Dometic RV Refrigerator Not Cooling? 7 Causes and Solutions

Having a reliable refrigerator in your RV is essential for keeping your food fresh and beverages cold during your travels. However, discovering that your Dometic RV refrigerator is not cooling as it should can be disheartening and potentially ruin your travel experience. A malfunctioning refrigerator not only leads to food spoilage but also poses a risk to your health and safety.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into seven common problems that can cause your Dometic RV refrigerator to lose its cooling efficiency. For each problem, we will explore the possible causes and provide effective solutions to help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue. By understanding these common problems and their remedies, you can enjoy a well-chilled and trouble-free travel experience in your RV.

Problem #1: Insufficient Power Supply

One of the most common reasons for an inadequately cooling Dometic RV refrigerator is an insufficient power supply. You may notice that the refrigerator fails to cool adequately or stops working altogether, even when connected to a power source.


  • Inadequate power supply from the RV’s battery or external power hookup can result in low or erratic power delivery to the refrigerator’s cooling unit.
  • A faulty or damaged power cord can hinder the transmission of power from the RV’s electrical system to the refrigerator.
  • A blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker can disrupt the power flow to the refrigerator, causing it to stop cooling.


  • Ensure that your RV is adequately connected to a reliable power source. Double-check all electrical connections and try an alternative power hookup if available.
  • Inspect the power cord for any visible damage, such as cuts or frayed wires. Replace the power cord if it shows signs of wear or damage.
  • Locate the refrigerator’s fuse or circuit breaker, usually found in the RV’s electrical panel, and check if it has blown or tripped. If so, replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker as needed.

Problem #2: Inadequate Ventilation

Your Dometic RV refrigerator may appear to be running, but you might notice that the cooling performance is unsatisfactory. This could be due to inadequate ventilation around the refrigerator, hindering proper heat dissipation.


  • Insufficient ventilation around the refrigerator can trap heat and prevent the refrigerator’s cooling system from working efficiently.
  • Blocked vents or grilles can restrict the airflow, causing the refrigerator to struggle to maintain the desired temperature.


  • Create ample space around the refrigerator to allow for proper airflow. Ensure that there are no objects or items blocking the vents or grilles on the rear or sides of the refrigerator.
  • Regularly clean the vents and grilles to prevent dust, dirt, and debris from accumulating and obstructing the airflow. Use a soft brush or compressed air to gently clean the vents and improve ventilation.

Problem #3: Refrigerator Overheating

If your Dometic RV refrigerator feels excessively hot to the touch, it could be a sign of overheating, and the cooling efficiency might be compromised.


  • High ambient temperatures in the RV or external environment can put extra strain on the refrigerator’s cooling system, making it difficult for the refrigerator to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Dirty condenser coils can hinder the dissipation of heat, leading to increased heat buildup inside the refrigerator.
  • A malfunctioning condenser fan might fail to expel heat effectively, contributing to overheating.


  • Park your RV in shaded areas or use awnings and sunshades to reduce the impact of high ambient temperatures on the refrigerator.
  • Regularly clean the condenser coils to improve heat dissipation. Access the coils from the rear of the refrigerator and use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris gently.
  • Inspect the condenser fan to ensure it is working correctly. If it’s not operating or functioning at a reduced speed, consider replacing the fan to prevent overheating.

Problem #4: Damaged Door Seals

A common issue that affects the cooling performance of Dometic RV refrigerators is damaged door seals. When the door seals are compromised, warm air can enter the refrigerator, leading to reduced cooling efficiency and potential frost buildup inside the unit.


  • Over time, door seals can wear out or sustain damage due to frequent opening and closing, exposure to temperature variations, or improper cleaning.
  • Physical damage to the seals, such as cracks, tears, or deformities, can compromise their ability to form an airtight seal.


  • Inspect the door seals thoroughly for any visible damage, wear, or deformities. Pay close attention to the corners and edges of the seals where damage is more likely to occur.
  • If you notice any issues with the door seals, it is best to replace them promptly. Dometic refrigerator door seals are usually easily replaceable and available through authorized dealers or online retailers.
  • To test the effectiveness of the door seal, perform the dollar bill test. Close the bill in the door and try to pull it out. If you experience little to no resistance, the seal is likely compromised and requires replacement.

Problem #5: Gas Supply Issues (for Absorption Refrigerators)

Absorption refrigerators, commonly used in RVs, rely on propane gas for cooling when not connected to an electrical power source. If you notice that the cooling performance is inadequate when running on propane, gas supply issues may be to blame.


  • Insufficient propane supply can result from low propane levels in the tank or a malfunctioning regulator.
  • Air in the gas lines can disrupt the flow of propane to the refrigerator’s burner, affecting the cooling process.
  • A malfunctioning gas valve or igniter can prevent the proper ignition of the propane, leading to an inability to generate cooling.


  • Check the propane levels in your tank and refill it if necessary to ensure an adequate gas supply to the refrigerator.
  • Bleed the gas lines to remove any trapped air that might be hindering the flow of propane. To do this, turn on the gas supply and allow it to run for a few minutes before igniting the burner.
  • Inspect the gas valve and igniter for any signs of damage or malfunction. If you suspect any issues, consult a qualified RV technician to perform a thorough inspection and repair.

Problem #6: Faulty Thermostat

When your Dometic RV refrigerator either freezes food or fails to maintain a consistently cool temperature, the thermostat could be at fault.


  • The thermostat might not be calibrated correctly, causing it to misinterpret temperature readings and regulate cooling improperly.
  • A malfunctioning thermostat sensor can lead to inaccurate temperature readings, affecting the refrigerator’s cooling performance.


  • Recalibrate the thermostat following the manufacturer’s instructions. This process may vary depending on the refrigerator model, so consult your user manual for specific guidelines.
  • Test the thermostat sensor for accuracy by comparing its temperature readings with an external thermometer. If there’s a significant discrepancy, consider replacing the sensor with a compatible replacement part.

Problem #7: Cooling Unit Blockage or Failure

If your Dometic RV refrigerator is completely non-functional and neither the gas nor electric mode cools the unit, it could be due to a cooling unit blockage or failure.


  • Blockages in the cooling unit’s pipes or tubing can impede the circulation of refrigerant, preventing the refrigerator from cooling properly.
  • A cooling unit leak or failure can lead to the loss of refrigerant and result in the refrigerator’s inability to generate cold temperatures.


  • If you suspect a cooling unit blockage, it is crucial to seek professional help. Certified RV technicians have the expertise and tools to diagnose and resolve blockages safely and effectively.
  • In the case of a cooling unit leak or failure, it is often best to replace the cooling unit entirely, as attempting to repair a leaking cooling unit can be complex and costly.


A well-functioning Dometic RV refrigerator is essential for a pleasant and hassle-free camping experience. By familiarizing yourself with the common problems that can lead to cooling issues, you are better equipped to diagnose and resolve potential malfunctions. Remember to conduct regular maintenance, clean the refrigerator’s components diligently, and promptly address any arising issues.

If you encounter complex problems or are unsure about troubleshooting, consult a professional RV technician to ensure proper diagnosis and repair. With a well-maintained and efficiently cooling refrigerator, you can focus on making unforgettable memories on your journeys. Happy travels!

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