Everything You Need to Know About Your Norcold RV Fridge

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Norcold fridge in an rv with open

If you RV, there’s a good chance you have a Norcold RV fridge. These popular refrigerators are known for their durability and energy efficiency. But it’s important to know a little about how they operate and how to handle unexpected issues.

If you’re unsure how to use your Norcold fridge or if something goes wrong, don’t worry, we’re here to help. This article covers everything you need to know about your Norcold fridge, from troubleshooting common problems to finding replacement parts so you can make basic repairs.

Whether new to RVing or you simply hit a snag with your Norcold fridge, read on for all the information you need.

About Norcold

Norcold is one of the leading manufacturers of RV refrigerators. The company, located in Sidney, Ohio, has produced RV gas/electric absorption refrigerators since 1959.

Thetford Corporation, an industry leader in RV appliances, purchased Norcold in 1997.

Norcold branding at top of RV fridge

The Norcold RV Fridge Lineup

Norcold makes several types of refrigerators that cover a range from the most basic set-up to the most elaborate.

The basic Norcold model is a line-up of portable fridges/freezers. These run off of electricity only and look more like a cooler than a traditional refrigerator. You can easily move or store these small units. 

The company also has a line-up of AC/DC refrigerators. This series of compact electric-only fridges off of a 12 or 24-volt DC connection or a 120-volt AC connection.

Norcold also offers a range of RV fridges that operate off of either LP gas (propane), 12-volt DC, or 120-volt AC with auto-switching. The two basic RV fridge categories break down into compact models that range from 3 to 5.5 cubic ft and four-door models of either 12 or 18 cubic ft.

The N2000 series refrigerators have a sleek, stylish design that fits narrower areas. They also operate off of a 12-volt DC connection designed for efficient off-grid energy savings.

Norcold has two latest additions from its Polar series of refrigerators. One set of Polar refrigerators is an energy-efficient line-up of absorption fridges with LCD display, hidden hinges, recessed handles, and taller door panels. The other Polar series has all 12-volt DC power but operates with a compressor, making them more like a residential unit.

Whether you want a basic fridge or something more high-tech, Norcold has an option to suit your style.

In The Know: Is It Dangerous to Drive with Your RV Fridge On?

brand new norcold fridge open at an rv show

How Does a Norcold RV Refrigerator Work? 

Most Norcold RV fridges have an absorption cooling system that uses a heat source, like LP gas or electricity.

It then converts an ammonia-based refrigerant from liquid to gas.

Next, the fridge circulates the gaseous refrigerant through metal coils. 

As the refrigerant passes through the metal coils, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air and turns back into a liquid.

It then recirculates the liquefied refrigerant through the metal coils to continue the cooling process.

The Polar DC/12V Series with compressors uses an evaporative process to cool the fridge.

Refrigerant circulates through coils as it changes from a liquid to a gas.

This evaporation chills the refrigerator.

The compressor turns the gas back into a liquid and restarts the process to keep it cool.

How Long Do Norcold RV Refrigerators Last?

Most Norcold RV fridges can last years, if not decades. They are known for being durable and reliable.

These compact fridges hold up to the rigors of off-grid living, and they typically last a long time without needing significant repairs or maintenance.

Factors that can affect the longevity of Norcold RV refrigerators include temperature fluctuations, overloading, and vibrations from driving.

However, these units can last for many years without issues with proper care and regular maintenance. Just keep them clean and clear the vents of debris.

Old Norcold fridge that is from 2005

Pro Tip: You’ll want the best fridge for your RV to ensure your food stays cold. Is Norcold the best RV fridge? Let’s check it out!

Is a Norcold RV Fridge Propane or Electric?

Most Norcold RV refrigerators operate off of propane and electricity. They switch automatically between the two power sources, so you don’t have to worry about changing them yourself. 

If you use propane, it will use a small amount of electricity to ignite the propane flame.

Then it switches back to propane power once the flame lights. This means that you don’t need an electrical hookup to use your Norcold fridge.

When plugged into shore power or running a generator, the refrigerator will operate solely on electricity.

However, the Polar DC/12V Series operates solely on a 12-volt current from your RV’s house battery.

