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Old 09-20-2021, 10:47 AM   #1
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Norcold Fire Hazard exposed

I replaced my 4 door norcold with a residential fridge and discovered this burn mark on the wall next to the top of the heating tube.

The cause is this diverter that pushes hot air toward the wall mere inches away.

To see this you need to remove the fridge or run a camera snake up the closet.

The fix is to add a heat shield to the wall.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:54 AM   #2
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Once again it isn't necessarily Norcold (or Dometic) fridge designs .....

It is LACK of proper installation by RV MFGs
Norcold/Dometic HAVE 'Installation' Manuals that RV MFGs have access to yet FAIL to use the proper methods
Then Norcold/Dometic get blame for lack of cooling, overheating, potential fire hazards etc
Again and again and again


YES Norcold/Dometic shot themselves in the foot when they cut production corners and used thinner walled tubing in the mfg of cooling units which resulted in cooling unit leaks
The whole recall mess.

Majority of 'fridge' issues fall on RV MFGs for NOT correctly/properly installing the absorption fridges .
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Once again it isn't necessarily Norcold (or Dometic) fridge designs .....

It is LACK of proper installation by RV MFGs
Norcold/Dometic HAVE 'Installation' Manuals that RV MFGs have access to yet FAIL to use the proper methods
Then Norcold/Dometic get blame for lack of cooling, overheating, potential fire hazards etc
Again and again and again


YES Norcold/Dometic shot themselves in the foot when they cut production corners and used thinner walled tubing in the mfg of cooling units which resulted in cooling unit leaks
The whole recall mess.

Majority of 'fridge' issues fall on RV MFGs for NOT correctly/properly installing the absorption fridges .
I still call this a design flaw by having the chimney top on the side of the assembly that places next to the closet wall. Snaking it toward the center or designing the diverter to go only towards the center would have solved the problem.

It is real hard to determine the cause of a fire when everything is destroyed.
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:24 AM   #4
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Condenser FINS are at top center ...flue is either to right or left side so hot flue gasses/heat do not flow across condenser fins which is where the HOT ammonia gets condensed into a warm liquid
More condensing action, more liquid ammonia, more cooling absorption occurs

Installation is the issue not design
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:24 AM   #5
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WOW! That's scary!
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Condenser FINS are at top center ...flue is either to right or left side so hot flue gasses/heat do not flow across condenser fins which is where the HOT ammonia gets condensed into a warm liquid
More condensing action, more liquid ammonia, more cooling absorption occurs

Installation is the issue not design
Here is one that got posted on FB that got burned up. The fins you mentioned could have been just a bit lower and some other diverter could have spread the heat above them to not affect them. So many ways this could have been built differently.

I am not not looking to redesign this, just to warn other. Just saw another RV fridge fire in the news, could that have been the cause?????.
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:43 PM   #7
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One more reason to go residential.
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpounder
I replaced my 4 door norcold with a residential fridge and discovered this burn mark on the wall next to the top of the heating tube.

The cause is this diverter that pushes hot air toward the wall mere inches away.

To see this you need to remove the fridge or run a camera snake up the closet.

The fix is to add a heat shield to the wall.
The temps at the rear of our Norcold 1210 (four door) including the zig-zag coolant tubes, outside of the metal boiler enclosures, do not exceed roughly 140 degrees. To char plywood you need 400+ degrees. I'm thinking something else caused that, not a misplaced baffle.

That actually looks kind of like direct flame impingement or something circular touching the wall due to the symmetry. Have you owned the RV since new?

What year and model number of Norcold was that?

Ray
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NXR View Post
The temps at the rear of our Norcold 1210 (four door) including the zig-zag coolant tubes, outside of the metal boiler enclosures, do not exceed roughly 140 degrees. To char plywood you need 400+ degrees. I'm thinking something else caused that, not a misplaced baffle.

That actually looks kind of like direct flame impingement or something circular touching the wall due to the symmetry. Have you owned the RV since new?

What year and model number of Norcold was that?

Ray
Flue exhaust can be that high/higher
Propane flame is roughly 1980*F
Flue baffle absorbs/transfer roughly 350*F to perk tube
Heat cools as it travels up flue (just like a fireplace) and exhaust heat flows out top of flue and is dispersed by flue diverter cap

Issue isn't design but the lack of proper installation by the floor jockeys RV MFGs hire

Many so called Fridge fires are electrical fires, some are caused by cooling tube failures ....ammonia/hydrogen and some are due to lack of proper heat shielding/insulation/clearances
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Old 09-21-2021, 12:47 AM   #10
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I went residential 8 years ago and Norcold paid me to do it just like thousands of others.
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Old 09-21-2021, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gpounder View Post
I still call this a design flaw by having the chimney top on the side of the assembly that places next to the closet wall. Snaking it toward the center or designing the diverter to go only towards the center would have solved the problem.

It is real hard to determine the cause of a fire when everything is destroyed.
Sounds like you agree with old-biscuit, it's an installation error. BTW I agree it is an installation error.
Remember, Norcold only designs the installation instructions, they have no control over the actual work.
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