Amnonia Smell Refrig - How To Stop It??

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RJake1

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My fridge is leaking amnonia and the smell is strong.  I know this means I need a new fridge or at the least a new cooling unit. 
My question is how can I get the amnonia smell to stop?  This has been over a month now.  Will the amnonia eventually empty and stop smelling?  Is there some way I can hurry this process or otherwise stop the leak/smell?  Thanks.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Yeah, you need a replacement and replacing it is the easiest way to stop the smell.  It will eventually stop, but ammonia has a strong odor and if it's a slow leak it may take some time.  Make sure you leave the fridge door open and keep the RV well ventilated until its gone. Ammonia can be very irritating to eyes and lungs when trapped in an enclosed space like that.
 

John From Detroit

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Ammonia can be a bit more than irritating, it's kind of nasty stuff.  I had lunch once in an eatery where they had an amonia leak in one of their coolers... Was sick for a couple of days, haven't been back


(Though I"m sure that over a decade later the smell is gone now)

What Gary said, the only way to stop the smell is to get rid of the ammonia, the only way to do that is to get the cooling unit out of there, You have to do that anyway so do it now... And while you have the rig in pieces, pop in a new cooling unit,  If you can do it empty out the 'fridge, and if you are not going to DIY leave it overnight with the service center.  Ask them to remove the unit one day, pop in a fan, (regular window box fan or some such) and leave the rig outside where it can vent safely,,, Then re-install the next morning or even evening, Lots of air is the only way to get rid of the smell
 

Ron

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Remove and replace is in order, either the cooling unit or whole fridge.  I do not recommend trying a rebuilt or re-manufactured cooling unit.  Best to have a NEW cooling unit installed.  IMHO it will be cheaper in the long run.
 

Steve CDN

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Ditto on Ron's comments.  Rebuilt cooling units may not last a year based on reports we've heard.  Depending on your long term plan for the RV, you may consider a replacment fridge as a cooling unit is nearly the price of a fridge.

Your fridge should not be operated on propane while in this condition as there is a danger of fire from the leak (hydrogen).

What is the make and model of your fridge?  With that info check on the manufacturer's website. 

There have been some recalls in recent years on fridges.

I believe your best bet on a fridge would probably be at Camping World..they sometimes have sales plus the 10% is often hard to beat.
 

woodartist

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If you are going to replace it yourself, be very careful moving it through the door. If there is still gas in it, a break in the rear lines will cause a lot of ammonia to be released. Make sure the rig is emptied of people and pets as a precaution.
 

John From Detroit

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One thing you might wish to consider if you have the money and you are doing a full replacement of the fridge is the new NORCOLD low-power compressor units.  These are "Traditoinal" refrigerators, using a electric powered compressor instead of a "heat absorportion unit" they have a traditional evaporator and condenser with compressor.

However unlike your house 'fridge, which may well draw upwards of 1,000 watts (I mean a small "Office fridge" is 100 watts) these beauties are in the 30-40 watt range, I mean they SIP power.  I"m not sure how much a Dometic or Norcold absorption uses to run it's mother board but 40 watts is in line with the light bulb

And they are less senestive to angles too
 

RJake1

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Checked out the Norcold electric fridge.  Has exact measurements as mine with one exception -- the new electric fridge is 3/4 inch deeper than my existing one.  Does that mean I can't use it, or that it would just stick out of cabinet a bit more?
 

John From Detroit

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woodartist said:
What about running from propane?

If you have an amnonia leak running on propane can be a real expierence,,,, One you might well remember for the rest of your very short life.

Ammonia and fire don't play nice together,  They ned a nice solid piece of pipe between them
 

King

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My Class B came with a Norcold DE541...  It has a compressor, and runs cool enough so that there is no outside vent necessary.  It runs on 12VDC at 4A, and automatically switches over to 120VAC at 0.4A (48 W).  Keeps food frozen in the top compartment.  I used a thermometer to set the main compartment at 40 deg.  It cycles just like a house unit, depending on how often you open the door.
Art
 

Lou Schneider

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the new NORCOLD low-power compressor units
There's nothing new about them, John.  Norcold's been 12 volt/120 volt compressor refrigerators for at least 20 years.  That's when I put one in my VW camper, to replace the ice cooler.  Fifteen years ago I first ran across one of the larger built-ins, a used unit for sale at the local RV parts place.  It came out of an over-the-road truck.
 

Lou Schneider

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the new electric fridge is 3/4 inch deeper than my existing one
3/4" isn't a lot.  Open the outside door and check the clearance between the condensor coils and the rear wall of your refrigerator bay.
 

Ernie Ekberg

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I opted to replace my old absorption unit with a house type. Since we hardly dry camp, it runs perfectly. Had to make a minor adjustment to cabinte, but for 300 bucks, its better then 1200 bucks- in my tapped out wallet's opinion. Ernie- in a Wanderlodge
 
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