As its name indicates, it does not use propane, but as long as your house battery has a charge, the fridge will operate.

It is also highly efficient and built from the ground up with a unique system that helps keep its power draw to a minimum.

Norcold RV Fridge Troubleshooting 

Though Norocld has a reputation for being one of the most reliable makers of RV fridges on the market, things can still go wrong.

The good thing is that Norcold fridges rarely have major meltdowns.

Here are a few basic troubleshooting tips to get you through the most common problems.

Keep in Mind: Still having issues with your RV refrigerator? Here’s a more in-depth article on how to troubleshoot and repair your RV fridge.

How Do You Reset a Norcold Refrigerator? 

If you’re struggling with a Norcold RV fridge that seems to run continuously, the first step is to reset the system.

You can usually do this by simply cycling power to the refrigerator off and on. You may need to do this several times, depending on how long it ran continuously.

Once you power off and unplug the Norcold fridge, wait for at least 30-60 minutes before turning it back on.

This should give it enough time to reset and start operating correctly.

Power cycling Norcold fridge to troubleshoot errors

Where Are the Fuses Located on a Norcold Refrigerator? 

The fuses on a Norcold RV fridge sit behind the access panel outside the unit.

To locate and access the fuses, you’ll need first to remove the cover of a small black box, frequently found in the lower-left corner. 

Once you have access to the fuses, identify which ones have blown so that you can replace them with new ones.

It has a few different fuse options, so know what type you need before attempting to replace any blown ones.

Why Is My Norcold Refrigerator Blinking Green?

Most Norcold RV fridges have a green light when the power first comes on. However, if the refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, the light will start to blink. 

Basically, this means that the fridge is operating on a backup system and essentially running non-stop to try and keep your food cold.

Try resetting the fridge first, following the procedure previously mentioned.

Other possible reasons for the fridge not cooling correctly include that it’s set too low, something has blocked the airflow, or it has dirty coils.

Blinking green light on Norcold fridge

If a reset doesn’t work, check these three things.

First, ensure you have set your RV fridge to the correct temperature. If it’s too low, the food won’t stay cold enough, and the light will start to blink. 

Second, check for any obstructions that could block the airflow. This could be anything from dust to food wrappers. If you find a blockage, remove it and see if that solves the problem. 

Lastly, inspect the coils and clean them if they’re dirty. Dirty coils can cause all sorts of problems, including not cooling correctly and making the light blink.

Where to Buy Norcold RV Fridge Replacement Parts 

If you’ve done enough troubleshooting to determine that you need a replacement part, don’t worry, they’re not all that tough to find.

You can get many Norcold RV fridge replacement parts on Amazon.com, through an RV dealer, or from an authorized Norcold service center.

Norcold (621271001) RV Refrigerator Power Board
  • The power/circuit board is the gateway of voltage through the refrigerator.Fit Type: Universal Fit
  • Intended for Norcold 1200 models with a serial number range between 832171 and 8981138
Norcold 622323 Trim Piece Foam Tape
  • Sold 5 per bag
  • Switch Dim. = 1.120 x .547
Norcold White 624863 Door Bin for N611
  • Fits Norcold N400/ N41X/ N51X/ N61X/ N62X/ N64X/ N81X/ N82X/ N500 Series Refrigerators

Now You Know About Your Norcold RV Fridge

You now know just about everything about your Norcold RV fridge. Realizing how durable and energy-efficient they are is reassuring. But it’s also good to know that if they do have problems, you can resolve them relatively easily.

You’ve learned how they operate and some straightforward troubleshooting tips, so you are even less likely to have major issues with your Norcold RV fridge. Now you can hit the road with the confidence that your fridge, and you, are up to the task.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1 comment
  1. Unreliable. Two failures due to coolant loss in seven months. Good luck trying to find a dealer from Norcold’s web site. Called three in the area we were going to be in; one just out of business, one apparently out of business or moved from the area, and God only knows about the third as it never answered the phone. Norcold factory rep acknowledges that the list on their website is useless, but refuses to provide identity and phone numbers of dealers in area. Pretty much told us to go screw ourselves and try to find one ourselves.

    Will never buy another Norcold product or an RV containing one.

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