Dometic RV Refrigerator Trips Breaker (Why And How To Fix)

Not every appliance works perfectly. Even when you buy new, there is the risk that you have purchased a lemon or at least an appliance that has difficulty getting along with the electrical system. Unfortunately, even RVs are not immune to this issue and you need to find the problem.

This happens more often than you would think. Many people have experienced this issue and the most common cause is that there is a problem with the heating unit. The best fix for this problem is replacing the heating element.

To learn more about this Dometic fridge problem, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about so you can prevent a fire or further damage to your appliance or RV.

Why Would a Refrigerator Trip a GFCI?


The main reason this would take place is that there is a short in the system somewhere. The heating element may be bad, it may be drawing too much power or there may even be a problem with your extension cord.

That problem will be enough to trip the GFCI breaker and cut the power to everything attached to that breaker. Another source would be a short in the wiring as the electrical wires were not put in correctly, there is a fray or the wires were not the right gauge to handle the flow of electricity.

Unless you are an electrical expert and have the right tools to diagnose the problem, this is something that should be left up to the qualified repairman, especially if the fridge is still under warranty.

Do the simple fixes first, like testing a new extension cord, and if that doesn’t solve the problem then it is most likely the heating element. This is not a problem you want to delay getting fixed because it can damage your fridge as well as start a nice fire.

Finding a qualified repairman is not always an easy task to do.

RV Refrigerator Tripping GFCI When Plugged In


This is a common problem and since fridges are not perfect, there may be some point in time where you will experience this taking place. The general consensus is that there is a problem with the heating element or the wiring connecting that element to the electrical source.

One source that may cause the problem is that the heating element began to touch some metal part on your fridge. This can happen as you drive over some bumpy roads. When this happens, you can try moving the element away from the metal section and solve your problem.

Other times you will not be able to do this as the problem is not the touching but somewhere in the element, the wiring, or the GFCI breaker itself. To test the GFCI breaker, unplug your Dometic fridge from the RV wiring and run an extension cord to a plug, not on the same circuit.

If there is no problem after plugging the extension cord into the new circuit, there is either a problem with the wiring in the RV, the connection to the outlet, the outlet itself, or the GFCI breaker is bad.

If you connect to a second independent GFCI breaker and it trips, then the problem is with the fridge. Do the test so you know what needs to be fixed and let the qualified repairman do the repair work for you.

What Does the Check Light Mean On a Dometic RV Fridge?


This light is placed on your Dometic fridge to monitor the gas system. If it goes on then there is a problem somewhere in that system. The good news is that if you see the light on before you get moving, the fix is easy and should not delay you for very long.

Now if you have set the fridge to automatic, the light should not go on as the fridge system is designed to switch back and forth between gas and electricity when there may be an issue arising. It may go on in this mode when electricity is not available.

Usually, the fridge is designed to go to electrical power by default. If you see the check light on when you are in auto mode then that is telling you that neither gas nor electricity is available and the fridge can’t operate.

Also, the check light may be indicating that there is another problem that needs your attention. You may need a checklist of items to look at to help guide your search. having the checklist helps make finding the problem a lot easier and you save time. Always look to the simple solutions first.

Reasons Why the Check Light Comes On


There are lots of reasons why the check light appears when you least expect it to. One source may simply be that there is a short in the system and you will need to check the wiring. It does happen but this may not be a frequent source.

Here are some reasons why the check light comes on:

  • 1. The gas is turned off - when you are on automatic mode, the gas still has to be turned on.
  • 2. RV is not level - all RV fridges seem to have this nuance. They like to be level if they are going to work properly. Check your levelers to make sure everything is as it should be.
  • 3. The propane tank is empty - this happens at the wrong time and you simply forgot to refill it.
  • 4. Ignition wire is dirty - carbon and other dirt and grime can build up on the ignition wire and cause it to stop lighting the gas. Scrape the tip of the wire clean again. To get to that wire, you may have to remove a couple of panels.
  • 5. Faulty fuse - this will cause your fridge to shut down and not work. Go to your fuse box and check them out. Don’t forget to check the fuse your heating element is connected to, it can short and cause the light to come on. Use a multimeter to see if this is a problem.
  • 6. Low batteries - your RV battery may have run out of power and the fridge is not getting any electricity. Recharge your batteries regularly to avoid this problem.
  • 7. Powerboard malfunction - this does happen from time to time and you may need to replace it. Or the control panel is defective and has created problems for you.
  • 8. Thermostat issues - this is a cheap part but it can affect your Dometic fridge if it is not working, has loose connections, or came loose from its proper position and is hanging by the wires.
  • 9. The outside burner is clogged - this has happened to some RV owners. They did not have a flying insect screen installed on their outside burner. It was clogged with pollen and cottonwood seeds. An air hose will blow the dirt out and installing a screen will keep them out.
  • 10. Check the venting - improper venting may cause problems for the fridge and in turn the fridge will activate the check light. Make sure the vents are clear and in the right place.

Troubleshooting Your Dometic Fridge

Here are some solutions to common Dometic fridge issues that may impact your RV vacation:

1. The fridge is not cooling right

  • Inadequate ventilation - check the vents to see if they are clogged and clean them if they are.
  • The condenser is heavily frosted - check the fridge door to make sure it is closing tightly and correctly.
  • Too much warm food was placed inside the fridge - let the food cool first before putting inside.
  • Thermostat is too low - just adjust the dial to a cooler setting.

2. Does not cool on battery operation

  • Onboard fuse is bad - replace the fuse
  • RV battery has no power - recharge the battery
  • Defective heating element - let a dealer replace it for you

3. Fridge not operating in gas mode

  • Propane tank is empty - refill at a nearest propane dealer
  • Upstream valves closed - open the valve
  • Air in the gas line - turn fridge on and off several times

4. The fridge has stopped working- turn it off and go to a Dometic dealer or approved repairman

5. Odors- burner is out of place, is damaged or there is dirt in the system

6. Not cooling- damaged fuse, open door, bad thermostat, power failure,

Some Final Words

The check light is not always indicating a serious problem. Make sure to run through the simple and quick-to-fix sources first before heading off to your Dometic dealer. Unless it is still under warranty.

Some fixes you should be able to do without voiding the warranty and you will be open your way shortly. If the breaker is tripping then get qualified help to fix it.

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