Is Your RV Freezer Frosting Up?

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

Have you ever opened your RV freezer to find frost covering everything inside? If your RV freezer is frosting up, you don’t ignore it. We can help you address this common RV issue and provide troubleshooting tips for your unit.

Why Is An RV Freezer Frosting Up?

At a very basic level, warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air. As you open the freezer door and warmer air enters, that air carries water vapor. When the air cools and can no longer hold as much water, the vapor settles inside the freezer as frost. 

This natural process means some frost is expected in a gas-absorption RV refrigerator. They are generally not frost-free. However, if your RV freezer is frosting up in excess, this could occur for several reasons.

You Recently Placed a Hot Item in the Freezer

Placing a hot item inside could cause an RV freezer frosting up
Photo by Camping World

If you’ve put anything hot in the freezer lately, you’ve brought in a lot of moisture, which can cause frost buildup. To avoid this issue, allow leftovers to cool for 10-15 minutes, or until they are cool, before sealing them in your food storage containers.

The Freezer Door Was Left Open

Technician checking if RV freezer door was left open
Photo by Camping World

Was the freezer door completely shut? If it’s left open even slightly for an extended period of time, it will cause frost. 

Unfortunately, there’s no special trick to avoiding this issue. It just requires diligence by everyone going into the fridge or freezer for food supplies. I would tell you the strategy my Dad used to help us remember to shut doors when I was a kid, but I trust you can devise a healthy solution to keep your freezer door closed between uses!

The Freezer Is Too Full

Example of full freezer causing frost issue
Photo by Fahran Nashrullah via iStock

We know that most RV freezers are relatively compact, but they require air space for proper cooling. If you pack in too many frozen foods, there’s no room for cold air to circulate properly, increasing the chances of your RV freezer frosting up.

There are three possible solutions to this issue before you consider upgrading to a larger fridge/freezer combo with more freezer capacity: 

  1. Constrict the size of your grocery buys, even if that means restocking halfway through your trip. 
  2. Prioritize fresh foods (preferably from local farm stands or markets).
  3. Get a high-performing camping cooler for expanded cold storage (brands like YETI and RTIC come to mind). 

The Freezer’s Seal is Compromised

Man conducting Dollar Bill Test on RV freezer seal
Photo by Camping World

More often than not, the cause of an RV freezer frosting up is something trapped in the seal. If your RV freezer seal is compromised, warm air can enter. Even something as thin as a plastic bag can be enough to allow moisture to pass through the seal. 

If nothing is trapped in the seal, it’s time to examine it more closely. Ask yourself these two simple questions: 

  • Is it sticking to the door correctly? 
  • Is it evenly spaced around the freezer cavity when the door is closed? 

If the answer is no to either one, the seal is compromised and should be replaced. But how do you tell if the seal isn’t sticking or isn’t evenly spaced?

A quick and easy diagnosis is “The Dollar Bill Test.” Take out a dollar bill, shut the door on it, and then pull it out. There should be moderate resistance when trying to remove the bill. Repeat this all the way around the door seal. 

While slightly time-consuming, this test helps determine if a freezer seal replacement is a remedy for your frosting issue. The section of the compromised seal could be anywhere around your freezer door and smaller than a dollar bill’s width, which is why the test is effective. 

If you’ve determined that your seal is compromised, contact a retail specialist at your local Camping World with your refrigerator’s make and model number to get assistance ordering a replacement RV freezer seal. 

What To Do If Your RV Freezer is Still Frosting Up

If your RV freezer is still frosting up excessively after checking all the above, it’s time to make a service appointment to get to the root cause. Replacing a gas-absorption refrigerator and freezer can be costly if left unchecked. Schedule a service appointment to remedy the issue before you explore a refrigerator replacement. 

Do you have any questions about frost in your RV freezer? Let us know in the comments below.

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