How Much Does It Cost To Replace An RV Refrigerator?Anthony Day
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If your RV refrigerator is dated, performing poorly, or flat-out broken, your best bet is going to be to find a replacement, but how much does it cost?
If you are traveling in an RV, having a working fridge on board is going to be a necessity. However, much like with all appliances, you can expect to run into some issues with your RV fridge over the years, which often requires you to replace the unit.
It costs roughly $1,000 to $4,000 to replace an RV refrigerator. Buying a luxury RV refrigerator can cost upwards of $3,000 - whereas a basic unit can be as little as $1,000. In addition, complicated installations result in expensive labor costs - with technicians charging $150 - $175 (per hour).
The RV season is always around the corner, but before you hit the open road, you need to make sure that your vehicle is fully operational. A common issue that a lot of RVers run into either in the middle of a trip or at the onset of one is a broken fridge. RV refrigerators are prone to experiencing occasional maintenance issues, which is never a fun thing to deal with when you have a bunch of food already stored. This can be a very frustrating and costly component of your vehicle to replace, but the price of buying a new RV fridge can vary depending on a number of different factors. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how much it costs to replace an RV refrigerator in more detail.
After extensively researching RV fridge prices, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the cost of replacing one of these units in your camper. My research has indicated that RV refrigerator replacements are considerably more expensive when you rely on professional help for installation.
Cost to Replace an RV Refrigerator
While replacing an RV refrigerator may not seem like it would be all that expensive, this is often a costly and painstaking procedure believe it or not. The total cost of replacing an RV fridge can be anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000+.
There are a lot of different RV refrigerators on the market and they can greatly vary in cost. In addition, replacing an RV fridge is not something every RV owner is capable of doing on their own, which requires the assistance of a professional technician.
RV Refrigerator Costs
Your RV refrigerator unit alone can end up costing you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Much like a fridge that you would replace in your home, RV refrigerators come equipped with different features, and some are considerably pricier than others.
If you want a luxury RV fridge that has high-tech features and a lot of storage space, the price of a single unit can easily be $3,000 (or more). However, if you are just looking for a basic RV fridge that has standard features and is small to medium-size, you can find some solid options for $1,000 to $1,500.
Unless you are proficient with repairs and handy with tools, odds are you will need to seek the help of a professional to replace your RV fridge. Labor costs can quickly add up, especially when dealing with technicians.
While each RV maintenance shop will give you a different rate, you should expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $170 per hour for labor. If you are dealing with a simple fridge replacement, most technicians should be able to get the job done in 1-2 hours.
However, you need to keep in mind that each RV has a different design and if your vehicle has an intricate setup that requires dismantling panels and other components to access your fridge, labor costs can get pricey.
With that said, if you are up to taking care of the fridge replacement on your own (DIY), you can save a considerable amount of money - especially if there are a lot of labor hours involved. Just make sure that you do not do more harm than good by biting off more than you can chew. If you are not confident in replacing your RV fridge by yourself, it is always best to trust a professional to get the job done right.
Why Does it Cost So Much to Replace an RV Refrigerator?
Most people are surprised by the amount of money needed to replace an RV fridge. When you calculate all of the expenses of replacing a higher-end model, it can be as much (or even more) than buying a new fridge for your home.
Ultimately, replacing an RV fridge can be more expensive because a lot of these units are designed specifically for RV travel. You need to keep in mind that your fridge, as well as the rest of your vehicle’s appliances, are going to take more abuse than a typical stationary unit in your home.
Quality RV fridges are designed to handle the vibrations and bumps that you feel on the road. This requires a more sophisticated design to prevent wear and tear. In addition, hooking up an RV fridge does often imply that you also need to pay for labor costs. As we mentioned, if you have an RV that is harder to access and maintain, this will add to how much you have to pay for your fridge replacement.
Should I Replace or Repair My RV Refrigerator?
When most things break down, it is often more affordable to get them fixed - opposed to replacing them. That may not necessarily be the case with your RV refrigerator. If you are able to identify exactly what is wrong with your RV fridge, this will be a great indication of whether it needs replacing.
You need to troubleshoot your RV refrigerator and figure out what is causing the problem. The basic issues that can normally be resolved very quickly are power related. If your unit is having an issue receiving power, you need to cross this off the list first by:
- Unplugging the unit and plugging it back in
- Resetting the unit
- Flipping the breaker
If you are still having issues with your RV refrigerator, you may want to consider replacing the unit. The reason for this is that repairing anything too technical or labor-intensive with your RV fridge may be more trouble than it is worth.
With the average rate for an RV fridge technician being $150 to $175 per hour, repairing the unit could easily take 10 to 20 hours. This means that you may be looking at a repair bill that is $1,500+, which is often the bare minimum of what you could pay.
Given that you can buy an RV fridge for this price or even less, it may make more sense to replace the unit rather than repair it. At least with a new fridge installed, you can feel rest assured that you will not have any breakdowns too soon. Whereas with a repaired fridge, it is often only a matter of time until you experience another problem.
Types of RV Refrigerators
Before you go out and buy the first RV refrigerator that you see, you should find out exactly what kind of fridge your vehicle currently has.
Over the years there have been a lot of changes in the types of fridges that RVs are equipped with. These are the most common types of RV refrigerators:
- 2 Way Refrigerators
- 3 Way Refrigerators
- Domestic Refrigerators
- Propane Refrigerators
You need to ensure that the refrigerator you buy and install is going to be compatible with your camper. The best way to figure this out is to find the manual of either your RV or your fridge. If you cannot find your manual, this information is often written on the side or the back of the unit.
How Long Do RV Refrigerators Last?
Most RV fridges will last anywhere from 10 to 18 years - depending on the model that you buy.
You should always inquire about this whenever you are shopping for a new RV fridge, as a lot of manufacturers offer warranties with their products. The majority of RV fridges come with a warranty of 2-3 years. So, if anything goes wrong with the unit during this period, you know you are covered.
With that said, if you want your RV to reach its maximum lifespan, you need to ensure that you are taking care of it while you own it. The estimated 10 to 18-year lifespan of an RV fridge implies that you have treated the unit with care.
How to Prevent RV Refrigerator Damage & Maintenance
If you do not want to avoid dealing with the high costs of replacing an RV fridge, you should take measures to prevent damage from occurring to your unit.
RV fridges are designed to last and the majority of the time that they need to be replaced earlier than expected, it is due to mishandling. Let’s break down some of the ways that you can prevent RV refrigerator damage.
Park On Level Surfaces
An easy thing to overlook when camping in an RV is the importance of parking your vehicle on a level surface. This is particularly important to do when you are staying somewhere for more than half an hour.
The reason for this is that most RVs are equipped with absorption refrigerators. These fridges use gravity ammonia liquid, which can be problematic if you are not parked evenly. This causes an uneven flow of chemicals through the unit and it is ultimately what causes a lot of problems with RV refrigerators.
Buy 2 Way & 3 Way RV Refrigerators
Just about every modern RV comes with a 2-way or 3-way refrigerator installed. These are the most reliable options for RV travel and you can expect to get the most life out of them in the long run.
The reason for this is that these fridge types are designed specifically for RV travel, which means that they are built for rugged use. A lot of people who experience issues with their refrigerators are using propane or domestic fridges. While these may get the job done, they are much more likely to experience technical issues early on.
Domestic fridges are not heavy-duty appliances and are intended for stationary use inside of a home. Whereas propane fridges have been known to have parts come undone while driving on rugged roads, which is why you want to have these models unplugged while the camper is in motion.