How should my fridge sound on gas? And other newbie questions.

Feb 14, 2021
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Just back from our first ever MH stay, learned loads, but still loads to learn! Our fridge is a 2018 Thetford 3-way Automatic (one of the tall slim ones, I gather they are all pretty much the same functionally). Great bit of kit, but the manual doesn't quite meet my inquisitive standards.

  • When it's on gas, if near to the vents, you can hear the gas burner. It sounds like a gas cooker sounds when it's windy - i.e. a very faint roar rather than pleasant hiss. Is this normal, or is it worth investigating?
  • Apparently below 6 degrees (from memory) I should fit winter guards to the vents (which I will need to source). How critical is this? what will happen if I didn't - will the fridge just be rubbish at cooling or will the world catch fire? How about a cold night? I switched the fridge off overnight, as I considered it had a 5l water container in the bottom box so everything would stay cool.
  • The fridge was initially set to Max (5/5). this seemed to correspond to "burn gas 24h/day". I set it to 3/5, and not much difference, then 1/5 and finally it stopped running all the time (note, this was after it was full of stuff and was already down to temperature). I guess this is ambient temperature dependent, maybe 1/5 is easily enough in this weather?
  • Where do I buy things that actually fit in the tiny door shelves?! Should I somehow manage to buy enough food to fill the rest of the enormous space!
Many thanks!
 
Jul 29, 2013
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from your comments the fridge sounds about right it does have a gentle roar.
As far as vent covers go they are useful but I cant remember the last time I fitted them I think it was when I had the hose out to give the van a wash to stop water getting in.
usually have ours set around 3 that seem to be about right
I have fitted twin extractor fans in top vent to help with efficiency in very hot weather.šŸ˜Š
 

Kannon Fodda

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Feb 26, 2019
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I have a Dometic 3 way fridge, but they all work in a similar way.

On gas you will hear a faint roar when near the vents outside. Quite normal. Effectively the gas flame or jet is being directed up a chimney tube, to create a draught that is creating the coolant process.

The fridges work well when within the right temperature range. Too cold and that gas flame won't reach temperature, so the covers reduce ambient cold air behind the fridge to get it back into parameters. Too hot and it can't expel heat - many have fitted added fans behind the vents to aid air movement in warmer weather typically 25 degrees and above.

Usually find my fridge works best set to 3 or 4. They do take some time to really get to temperature (and if you are turning off overnight that may impede that, even if you don't open door there will eventually be some heat gain into the fridge). I have eventually heard my gas cutting in after it had been off.

I suspect you favourite food outlet will have plenty of things in the various fridge aisles you can find to stuff into you fridge. I'd recommend a level of restraint as door shelf snacks have an adverse effect on waistline.

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Lenny HB

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Oct 18, 2007
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Our Dometic you can hear the burner roaring from quite a few yards away appears to be common on the bigger fridges.

Winter vents do help in cold weather, if the flue vents through the top vent don't fit a cover on the top vent when running on gas.
Winter covers should always be fitted when washing the van.

The temperature you will just have to see how it goes you could put a thermometer in the fridge but don't expect it to get down to the same temperature as a domestic fridge.

Our door shelves are fine, 4 pint milk containers bottle of wine etc. all fit.

For hot weather I have fitted two fans in the top vent controller by a temperature controller and an internal fan.
 

sedge

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Engineer who had worked for Dometic for over 40 years told us in 2009 not to turn it up to more than 2 or 3 - consequently we don't.
 
Jan 19, 2014
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Our 3 way fridge works well, will freeze things if they're in the bottom under the fins, we keep things like butter higher up where it's not as cold.

Never fitted the vent covers, even on our way home in France it got down to -1Ā°c and never noticed a difference in the fridge. I'd certainly never fit the top vent unless we were in the Arctic circle or something.

Got 2 fans in the top outlet for when in Spain.

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OP
Geomore
Feb 14, 2021
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I suspect you favourite food outlet will have plenty of things in the various fridge aisles you can find to stuff into you fridge. I'd recommend a level of restraint as door shelf snacks have an adverse effect on waistline.
This has certainly been the most informative reply so far! But seriously... this is all great stuff, I feel reassured now my fridge is spot on, and leaving it on 5/5 for the previous 24h is probably the explanation for where some of that gas went. Now I will continue my search for LPG stations that actually sell LPG....
 
