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Old 10-04-2011, 03:45 PM   #1
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Replacing Houshold type refrigerator with gas

We are considering purchase of a nice 40' DP coach. The only downside is that it has a household 110 volt only refrigerator. We boondock a lot and like to run on solar as much as possible.
I don't think the 110 refrigerator will work for use even though there is plenty of batteries and a big inverter. We just don't want to run the generator.
Has anyone in the group replaced a household type refer with a gas unit and if so was it a major job and cost?. The current refer is a 21 CF model and I would be replacing it with a 14 CF two way gas unit.

Thanks,
Norm
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:48 PM   #2
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If this unit had gas to begin with, it should be simple. If not, then there is installing a gas line run to the fridge area, a gas exhaust vent out the roof, plus 12vdc wiring to consider.. Not that hard as long as the vent is there.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
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Norm,,

You seem to be swiming upstream, many with an absorbtion refer are looking to change to residential. Poor cooling, fires and recalls are the reason. I would ask on several web sites what those with experience have to say. I am looking to replace my Norcold 1200 with a residential one. I had a refer fire last year, fortunately I caught it before significant damage was done. 2 min more and the coach would have been gone.

Al Sawyer
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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Thanks for the prompt replys.
I do not know for sure but I am thinking the 12 volt is there. Gas should be easy to run but Cutting in outside access, the roof vent and sealing of the unit could be a major labor issue.
I agree that a residential type refer would be the best choice except we like to boon dock. If we were hooked up most of the time I would not consider the change out.
The coach is an Alpine 40'

Norm
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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If you have the cash, there are extremely low power units out there, designed for off-grid solar.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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Of course, an extra solar panel and battery bank would go a long way.. So would turning the fridge off at night.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:50 PM   #7
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I'm a low electric use boondocker too, Norm-
I know what you're talking about!

You don't say which rig you're considering- could you ask the manufacturer whether any gas lines etc. are already there?
If it's a rig that had a gas fridge option when new, it's possible that the lines are installed.
It's a lot like options on cars- the wiring is there- all the dealer has to do is plug in the (whatever)...just a thought.

Also- I'm more familiar with older rigs than new ones, but fridges used to vent through the sidewall...
Maybe the rules have changed about that, but if they haven't that might make for a simpler install.

Good luck, and Happy Camping!

Francesca
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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My '89 is out the top..
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:10 PM   #9
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Hi, Jim

I didn't mean to suggest that a fridge for Norm's rig wouldn't/shouldn't vent through the roof- just that installation codes may still allow for sidewall vents.
Thought it might be easier, if it's possible!

Francesca
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allynne View Post
You seem to be swiming upstream, many with an absorbtion refer are looking to change to residential.
And many, like me, are not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allynne View Post
Poor cooling, fires and recalls are the reason. I would ask on several web sites what those with experience have to say. I am looking to replace my Norcold 1200 with a residential one. I had a refer fire last year, fortunately I caught it before significant damage was done. 2 min more and the coach would have been gone.
Sorry about your Norcold. It appears to be the most recalled fridge on the planet with multiple recalls and "fixes" on the same model.

While my 10+ year old Dometic NDR1292 is no Sub-Zero, it works just fine. For me and others, it's great to have the option to run off gas instead of looking for a site with a plug.

I certainly understand those who upgrade to electric residential fridges (particularly former Norcold owners), but electrics aren't for everyone, especially boondockers.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:36 PM   #11
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Before you go out and change the refer, why don't you go off grid for a few days and see how things go? We do some off grid camping and I think I could survive with a residential refer.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:39 PM   #12
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He doesn't own the rig in question.

He's considering buying it, and wants to know if anybody can estimate the difficulty/cost of changing the 110 v fridge out and installing a gas/electric.

Francesca
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:17 PM   #13
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I have the household refer and on a 4 day outing I only need to run the gen for a couple of hours the entire weekend.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechWriter View Post
And many, like me, are not.


Sorry about your Norcold. It appears to be the most recalled fridge on the planet with multiple recalls and "fixes" on the same model.

While my 10+ year old Dometic NDR1292 is no Sub-Zero, it works just fine. For me and others, it's great to have the option to run off gas instead of looking for a site with a plug.

I certainly understand those who upgrade to electric residential fridges (particularly former Norcold owners), but electrics aren't for everyone, especially boondockers.
x2, we boon dock a lot and are perfectly happy with our Norcold 1200. I would never want a residential refrigerator in my RV. But my "RV" is an "RV(Recreational Vehicle)" not something I live in for extended periods of time. I would assume most of those going the residential refrigerator route are full timers, that would be a different story.

I've also read many posts of those converting to a 110 unit without fully thinking it through.
That said, if the RV you are looking at is a new unit already set up from the factory with a 110 refrigerator and has 6 big batteries and a big inverter, you may be good to go, boon docking wise and there is no need to throw all that extra expense out to go back to gas.
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