10-Minute Tech: Cool Fridge

Last year, after arriving in Arizona in September, we discovered that our RV’s refrigerator was struggling to stay cool with outside temperatures averaging in the 90s. I made a shade to keep direct sunlight from baking the outside of the unit. I took some scrap ¾-inch plywood and made two simple wood brackets (pictured below) that I spray-painted black to protect them from the weather. These brackets are removable and fit at the top of the slideout.

I then used vinyl material to make the shade, and put wood strips at the top and bottom to add weight so it doesn’t blow around. It was easy to make and install, and the best part is that it works as designed. I left a lot of clearance between the slideout and the material to allow for airflow, plus ventilation for the refrigerator’s inlet and exhaust vents.

Black bracket made of plywoodI also use a couple of ropes at the bottom that I stake down for extra protection in case the wind kicks up. When not in use, the shade rolls up easily to be stored, and I can set it up and take it down in minutes.

Bert Hedrick | Littleton, Colorado

Nine photos showing components of the DIY project

See Related 10-Minute Tech Tip: Cool Idea for Refrigerators


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  1. We live in Arizona, and my husband installed fans to keep our refrigerator cooler. He placed them so that they pull air in from the side and push the air up over the coils. 6-inch computer fans work great.

    • That sounds great. Could you give us more details about how you did that? Our fridge is in the end of the slideout.

  2. I added the fan to move air, and it made a huge difference. The fan is temp controlled, and I hear it ramp up when in the sun. This shade is a great idea to add as well.

  3. This is an awesome idea! I would use Reflectix in place of the vinyl to see if there’s even more efficiency 🙂

  4. I installed two salvaged 4-inch computer fans and a 85 degree thermal switch. I noticed that my propane use went down so they must make a differance.

  5. How do you install the fans and where? We found our fridge was working major overtime and were thinking of putting up a screen also.
    I’m sure my hubby can figure it out, but was just wondering.

  6. Could you please post some pictures of the fans and placement of them? I’m in Apache Jct, Arizona, until July 25, and the average daytime temps are all in the mid-100s plus. I removed the white grille that covers the burner and outside area. I’m still at #8/#9 on a “Hot, Hot, Hot” day. Any extra help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  7. This is the controller I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GFF5YXM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    These are the fans I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NMC9X38/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I used silicone glue and zip-ties to put the fans on my top vents. I got power from the always-on 12-volt input to the fridge. I had the controller set to 30C, but it came on all day, so I changed to 40C. Now it stays on most of the day, and I hear it cycle in the muggy Mississippi evening.

  8. My husband attached 6 in computer fans to L brackets and put them in so they blow upwards over the coils.
    We don’t have them on a temperature switch so they run all the time. It’ll depend on the fan as to whether you hear them or not. I only seem to notice them when we’re outside and sitting near the fridge.


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