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Old 12-06-2023, 02:52 PM   #1
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Norcold Fridge Running in Below Freezing

We've been RVing for 17 years and are in our 5th motorhome. We've always had absorption refrigerators, great for boondocking. In our current unit we have a big, double door, 11 cf Norcold. We are leaving on the 16th and temperatures here look to be about 40 during the day and low 20's at night. We pack the RV on the night of the 15th and load the fridge. I have run the fridge in below freezing temps with no problem, but the low 20's during the night have me concerned. It will be loaded with 2 weeks worth of food. We are heading south, so it's just the night at the house. Anyone taken there Norcold Absorption fridge down to the low 20's? Unit is plugged in at the house, fridge running on 110, maybe throw a low watt bulb in there for the evening.

Thanks, Kevin
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Old 12-06-2023, 04:09 PM   #2
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No we load it up for the trip south the morning of departure unless its freezable food
We leave in temps of zero and usually its day three before we turn on the fridge as its not above freezing till then
Things may be different for those using a heated trailer but if you arent running the furnace you will have frozen food
mayo doesn't like to be frozen either btw
We avoid buying fresh veggies until we can set the temp to 40 and have it run Frozen letice and tomatoes are disgusting
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Old 12-06-2023, 06:01 PM   #3
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Unfortunately we are in a motorhome so the heat is on when we're driving.

Thanks, Kevin
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Old 12-06-2023, 08:13 PM   #4
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Well then cold is a non issue
The fridge will work when its 0 out and 70 inside
But loading the night before means you may have frozen food ( though there is insulation to slow doen cooling )
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Old 12-06-2023, 08:19 PM   #5
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When we had the SENECA it hit 17 one night while were camping in Denver with no problems and it was the 8 cu/ft Norcold with the ice maker.
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Old 12-06-2023, 08:23 PM   #6
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Just an FYI for those who may not know already. Norcold makes "Cold Weather Kit" for their refrigerators and as I understand some models come with the kit pre-installed. I rarely RV in subfeezing temps but I have done so a few times although I have never installed the kit or know much about it, although I do know from reading that you should have one installed if you plan on using the refrigerator in below freezing temperatures, in particular subfreezing outside temperatures where the refrigerator's cooling system is. ~CA

https://www.amazon.com/Norcold-63491...ct_top?ie=UTF8
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:28 AM   #7
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When we had the SENECA it hit 17 one night while were camping in Denver with no problems and it was the 8 cu/ft Norcold with the ice maker.
Thanks Grumpy, We had been down to about 28 with no issue. I just wasn't sure about much below that. I think for the few hours it should be fine.

Thanks, Kevin
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:30 AM   #8
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Well then cold is a non issue
The fridge will work when its 0 out and 70 inside
But loading the night before means you may have frozen food ( though there is insulation to slow doen cooling )
With absorption refrigerators it's not the temperature in the rig, it's the temperature outside that causes the issue.

Thanks, Kevin
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:57 AM   #9
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A few years ago, I was camping in northern Michigan in mid-November and the temps were continuously in the 0 - 10 degrees range. After a couple of days, my Norcold propane/electric refrigerator stopped working. I contacted an RV tech who told me the ammonia/water mixture in a gas absorption refer will freeze at about 18 degrees. It started working again once i got into warmer weather. The problem you face, though, is the expansion of the gas freezing inside the coils may burst the coils (particularly at the weldments). If that happens, the ammonia/water mixture will escape, leading to a catastrophic failure of the refrigerator.

I winter in my trailer in southern TX, and I've had my water lines freeze up during power outages but haven't had my refer coils freeze up on me. That being said that insulation package sounds like a worthwhile investment to me!
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Old 12-07-2023, 12:34 PM   #10
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We have the 4-door Norcold gas/electric refrigerator and never have had any issues with it in cold weather. We do have the cold weather kit that Craigav mentions, and it is really an electric heat feature for the Ice Maker water line.

We have left our fridge on AC power thru the Utah winters for at least 4-5 years with overnight lows from +4F to +20F all winter - not one issue ever.
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Old 12-07-2023, 12:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloPoke View Post
We have the 4-door Norcold gas/electric refrigerator and never have had any issues with it in cold weather. We do have the cold weather kit that Craigav mentions, and it is really an electric heat feature for the Ice Maker water line.

We have left our fridge on AC power thru the Utah winters for at least 4-5 years with overnight lows from +4F to +20F all winter - not one issue ever.
There may be more than one kit, the one I referenced is also specified for Norcold refrigerators that do not have a water line (icemaker) installed and is a heat strip that is placed on the tubes used in the cooling system. I couldn't find a manual to share although there is a manual in this link that is hard to see (too small) but shows where the kit is installed. ~CA

https://rvfridgeguys.com/norcold-col...tionid=2580487
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:40 PM   #12
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My ORV came from the factory with the Norcold Cold Weather kit installed. You can see in the picture below the blue foil with white wire wrapped around the cooling unit tubing. The thermal sensor that controls when it turns on/off is the large round device just below the ARP unit. My experience is the thermal sensor turns it on when the temps dip below 40 and it takes about 1.8 amps when on. We've camped a few times in the mid-20's and the fridge has always run great. Norcold says it's good down to 0 degrees.
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Old 12-11-2023, 01:41 PM   #13
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My ORV came from the factory with the Norcold Cold Weather kit installed. You can see in the picture below the blue foil with white wire wrapped around the cooling unit tubing. The thermal sensor that controls when it turns on/off is the large round device just below the ARP unit. My experience is the thermal sensor turns it on when the temps dip below 40 and it takes about 1.8 amps when on. We've camped a few times in the mid-20's and the fridge has always run great. Norcold says it's good down to 0 degrees.
Thanks for the reply. If we find ourselves below freezing more often I will definitely have it installed.

Thanks, Kevin
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