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By: The Getaway Couple Jason & Rae

If you’re new to RVing you might find yourself asking “why does my RV fridge need to be level?”. Most RVs have a common electric/propane fridge that needs to be level in order to function properly. If you’ve researched the topic of RV fridges, you’ve most likely heard horror stories about them catching fire. It’s one of the scarier topics in the RV community and something every RVer wishes to avoid. What you don’t know is that some of these disasters could have been prevented if the fridge was properly leveled at all times.

We think it’s important to note that this article applies to traditional RV refrigerators only. More RV manufacturers are now offering residential fridge options. Traditional RV fridges run differently than residential fridges, therefore if you have a residential fridge this article will not apply to you. Read on for more information regarding electric/propane RV fridges.

How RV Fridges Work

RV fridges are susceptible to issues when not level because it can cause the ammonia/water solution to not flow properly and accumulate in low points of the system. Additionally, an unlevel RV can allow ammonia crystals to form inside the refrigerators piping. Over time, these crystals can build up causing restricted or blocked air flow. Unfortunately, these crystals are non removable as no amount of shaking or vibrations will cause them to dissolve.

This interferes with the boiling/condensing of the fridge and can cause an increase of heat.. RV fridges rely on gravity to assist in cooling and functioning properly. The more unlevel your RV fridge is, the less efficient it becomes. Not only can this cause a problem for keeping your food properly cooled but can cause much more dangerous problems down the road.

Leveling an RV fridge to ensure it works
RV fridges are susceptible to issues when not level.

One Simple Way to Avoid Disaster

Thankfully, the manufacturers of today's RV fridges have changed their technology to be a bit more tolerable for unlevel RVs. For example, Norcold recommends that their fridges operate within three degrees off level side-to-side and six degrees off level front-to-back. It’s great news that manufacturers are making their refrigerators more tolerable, but what’s the one simple way to avoid RV fridge disasters altogether? A level RV of course!

If you manually level your RV then buying a bubble leveler is a must do. If you’re lucky enough to have auto level on your rig, then all you have to do is hit the “auto level” button once you arrive at your campground. No matter how long or short your camping trip is, it’s very important to take the extra time to ensure your RV fridge is level and running properly.

Avoid disaster with a properly leveled RV.
Avoid disaster with a properly leveled RV.

RV Fridges While Towing/Driving

Leaving your RV fridge on while towing/driving is a hot topic in the RV community. Our recommendation is to actually turn your fridge off while moving. Turning an already cold fridge off is actually safe. Just be sure to not open the doors too often and remember to turn it on when you’re all setup in your new campsite!

If you do insist on towing/driving with your fridge on, you won’t be causing damage to your RV fridge. This is because the angles are constantly changing and the jostling of the road keeps any fluid from pooling in the wrong area for too long. Just be sure to turn off your fridge if you stop for lunch and/or fuel.

Keep your RV fridge out of the repair shop by properly leveling it.
Keep your RV fridge out of the repair shop by properly leveling it.


We hope this article has helped clarify the important reasons why your RV fridge needs to be level. Ensuring your RV is level is not only important for the life of your fridge but also for many other reasons. Read our article titled Why You Need to Level an RV to get all of the details.

A level RV means years of enjoyment to come.
A level RV means years of enjoyment to come.

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