Jan 8, 2013
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Where do I buy things that actually fit in the tiny door shelves?! Should I somehow manage to buy enough food to fill the rest of the enormous space!

That Thetford fridge is very slim but it does hold an amazing amount of stuff.
Cans and small bottles of pop will fit into the door - plus cheese, butter and onions and tomatoes.
But don't put any thing very heavy in it - I have known fridge door hinges to fail completely.
I fit all heavy bottles and cans upright into the slide out box at the bottom. I have fitted a piece of on slip matting in the bottom.
Ours is never nearly full unless we are of to Europe for a month.
Ours is only set to 3* and is never a problem. In 10 years I have never found the need for vent covers.

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Jan 11, 2020
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Our Dometic is pretty much silent, even on full chat. You have to put your ear to the exhaust outside to hear anything at all. We run it on 5/5 until the ice is made (that is, if we donā€™t pre-freeze the ice before we leave home!) then turn it down to 3/5 and it seems to work efficiently and v economically.
 

tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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Another vote for the "ROAR". (y)

In past vans we have only ever had a small fridge, the Burstner has the large fridge freezer and it does sound like a plane going off at times.
Can be heard even a small way from the van and blinkin thing can sometimes wake me up in the night if we are in a quiet spot.

I originally suspected an issue but cleaned the burner, flue and checked flame. Consulted a few funsters on various rallies and all agree, like above, its normal. Ref the temp setting, i think lots of people make the mistake of cranking the setting up to max when a low setting will do the job.
Learn by playing with setting to acheive best results.

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DuxDeluxe

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Agree with Tonka above. The fridge makes a bit of noise and it works a lot better on 4 than it does on 5.
 
Jun 1, 2019
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On our first cold motorhoming trip, our Dometic 6200 3-way fridge was not it's usual cold self. Almost warm in there :LOL:
RTM and then fitted the lower cover. (y) Then the fridge was coolio (again, literally).

I don't think one fridge setting works for all situations. We'd had several trips with the 'nominal' setting Dometic suggest, before feeling the need to alter it to a lower setting during last year's mini heatwave :)
And for this weekend's Weston-S-M trip, we could restore the position to "nominal" again. Maybe the outside ambient temperatures effect this setting.

Also, not sure you need to put the fridge to 5/5 to later put it to the 3/5 you want. It's not a speed cooling setting - surely it's temperature related. :think:
 

tonka

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On our first cold motorhoming trip, our Dometic 6200 3-way fridge was not it's usual cold self. Almost warm in there :LOL:
RTM and then fitted the lower cover. (y) Then the fridge was coolio (again, literally).

I don't think one fridge setting works for all situations. We'd had several trips with the 'nominal' setting Dometic suggest, before feeling the need to alter it to a lower setting during last year's mini heatwave :)
And for this weekend's Weston-S-M trip, we could restore the position to "nominal" again. Maybe the outside ambient temperatures effect this setting.

Also, not sure you need to put the fridge to 5/5 to later put it to the 3/5 you want. It's not a speed cooling setting - surely it's temperature related. :think:

Some good videos on youtube that explain how a fridge works and converting heat to cold. (y) (y)
Makes sense then about using covers in winter to make the fridge warmer and not to have it on a high setting when its hot ouside as you just make the fridge work harder...
Interesting stuff but does my head in after a bit.. :doh::rofl:

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OP
Geomore
Feb 14, 2021
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Thanks for LPG app suggestion, now all refilled at an enormous cost of Ā£3.50!

Curiosity got the better of me and I unclipped the lower vent. Wasn't expecting to have full access right to the back of the fridge and burner... It all makes sense now! There's a burner inspection hole for the flame - it was partially open. I wasn't sure if it affects airflow so I returned it as I found it. Flame was burning cleanly, I guess the heater tube just amplifies the noise of it. Now i know why it's so important to switch the gas off when at the filling station!

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