the refrigerant. The hydrogen buffer gas is replaced with helium.

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Old 09-10-2019, 06:29 PM   #14
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Ok I have disconnected the electric. Gas is turned off. Kept the frig doors open since and opened windows to air it out. have checked several times for ammonia smell and there is none. Also have checked twice for yellow powder in rear at outside vent area. None of that. So the question is could I travel with coach? I suppose I could take the doors off. We haven't decided if it will be a repair of cooling unit or a residential, but would like to use the coach before the season is over. Any advice?

The ammonia was leaking OUTSIDE of the box, specifically the back where the "plumbing" is that functions as the evaporator and condenser. You can close the reefer doors, it'll be okay.


And yes, you can otherwise use your RV while awaiting repair, refurbishment or replacement of the refrigerator.
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