For the most part RV refrigerators are efficient, but sometimes RV owners do things that result in the refrigerator being less efficient. Today I want to discuss some tips and tricks that will help your RV refrigerator operate at maximum efficiency.

Refrigerator pic#1 level RV

1) First and foremost the RV must be fairly level for the refrigerator to operate properly. Older RV refrigerators required more precise leveling, but even newer models need to be close to level for optimum performance. Over time a cooling unit operated out of level can be permanently damaged. When you set up at the campground you can use a carpenter’s level to ensure the RV is close to level front-to-rear and side-to-side. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but close.

Refrigerator pic 2 Dawn loading food

2) The initial cool down process can take four to six hours. I recommend turning the refrigerator on the day before you plan to leave for a trip, and before you put any food in it. When you do put food in the refrigerator it should already be cold, and food put in the freezer should already be frozen. Adding already cold food, rather than warm food, lets the refrigerator work more efficiently. One common mistake people make is to over-pack the refrigerator. There needs to be space between the foods for air to circulate throughout the refrigerator compartment. In most situations you will have access to a store where you can buy food, so a two to three day supply should be enough.

Refrigerator pic#3 fan & batteries

3) To assist with air circulation you can purchase an inexpensive battery operated refrigerator fan. Install the batteries in the fan and place the fan in the front refrigerator compartment blowing upwards. The fan will improve the refrigerator’s efficiency by circulating the air and it helps reduce the initial cool down time by 50 percent.

refrigerator pic 4 inspect vent

4) The heat created by the cooling process is vented behind the refrigerator. Air enters through the outside refrigerator vent and helps draft the hot air up and out through the roof vent. Periodically inspect the back of the refrigerator and the roof vent for any obstructions like bird nests, leaves or other debris that might prevent the excess heat from escaping.

5) Another good idea is to install a 12-volt, thermostatically controlled refrigerator vent fan at the back of the refrigerator, or at the top of the roof vent. The fan will assist in drafting the hot air away from the refrigerator. If you are mechanically inclined, these fans are fairly simple to install, or you can have your RV dealer install one for you. Either way it’s worth it. The fan removes the heat from behind the refrigerator, improving the refrigerators performance by up to 40 percent. Note: Some new RVs come with a fan already installed.

Refrigerator pic#5 parked in shade

6) The outside temperature also affects the operation and efficiency of your RV refrigerator. When it’s cold outside you might need to lower the temperature setting and when it’s hot outside you might need to raise the setting. Extremely hot weather will directly affect the refrigerator’s efficiency. When it’s really hot outside try parking the RV in the shade, especially the side the refrigerator is on. Note: Some RV refrigerators are preset by the manufacturer and you cannot manually adjust the temperature.

refrigerator pic 6 thermometer

7) Last but certainly not least you should always keep a thermometer in the food compartment. Food can begin to spoil at temperatures above 40 degrees. A small thermometer will let you know at a glance if your RV is operating efficiently.

RV refrigerators will operate very efficiently if we apply these simple tips & tricks to help make the refrigerator’s job easier and less demanding.

Happy Camping,

Mark J. Polk
RV Education 101


When you Go RVing there are essential items like a drinking water hose and RV sewer hoses, there are nice-to-have items like a GPS and a portable BBQ grill and there are consumable items that get used and need to be replaced. In no particular order here are the top 7 consumable items we keep in the RV at all times.



1) For starters you need holding tank treatments to treat the black water holding tank after you empty it. There are dry and liquid type treatments available. I suggest products that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It’s a good idea to treat the gray water holding tank too. After you empty the gray water holding tank you can add some liquid dish soap or a gray water tank treatment down the sink and shower drains. Run the water long enough to get the dish soap or tank treatment past the P-traps and into the tank. The dish soap and water will help control gray water odors and assist in cleaning the tank.

Read More



Today I want to discuss water filtration in your RV. I receive lots of questions about RV water filtration and drinking water quality. A lot of these questions are directed at the importance of filtering the water in your RV and how to go about doing it. There are many reasons to be concerned about the water we drink, cook with and wash with, especially when it comes to RVs. Let’s take a look at why and how you should filter the water in your RV.


Read More


Today I want to discuss a topic I think is important for all RV owners to understand – RV living on 30 amps.

Read More


Your RV is a major investment like your house or automobile. To help protect your investment and get many years of reliable service and use from your RV, there are preventive maintenance steps you can take. One is maintaining the exterior of your RV.


Maintaining the exterior contributes to extending the life of the RV and protecting your investment. If you let your RV go, without cleaning it for periods of time, it can be very difficult to get that new look back again.


Here are 5 easy steps to keep your RV looking new:

1) To extend the life of the exterior, wash the RV frequently. If you let bugs, dirt, and black streaks stay on the exterior surface too long it can be difficult to clean and remove. Try to wash your RV after returning from each trip. Use a mild soap that is compatible with the surface of the RV. Use a long handled brush with soft bristles to reach the high areas and a wash glove or mitt for the easy to reach areas. Rinse the area you plan to wash first and always wash from the top down. When you rinse soap from the surface, avoid spraying water in any of the appliance vents.


Tip: There are marine cleaning products that work well on fiberglass surfaces. When cleaning the roof keep the sides of the RV rinsed off to avoid soap residue, streaking and any damage to decals, graphics or the paint finish. Never use cleaners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric-based acids on rubber or vinyl roofs. 


2) Metal sidewall finishes require more routine maintenance to keep black streaks cleaned from the surface. If black streaks remain on metal sidewall finishes for prolonged periods of time it can be extremely difficult to clean or remove the streaks. When you use commercial cleaners, like black streak removers, always read and follow the instructions for the best cleaning results and to protect the RV’s paint and graphics from possible damage.  Watch a video on cleaning RV black streaks.


3) Removing dead bugs and road debris from the front of your RV can be a real job. The best advice I can offer is to remove the bugs as soon as possible and use lots of water. The water helps hydrate the dead bugs, making them easier to remove. I have had good luck using bug and tar remover products to clean difficult stains and road debris, but nothing replaces good old elbow grease.


4) Waxing or polishing the exterior is a time consuming chore, but it will help extend the life of your RV. Wax or polish the exterior using a quality product formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Exercise caution when applying wax or polish around graphics on the RV. It’s a good idea to wax the RV when water no longer beads on the surface.


5) As time passes the roof and exterior of your RV begins to show signs of wear, caused by constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and UV rays from the sun start to take a toll on the RV’s exterior. Paint starts to fade and products made of rubber and vinyl start to dry out, crack, and deteriorate. UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If your RV is stored outside the only way to protect it from these damaging affects is to keep it covered. Make sure the cover is designed for use on RVs.


These simple cleaning tips are designed to help keep the exterior of your RV looking new, but keep in mind there are other important preventive maintenance steps required to maintain the RV’s exterior. You need to inspect all the seams and sealants on the RV periodically and reseal any areas where the sealant is cracked or separating. If you do-it-yourself make sure you use sealants compatible with the surface you are sealing, or you can take the RV to your local dealer to have it inspected.


Tip: Review your RV owner’s manual for routine and scheduled maintenance and intervals the manufacturer recommends the owner should perform. 


Well there you have it, a nice clean RV until you head out on another exciting RV adventure.


Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101