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Old 07-31-2011, 07:05 AM   #1
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RV Frig vs. House Frig question

I have done several searches but have been unable to find a good discussion about putting a regular house refrigerator in a MH. I have a 1992 Tioga and the frig is not working. Dealership mechanic told me it needs to be replaced. A small compact house frig would be cheaper than a new or rebuilt cooling unit. What are the pros and cons of using a house frig vs. a new cooling unit? I will be doing a lot of extended traveling though I will probably be staying a week or so in certain locations, if that makes a difference in the pros and cons. Your feedback will be truly appreciated.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:09 AM   #2
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If you are sure that you will always have an electrical hook-up, then there are no real downsides to a household fridge.

Conversely, if you plan to dry-camp or boondock very much, you'll have to use an old-fashioned ice chest occasionally.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:19 AM   #3
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Alot of seasonal campers where I stay at has put in apartment size fridges & when mine went out, I thought about it, but the circut board was replace, and to be honest could of found a new but cheaper in price fridge. To my understanding they work nice in the RV, the down fall is the travling, alot of them puts in ice blocks but in plastic pails on longer commutes, others I found out simply MTs the fridge, still others while driving runs a genny to keep the food cold. Those who have a 3 way, like I do, need to disconnect the deep cycle batteries, the propane needs to be cap off. As for installing, be sure to get the right size or one close to the orginal size, it be a big headache if you don't, I also learn you secure the fridge from the back just like the way you unsecured the old one. With this being said, I was informed all of this and never ,but came close, had to do this. Perhaps someone out there can be more detail then me, or someone had the experance of doing this.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:25 AM   #4
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We replaced the Dometic in our 92' HR with a 9.6cf Danby residential fridge . I have two 12 volt batteries dedicated to the fridge with a 750 watt inverter, the fridge will stay cold for hours with no power and I can run off the batteries if needed, or shore power when available. This has been the best mod we've made to our motor home, more room in the fridge, keeps things colder no matter what the outside temps are and no chance of the thing causing a fire.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:34 AM   #5
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Here is a thread about changing out RV fridge with Res.
You will find more in the RV Systems & Appliance forum.
Welcome to irv2.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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If you are sure that you will always have an electrical hook-up, then there are no real downsides to a household fridge.

Conversely, if you plan to dry-camp or boondock very much, you'll have to use an old-fashioned ice chest occasionally.
Properly set up a residential refrigerator will do just fine when boondocking. We have been boondocking full time for two years with one and everything works great. Don't even own an ice chest.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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Properly set up
Properly setup being the key.

Does your 92 Tioga have a generator?
How many, what size and voltage house battery bank?
What size inverter and wiring?

It takes power to run a residential fridge. If the compressor needs 5 amps, that means the inverter has to pull 50 amps out of the batteries!
It if needs 10 amps, that is 100 amps from the batteries.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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In a nutshell here is went in to our decision process.

A replacement 8.8 cu ft for us was ~ $2,000.

A 9.6cu ft purchased at my local Lowes $375. 2k sine wave inverter $350, 2x6v batteries, $170, Cables, fuses assorted hardware $150. No fire hazard, frozen ice cream. Money left over for the solar install I wanted to do before the refrigerator quit.

The odd part is the smaller refrigerators don't use much less power than the larger ones. It really depends on how much you open the door.

With the pair of 6v batteries without solar we would normally fire up the genny in the morning and top things off. If we are someplace we are not going to run the A/C I actually plug the charger in and have the coach run off the inverter. I don't run a microwave, toaster or coffee maker.

The only downside is a bit of noise. Not much but when you are in an area with no noise pollution you can hear it just a bit. Not enough to bother me.

I would certainly do it again.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:37 AM   #9
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Thanks for the Replies

You all have asked me questions, I can't answer. I am a 65 year old widow with my first MH. I bought cheap in case camping and traveling in a MH just did not work for me. Yes, it has a generator, inverter, batteries, etc., but I will have to get my manuals out to check for size and voltage. This would not be a do it myself project, I would have to pay someone to switch them out. So, if I have to buy a larger inverter, more batteries, cable, fuses and assorted hardware, plus labor to remove/install, it sounds like it would be cheaper for me to just drive to Faulkville, AL to a facility that does nothing but rebuild RV frig's cooling systems and get them to install a new cooling system on my old frig (which according to their website can be done for under $1,000 including installation). I live in Alabama so that wouldn't be an inconvenience. I thought I could just have my handyman take the old one out, put in the new and plug it in. I guess I am mistaken. Thanks so much for the feedback. I will investigate all the above before making a decision. I appreciate all you guys and this website!!!!
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:53 AM   #10
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My gas electric that came with the coach quit 3 times. The third time I bought a electric fridge from Lowes. Was a perfect fit and has more room. Now I don't have to worry about being level or being in zero degree weather.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:26 PM   #11
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Thanks for pointing me in the direction of that forum, but now that I have found it I am more nervous than ever about having a MH after seeing all the problems that everyone seems to have even with units newer than mine. If the newer units have so many problems, it makes me wonder what may lie ahead for my older one.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:52 PM   #12
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One thing about forums, most people are posting when they have problems.
It doesn't really show the real picture... You have people rolling thru when things are broken, and you have a whole bunch of do it yourselfers and forum junkies.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:48 PM   #13
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The newer units do seem to have issues. There are plenty of 20+ yr old units going strong. Mine was over 20 when it failed. If it were not for the rest of the unit having rust issues I may have opted for a new cooling unit.

I would not recommend doing the residential conversion without an inverter. Since you don't have the ability or someone that can do it for you I think you might be making the right decision. I've personally installed a ton of inverters so I have plenty of experience. I would offer to help but I am too far away.

If your current refrigerator is in good shape a new cooling unit could easily out last the RV.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:34 AM   #14
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You all have asked me questions, I can't answer. I am a 65 year old widow with my first MH. I bought cheap in case camping and traveling in a MH just did not work for me. Yes, it has a generator, inverter, batteries, etc., but I will have to get my manuals out to check for size and voltage. This would not be a do it myself project, I would have to pay someone to switch them out. So, if I have to buy a larger inverter, more batteries, cable, fuses and assorted hardware, plus labor to remove/install, it sounds like it would be cheaper for me to just drive to Faulkville, AL to a facility that does nothing but rebuild RV frig's cooling systems and get them to install a new cooling system on my old frig (which according to their website can be done for under $1,000 including installation). I live in Alabama so that wouldn't be an inconvenience. I thought I could just have my handyman take the old one out, put in the new and plug it in. I guess I am mistaken. Thanks so much for the feedback. I will investigate all the above before making a decision. I appreciate all you guys and this website!!!!
That very well could be your best alternative, having professionals install a residential fridge is pricey . You have to do what works for you.
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