How To Switch RV Fridge From Electric To Propane?

If you’re a camping enthusiast, you must have made an RV your second home several times. When going out for many days, you know a fridge comes in handy. You need to keep your food fresh for all the days you’ll be driving around. RV fridges are the real deal for such travelers. 

They have a mixture of gasses that vaporize and then moisturize the air in your refrigerator, thus keeping it cool. These fridges are very reliable because they only require propane and a battery. With this, you can tour even the remotest of places without the fear of inconveniences. 

How To Switch RV Fridge From Electric To Propane?

Running an RV refrigerator on propane is a straightforward process. It does not require much to turn the fridge to propane mode provided it’s in perfect condition. Below are the simple steps to follow;

RV Fridge
  1. Place your recreational vehicle on a level ground
  2. Switch on the RV battery
  3. Switch on the knob on the LP tank
  4. Open your RV fridge control panel (read the manual for your specific model)
  5. Adjust the thermostat to the highest level
  6. Adjust the selector knob to propane and voila!

In most models, propane is symbolized by a flame icon. If you have a fifth wheel camper refrigerator run on propane, check out the manufacturer’s manual for instructions. Also, you will realize that your RV fridge’s control panel has four parts. 

You have the selector switch, gas safety knob, piezo igniter, and thermostat. In our steps above, we have only talked about the thermostat and selector switch. You’re probably wondering how useful the other valves are, and here’s the explanation. 

After switching your RV fridge to propane, you’ll now need to push to activate it by lighting the flame. At this point, you’ll push the gas safety valve and hold it in, before pushing the piezo igniter in repeatedly for about 5 seconds or less. You should light the flame by doing so. 

If for some reason, your Dometic RV fridge doesn’t start, quickly do a Dometic refrigerator reset. It helps clear any pending issues. You can always check your manual for instructions on how to do it. 

Switch RV Fridge From Electric To Propane

If that does not work, you will have no other option but to do RV refrigerator gas and electric troubleshooting. This will involve lighting the burner jet. It may require you to attempt severely before accomplishing your results. 

Hint: you should never hold the gas valve for more than 30 seconds. If you press repeatedly for 30 seconds without getting a flame, wait for 5 minutes or more before repeating the procedure. 

Is It Better To Run Rv Fridge On Propane Or Electric?

There are many factors that one can consider when deciding between propane and an electrical refrigerator. Both are great fits, only that their functionalities are different. To determine your most suitable option, consider the features, safety, maintenance, and cost for both. 

Rv Fridge

However, being an RV refrigerator, the propane mode will always win. This is because propane refrigerators perform more efficiently compared to electric ones. Also, its wear and tear effect is minimal because it doesn’t have movable parts inside. 

But, operating an electric refrigerator is safer compared to running it off propane. An electric RV fridge will also perform efficiently and can cool faster than the propane one. This is especially because they operate on a 12V direct current or 120V alternating current, which is very stable. 

When choosing between the two, the first thing to consider is the area you’ll be touring. If you will be in an entirely remote area, a propane refrigerator will suit you best. But, if you have an option, running it in electric mode will be more flexible and spontaneous. Other factors to consider include:

Is It Better To Run Rv Fridge On Propane Or Electric
  • Ease of use
  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Airflow
  • Convenience when traveling 

How Much Propane Does An Rv Fridge Use?

The amount of propane an RV fridge consumes depends on its BTU rating, age, and size. For instance, 1 gallon of propane will run a 1500 BTU RV dometic fridge for about 61 hours. When it comes to age, older models tend to consume more propane, and so do larger refrigerators. 

How Much Propane Does An Rv Fridge Use

Ideally, the standard size of an RV fridge is 4 to about 12 cubic feet. As a fridge increases in size, its consumption also increases. Larger refrigerators will therefore use more propane than the smaller ones. Like, running Dometic mini fridge freezer on propane tank will cost you about 1.5 pounds daily. 

Like we said earlier, RV refrigerators do not cool the fridge. Instead, they form a mixture of gasses that evaporate, thus removing heat from the fridge. That’s why we mentioned BTU rating playing a part in the amount of propane your fridge consumes. 

How Much Propane Does An Rv Fridge Use

If your Norcold RV refrigerator is within the standard propane consumption, it means you’re not spending more than you should. However, to maintain it in that state, you’ve to observe regular maintenance. Some simple routines you can follow annually include:

  • Dismantling and thoroughly cleaning the LPG burner
  • Removing carbon remains and debris from the flue
  • Cleaning the igniter assembly
  • Vacuuming the cooling points and condensers
  • Inspecting the propane regulator for spills 

If you do the above things, your RV will run efficiently and achieve its full lifespan. If you can, get an expert to handle the bits you may not be sure about. You will be saving your machine from the risk of damage, and also keeping safe from the risk of hurting yourself. An expert will also come in handy if you have an RV fridge not working on electricity.


If you’re planning to go dry camping, consider making essential plans ahead to avoid regrets. Organize how to get some food and store it safely in your fridge. You don’t want to end your tour indefinitely because of uncertainties relating to food storage. As seen, propane refrigerators come in handy even in remote areas with zero access to electricity. But, some situations are unique. Like, you will find a 5th wheel travel trailer fridge run on propane and battery doing better than running it off propane alone. Each situation will call for your prior evaluation.