Does RV Fridge Need Battery to Run on Propane?

When it comes to using an RV fridge while on propane, there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not the refrigerator actually needs a battery to run.

Some people believe that the battery is only necessary for the fridge to function if the motorhome or trailer is being used as a temporary home and not just for traveling.

So, what’s the scoop? Do you need a battery in your RV fridge while using propane? and the answer is not always straightforward.

So, I will explore how RV fridges work and offer some tips on how to best operate them while using propane.

Let’s have a look..

How does an RV refrigerator work?

RV refrigerators work by using a heat exchange system to cool the air inside the fridge. This system uses two coils, one for the hot air and one for the cold air. The fridge circulates the air around these coils to cool it down and keep the contents of the fridge cold.

In order to function, RV fridges need a heat source. This can either be from an electric element or from a propane flame. RV fridges work by using a small amount of propane to power the fridge. The propane is burned in a small flame, which heats up the coils inside the fridge. This process creates enough heat to keep the contents of the fridge cool, even in hot weather.

RV fridges are designed to run off of 12-volt DC power. This means that they can be plugged into your RV’s electrical system or they can run off of a battery. If you are plugged into shore power, your fridge will run off of the electricity from the campsite. If you are not plugged in, your fridge will run off of your RV’s battery.

It is important to note that RV fridges do not use a lot of power. In fact, they are one of the most efficient appliances in your RV. However, if you are running your fridge on battery power, it is important to conserve power by only opening the fridge when necessary.

Does the RV refrigerator need a battery to run on propane?

Some people believe that a battery is necessary to power the fridge when using propane. This is because the battery is used to ignite the flame inside the fridge. Without a battery, the fridge will not work.

So, do you really need a battery to power your RV refrigerator when on propane? The answer is yes and no. If you are only using the fridge for short periods of time, then you will not need a battery.

However, if you are using the fridge for extended periods of time, or if you are using it in hot weather, then you will need a battery.

So, When you Should operate your RV fridge using propane:

-If you are only using the fridge for short periods of time, turn off the propane tank when you are finished using the fridge. This will prevent the propane from continuing to flow and will save you money.

-If you are using the fridge for extended periods of time, or if you are using it in hot weather, leave the propane tank on and also turn on the battery. This will ensure that the fridge continues to operate even in hot weather.

-If you are using the fridge in cold weather, you can turn off the propane and rely on the battery to power the fridge. However, this will cause the contents of the fridge to freeze, so only do this if absolutely necessary.

How Long will an RV Fridge run on Propane and Battery?

RV fridges can run on propane for a longer period of time than battery power alone, but It really depends on a number of factors, such as the size and model of your fridge, how full it is, the temperature outside, and how often the fridge is opened.

A good rule of thumb is that most RVs will use 1/4 pound of propane per day or get about 3-4 days out of their fridge on propane and battery before needing to be recharged or refueled.

However, if the fridge is opened more frequently, the propane usage will increase.

If you’re planning on being out for an extended period of time, or if you think you might use your fridge more heavily than usual, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and bring along extra propane or batteries.

Which is better to run the RV fridge on propane or electric?

If you’re RVing, you might be wondering if it’s better to run your fridge on propane or electric. There are pros and cons to both, so it really depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider before making a decision.

  • Propane is generally more expensive than electricity, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.
  • Propane is more efficient than electric, so you’ll save money on fuel costs in the long run.
  • Propane is more reliable than electric, so you’ll never have to worry about power outages.
  • Electric fridges require a battery to run, so you’ll need to make sure your RV has one.
  • Electric fridges can be plugged into a standard household outlet, while propane fridges require a special hookup.
  • Propane fridges produce more heat than electric fridges, so you’ll need to make sure your RV has good ventilation.

So, which is the best option for you? It really depends on your specific needs and situation. If cost is a major factor, then electric might be the way to go. But if you’re looking for reliability and efficiency, propane is the better choice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long will an RV fridge run on battery?

It really depends on the size of your RV fridge and the age of your battery. If you have a newer, larger RV fridge, it may run for several hours on a single battery charge. However, if you have an older or smaller fridge, it may only run for one or two hours on a single charge. In either case, it’s always a good idea to have a backup battery on hand, just in case.

What is the name of the gas that the refrigerator uses?

Modern refrigerators, instead of Freon, use a refrigerant called HFC-134a 1,2,2,2-Tetrafluoroethane. However, this does not mean that such appliances are called 134a refrigerators; the old name “Freon” is still used.

Do RV fridges need to be vented?

RV fridges need to be vented because they produce heat when they are running. The heat needs to be able to escape from the fridge, or it will cause the fridge to overheat and potentially

Do all RVs have a built-in propane tank?

No, not all RVs have a built-in propane tank. Some RVs have an external propane tank that you must hook up to before using the fridge. Others have no propane tank at all and must be plugged into an external source of propane, such as a BBQ.

How does the refrigerator keep food cold without electricity?

The refrigerator keeps food cold by using a chemical process called absorption. This process uses a heat source (usually propane) to cool the air inside the fridge. The cooled air then circulates around the food, keeping it cold.


I hope these easy tips and the quick answer have been helpful in understanding how RV fridges work and whether or not you need a battery to power them.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends or fellow RVers. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Enjoy your summer journey!

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