A man repairing a fridge in an RV.

Avoid Appliance Failure: RV Appliance Maintenance Tips

Owning an RV means bringing the comforts of home with you anywhere you go. But like your home, RV appliances such as your fridge and air conditioner all need maintenance to stay in peak condition. Fortunately, many of the basic maintenance steps you can take are easy for anyone – even if you don’t have much DIY experience!

Read on to learn maintenance tips for the appliances in your RV so you can enjoy years of comfort on the road and at the campsite!

RV Refrigerator

One of the most important RV appliances is the fridge. For short trips or long vacations with the family, it makes a big difference in comfort and convenience. RV fridges come in all sizes, but they generally work the same – and require the same maintenance!

Unlike your home fridge, RV refrigerators must endure a significant amount of wear and tear. Everything from constant bumps of the road to frequent switching of its power sources make a big impact on the lifespan of the fridge.

However, you can avoid common issues and big repairs by spending just a little time inspecting and maintaining the fridge as you go:

Defrost Your Fridge Often

Frost is an on-going battle with RV fridges. As your fridge accumulates frost, it insulates temperatures and prevents the fridge from absorbing heat. The worse it gets, the more likely you are to encounter a fridge that fails or seems like it isn’t keeping your food cold enough.

Defrosting your fridge as often as possible can go a long way towards keeping it in good shape. This is especially true after trips that may have taken you to hot and humid areas or if your fridge door was often left open for long periods of time.

It’s not difficult to defrost a fridge. You can place a large container of warm water inside and simply wait for the frost to melt away. Some online tips may suggest using a hair dryer to speed the process along, but this can actually warp the cooling fins and shorten the lifespan of the fridge.

Keep it Clean

Over time, the fridge itself, its components or the vent to the outside can become dirty. Everything from mildew to cobwebs and debris can build-up depending on where you look. It’s important that you take the time to keep everything clean – from inside to out!

Too much debris will guarantee issues with the fridge’s ability to cool and operate safely. The longer these obstructions exist, the more damage your fridge may sustain. Like defrosting, it’s easier to deal with cleaning regularly than trying to tackle it once a year. What could take just a few minutes to clean when you get home could turn into costly repairs if left alone for weeks or months!

Water Heater

Another core RV appliance is the water heater. Without it, you’d be left to freezing cold showers or public ones at the nearest campground. Water heaters are essential for your ability to wind down after a long day of biking, hiking or general camping activities!

But like any water heater, RV models need a bit of regular care to keep them running for the long-term. Fortunately, the basics of RV water heater maintenance are easy to pick up as long as you follow the proper safety precautions. If you aren’t sure, many of the top YouTube channels for RVs include maintenance tips like caring for your water heater!

Drain Sediment & Flush Scaling

Sediment, debris and hard water builds up in any water heater over time. Corrosion is a slow but serious threat, which can lead to leaks and complete unit failure. If you flush out your water heater once or twice a year, you’ll minimize the potential corrosion damage it experiences.

Start by turning off the water, water heater and electric. Remove the anode rod or drain plug using a socket wrench and drain the water in the heater. Flush the water heater with water and plug it back in.

You can take it a step further to help remove tougher deposits. A vinegar and water mixture left for a few hours can do wonders – just make sure to completely flush it out again after you’re done.

If you aren’t sure how to go about flushing your water heater, or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, contact a professional! Water heaters are shock and burn hazards when you don’t deal with them safely.

Heating & Air Conditioning

During the scorching summer days or freezing winter ones, the feeling of stepping into your climate-controlled RV is amazing. But you have to maintain the HVAC system in your RV! It puts in a lot of work to ensure your RV is an escape from extreme temperatures.

RV Furnace

The last thing anyone wants is to retreat into their RV during a winter trip only to realize it’s just as cold inside as it is outside. But a failing furnace can happen to anyone – in a home or an RV – if you don’t pay attention to basic maintenance!

You can accomplish a lot when it comes to RV furnace care without much effort. The biggest problem is the easiest one to solve: avoiding obstructions. You need to check any vents or ducts, both inside and outside, to remove anything that may have found its way inside. Pet hair, lint, insect nests and more are inevitably going to make their way into these enclosed spaces.

Simply use a vacuum to clean out any accessible vents. Make sure you don’t just clean the outside – most vents are accessible with the removal of two screws. Once you take off the vent cover, you’ll likely find even more to vacuum away behind it.

Make sure the furnace isn’t running before you start cleaning and give it some time for residual heat to dissipate before you touch the vents. They can get hot!

Once everything is cleaned and all the covers are put back on, start your furnace and turn the temperature up a bit to test it. Make sure it starts without incident and that hot air starts flowing properly. If not, you may need a professional inspection to identify the issue.

Air Conditioner

Air conditioners already work hard to keep your RV cool in the summer. But when they’re clogged with things like cobwebs and debris, it can make your air conditioner work twice as hard for the same result. The longer it works like this, the more likely it is to break down.

Taking off the AC vent cover on the roof and cleaning out as much as you will help keep it running efficiently. Higher efficiency means longer lifespan, and you can save more on avoiding big repair costs. Be careful with the AC vent cover, as constant exposure to sun will leave it vulnerable to cracking! Once the cover is off, you can use a hose to spray down the radiator and surrounding area.

Clean away as much of the gunk as you can. Afterward, wipe up as much moisture as you can and try to avoid leaving a lot of standing water. Once it’s as dry as you can get it, you can put the shroud back on.

Depending on how often you travel and use your AC, you’ll want to make an annual cleaning the minimum. Frequent travelers will find that the road can make the AC unit dirty enough to need cleaning every six months or so!

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (419) 786-1126

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