How Much Propane Does An Rv Refrigerator Use?

One of the sole purposes of owning an RV is to take it out for a spin over long distances. Such road trips are usually very long and require you to have ample food and supplies. It is why RVs commonly come with preinstalled refrigerators so that you can keep your food fresh while being out on the road. RV refrigerators are fit to run on electricity as well as propane.

There are several things that you, as an RV owner, need to know about RV refrigerators that will help you be more cost-efficient as well as energy-efficient. This article discusses various such points.

How Much Propane Does An RV Refrigerator Use?

The amount of propane consumed by an RV refrigerator depends on its size and age. A brand new RV refrigerator with a volume of 10-12 cubic feet roughly consumes up to 1.5lbs of propane in a single day. Several other factors dictate your RV fridge’s propane consumption and its performance. Let us take a better look into more such factors.

Can You Make Propane Fridge More Efficient?

Yes, you can make your propane fridge more energy efficient. By following a few basic techniques, you can ensure that your RV fridge is not consuming more energy than it ideally should.

Do not jampack your fridge with stuff. The basic principle of refrigeration revolves around letting the cold, which release inside the refrigerator, sink downwards and eventually spread across the entire internal volume of the fridge. To make this happen, you must keep just enough free space inside the refrigerator for the process to take place seamlessly.

Installing a small-sized battery fan inside the refrigerator can also help better circulation the cold air inside the fridge.

Ways To Decrease Amount of Propane RV Refrigerator Uses?

If it comes to your notice that your RV refrigerator is consuming more propane than it ideally should, you might want to follow any of the following steps to fix the situation.

Routine Maintenance:

Make sure you routinely maintain your RV. A regular check-up can help prevent many issues from blowing out of proportion and causing serious trouble. Look out for the accumulation of dust particles, soot, or spider webs on the propane exhaust vent. Such accumulations can actively block air circulation and cause serious inefficiency in propane consumption.

Leveling of The RV And The RV Refrigerator:

The principle of refrigeration is greatly dependent on gravity. The cold air released inside the refrigerator is heavier than warm air. Hence, it sinks under the influence of gravity and gradually spreads itself evenly across the fridge’s insides. Ensuring that the RV fridge and the RV are on level ground is necessary to make this process run smoothly. You can test whether the ground is level or not with the help of a hand level. Avoid parking your trailer on uneven ground for prolonged hours.

Lowering The Temperature Setting When Outside Temperatures Are Low:

The temperature outside the trailer strongly impacts the temperature inside the RV refrigerator. When the atmospheric temperature outside the trailer is considerably low, make sure you turn the refrigerator setting down.

Turn The Refrigerator On Before Going Out On A Trip:

It takes some time for an RV refrigerator to start cooling properly. It would help if you turned the refrigerator on at least 5 hours before filling it with food and other stuff.

Pack The Colder Stuff First:

While packing your RV fridge with food, fill it with cold food first. It shall decrease the cooling load on the refrigerator greatly.

Make Sure That The Exhaust Is Not Clogged:

The back of the RV refrigerator has an exhaust that releases the warm air out and sucks in the fresh air, which is, in turn, cooled and used in the refrigeration process. Make sure this process is uncontrolled by keeping the exhaust free of any blockage.

How Does a Propane RV Fridge Work?

There are a few basic differences between the functioning of a propane RV refrigerator and a regular home refrigerator. RV fridges are also known as “Absorption refrigerators.” These fridges use water, hydrogen, and ammonia to create a strong evaporation effect, which acts as a coolant. At the same time, regular home refrigerators use freon for the same purpose.

This fluid mixture heats with the help of a propane flame. It then passes through a sophisticated percolator pump, releasing hot ammonia vapor.

The water enters the system with the help of a boiler. It then transfers to a condenser, where the heat is extracted and released.

We can observe a vapourization reaction between the hydrogen gas and the liquid ammonia. This reaction extracts the heat from the inside of the refrigerator and initiates the cooling process. The liquified ammonia later transfers into an evaporator that contains gaseous hydrogen.

The ammonia-hydrogen mixture drains into an absorber chamber, where the ammonia dissolves into the water. The hydrogen gas is extracted and introduced back into the evaporator, triggering the start of a cyclical process.

It is how an RV refrigerator functions, following a sophisticated chain of thermodynamic reactions, by deriving heat from an electrical source or a propane flame to keep the fridge’s insides cold.

A propane flame RV refrigerator is preferred over an electric RV refrigerator as it does not add more electrical load to the RV’s generator battery.


A propane RV refrigerator is a very reliable device for keeping your food and perishable supply intact while traveling long distances in your trailer. It is also pretty energy efficient.

Maintaining its energy efficiency and keeping it under good working conditions can get slightly complicated but not very hassling. Taking good care of your propane RV fridge can help you, in the long run, to save up on expenses and increase its longevity.

Suppose you are someone who owns an RV and has a propane RV refrigerator installed in it. In that case, you must keep in mind a few tips to maintain it better so that it consumes less propane and functions adeptly for a long time.

This article discusses the multiple ways you can take care of your propane RV fridge so that you can reap its benefits hassle-free for a long time.