Electric Fridge VS Propane

I’m sure if you are reading this then you have been to an RV show or two and have perused their outlandish RVs that are priced far above what most of us could afford. I remember walking into a rig for the first time that had a full size refrigerator! I was amazed. We lived in a thirty foot pull behind camper that had an electric/propane refrigerator. Our tiny fridge and freezer did okay, but we had to go grocery shopping at least twice a week due to its size. The fridge I saw that day had a lower freezer drawer and an upper fridge with an ice maker. We were shocked. We had to truck ice in every few days to keep up with our sweet tea addiction. The tiny ice trays that came with the freezer were no match for the Parks family.

Have I mentioned ice cream yet? Our tiny freezer couldn’t keep it frozen. The first time I went to get my four plus dollar Ben and Jerry’s out of the freezer, I was sorely disappointed. It was barely cold. It was way more melted than a milkshake. So I knew from then on if we bought ice cream it had to be eaten that night. The nice thing about this type of fridge is that when you unplug from the main power source to go on down the road, the propane automatically takes over, keeping everything in the fridge and freezer just as cold as when it was plugged in. The down side is no ice cream, no ice maker and it eats up your propane as you travel. So when we were shopping for a new rig, we decided we had to have a full size electric freezer with an ice maker and that is what we got. The ice cream stays as hard as a rock. All smiles here. The fridge even has an ice and water dispenser on the front door. The downside: It runs on batteries through an inverter. When the batteries are fully charged they stay at around 13.6 amps. The fridge is wired to turn off when it gets below 11.5 amps. That is not much room to play with when you are trying to keep everything cold over thousands of miles.

On our recent trip to Wyoming and Montana, we had issues with the truck charging the batteries in the camper. I even installed two extra batteries, thinking that maybe we didn’t have enough. When we would stop to go to the bathroom or check on the rig, several times the fridge would be off. Water would be all over the floor in front of the freezer from all of the ice melting and finding its way out of the dispenser.  We still don’t have this problem fixed yet. When we plug into the fifty amp breaker at a site or when we have the generator running the batteries charge fine, but not when it is hooked up to the truck. I have since had the truck tested and it is sending out the correct amount of power through the plug.

I called the RV place where we purchased it just three weeks after we brought it home and they said it would be seven weeks before they could get us in to look at it. Lovely, just lovely.

Well, it hasn’t been seven weeks yet and if they do figure it out, we will be sure to let ya’ll know what was wrong. The pros do outweigh the cons for me when it comes to the electric fridge, and in the meantime we will be plugged in for a while enjoying our ice cream and ice maker.

Micheal W. Parks

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