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Old 09-25-2017, 10:49 PM   #1
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Frost Buildup in Freezer

My last two RV's have had Norcold refer's. The first a 2014 Voltage with the smaller four door & now a 2017 Bighorn with the large four door. I have a problem with frost building up on the back wall of freezer. It builds up to an inch thick of solid ice. Both are propane/electric & always run on 120v (except when traveling) & always on as we are full timers. Is this normal? Do I really need to defrost these things every so often? The temps in fridge & freezer are fine.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:54 PM   #2
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Been on the road now since Aug 5th; Just defrosted our Norcold yesterday. Frost was about 1/2 in or less, but we RV in the arid west. To defrost, we just move the ice and wife's ice cream bars to the refrig, turn off the refrig, and open the freezer doors wide. Ice softens then melts in about an hour. Wipe up the water in side the freezer, put your stuff back in and away you go. Keep an eye on refrig temps, as too cold a setting will ice up the fins in the back (inside) of the refrig too.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:04 AM   #3
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These fridges don't have a defrost mode so every time you open the door, add something to freeze, you let some moisture in. When that happens, frost forms. So, yes you do need to defrost that freezer. It is pretty easy. Let the freezer get down in content then pull every thing left out. Put it into a chilled cooler and add some more ice (in plastic bags) to keep things frozen. Turn off the fridge and just let it sit with the top doors open for, say a half hour. This will usually loosen the ice but a pan of warm water will hurry it up some. Pull the loosened ice out, sop up the water on the freezer floor and you are ready to start all over by setting the fridge up a couple steps, put the still frozen food back and you are done. Also, with the couple Norcold fridges we have had, you do need to make sure they have fully closed - ours actually clicks twice. Then you also need to make sure the gasket is good by using a dollar bill closed in the door. If it pulls out really easy, a new gasket may be needed.

I just went through this 'drill' with ours before the last trip - and it worked well for us.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:12 AM   #4
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Norcold refrigerators are not frost free. They do have a defrost cycle, but don't be misled by the name. The defrost cycle is to remove frost only from the cooling fins located in the back refrigerator compartment, not from the freezer.

Manually defrosting Norcold refrigerators is a chore you will have to perform regularly - every couple of months or so depending on how many times you open the door and depending on how humid it is inside the RV.

Abnormally rapid frost buildup may indicate a problem with the door seals leaking. You can test the seals by closing the door on a dollar bill and checking for resistance when you try to pull the bill out. Test the entire perimeter of the door.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:18 AM   #5
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Not sure about the defrost mode--the Dometic side x side in our last Suites would periodically defrost the fins in the back. Actually could see water droplets on the fins and drips from the drain tube. But there was buildup in the freezer compartment.
Be careful not to use sharp knife/metal to get ice pried off if you don't want to wait til it falls off when defrosting.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:59 AM   #6
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We have a Dometic and I defrost it when the DW says it needs to be. She puts the frozen in the sink and I use a hair dryer and a flat wooden spoon. Entire job only takes 10-15 minutes. Wipe it out and replace the food. Not a hard or long job.

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Old 09-26-2017, 10:57 AM   #7
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Thanks for the answers. Good to know Iím not alone. I have defrosted in the past but just wanted to know it is not abnormal!
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:31 AM   #8
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I am surprised that no one has mentioned this yet. RV fridges need fans inside. Put a fan inside and it will keep the fins free of frost and will circulate the cold better. You can google it and find several options for fans designed for that purpose.
This helps in the fridge only, not the freezer. Good luck.
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