Is Your Caravan Fridge Using too much Power?

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Caravan Fridge Power

When a refrigerator loses its ability to cool the food inside, you need to troubleshoot it ASAP. In addition, keeping the power usage in check also keeps your refrigerator working at its best with no issues.

As there are umpteen symptoms to diagnose a sick refrigerator, keep your toolbox ready and follow the options below!

What are the different indications that a fridge is using excess power?

A faulty refrigerator not only takes too much time to cool your food, thereby wasting too much power, which is a luxury when you’re a caravanner. From an odd smell to low cooling, these are  the signs your fridge is using excess power.  

  • Smell and Noise

A repulsive ammonia smell occurs when there’s a crack or break in the cooling unit, causing ammonia to leak.

foul odour from fridge

This a serious problem so it’s best to call for professional help ASAP. Not only will your fridge cool the food slower, but will also get broken soon.

  • Electrical Heating

One of the first troubleshooting measures, use a multimeter to test the rate of electricity used by the fridge. Be very careful when working around caravan refrigerator wires as the voltage is too high. Best to remove a part of the wire coating and test the electricity flowing on it.

If only a side of the wire has current and then the other one may be burnt  or damaged. Time to consult a professional on this.

  • Was there any Power Surge?

A power surge or voltage variation can damage the cooling element of your fridge. In this case, replacing the damaged part from your manufacturer will do the trick.

  • Faulty Evaporator Fan Motors

The evaporator fan motors have to circulate the air around your fridge to keep the temperature of the air constant. Inspect the fan motors after unplugging the fridge.

  • Defective Start Relays

Yet another common cause for a fridge to stop cooling. When the start relays are defective, more power is sucked from the compressor to keep the interior of the fridge cool.

These can also cause problems to the condenser.  are a cause of defective start relays too.

  • Dirty Condenser Coils

Rule of thumb is that the harder your condensers work, the more power it will take to cool your food.

Be on the lookout for dirt, because if dirt settles on the condenser, the refrigerator uses more power while cooling less.

condenser coils

  • Water Puddles Beneath

When the fridge’s temperature is erratic, frosting and defrosting occur adjacently. The same makes the icemaker fall in addition to frost build-up. The same temperature variation can consume a lot of power. It is created due to debris collected in the drain water section of your fridge. To resolve the debris in the fridge pipes, invert it with the help of professionals.

  • Not Working At all after Winter Storage

During winter, a refrigerator consumes less energy than during the summer. However, if you didn’t use the caravan during winter, the trouble might be the sediment of liquid gas. To make the fridge work, you need to safely upturn the fridge for an hour.

  • Flame Colour

When the LP Gas mode flame is anything but blue, it needs to be repaired. Yellow flame signifies heaping up of soot in the burner. Cleaning the baffle using the right material can fix the change in flame.

Ways to Treat caravan Fridge Power Problems

From leaking coolant to improperly fixed circuit breakers, a caravan fridge can consume significant power if it is not working properly. Save power by doing the troubleshooting solutions below.

  • Ambient Temperature

Keep the temperature stable inside the caravan so that your fridge will work properly . Also avoid leaving the door open for a long time as this causes undue strain on the fridge.


Your refrigerator uses 5% more power for every One Degree Celsius increased from 25 0C. Ideally, set your refrigerator temperature to +4 0C and freezer to -14 to -18 0C.

  • Defrost Regularly

If you do not defrost the fridge once or twice every two weeks, your fridge would more likely have  hardened ice as well as increased amount of debris blocking the pipes.  

If you can’t defrost the fridge regularly, better to get one that has an auto defrost  option.

  • Cool Food Prior to Putting it in the Fridge

Avoid keeping hot food inside the fridge. Cool food for 1-2 hours prior to freezing or cooling it as it prevents the condenser from working too much or consuming excess power from your batteries.

  • Hot Air Exit

Blocking the exit vent of hot air is common in caravans. Rearranging the fridge to clear the hot air exit. When the hot air exit is blocked, your caravan fridge draws more power to cool off because of the hot temperature in the area.

Always remember to park your caravan in a way that the fridge does not face the sun directly. Moreover, adding baffles made of aluminium is a wise choice too.

  • Cable Length

The appropriate length of cable wire makes an energy saver fridge. If your battery is less than 4m from the fridge, use a cable of 4mm2 width. For distances above 6m, use a 6mm2 or move the battery closer.

To ensure that the wires are safely connected, check the voltage across the fridge and battery at periodic intervals. If there is a drop of voltage more than 0.2 Volts, call a professional.

  • Packing the Fridge

Caravanning requires you to organise stuff perfectly, taking advantage of the available space. However, when it comes to caravan fridges, you couldn’t be more wrong! Over packing the fridge or crowding results in cramped air, which prevents air circulation.

caravan fridge

The same leads to lack of cooling air oscillating in the fridge, forcing the machine to take in more power.

  • Replace the Seal

Door seals need to be tight to keep the refrigerator air tight. After some time, most seals lose its gripping capability, leaving the caravan fridge half open. This lets the cool air escape. This causes strain  on the fridge, bringing down its capacity to cool while consuming more power. You can resolve this by replacing the seal every few months or per year.

  • Alignment of your Van

If your caravan is not levelled on the ground, a condition known as ‘vapour lock’ can occur, causing the fridge to automatic switch off. Ensure a 3 degree level of your caravan and switch it off for 3 hours.


In order to keep your fridge power use in check, you must first find out how much power your fridge uses every day. To do so, check for the manufacturer’s plate fitted inside the fridge. The Kilo Watt Hour signifies the power usage of your fridge per 24 hours.