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How to Adjust RV Refrigerator Temperature

When it comes to enjoying your RV adventures, having a properly functioning refrigerator is essential.

Your RV refrigerator keeps your food and beverages fresh, allowing you to enjoy home-cooked meals and chilled drinks while on the road.

However, knowing how to adjust the temperature of your RV refrigerator can be a bit tricky for some.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of adjusting the temperature of your RV refrigerator, ensuring that your perishables stay cool and your beverages stay refreshing throughout your travels.

How Does an RV Refrigerator Work?

Before we delve into adjusting the temperature, it’s important to understand how an RV refrigerator works.

RV refrigerators operate on either electricity or propane gas, providing the cooling power needed to keep your food cold.

These refrigerators use a combination of heat, evaporation, and condensation to remove heat from the interior and maintain a consistent temperature.

How to Adjust RV Refrigerator Temperature

Now that we have a basic understanding of how an RV refrigerator functions, let’s explore the steps to adjust its temperature:

Locate the Temperature Controls

To begin, you need to locate the temperature controls of your RV refrigerator.

The location of these controls may vary depending on the model and make of your refrigerator.

Typically, you can find the temperature controls either on the inside of the refrigerator or on the front panel.

Understand the Temperature Settings

Most RV refrigerators come with a numeric temperature scale or a simple dial for adjusting the temperature.

It’s essential to understand the temperature settings available on your refrigerator.

Some models have a scale ranging from 1 to 5, while others have a range of 1 to 10.

Refer to your refrigerator’s user manual for specific details regarding the temperature settings.

Set the Desired Temperature

Once you have familiarized yourself with the temperature settings, it’s time to set the desired temperature.

Keep in mind that the recommended temperature for an RV refrigerator is around 40°F (4°C).

This temperature range ensures that your food stays fresh and prevents bacterial growth.

Adjust the temperature accordingly, keeping an eye on the scale or dial as you make the changes.

Give It Time to Adjust

After setting the desired temperature, allow your RV refrigerator some time to adjust.

It may take a few hours for the refrigerator to reach the newly set temperature, so be patient.

Avoid making frequent adjustments within a short span of time, as this can disrupt the cooling process and lead to inconsistent temperatures.

Monitor and Adjust as Needed

Once the refrigerator reaches the desired temperature, it’s important to monitor it regularly.

Check the temperature periodically to ensure that it remains within the recommended range.

If you notice any deviations, such as the refrigerator being too cold or not cold enough, you may need to make further adjustments.

Refer to the troubleshooting section in your refrigerator’s user manual for specific guidance on resolving temperature-related issues.

Factors Affecting Refrigerator Temperature

Understanding the factors that can affect the temperature of your RV refrigerator is crucial for maintaining its performance.

Here are some common factors to consider:

  • Ambient Temperature: The external temperature can impact the cooling efficiency of your refrigerator. Extremely hot or cold weather conditions may affect the ability of the refrigerator to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation around the refrigerator is essential for optimal cooling. Ensure that the vents on the back of the refrigerator are free from obstructions, allowing for adequate airflow.
  • Leveling: RV refrigerators rely on gravity to circulate the cooling agents properly. Ensuring that your RV is level will help the refrigerator operate efficiently and maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Load Distribution: Properly distributing the food and beverages inside the refrigerator can contribute to better cooling. Avoid overcrowding or blocking the airflow within the refrigerator, as this can hinder the cooling process.


Here are some frequently asked questions about adjusting the temperature of an RV refrigerator:

Can I use a regular household thermometer to check the refrigerator’s temperature?

Yes, using a regular household thermometer is an effective way to monitor the temperature of your RV refrigerator. Place the thermometer inside the refrigerator and wait for a few minutes to get an accurate reading.

Is it normal for the refrigerator temperature to fluctuate while driving?

Yes, it is normal for the refrigerator temperature to fluctuate while driving. The movement of the vehicle can impact the cooling process. However, if the temperature fluctuations are extreme or persistent, it is advisable to have the refrigerator checked by a professional.

Why is it important to keep the refrigerator at the recommended temperature?

Keeping the refrigerator at the recommended temperature helps maintain the quality and freshness of your food. Higher temperatures can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage, while lower temperatures can freeze food and cause it to lose its texture and taste.

How often should I clean the refrigerator vents?

It is recommended to clean the refrigerator vents at least once a year or more frequently if you notice any dust or debris accumulation. Clean vents ensure proper airflow and prevent overheating of the refrigerator.

Can I adjust the temperature while the refrigerator is running on propane?

Yes, you can adjust the temperature while the refrigerator is running on propane. However, it is advisable to make adjustments when the refrigerator is not actively cooling to avoid temperature fluctuations.

Should I turn off the refrigerator when not in use?

It is not necessary to turn off the refrigerator when not in use, especially if you plan to store perishable items. Keeping the refrigerator running ensures that your food stays fresh, and it eliminates the need to cool it down again when you hit the road.


Adjusting the temperature of your RV refrigerator is a vital skill for every RV owner.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your refrigerator maintains the optimal temperature for keeping your food fresh and your beverages cool throughout your travels.

Remember to consider factors such as ambient temperature, ventilation, leveling, and load distribution to enhance the performance of your RV refrigerator.

With proper temperature adjustments and regular monitoring, you can enjoy hassle-free refrigeration on your RV adventures.