How to use the fridge in your motorhome

Author: Cathy Anderson  



The beauty of a motorhoming lifestyle is you can take little pieces of home away with you - and that includes a fridge. Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you need to ‘slum it' with an esky and constantly melting, messy ice. A fridge is a staple in a motorhome, but there are a few tricks to making sure your fridge is powered properly, packed efficiently and previous 'happy hour' beverages kept cool. Here are some top tips to use your motorhome fridge.



Most fridges operate on 12V power from an on-board battery, as well as 240V power when you are hooked up at holiday parks and powered sites at campgrounds.

For the fridge to operate, the 12V isolator switch must be turned on. This is a square-ish looking switch which has a large knob that you can easily turn to the ‘on’ position. This is usually located next to the fridge. The fridge isolator switch must also be turned on. The location and design of this switch varies between models of motorhomes. It may be a simple flick switch arranged in a panel alongside others to operate the LCD screen or water pump, or it may be an extra switch in the middle of a regular powerpoint nearby the fridge. Make sure your motorhome dealer shows you the correct location of all switches, and feel free to add your own labels (and even instructions) once you know where they are and when they need to be activated and turned off. When you are not plugged into 240V power, the fridge will be powered by your motorhome 12V house battery.



RV fridges can be affected by external weather temperatures much more than the fridge in your home, so be mindful when you are in extreme weather conditions. Most of the time keep your fridge’s temperature setting to medium: there will be a dial inside the fridge, just as you would find in your one at home.



Make sure the fridge has been turned on overnight before packing anything into it. This ensures the temperature is nice and crispy and the fridge does not have to work overtime straight off the bat - this will help to avoid food spoiling.

The fridge works most effectively when it is not overloaded, so avoid shoving in huge bundles of food. Instead, break up large packets of meat or cheese into smaller, more manageable chunks that you can move around much more easily. Consider buying fresh produce as you go, rather than trying to take a few weeks worth of food with you from the start. There will be less food waste and you can support local communities by purchasing meats, fruit, vegetables and homemade goods from farmers’ markets and local stores. If you want to chill bottled drinks, limit the amount you put in the fridge to what you would use in a day, and always store heavier items in the crisper section at the bottom or the lower shelves, just in case there’s some bumping around on your adventures and items move in transit.

Your motorhome fridge door must be securely closed at all times when not in use, and the outer vent dial should also be closed. This will help to seal in the chill and keep your food from spoiling (and beer from going warm!).

With just a few handy hints you’ll have your fridge working at its best and be able to enjoy life on the road with a chilled beverage and delicious meals made from fresh produce.

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