TIPS AND TRICKS >
1THE correct power supply is paramount. To minimise voltage drop from your battery to the fridge, use the largest diameter and shortest length cable available. A common reason why fridges often don’t work is because they are plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette plug in the rear cargo area – too thin and too long wires aren’t good enough. To give your fridge the best chance of working correctly run dedicated wiring from your (auxiliary) battery.
2VENTILATION for your fridge is important. The higher the temperature in your vehicle or camper trailer the harder the compressor has to work and the more battery power it’ll use. If safe, leave windows down (if the fridge is in your vehicle) or the fridge box open (if in a camper trailer) to allow the heat to escape. Don’t pack other camping gear on or too close to the vents of the fridge.
3ENSURE the lid seals are working as they should. To do this, put your torch (turned on) inside the fridge and close the lid. If the seal is not sealing, you’ll see light coming out. This method works best at night. You can also close the fridge lid onto a piece of paper and try to slide the paper around the seal. If the paper slides, your seals are stuffed or the latches are not compressing the seals adequately.
4ONLY put non-cold items in the fridge before driving. This will reduce the amount of pure battery power used (or wasted), as the fridge will be running at its maximum to reduce the new food or drink’s temperatures while the batteries are being charged via the vehicles alternator. Where possible, use 240V power to bring the fridge temp down before filling it or heading off on your trip.
CONSIDER the benefits of thermal mass. Keeping your fridge as full as possible helps reduce the run time of the compressor. The higher the mass, the longer the cold will hang about within that mass without having to re-cool it by running the compressor. Smaller amounts of cold food will lose their temperature faster than larger amounts of food.
WHILE keeping your fridge as full as possible is good, also consider cold air circulation. Internal baskets help avoid over-stacking of food, while a separate evaporator plate (as compared to an integrated one) allows superior air circulation, as there is a gap between the plate and the walls.
MINIMISE opening and closing the fridge lid. Cold air may fall – and all these fridges have top-opening lids – but the less you allow cold air to (potentially) escape and hot air to intrude, the less your compressor needs to run.
THE jury is out on fridge covers. If fitted correctly an insulating fridge cover can keep a fridge cooler by obstructing direct sunlight and heat, but if the heat is allowed to build up, the cover could also keep the heat in. So make sure it’s fitted correctly.