How Much Propane Does an RV Fridge Use? – Propane Usage

how much propane does an rv fridge use

A camper fridge’s propane is a crucial power supply source so that it can run smoothly and store consumable items in cooler temperatures.

But have you ever wondered how much propane does an RV fridge use? The average RV fridge takes on about 1.5 pounds of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane on a daily basis.

Overall About Propane RV Refrigerators


Let’s have an overview of how does a propane refrigerator work and how long does propane last in an RV fridge?

RV Refrigerators are often referred to as Absorption Refrigerators. These refrigerators absorb many kinds of liquids, such as water and gaseous substances like ammonia and hydrogen gas.

By doing so, the refrigerator heats up the absorbed matter. This causes it to evaporate, allowing the cold vapor to traverse through the fridge, making it cooler in the process.

Such a camper appliance works by running an RV fridge on propane. It is recommended to have a battery power of at least 10.5 volts so the fridge can ignite and run smoothly.

An RV fridge can also be powered by a battery. But do keep in mind that if a 12-volt battery solely powers it it can only keep your fridge running for about 8 hours.

How long will an RV fridge run on propane? The standard propane-powered fridge, which measures around 4 to 12 cubic feet, can go on for a few weeks.

This is also dependent on the size of your fridge. If one is to use a 20-pound tank full of propane, your refrigerator’s power can last a month.

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use?

Now let’s answer the question, how much propane does an RV use? The standard 10 Cubic Feet RV refrigerator uses at least 1.5 lbs of propane per day.

That would take up around 1,400 BTUs per hour. It is almost close to the Dometic RV fridge’s propane amount, which is 1,500 BTUs per hour.

The BTU, or British thermal unit, is the amount of heat being measured from power and fuel sources. Each gallon of propane contains 91,500 BTUs.

One gallon of propane can power your fridge for about 61 hours. That’s about 2.54 days of fridge power if you do the math.

For different propane tank sizes, let us identify and calculate how much propane does a camper fridge use.

  • 20 lb Propane Tank

Normally, there is about 4.6 gallons propane in a standard 20 lb tank or grill cylinder. These gallons weigh 37 lbs when filled up. This can give your fridge enough juice for around 11 to 12 days if it runs 24 hours per day.

  • 30 lb Propane Tank

A 30 lb propane tank holds up to 7 gallons of propane. A full tank of this size can weigh 55 lbs and can power your 8 cubic feet fridge that uses 1500 BTUs per hour for at least 18 days.

  • 100 lb Propane Tank

If you have a larger RV, then this kind of propane tank would suit your needs. Although a 40 lb propane tank could do the trick, a 100 lb propane tank can hold up to 19.46 gallons of propane and can run your camper fridge for at least 59 days.

It is also important to note that the RV fridge propane usage will depend on its size, quality, and maintenance measures.

A well-maintained fridge will be more efficient and can help keep your food items preserved. It also prevents excessive propane usage and overheating.

Tips to Reduce the Amount of Propane

Here are some of the helpful tips you can acquire to reduce the amount of propane usage for your RV fridge.

1. Regular Maintenance


You may do a visual check on your fridge for any signs of worn-out parts, leakage, or corroded components and have them immediately replaced or fixed. Proper fridge maintenance also includes regular defrosting.

2. Level Your Fridge

To maintain your camper fridge’s quality make sure to level your fridge at least 3 degrees on each side and 6 degrees for the front and rear portions.

You may use automatic levelers such as electric and hydraulic ones for your RV. If your RV happens to be improperly leveled, then your fridge can take in more propane which may damage it due to overheating.

3. Proper Ventilation


Let the air circulate and pass through the vents of your fridge. So it is important that food items or ice will not block the vents. Pack your items wisely.

4. Don’t Overcrowd Items in the Fridge


Too much food and items in your refrigerator can hinder its cooling process. The air becomes trapped inside the refrigerator’s remaining spaces thus making it utilize more power.

5. Keep Your Fridge Away From Direct Sunlight


Make sure that when you are parking your RV, the sunlight does not directly affect your fridge. Fridges in general that are directly placed in sunlight can cause more power consumption. You may use awnings or look for shaded areas if that is the case.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Long Will a 20 lb Propane Tank Run a Refrigerator?

Depending on the energy consumption, using a 20 lb propane tank for at least eight hours a day can run a fridge for at least 38 days. However, if you use it 24/7 then the estimate mentioned in the article earlier of 11-12 days will be more accurate.

Is it Better to Run an RV Fridge on Propane?

You can run an RV fridge better on propane since they are absorption refrigerators with no compression system compared to the typical house fridge. These kinds of refrigerators are really the kind you need for a mobile home.

Caring Tips for Using Propane RV Refrigerator

Aside from the usual inspection of the fridge, you can also familiarize yourself with its components or any specific instructions on how to maintain your fridge in its manual.

It is recommended to start up your fridge at least 12 hours before stacking up your food items. Let the proper holding temperature adjust first so that your food can be preserved and avoid spoilage.

Also, make sure you close the fridge when not in use and that it is actually sealed shut. This helps avoid moisture build-up and deterioration in efficiency.

Does an RV Furnace Use Electricity?

RV furnaces use propane. It uses the heat from the propane to warm up an RV’s room temperature during cold weather.

Can I Run My RV Refrigerator on Propane While Driving?

Although this is the most common factor that could start a fire in your RV, it really depends on how far you are traveling and how clean and well-maintained your fridge is.

You can still drive with a running fridge on propane but it still has its risks. For instance, too much wind from your driving can cause the propane flame to spread into your fridge onto your RV.

Can a propane tank run a camper refrigerator?

Yes, propane tanks can definitely be an option to run a camper refrigerator. If you don’t have access to other sources of power like renewable energy in the form of solar power, you can use propane tanks to stack up propane that can run your fridge.

How Much Propane Does a Refrigerator Use?

It uses about 1.5 pounds of propane daily. For any specific measurement on your propane tank, you can use an RV propane usage calculator found on this link.


Knowing how much propane a freezer uses helps you plan your trip accordingly in terms of monitoring your power supply and regular fridge maintenance. If you take care of your fridge, it will surely take care of your needs in return.

We hope we were able to give an in-depth discussion and answered the question of how much propane does an RV fridge use. Feel free to share this newly found information with your friends and fellow campers.

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