Awning fridge

Aug 16, 2020
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We're hoping to start our first full year on a seasonal site by Easter. We were there for a short time last year with just a porch awning. We've now got a full awning to put up and were wondering about having a small tabletop fridge in there - not just a drinks cooler, more like something to take the overflow from the caravan fridge if we're there for a longer period. Does anyone have any advice - will it work when it's basically "outside", should we leave it on all the time we're there or just when we need it, etc? Any comments welcome. 😊
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I’d leave it on while you are there otherwise it could take too long to cool down prior to putting food in it. Also it can get very hot in an awning and a domestic fridge could struggle. When we were in France our van fridge could struggle so I installed a small fan to aid airflow over its rear. But to supplement the fridge we used a Coleman Extreme cool box. It could keep things like beer etc cool for a couple of days if they were pre chilled and had cooling blocks too. A powered cool box might be an option and you can take it touring if required.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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There are basically three types of cooling systems used in fridges. Domestic fridges and freezers use a mechanical compressor. These are by far the most efficient and of course usually mains powered. You can get specialised fridges that use 12V compressors quite popular for motor homes, and boats, where a there's a greater availability of 12V power.

Caravan fridges typically use a process called absorption. These are driven by a small heat source, and can be gas, mains or even 12V (when power is supplied by the tow vehicle) These are less efficient, and are more sensitive to the ambient temperature, They often have limited cooling capacity in the hottest weather, but better than peltier units in group three.

The third type are the Thermoelectic which use a Peltier chip module. These need 12V dc power, and have a low electrical efficiency, and a far more limited cooling capacity and can they usually have a built in fan to circulate the air across its chip, which can be quite noisy. They often can only create 15 to 20C temperature drop, so in hot weather they may not run cold enough for long term safe storage.

If you are long term seasonally pitched with mains power, you might be tempted to look at a mains powered domestic fridge. Relatively cheap, (almost anything designed for the "leisure" market has a higher price) so if you intend to run of grid then you would need to look at other alternatives.

But as Clive has suggested, the temperature in an awning can be quite extreme, not only hot but also cold so you need to look for a fridge with a wide ambient temperature operating range - check the specification.
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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We have a 3 way fridge for in the awning, the make of ours is a Sabir I think, don’t fancy going dow to my shed just now to check but these 3 way fridges work on gas, main electric and 12 volt, with ours turned to coldest setting it actually keeps frozen items to stay frozen, if you use it on 12 volt it has a big drain, the very first time we used ours I loaded it with various item and plugged it into the car cig socket, 5 am next morning we came to set off and flat battery, I’ve seen them various prices from 300 to 400 plus so not cheap, we bought ours secondhand it looked as new and we’ve used it for around 15 years on every trip starting with when we were tenting and still use it if going away for more than a few days so it keeps the drinks cooled.

BP
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Waeco Mobicool U32 AC/DC cool box what works to keep your drinks and food items cool is the double fan system, we are very happy with ours but it your choice what you prefer
 
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Mel

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Mar 17, 2007
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Hi. It might be worth checking your site rules ( if you haven’t already done so) to see if you are allowed to leave mains powered items switched on when you are away from your van. On the seasonal pitch that we have, it isn’t allowed.
mel
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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I’d be very careful using a domestic compressor fridge in the awning. The hum, buzz, low frequency noise from the compressor may well upset your neighbours. Same thing as using generators.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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On the seasonal site where we were it was not allowed the electric hook up cable could be left near the mains socket and on the ground and push in when you are stopping , that was one of there rules
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I’d be very careful using a domestic compressor fridge in the awning. The hum, buzz, low frequency noise from the compressor may well upset your neighbours. Same thing as using generators.
Most people do not notice their own domestic fridge (which is compressor driven) when its running and they stand right next to it in the confines of a kitchen. In the open air it's hardly if at all going to be noticeable. The only time I have noticed a problem with a freezer is becasue it has developed a rattle which sometimes can be heard, but its noise is well below the sound pressure of a generator.

I find the noise of the fans typically used in thermoelectric (Peltier) fridges far more annoying. Occasionally we set one up in our hall when were having a party, and I can still hear it upstairs and through a bedroom door. - and its not a particularly noisy one.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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The PCU went on our caravan fridge 3 years ago and the mobile service engineer couldn't fit a repair in before we went on holiday.
I bought a used table top domestic fridge which I kept inside our awning and it worked perfectly well in very warm weather with no undue noise.
A good friend of mine is a seasonal pitch holder with his touring caravan.
He's had a table top fridge in his awning for years, it's always kept his beer cold and his ice tray full of ice.
He only used his caravan from Thursday to Sunday evening and his 230 volt ehu is unplugged when the caravan isn't in use.
I've never known him to have any particular problems with his awning fridge.
 
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Aug 16, 2020
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Hi. It might be worth checking your site rules ( if you haven’t already done so) to see if you are allowed to leave mains powered items switched on when you are away from your van. On the seasonal pitch that we have, it isn’t allowed.
mel


Thanks. We wouldn't leave it on when we weren't there, but there may be times when we're at the van for a week or so and may need more cool storage. Thinking of looking for a powered coolbox now, easier to get to the van as well...😏😏
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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My sister had a cool box type fridge that worked off mains electric, with a fan built into the lid, the cooling ability was great, drinks and BBQ extras stayed brilliantly cold, it’s big draw back was the noise from the fan drove you up the wall with the hum from the fan or might have been fans, cheap and cheerful if you could put up with the droning noise.

BP
 
Sep 16, 2018
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We have a peltier type cool box which we've used in the awning, bought cheap 20 years ago in France. We load it at home, run it in the boot and then transfer the contents to the fridge when that's cooled down. It then makes a handy extra fridge in the awning.

A few years ago we used it in France for 14 days non stop in 35 degrees and it formed ice on the lid.
 
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