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RV maintenanceEven if you use your coach through the winter months, or don’t experience the cold or harsh winters that some of us do, it is still important to perform regular maintenance on key components of your RV. This is most conveniently done either before putting your RV into storage or before taking it out. Over the next few articles, we will be discussing some important tips for your RV that may help prolong the life of key components and appliances and prevent unplanned downtime.

The most important thing to remember, and something that I often mention in my articles, is the importance of having your propane (LP) system professionally inspected at least once per year and anytime you suspect a leak or malfunction. An experienced RV technician with LP experience (and often a state or provincial license) will inspect your system, checking all appliances for proper pressure, operation, and leaks. Failure to keep your propane system functioning properly can result in poor or no performance of appliances, or even personal injury or death in the case of a leak!

In addition to the professional servicing, there are certainly some proactive inspection and maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, and we will start by looking at the propane appliances. Note that this article assumes that your appliances are generally functioning properly. As you perform these inspections, make note of any problems so they can be relayed to the service shop during your annual checkup.RV refrigerator


As with all appliances, start by making sure the equipment and areas around them are clean.

  • In the case of the refrigerator, inspect the roof or top sidewall vent for damage, debris, blockages, and overall cleanliness.
  • Re-caulk any cracked or missing sealant on the covers.
  • Open the bottom access panel and clean out the area around the rear of the refrigerator.
  • Insects love the smell of the ethyl mercaptan used to odorize the LP gas, so often build nests, spin webs, or generally hang-out near the burner area of flame appliances. Use a brush and/or compressed air to clean the rear of the fridge, including the burner.
  • Light the fridge and make sure the flame is blue with slight yellow tipping and that there is no “whistling” or “howling” to the flame.
  • If so, mention this to the RV technician, as it may indicate a required adjustment.
  • Perform a quick visual inspection of other elements, such as wiring, for any other areas of concern.
  • Ensure your refrigerator is functioning and cooling properly in all operation modes.
  • Take note of the location of the fridge fuses, which are located on the control board, which is located on the back of the refrigerator behind a plastic cover. If your fridge stops working for some reason, check these fuses first.
  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the fridge, including the door seals.
  • A good way to check the integrity of the door seals is to place a dollar bill (or any other denomination) between the seal and the door, then close the door (without applying extra pressure) and pull the bill out. If the bill slides out easily, the door seals are too loose. Repeat this procedure at various points on the seal.
  • Verify your fridge and freezer are maintaining the correct temperature. If not, it may just be a matter of adjusting the thermostat setting or thermistor location as indicated in your owner’s manual. You may wish to purchase an inexpensive refrigerator thermometer for this purpose.
  • Check the interior light and defrost the refrigerator if there is excessive ice on the evaporator fins.
  • Make sure the drain hose is not blocked by checking for excessive water in the drip tray under the evaporator.
  • Finally, check for cosmetic damage that may jeopardize the operation or safety of the fridge.

In the next article, we will continue with our tour through RV appliance maintenance.

About the Author: 

Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.

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