Jump to content

Refigerator Use in the Summer


dewdev
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am trying to get a handle on keeping the refigerator cold during traveling and when boondocking.

I have 30 gallon propane tanks.

I know it is somewhat dependent on temperatures but on average how much propane does the refigerator use in a 24 hour period (or on a hourly basis)?

Do people have the refigerator running on propane while traveling?

When traveling if the refigerator is on 12V power, will the TV keep the batteries charged through the power connection between the Oliver and the TV ?

Thanks

Richard

Edited by dewdev

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The title was changed to Refigerator Use in the Summer
  • Moderators

Richard - 

Re propane usage - the fridge really doesn't use much and it runs best (stays coldest) on the propane setting.  I've gone almost two months (during the summer) on one 20 pound bottle of propane with the fridge constantly on propane, cooking and the rare water heater use.  I do travel with the fridge on propane unless it is prohibited by law.

I do not know about charge state on the batteries since I never use the fridge on 12 volt power.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
added detail
  • Like 1
  • Love 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

With 30 gallon propane tanks, you're pretty much golden. 

In the summer, we're not running the furnace, and our 20 lb. tanks would last for three weeks to a month, when we had the three way fridge. (I don't cook a lot inside, especially in summer. Usually,  just a pot or two of coffee, maybe pancakes or oatmeal, etc.)

You can make your propane last longer, and your fridge stay cooler, by limiting how often you open the door. Keep things in designated spots, so you're not rummaging around. Don't block the "fins," or pack the fridge shelves so tight, that air can't circulate. A remote thermometer can help you monitor temp, so that you run it at the best setting.

We also often use a cooler with ice for drinks and water bottles. 

As far as driving with the propane on , that's your decision.  We're in the camp that did. Others will say it's dangerous,  but I  personally think that goes back to the days when the fridges ran on a manually lit pilot. Turn off at gas pumps and tunnels, of course.

We were never successful running on 12v on the 3way, on a long day's drive. 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Propane use is also dependent on ambient temperature.  The hotter it is outside, the harder your fridge works, burning propane to stay cold. 

The other thing I've found to be helpful in limiting propane consumption when boondocking  is turning on the water heater only when we need hot water. I often do dishes outside, with a tea kettle of hot water, heated on the stove.

And, one additional hint on loading the fridge. I found that loading too many heavy items (drinks, etc.) On the door could make the door seal poorly. You know the old dollar bill trick to check the seal, right?

 

Edited by SeaDawg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
1 hour ago, dewdev said:

I am trying to get a handle on keeping the refigerator cold during traveling and when boondocking.

I have 30 gallon propane tanks.

I know it is somewhat dependent on temperatures but on average how much propane does the refigerator use in a 24 hour period (or on a hourly basis)?

Do people have the refigerator running on propane while traveling?

When traveling if the refigerator is on 12V power, will the TV keep the batteries charged through the power connection between the Oliver and the TV ?

Thanks

Richard

The refrigerator is very efficient while on propane.  Our 30lb tanks last a long time.  I have no idea how much it uses in a 24 hour period, there are so many variables.  We do travel with our refrigerator on propane.  Like Bill, we’ve never run ours on 12V.  Mike

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMDMAMSMOMT

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Propane use is also dependent on ambient temperature.  The hotter it is outside, the harder your fridge works, burning propane to stay cold.

Yes and with the evaporator/condenser style fridges (which as I understand it covers any  fridge that  can  run on propane) there's a point where  it just  won't keep up. I've talked with someone from AZ who  camps a lot in the Sonoran  Desert and thereabouts and  he says he MUST have  a compressor style fridge (only runs on electricity though) for his summer camping down  there. He has a small compressor based freezer/fridge combo in his Four  Wheel Camper brand truck top camper and he says the solar panels on  top are almost always enough to keep the  batteries  topped off and the  fridge happy.

 

I experienced this  problem once in my camper van  when crossing  the  Mojave desert on  a very hot day. I don't have an outside thermometer readout in the  van so I'm not sure but  I believe the temperature  was somewhere  between  100 and 110. I was also running on the  less efficient DC power because on my van the  pilot  light  blows out somewhere above about 25MPH. That evening  when I took a break for dinner at a rest stop somewhere north of Bakersfield I realized I needed to toss any meat as well as my mayo and go shopping for  fresh stuff. I don't know what  the limit would have been  on  propane instead of 12V but I bet  it  wouldn't be about  the same as this fridge seems on the  edge in the upper nineties. When it  gets that  hot we generally seek cooler venues though,  which  is usually not  hard living near the Pacific coast. 

But in any case yeah the  propane use from that  fridge which is  only a little smaller than the  one in  the  Ollie (though  no freezer) is minimal even  in hot weather. 

  • Like 2

Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I can't really comment on fridges in summer desert temps, as we try to avoid that scenario.  

We  only tried running the older threeways a few times on dc. They were super greedy on power,  rapidly runningdown the trailer batteries. Decided, for us, it was a really bad idea.

Absorption fridges are generally considered most efficient on gas, then 110. Dc last, and least.. I don't honestly know anyone who runs on dc on a 3way, for long. I can see why you had to resort to it, if your fridge was pilot lit. That's a bummer.

