Air leaks

With our first use of our [email protected] Outback we experienced temps as low as 27 degrees F.  It immediately became apparent that two openings to the exterior were allowing cold air to circulate inside.  Exterior light is visible when sighting along the side of the air conditioner toward the vent.  The area behind the refrigerator is open to the exterior for ventilation and as there are a large number of cracks and one large opening around/under the refrigerator air freely moves into the trailer via these.  I have constructed lexan plastic covers held in place by wing nuts over the airconditioner and refrigerator vents. These effectively block exterior air from entering.  They then are easily removerd when these devices are in use. 

Comments

  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    If you search, there's been several discussions on these - both low and high temp leakage becomes a problem. I use some plastic packing to seal the gaps when needed but others have used covers over the vents.


  • NormfunNormfun Member Posts: 284
    I made a plexiglass cover for the AC unit. Used magnets and glued on washers for easy on/off. Works great in 23 degrees and wind. 
    Norm & Pat. 320 S Outback Utah or somewhere else.

  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19
    Very resourceful. Stay on when on the road or do you remove it for travel?
  • RZRBUGRZRBUG Member Posts: 901
    I also did a plexiglass cover for the A/C, but I used industrial strength Velcro around all the edges.  I haven't actually driven with it in place yet, but it is pretty difficult to pull off.

    Larry & Booger - 2013 [email protected], 2012 GMC Sierra

    Happy Trails Y'all

    States Visited Map

  • sabelsabel Member Posts: 283
    So what did you guys use to cover the refrigerator vents? That's the two round vents in front correct?
  • NormfunNormfun Member Posts: 284
    Mine is a CS-S fridge in the back no round vents to worry about. 
    Norm & Pat. 320 S Outback Utah or somewhere else.

  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19
    It is the vents into the compartment where the refrigerator is mounted that provide for external air circulation.  If the refrigerator mounting compartment didn't communicate with the interior this wouldn't be an issue in cold conditions.  On the [email protected] configuration I have the main vent is behind the entry door when it is in the locked open position.  Another is in the floor of the trailer under the refrigerator.   Blocking these is only in order when the refrigerator is not in use and only necessary in very cold conditions.   The round vents are something that has to do with combustion processes and I would say should never be blocked even with snow.  Could kill you.
  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    From my experience (I haven't had too much of a problem unless there's wind), the cold or hot air around the refrigerator comes from the side vent mentioned above. Probably not a problem covering it if it's cold but if warm, the fridge needs to vent. The air seems to enter the [email protected] mostly through the gap at the top of the fridge - between the fridge and the wood frame. I use some foam packing material to fill that gap. Seems to solve the problem while leaving the outside vent unencumbered.
    Was in some 97 degree temps and could get the air cooled down to less than 82. Filled the gap and got 75.


  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Administrator Posts: 2,594
    Some good discussion and points above.  And for the sake of conversation and safety (and for any new owners) I would always caution people when covering any entry point into the trailer about carbon monoxide poisoning via an odorless, colorless gas that kills many people here in the US and around the globe annually.  And in as much as I know that many of you folks are seasoned owners, highly intelligent/innovative/creative individuals with good intentions, there are other individuals with less experience who read the forum and take things literally.  

    My point here for people covering up openings is just to exercise caution/good judgement/pause and to keep your trailer well ventilated, especially those equipped with heating units capable of producing carbon monoxide.  My parents were nearly killed one summer after a faulty RV furnace leaked carbon monoxide gas into their trailer.  My mother became violently ill and suffered after effects for a while, but did recover.  I've never forgotten that incident and pass it along to emphasize caution, safety and proper maintenance of units as we do tend to forget and it would be very easy to leave something in place (e.g., a cover, plate or panel, etc.) and we end up paying the consequence later.  
    Mike Smith 
    Linden, Mi
    2019 [email protected] 400
  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19



    My refrigerator installation has a grill under the door through which one can see into the compartment containing the refrigerator this opening equates to a hole to the exterior (via the vents) of 5" x 5"!  It is therefore no different than having a window constantly open.  That area under the refrigereator is now also closed.
    Working on filling the cracks all around the refrigerator.

    Another big problem with all of these interior to exterior openings is dust!  We pull many miles on dirt roads and the dust is often so bad that vehicles following must stay back 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  Any openings into the interior of the trailer allow for large amounts of dust, dirt and sand to accumulate inside.  This is not only a health hazzard and a mess but also could eventually interfere with the proper function of things like the refrigerator/DVD player.
  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    I don't get much exterior air coming in through that bottom vent, just the top. I' be a little Leary about pluggin it up - I think the fridge compressor needs that for circulation.
    Exterior vent covers sound like what ou need for traveling.


  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19
    Point well taken.  Mine has three openings which are apparently designed for air movement around the coils/compressor.  One thruough the side of the wall to the exterior, one through the floor of the trailer to the exterior and one covered by grillwork to the interior under the door of the refrigerator.  I expect that the floor and wall vents to the exterior will provide the needed circulation except on the hottest weather.    I will open the cabinet door under the refrigerator should the refrigerator effeciency indicate more circulation is needed.  Likely air conditioned cool air taken from the interior would be best on hot days.  I expect that most owners will have little or no reason to do the extreme weather/travel conditions modifications discussed here.  Southwest and Rocky Mountain backcountry use is what we want the [email protected] to provide for us.
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,642
    edited April 2015
    Another kink to the fridge ventilation problem...

    The 3-way fridge also creates so much heat that it makes the counter top/stove very warm, especially in summer, and especially when running on propane. It's great in the winter!

    A write-up was done on the Yahoo group showing a number of steps that can be taken to minimize the excess heat, and exhaust it to the outdoors.

    Insulate some, install baffles around the fridge to direct the cooling air more appropriately and efficiently, install small fans at the outside wall vent. 

    Also, I've found that the door being latched in the open position blocks the vent enough to cause problems with exhausting the hot air.
    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    "creates so much heat that it makes the counter top/stove very warm"
    I can attest to that. Met a [email protected] owner this last weekend and he'd taken the fridge out, installed a computer fan in the cavity to suck the air out through the side vent. He installed an on/off switch on the control panel of the fridge next to the propane light.

    Any way to get some of that Yahoo stuff over here? Not a big fan of the Yahoo forums format so rarely (actuall, never) go there.


  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19
    Wow that sounds hot, don't intend to use the refrigerator much in winter but will be seriously considering something like a small DC fan to move all that heat out in summer.  Very useful feedback.  
  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    It's not "hot" to the touch, just real warm. So, heat does build up in the space above the fridge and the cooktop underside is exposed to that warm air so you can feel it.


  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,642
    I've installed 3 (4?) computer fans in there, and it doesn't solve the problem. I have yet to do any baffle work though.

    PXL: the file is called "Refrigerator Upgrade.doc" and it's in the folder called
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/tabtrailers/files/AA_Modifications/ 

    I've uploaded it here:


    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • stinkbugstinkbug Member Posts: 19
    Humm,  oh well in our past campers we seldom used the refrigerator as other than a room temp. pantry.   It appears that is the main function this new one will perform.  I probably ought to test it to see if it works in all modes.  Didn't have one installed when we had in our slide in truck camper built.   Grand rug rat did switch it to battery mode while playing in the [email protected]  Fortunately the battery was disconnected.
  • NomadNomad Member Posts: 7,213
    Been on the road for six months and even though there are little annoyances like an air leak when windy, none of them are major. Most easily solvable by some means or other.
    Love having the fridge. Beats the hell out of ice/cooler :-)


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