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Old 12-13-2019, 02:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Seal off fridge vent?

Hi all!

Newbie Class A owner here. After over a year of research and searching, I got (what I think is) a great deal on a 1992 Winnebago Chieftain that is in excellent shape for it's age. I've been getting ready for it's maiden voyage, and was up on the roof replacing the fridge vent cover that was cracked pretty bad. I evicted a large wasp nest and got the new cover on no problem.

The previous owner replaced the propane fridge with a regular residential fridge. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it's brand new and I'm unsure how much boondocking I'll really be doing. Would there be any downside to sealing off that vent? I have found no roof leaks except for where water got in through the old cracked vent cover. There doesn't appear to be any real damage, but I would like to keep wasps from building another taj mahal in there. Would it be better to replace the screening and keep the vent or just seal the hole altogether?

Thanks in advance! I've been a part of various forums since forums began, and am glad to have found this one!

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Old 12-13-2019, 02:27 PM   #2
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It's often a convenient place to run wires through if you're going to do solar. If not, than you could seal it. It could always be opened back up if needed.
Good luck on your maiden voyage.

1996 Tioga Class C
400 amp/hrs solar, Trimetric

Retire 2020 GLW
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Old 12-13-2019, 02:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by okcnewbie View Post
It's often a convenient place to run wires through if you're going to do solar. If not, than you could seal it. It could always be opened back up if needed.
Good luck on your maiden voyage.

I didn't even think of that- glad I asked! I do plan to eventually do solar if all goes well and this rolling bachelor pad ends up being worth putting some money into (fingers crossed).

I think maybe I'll just put some new, narrower screen on it first and see how that works.

Thank you x2!!
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Old 12-13-2019, 02:49 PM   #4
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Not knowing your refrigerator I would suggest that you check and see how the coils are cooled. If it cools by forcing air out from under the I see no problem. If it cools by fins on the back then leave open. And yes residential fridge may have the fins on back.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:23 AM   #5
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The comment on how residential units vent their hot air has me wondering: the last time I replaced a fridge in the house, the instructions were pretty clear about how much open space to leave all around it for airflow. Assuming that most residential units placed in MHs get a trim surround similar to an RV unit, how does that affect the cooling airflow? Or do they leave an open space all around it instead?
Sorry to barge in on the thread but I thought some who had replaced their fridge would see this and mention how they handled the situation...
Dave RVM#66 and Carol
1998 Pace Arrow Vision
Seeing the USA - 200 miles at a time
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:53 AM   #6
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Location: Alaska and Texas 2006 Alpine 40' 4 slides Cummins 400hp
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Regarding the unused roof vent that previously vented the propane refrigerator... I would seal it with ridged blue foam board. Urethane caulk is best vs silicon. You can drill a 3/4" (or maybe larger for wiring harnesses with terminals) hole in the center of the foam. Thread a 3/4" sprinkler pipe nipple riser through the foam and buy the 3/4" cap to put on it when done with the job on the roof. Then you have a hole for wires (through the riser). Then cut roofing aluminum flashing shaped to cover the roof with adequate overlap to the existing roof surface. I'd have the foam piece set up well first. Then apply your custom aluminum plate on top over the foam and wiring pipe. Apply a thick full coverage coating of urethane and glue the aluminum down. Trying to fill the entire void with caulking. Having the foam set up will allow you to press down without the foam falling out. Use brick(s) to hold it down while it dries. I'd avoid screws altogether. Clean up squeezed out caulk... maybe waiting until after it dries... using a razor blade. Or wet but that could make the mess worse.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:53 AM   #7
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Very few new refrigerators vent from the back with cooling fins. That said, you still need to check. We're talking about a 10+ CuFT box, right?

Don't you have a side-wall vent? If so, I would seal off the roof with whatever method looks good and does not let water in. That' may mean just taping the vent tube and putting the rain-cap back on top. Your never going to put a gas refrigerator back in your RV now that you have a residential; unless you only have 2 house batteries. Do you?

The side vents can be taped if you want. This will seal out wind and bugs. In the winter you don't need or want the cold air so sealing it up is what I do, but in the summer I like a little air flow. Plus new refrigerators can get warm on one or both sides so some additional airflow will help keep your frig cooler, which means the compressor will not come on as much. And the less your compressor comes on the better if you are running off battery power.

You will notice your compressor running more often if the sun is beating down on the same side of your coach as the refrigerator is located too. And opening-and-closing the frig is another big factor when it comes to energy conservation.

That said, when on the road... water is your most valuable commodity; and battery life is your next most valued commodity. Plus you probably don't know you really only want to use 50% of your Amp-Hours in your battery bank between charges if you want your Deep Cycle batteries to last a full 5-7 years. Otherwise, just beat them to S8!t and replace them every other year.

Solar will help, but it's not "all you need".

I also think the residential refrigerator is highly desirable; unless you want to spend 2 weeks plus at a time boondocking?

Just be sure your engine alternator will charge your house batteries; and if it doesn't you can but a $100 Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) off Amazon the will add a positive-jumper wire between your engine battery and your house battery to accomplish this task. This way you always drive on the road with inverter provided AC for your residential refrigerator and you will not have to run you generator as often to keep your house batteries charged.

What size refrigerator do you have in your 34' RV? Diesel/gas?

2004 Itasca "Horizon" 40AD, ISC-350HP Cummins with 100,000 miles... and the best of 3 Diesels I have owned thus far!
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fridge, seal, vent

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