New Dometic RV Refrigerator!

Posted In: "How To", Airstream, Maintenance, RV Lifestyle, RV Products, Video

When you think about RV maintenance, you probably don’t think about appliances. Most RV appliances offer reliable service with minimal upkeep. But if you own anything long enough, eventually you are going to have some issues. It’s the circle of life: appliances, like people and pets, pass away. This was the case with our original RV refrigerator. In 2017, after more than a decade of chilling milk and beer, it finally moved on to that great campground in the sky.

Of course, other than the occasional wipedown, there’s not a whole lot one can do to maintain a refrigerator. Ours lasted almost 15 years, which I would say is excellent longevity for this sort of thing. In fact, in the modern era it’s a struggle to get even 10 years of life out of a residential refrigerator. The more you pay, the more gotta have it features it contains, the more likely it is to die an early death. (Back in the 1950s, refrigerators were not “smart” but they were built to last — many are still functioning today! But I digress.)

Most of the appliances in our Airstream were manufactured by the Dometic corporation. Specifically, Dometic made the oven and cooktop, the microwave oven, our furnace and water heater (branded Atwood but owned by Dometic), and yes that big box we use to keep food cold.

Most of the appliances in our Airstream were manufactured by the Dometic corporation.

Thankfully all of these appliances are made to industry standard size specifications. Even though a specific model of appliance may not be available, you can always find a new one that will fit your needs.

Dometic has a pretty active online media presence through its Mobile Living Traveler program. We’ve been wanting to work together for quite some time. In fact, earlier this year Dometic approached us about an exciting collaboration. We discussed updating all of the aging appliances in our Airstream with modern Dometic units.

It turned out that our old refrigerator was eager to lead the way in this long discussed RV appliance makeover. When it spilled all of its ammonia (indicating a complete and irrevocable death), we asked whether Dometic would be willing to sponsor our refrigerator installation video by donating the unit. They graciously agreed, and our first collaboration was underway. Thanks Dometic! 🙂

As you’ll see in the video, installation is a little more complex than your average light bulb. For starters, you’re dealing with electrical and propane connections. If you make a mistake when handling electricity and propane, well, you may hear a loud bang and suddenly lose your eyebrows.

If you make a mistake when handling electricity and propane, you may hear a loud bang and suddenly lose your eyebrows.

Then there’s the weight issue, and I’m not talking about that excess beer fat around my midsection. This sort of RV refrigerator tips the scales at around 150 pounds, so it’s not the kind of thing you want to take with you on a day hike.

Weight aside, it’s not terribly easy to lift such a large bulky appliance. There are no convenient grab handles. No built-in wheel kit. This is an appliance meant to sit in one place for 15 years (as it travels around the country). For everyone other than Andre the Giant, picking up up this bad boy is a two person job.

Our video documents the story of our installation. It’s not exactly a screw-by-screw “how to” guide — but do you really want one? For most people, swapping out an RV refrigerator is probably a job best left to professionals. I’m reminded of Andy Griffith’s wise admonition to Aunt Bea when their refrigerator died: “CALL THE MAN.” Of course, you can always call your local RV shop, tell ’em you want the new Dometic refrigerator for your rig, and let their guys handle the rest.

Installing a refrigerator is definitely doable for the DIY crowd, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park. For us, it served as fodder for a fun video. It’s a lot of work, but it can be satisfying to see a project like this one go from beginning to end.

Special thanks to Kristy’s Dad Harry, who once again wins the “Best. Father. Ever.” award by rallying to the aid of our ailing Airstream.

We enjoyed meeting some great folks at the Dometic booth at RVIA 2017.

Thanks also to the great folks at Dometic, many of whom we had the pleasure of meeting at the recent RVIA show in Louisville, Kentucky. Hopefully this collaboration is the first of many such projects together. We certainly can recommend Dometic RV appliances without reservation. Ours have been wonderful!