How Long Does An RV Fridge Take To Get Cold?

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When you’re out on an excursion in your RV, it’s important that your food and drinks are kept cold. After all, this will ensure that you have a great experience and that you don’t eat spoiled food. Before you head out, you’ll need to take the time to cool your fridge.

How long does it take for your RV fridge to get cold? Usually, it will take about 24 hours for your RV fridge to get cold.

In most RVs, the fridge is an absorption style, which means it takes more time to get heat out of the fridge than a typical residential one. It’s best if your fridge is empty when you first start the cooling process because that allows for greater airflow.

There are many factors that are related to cooling your RV fridge and keeping it cold. As mentioned, the initial cooling process will take about 24 hours. Therefore, be sure to turn it on a day before you plan to head out on your adventures. This will provide it with adequate time to cool.

Additionally, when you pack your fridge, don’t overpack it and make sure that the items you place in it area already cold. If your items are not cold, the fridge will have a difficult time cooling, which means it will have to work harder.

The outdoor temp may also have an effect on keeping the fridge cold. If temps are extremely hot or you have parked the RV in the sun, it could cause the temperature in the fridge to increase. Finally, if the fridge is unlevel, it can have an effect on the fridge being able to run efficiently.

Why Does it Take So Long to Cool Down an RV Fridge?

The reason these fridges take so long to cool down is because they run differently than your residential fridge. The RV fridge doesn’t blow and circulate cold air the way the one in your kitchen does. You can purchase small fans to place in the fridge to circulate cold air and quickly absorb hot air when the door is opened.

Typically, the fridge in your RV will run on 120V gas or electric. You’ll see that there are two buttons on the front of the fridge: auto and gas only. It’s best to keep it on auto. This way, when your RV is stationary and plugged in, the fridge will automatically be switched to 110V power.

Then, when you’ve unplugged your RV and you’re on the move, the fridge will automatically be switched to propane. If the switch is on gas only, the fridge will never run on electricity, even with the RV plugged in. Therefore, you will use a lot of propane.

Tips to Cool RV Fridge Faster

Now that you know it takes about 24 hours to initially cool your RV fridge, let’s take a look at a few tips for cooling it faster.

Make sure that it’s empty

First of all, when you’re cooling your RV fridge for the first time, you want to make sure that it’s empty. If there are items in the fridge, it will block airflow, which will slow down the cooling process.

Use a circulating fan

As mentioned, you can purchase a fan to help circulate the air in your fridge. This will help cool it down much faster. In fact, in some cases, you may even reduce the cooling time to as little as 6 hours instead of having to wait a full day.

Use ice or ice packs

Place some ice or ice packs in the fridge and freezer. This will help you to reduce the cooling time for your RV fridge. Use the ice/ice packs with the circulating fan and you’ll see a significant difference.

Leave space between items

Once the fridge is cool and you’re out on your RV adventures, make sure that you leave space between the items in your fridge. This will allow air to flow freely around them, making sure that everything remains cool during your trip.


When you’re headed out in your RV, it’s important that you keep your food and drinks cold. This will ensure that you have an enjoyable trip, and you can avoid eating spoiled food. The initial cooling process takes about 24 hours- but there are some things you can do to speed this up. 

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