Norcold fridge venting issue

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Olpueblo55

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We have a Norcold model N821FLT in our 2005 Holiday Rambler Alumascape 35RLQ 5th wheel.  The fridge is located in a slide-out and has no roof vent.  It seems to be doing a decent job cooling food considering where in Tucson and the temps have been between 105 - 115 for daytime highs.  My concern is the venting....on the right side of the fridge cabinet there is a 10" wide pantry cabinet.  That cabinet gets incredibly hot inside from the heat generated from the fridge.  I cut a hole and installed a small fan that connects to the upper vent area behind the fridge to draw the heat out of the pantry cabinet and to the outside, but it didn't really help much.  As a matter of fact it almost feels like more warm air is coming into the pantry, even after installing a second larger fan in the upper access vent area behind the cooling fins trying to push the super hot air outside.  I hope all this made some sense.  If anyone has addressed this issue I would love to hear about it.  Thanks in advance!
 

Rene T

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I have a Norcold N811. It's also in installed in a slide out. It has the lower and upper vent doors. A couple of weeks ago, I removed the top vent door just to look around and looking down from the top, I found that there was a fan mounted to the backside of the fridge. I've never heard it run. It was controlled by a thermal switch mounted to the cooling fins. I disconnect the the wires from the switch and connected them just to see if the fan worked and it did. You may have a fan like that and maybe it's not working properly. I could not see it from the bottom vent door.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Seems to me your real issue is insulation, or lack of it.  The heat should be staying in the "chimney" behind the fridge and not circulating around the sides and that pantry. Heat anywhere other than directly behind the fridge is causing problems to the fridge itself as well as that pantry. All other areas are supposed to be sealed off and well-insulated.
 

Rene T

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As Gary said, it may be a insulation issue. I also noticed that there is a bed of insulation about 1 1/2" thick between the wall and the fridge on mine.
 

kdbgoat

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Not an HR, but mine is located in a slide. I found my fan was blowing down, not up. Needless to say, I corrected that, but I also still get a lot of heat in my pantry.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The RV factory assembly guys too often to a slapdash job of fitting in the fridge and sealing around it. It's one of the major causes of poor cooling performance. They sometimes get a little rushed for time as the assembly line moves and take shortcuts.
 

Olpueblo55

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You nailed it Gary, no insulation at all between the fridge and 1/4" panel that is the side of the pantry.  There is a fan however that is working and blowing in the right direction.  I added two 6" fans to aid in air movement and I'm insulating the inside of the pantry that's adjacent to the fridge.  Thanks good RV people!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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When I pulled out my Norcold 1200 to replace with a residential, there was 1.5' on insulation on each side. Probably why I could freeze my beer solid in the fridge (not freezer) if I turned the temp down too far. It worked like a champ until it gave up the ghost.
 

Olpueblo55

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Nice!  Gary, was there any space between the fridge side, insulation and cabinet side.....or just tightly sandwiched together?  Also, was it foam board type insulation or fiberglass batting?  Now I have two six inch fans behind the cooling fins, insulated the side panel of the pantry(only 1/2" foam board though) and a vented outlet with a fan in the pantry itself and it still gets hot in there!  Thinking of just taking out the pantry all together and constructing a panel with a couple of inches of fiberglass insulation to eliminate this heat issue.  Don't need anything adding to inside temperature of the RV this time of year in AZ.
 

Jeff

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We spent one summer in PHX while having a house built and I can tell you absorbtion refrigerators have a real heat exchange problem over 100 degrees with the small volume fans that are built in. Ours was not in a slide but even a roof vent is inadequate at 110 degrees. And we were parked on a covered lot out of the direct sun.


Finally took the bottom access cover off and mounted an 8" 110 volt fan at the bottom of the chimney blowing up that moved enough air to keep the unit cool.
 

Rene T

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Olpueblo55 said:
Nice!  Gary, was there any space between the fridge side, insulation and cabinet side.....or just tightly sandwiched together?  Also, was it foam board type insulation or fiberglass batting?  Now I have two six inch fans behind the cooling fins, insulated the side panel of the pantry(only 1/2" foam board though) and a vented outlet with a fan in the pantry itself and it still gets hot in there!  Thinking of just taking out the pantry all together and constructing a panel with a couple of inches of fiberglass insulation to eliminate this heat issue.  Don't need anything adding to inside temperature of the RV this time of year in AZ.

Greg, in mine there is about a 1-3/4" space on either side of the fridge and they installed some fiberglass batting in there.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Mine was batting and  1.25-1.5" of space. The sides of the fridge itself are foam board with a warning that there is a vacuum layer underneath (whatever that means).  I believe that's how the 1200 comes from Norcold. 1200's also come standard with two fans, while they are options for the 600/800 series. Norcold recommends fans in any installation in a slide out, though.

Norcold gives detailed instructions about venting - see the Norcold N-series Service Manual at http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/ncoldnnewnseries.pdf
 

Olpueblo55

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Great, thank you!  I'm going to re-design that refrigerator/pantry area a bit.  Remove the pantry, add a 2 - 3" thick insulated wall beside the fridge and then just add some open storage on the insulation wall. 
 

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