Cold Weather RV Lesson #1

The Meade TE653ELW

Remote currently monitoring the refrigerator compartment which is 41.3F. A little high, I’ll dial it down a bit.

Residential refrigerators are becoming more popular in RVs. They are less expensive and safer (in my opinion). But… they come with some problems of their own.

We found out (the hard way) that during extreme cold weather (I’m guessing 25F and below) the freezer will stop working.

Why? I do not believe that there is a “sensor” to control the temperature in the freezer. The freezer just feeds off redirected cold air dictated by the sensor in the refrigerator portion. When it gets that cold outside the sensor doesn’t call for cooling often enough to keep the freezer at the proper temp.

In our case the refrigerator portion stopped working also. So we lost everything that was perishable.


#1) We have a Meade TE653ELW personal “weather station”. It comes with 1 remote sensor that we keep in our water hold to monitor the temperature in there. It will support up to 3 sensors. I have just ordered a second sensor so be used to monitor the freezer and refrigerator compartments (I can just move it back and forth). This way I can monitor those temperatures and prevent food spoilage or worse.

We had a LaCrosse “weather station” unit but it died in about a year. The Meade seems a little bit better engineered. BUT the additional sensors for the Meade are harder to come by, not as weatherproof and have LESS range. This may require you to move the base station around to receive the signal.

#2) We are adding a 40 watt light bulb in the refrigerator “bay” to help warm it. I am assuming that the compressor just got too cold to operate. We may need to go to a 60-100 watt to get the job done.

Conclusion: During cold weather monitor your refrigerator’s compartments closely to keep your options open. If it is that damn cold you could just put you food outside and hope all the bears, raccoons and other woodland creatures are “sleeping”.


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