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Old 12-12-2020, 01:10 PM   #1
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Residential refrigerator

In the picture, a Newmar Dutch Star, you can see the venting under the refrigerator. Is the venting a requirement of the RV refrigerator? Im wondering if the refrigerator quit, could it be replaced with a residential type? If there is room and 120v available.
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Old 12-12-2020, 01:16 PM   #2
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That looks like the heat vent, the ref is vented out the roof.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:06 PM   #3
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I donít have this coach but to me that looks like a furnace air intake. Iím guessing here but my thought is that there is a furnace under that fridge. I installed a Samsung RF 18 residential refer counter depth in my 5er and it was, by far, the best modification I made ever. In the posts iíve seen on this issue is, if there is a furnace under there, then you likely have to lower the floor to the minimum required for the furnace like with an aluminum plate and then install the refer above. It all depends on the refer you choose and the headroom that fridge requires to fit and vent through the enclosure. Most residential refers suck in cooling air from the lower front of the refer( from under the front feet of the refer) and exhaust it out the top front of the enclosure requiring some air space for the movement of air within the back and top of the refer enclosure.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:11 PM   #4
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In our fifth wheel, that lower vent is the cold air return for the furnace. I actually installed hinges to open that cover and store can goods in that spot. We have not used our furnace in the last 4 years, so the large space was going unused. We use elec space heaters for our heat and have a light bulb mounted next to the water pump to prevent freezing. This has worked good for us with temps down into the lower teens.
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jandcinok View Post
In the picture, a Newmar Dutch Star, you can see the venting under the refrigerator. Is the venting a requirement of the RV refrigerator? Im wondering if the refrigerator quit, could it be replaced with a residential type? If there is room and 120v available.
As has been stated, any venting for your basic RV fridge is up top, on the roof of the coach. And, in most cases, there's an access door on the outside of the coach, that access's the outside of the coach and backside of the fridge for service and repairs. There is no venting for the fridge below it. Whatever that is in your coach, will more than likely remain there if you decide to install a residential fridge.

And, speaking of that, I just did that a few months ago. Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP, had the Norcold N-109 RV refrigerator in it for 16+ years and it started to warm up a bit and not keep things as cold as it did for years. So, I didn't even bother looking for any form of new cooling units for it, or a 12V compressor to be retro fitted in to it.

I simply removed that fridge and took measurements of the opening, width, depth and height. Then the wife and I cruised on down to both Lowes and Home Depot to see what they might have, that would fit the opening. Lowes had a model on the floor that was perfect but, didn't have any in stock and wouldn't have any for 8-10 weeks. Home Depot had plenty of another brand and theirs too, would fit the opening just fine.

Very little structural alteration was needed for fitment of that residential fridge into the space provided. In fact the actual only work that had to be done was some small spacers at the very rear that stopped that fridge from going too far into the opening. I did that for my own reasons for helping to secure it for when the coach was in movement. There are lots of threads on here about retrofitting residential fridges and, whether or not, any structural alteration was or was not needed.

In about 99.99999999999% of the coaches and trailers made for the last few decades, there is 12VDC, 120VAC and propane, all present at the rear of the original fridges. The 12VDC is attached to run the control board for the original fridge. The 120VAC is for a heating element that parallels the flame heating tube, that is provided by the flame, from the propane.

When a residential fridge is installed, for all intent and purpose, the 12VDC is not needed anymore. The 120VAC outlet can now be used for powering up the new fridge. The propane outlet, well, that can be capped off since there's absolutely no need for it when a residential fridge is installed.

Now, as for the 120VAC outlet. Well, there's sometimes complications with that outlet. In some cases, such as ours, there was, and still is, only ONE 120VAC outlet and, that outlet IS NOT POWERED, by the coaches Inverter. On other coaches/trailers, it is. But, even if the 120VAC outlet back there IS powered by the coaches inverter when shore power is absent, the power being provided to it, COULD BE from a MSW inverter.

