For your travels and staycation, a refrigerator is a must-have to store your food. Preventing the fridge from leaking ammonia will be one of the important things for RV-ers.
Ammonia is an inorganic, colorless compound widely used as an affordable refrigerant. It is cheap and environmentally friendly. However, ammonia may be dangerous if there are problems with the operating system or leaky valves.
Therefore, you want to know how to check the ammonia level in RV fridge to prevent its hazardous effect when released in high quantities.
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Ways to Check the Ammonia Level in RV Fridge
Method 1: Use Ammonia Detector
The ammonia detector’s function is to analyze and monitor ammonia. Its battery lasts long and vibrates or alarms when it detects the chemical in the air.
For proper use, follow the guidelines in the manual. Here are additional tips:
You are safe when the ammonia level is 0 ppm (parts per million). However, you must take immediate action when the reading exceeds 30 ppm, and up to 50 ppm is a hazardous level.
Furthermore, exposure to 100 ppm ammonia is just 8 hours only, which can make you sick if you stay in the RV for long.
Method 2: Test with a Phenolphthalein Test Strip
Another method to check the RV fridge level of ammonia is using phenolphthalein test strips. It is available in many hardware stores or online stores and is easy to use.
To use phenolphthalein test strips, do the following:
Method 3: Check it with a Sulfur Stick
Just like a phenolphthalein test strip, using a sulfur stick will allow you to know whether ammonia leakage is present. It is simple to use and requires less effort.
You can do the following:
Method 4: Use an Ammonia Test Kit
If you are looking for a simple and cost-effective way to check the ammonia level in an RV refrigerator, using an ammonia test kit is the best option. It gives an accurate reading of the ammonia level.
Just like how people use this kit in fish tank, you only need to do the following:
Troubleshooting High Ammonia Levels
If your RV fridge smells like ammonia it is better to check it as soon as possible to prevent risks. You can use the abovementioned techniques to check the ammonia level in your RV refrigerator.
You can also take the following actions to reduce the ammonia level in your fridge:
- Freshen the air in the room
Make sure that fresh air can enter the motor pool. You can open the windows and doors to let the ammonia smell leave the space. If you cannot open your doors, using an air freshener can help.
- Deep clean the fridge.
Cleaning the fridge can remove the ammonia smell in the fridge, and you will be able to organize it afterward.
- First, you need to unplug the fridge before removing all the food stored in it.
- Make sure that it is empty by removing all cabinets and throwing out the expired foods.
- Then wipe all the sections and disinfect them using a sanitizer for fridges.
- Don’t forget to clean the top and bottom of the fridge.
- After ensuring that it is clean, you can now reorganize the fridge.
- Replace the cooling unit
If there is a strong smell of ammonia, you need an ammonia leak repair. And the last option would be to replace the cooling unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of ammonia in my RV refrigerator?
You can never remove ammonia from RV refrigerator, nor do an RV fridge ammonia recharge because it is sealed and used as a refrigerant. It is a secure and environmentally beneficial technique to chill the fridge.
Instead, you can clean the fridge and reduce the ammonia odor. You can do this by putting coffee grounds on a plate and placing it in the fridge for one whole day. Once the smells are completely gone, you can remove the coffee grounds.
Can you replace ammonia in RV fridge?
No. You must replace the entire cooling system if the refrigerator is leaking ammonia. An ammonia refrigerator repair could cost more than getting a new one.
As a result, you can purchase a replacement cooling unit and perform the installation yourself.
How do I know if my RV refrigerator cooling unit has failed?
When you suspect a leakage of ammonia, the fridge can give you a cue.
- First, you will see yellow streaks on the walls or panels of the fridge.
- Checking ammonia levels by sniffing the refrigerator is another option. If there is a strong ammonia odor, there is a leak, and you need to act right away.
- You can tell whether there is a problem with your RV fridge by touching the coil. Coils have a small amount of warmth outside and are naturally cold inside. Consequently, if you touch it and it is hot, there may be an ammonia leak.
- Last but not least, look in every nook and cranny of the refrigerator for any holes or damaged tubes.
Most RV fridges use ammonia to save energy, the Norcold RV refrigerator is among the typical choice. However, since ammonia can leak, you should be aware of how to check the ammonia level in RV fridge.
You can check by using the tools indicated above. If the result shows a high level, make an effort to reduce the ammonia smell and maintain a clean refrigerator. After stopping the discovered ammonia leak, you should prevent future leakages.
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