 

 

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We haven't had the opportunity to use our fridge in hot ambient temperatures . . . . still waiting for warm weather!  However, in our camper van and 80-90 degree temps, the (awful) Dometic 3-way fridge could barely keep a safe temperature.  We would always try to park with the fridge side of the van in the shade.  The fridge being on the curbside, you can use the awning to protect the fridge from direct sun.  Thus far, it seems the Norcold is a much better fridge.  We do use a battery operated fan inside the fridge.  https://www.amazon.com/Increase-Cooling-Circulation-Battery-Powered/dp/B07L22DMYR/ref=pd_lpo_265_t_2/144-8772324-6417040?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07L22DMYR&pd_rd_r=c1d14477-9394-414b-8d9b-5d8f8c5cfb4d&pd_rd_w=0e458&pd_rd_wg=WD3ml&pf_rd_p=16b28406-aa34-451d-8a2e-b3930ada000c&pf_rd_r=2SA13HKXQVX269P7CMYB&psc=1&refRID=2SA13HKXQVX269P7CMYB

I don't remember paying that much for it, so shop around.  It doesn't take up too much precious space; runs forever on 2-D cell batteries.

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have always used 12V on the frig, while underway. The TV provides plenty of power, plus whatever the solar provides. We certainly do use the propane to initially cool down the unit. We do switch to AC if we are plugged in somewhere. We had no issues doing this while "screaming" north to get out of the hot (100-109) humid south east in an early heat wave. The ice cream was still solid, when we finally found a campground with a plug in in Penn.. We just wanted a night in AC. The rain that night, as the temps dropped to the low eighties was so soothing. It may be habit, but we were taught early on not to travel with propane on. If illegal in some places, or you shut off in gas stations or tunnels, why bother? Especially if 12V works? The desert SW may be different, but we don't plan on being there, especially during the summer...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I'm glad you have been successful with the dc, Maniac. That should be helpful to dewdev. You both have Elite IIs, right? We have half the battery power you have, in our Elites. Our battery tray in our 2008 is smaller, accommodating only two batteries. 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

We have experimented more than once with a one gallon propane tank to see how long it would last. This tank will last 4 days running the refrigerator and using the stove every morning to heat water for coffee and cook eggs. During experiments high temps during the day were 76 to 80F with low temps in the 60s. We use a gen-set daily for 30 minutes to power hot water heater for showers during the experiments.

Edited by rideandfly
  • Like 3

Bill

LE2 #75

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Rideandfly, that is really helpful info. I don't think anyone has gone into so much detail before on lp use for the fridge. 

My experiments are leading to how light can a LE2 be ready to camp with empty water tanks except for hot water heater. Looking at Lithium batteries for more efficient batteries that also happen to be lighter, too.

Thanks,

Edited by rideandfly

Bill

LE2 #75

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've never had any issue with the fridge (Norcold 3 way) in our Elite II staying cold while operating on 12VDC while towing, even in high 90 degree summer weather.  The fridge stays cold on 12VDC when towing since the fridge door isn't being opened and closed while in transit.   The fridge stays cold and the trailer batteries stay charged from the tow vehicle 12VDC supply as long as the tow vehicle is running.   12VDC is NOT recommended for cooling the fridge down at start up if it's been off and warmed up.   We do switch it to propane if we'll be at a rest stop on the road for a long lunch or dinner break, and also switch to propane when stopping at Harvest Host stays overnight.    We use AC shore power when available as the first choice when at campgrounds, and for chilling the fridge down before leaving for a trip if the trailer has been sitting unused for a while.   It doesn't seem to use much propane at all.  We've done two camping seasons now and still haven't used up our first 20lb tank of propane, but we don't use the stove or furnace at all.   

Edited by FrankC
  • Thanks 1

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

We also often use a cooler with ice for drinks and water bottles.

Im curious as to where you store this?

I was thinking the same thing while planning this weekend. It seems to keep the good stuff `fridged` it would be best to keep drinks out of it, allowing more room for the important things.

2021 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Twin Bed - Hull 762 | 2018 F150 3.5L Ecoboost V6 w/ Max Tow package

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, dewdev said:

I am trying to get a handle on keeping the refigerator cold during traveling and when boondocking.

I have 30 gallon propane tanks.

I know it is somewhat dependent on temperatures but on average how much propane does the refigerator use in a 24 hour period (or on a hourly basis)?

Do people have the refigerator running on propane while traveling?

When traveling if the refigerator is on 12V power, will the TV keep the batteries charged through the power connection between the Oliver and the TV ?

Thanks

Richard

A few more comments-

Turn your unit on to highest setting a day or so before you load it - load it with precooled items. Adjust accordingly. We regularly make ice in the freezer section.

I run the unit on propane when not on shore power - both under way and parked - never had an issue. But I also leave it on auto power.

On really hot- sunny days -90 +  - I put the awning out - if not windy - and shade that side of the Oliver - it helps. Open as little as possible - plan on the opening- keep it as timely as possible.

I generally take along a AC/DC fridge/freezer - we put drinks, salad stuff, and overflow items in it. Really makes a difference as we can shop for many days - and not worry about where it will all go. The unit can run almost for ever off the solar fed battery storage, and switches to AC when on shore power.

Generally our unit works fairly well overall -  and I try hard not to camp in the heat - but it happens. 

RB

 

 

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
1 hour ago, jordanv said:

Im curious as to where you store this?

I was thinking the same thing while planning this weekend. It seems to keep the good stuff `fridged` it would be best to keep drinks out of it, allowing more room for the important things.

It helps keep the door closed a lot more. Which helps to maintain a steady fridge temp, and also minimize ice /frost buildup.

Traveling in cooler temps the cooler is in the truckbed. If it's hot out, in the backseat of the truck, and the dog has to share her lux space. 

Our friend has a 12v cooler. He keeps it on the backseat so he can plug it in. Those are nice, and maybe someday we'll get one.

 

Edited by SeaDawg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...