That is, an MSW inverter is a Modified Sign Wave inverter. And that is an alternate form of electricity that is used by about 99.9999999% of the inverters installed in coaches and trailers. It's pretty rare that a PSW or, Pure Sign Wave inverter is installed from the factory. But, here's a tid bit of info. Some folks have installed a residential fridge in place of their RV fridge and, their new residential fridge operates just fine on their MSW inverter, IF, their outlet is powered up by the inverter. And at least in my research, which I did plenty of AFTER the fact that I has already installed our new fridge, it is very difficult to find information on potential new residential fridges, that pertains to the power requirement, whether or not, it or they, will run on a MSW or PSW inverter. For that info, you almost always have to inquire to the manufacturer of a potential unit, to see if they're unit will run, on your existing MSW inverter.

But others, like us, number one, the outlet WAS NOT POWERED by our MSW inverter so, I re-wired it so it would be powered up by our MSW inverter. But, in our case, with our brand of new residential fridge, re-wiring that outlet, did no good what so ever. You see, the new fridge was/is the type that requires PSW electricity, just like the electricity that is in your stick and brick home.

When we were shore power, that new fridge did just fine and like others have stated, it's one of the best improvements we've ever done to this coach. But, in my case, if I wanted to supply power to that fridge when we were driving down the road, or even stopped for a while, over night etc., I was gonna have to purchase and install, a PSW inverter that's sole purpose was to supply PSW power to that fridge, from our existing house batteries.

So, I did that. I installed a 1000 watt PSW inverter that, has a built-in *Transfer switch) that, when on shore power, that inverter allows 120VAC from shore power, to pass right through it and into the new fridge. But, when shore power is cut, the built in transfer switch sees there is no longer shore power and, within one thirtyeth of a nano-second, it transfers the demand of power, to the house batteries.

The new residential fridge never sees any power interruption. So, that's how I installed mine and what was needed for a seemless operation. We're outstandingly happy with the change out from a 16 year old RV fridge to a new, way more modern, low amp draw, residential fridge. And by the way, now our ice cream is hard as a rock, even with outside temps in the 90's. If you have any questions, surely ask.
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Old 12-12-2020, 04:28 PM   #6
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I found a Samsung RF18 refrigerator on clearance at Lowes for ~$865 which I purchased in anticipation of being able to use in the motorhome. Used at the new house that I was building anyway but the inevitable happened and the Norcold crapped out. The Norcold was installed over the furnace but I was able to lower the furnace enough to have just enough room to install the residential. Not an easy install or for the faint of heart since I had to drill new holes for the furnace intake and exhaust.

So depending on your skill levels (or depth of your pocket book), anything is possible.
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Old 12-12-2020, 05:36 PM   #7
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That is one of the heat exchangers for the Hydrohot system. The grill facing towards the front of the coach is the intake, the grill facing the kitchen is the outflow.

There are several threads on here about the effort required to make this swap.
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Old 12-12-2020, 06:51 PM   #8
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Jandcinok, If I read your signature right this is all "theoretical"

I would say why not consider a 12V compressor unit?

It would use the SAME refrigerator case (if that one is in good condition, if not go the residential route) and therefore no relocation of fans/heater/hydro-hot woodwork or anything like that.
No dealing with MSW/PSW invertors.
No issues with doors coming open as you travel.

You just need at least 10A of 12V power, which might already be there (mine was)

The refrigerator is removed -- all the back with tubing removed and thrown away and a new compressor/tubing section put in place.

I Just did that four months ago on a 2007 Tiffin Allegro Bus and it works great. It has plenty of cooling, is pretty quiet, and we are happy.

Doing all the installation myself it probably cost about $1500 total which includes $250 of freight.

thanks -- Dale
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Old 12-13-2020, 07:31 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for the responses. Yes, the ad says it has an Aqua Hot system. You answered my questions and then some.
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