Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Refrigerators and Gas Refrigeration Cooling Units

Is the unit level?
All ammonia absorption refrigerators (RV refrigerators) have to be level, when stationary and turned on to any heat source, period. Not doing so will permanently damage the cooling unit. If stationary, on, and out of level, liquids in the cooling unit pool in places they shouldn’t and cause the boiler to overheat and plug or crack.

All refrigerators, except the Sibir, need to be leveled on the freezer plate (if present) or the freezer floor, if there is no freezer plate. Use a round bubble level and level the RV so that at least half the bubble in the level is inside the circle. The Sibir, which has a slanting freezer floor, is leveled on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

Traveling with the refrigerator on is acceptable, since the liquids in the cooling unit are sloshing and not pooling.
Does the refrigerator work on either gas or electric?

Always test the refrigerator on the electric heat source, unless you are unable to because you have a gas only refrigerator. The reason for testing on the electric side is if the electric heat element gets hot, you can be better than 95% sure that you have correct heat, whereas even a poor gas flame will produce heat. To insure that the heat element is getting hot, you can touch the insulation pack (a rectangular or round sheet metal container filled with insulation located directly above the propane burner) to see if it is warm after about a half hour of operation. CAUTION: touch the pack lightly at first; it is possible under certain conditions for the pack to get super hot and burn you. If the insulation pack does not get warm, you have an electrical problem that needs to be corrected before continuing. If an electrical problem is not the electric heat element itself and/or you want to insure that some other electrical component (such as a thermostat) is not interrupting the heat element, you can hot wire the heat element for better testing conditions. The only weak link in this testing procedure is the less than 5% of the time that a working heat element is not producing the correct heat.
Do you smell ammonia, either inside the refrigerator or outside?
If you smell ammonia either inside the refrigerator or outside of it, the cooling unit is defective will need to be replaced.
Do you see any yellow staining on the back of the unit?
Sodium chromate is a greenish-yellow powder in solution inside the cooling unit. If you see any signs of a greenish-yellow staining outside the cooling unit, your unit has a leak and will needed to be replaced.
If you recently installed a new or rebuilt cooling unit, was it installed properly?

If you recently installed a new or rebuilt cooling unit, there are a few common mistakes that may prevent the cooling unit from working properly. First, was thermal mastic applied to the sides and back of the insulated pack as per the instructions. If not, your unit will not cool properly.

Second, the baffle must be placed back in the chimney flue or the unit may not work properly on gas.
If a new or rebuilt cooling unit was recently installed, what was the outside temperature when you started the unit up?

When the outside temperature approaches or passes 100 degrees, it is best to wait to start the unit up until later in the evening. Unlike a freon unit, a gas refrigerator does take longer to start up. In high temperatures, it is possible for the unit to vapor lock during startup. Once started, it should operate properly after that.
What is the difference between a rebuilt cooling unit and a new cooling unit?

Most of our units are rebuilt with new tubing. As a result, our units will perform equally as well, if not better, than a new unit, for a fraction of the cost. We currently offer a 2 year warranty, where most factory units only carry a one year warranty.
Do I need to return the old unit? (How do I dispose of the old core?)

Included in our price is the return of the old core for recycling. We use the old cores to rebuild. We replace the evaporators in the units and replace tubing. We send a return label with most units. You simply place the old unit in the box as instructed and contact the carrier (FEDEX or UPS) listed on the return instructions. They will pickup the unit within 2-3 business days and return it to our facility.
Do I need a new refrigerator or will a replacement cooling unit work?

If you present refrigerator box is in good condition, the most economical thing to do is replace the cooling unit. While many RV repair facilities advocate replacing the refrigerator, it is far more cost effective to replace a cooling unit.
Can I replace the cooling unit myself or do I need a professional to install it?

Most cooling units can be replaced by persons with average mechanical skills. No special tools are required and the units can be replaced within a few hours. If you have room to work on the refrigerator inside the coach, it will not even be necessary to remove it from the coach. For detailed instructions on replacing a unit, see our installation instructions.