Many people who live full time in an RV lament the lack of refrigerator space that is inherent with the standard dual fuel refrigerator. If you are like us and are always at a campground with shore power, a propane powered fridge is unnecessary. We took advantage of Black Friday deals and a holiday weekend to undertake the replacement.
Obviously, the first thing to do is empty the fridge out. I purchased the new fridge two days in advance so that I could let it settle from moving and be running and cold so I could temporarily move all of our food into that one. The next step is to disconnect the old fridge. For that, we head outside to the access panel.
I turned off the propane on my way out. Next I unplugged the 120 volt electrical cord and the 12 volt wires. I then disconnected and capped the propane line, doing a soap test to make sure that I had sealed the line properly. I then removed the screws in the back that were securing the fridge.
Next, I went back inside, removed the screws and trim from the top and bottom of the fridge and pulled it out. When I say pulled it out, I mean struggled for a few minutes, because there really wasn’t anywhere to get a grip, and the bottom had a lip that was helping to hold it in place. Once I managed to get it to start moving forward, getting it out was a breeze.
Note: Appliances can be heavy and awkward. It is best to have at least two capable people present to move an appliance.
While the new fridge was pretty close to the same dimensions of the one I took out, I still had to modify the space some.
- Removed the old white fiberglass insulation and cleaned the walls and floor space up.
- The wood for the base was still in good condition, so I applied a protectant for any moisture that may get onto it.
- Cleaned up and refilled any penetrations with expanding foam.
- Cut down the trim boards to allow the new fridge to fit into the opening.
- Installed new insulation on the walls with a spray adhesive.
- Replaced the receptacle with a better, more heavy duty one.
Next comes the fun of emptying out the fridge and fitting it into place. Once again, two people. Appliances are awkward. Once the fridge was in place, it was plugged in and all of the food put back into it.
Once everything was set and good, I filled the gap around the fridge and fitted some new trim pieces. We removed a Norcold 8x series, which is listed at 8 cubic feet of interior space, but it was so poorly laid out that it felt more like 6 cubic feet. The replacement fridge is a Vissani 9.9 cubic feet (Amazon or Home Depot), and it feels palatial inside in comparison.