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Old 01-01-2017, 03:59 AM   #1
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RV vs Residential refrigerator

Hi everyone, I'm very new here and am researching RVs for my wife and I to full-time in, in a couple years. Depending on how much we enjoy it, we may full-time anywhere from one year right on up to the rest of our healthy lives. We love to travel and enjoy cruising, so we're used to small accommodations for shorter periods of time (like two weeks on a cruise ship, for example). We don't expect long time to be a problem.

I'm fairly sold on the Montana, and especially like the 3661RL. I have a question about refrigerators - RV vs Residential.

I don't ever envision us boondocking, but I *can* imaging the occasional stay at an inexpensive RV park with no hookups. For example, I'm imposing on myself a 200 to 250 mile limit per day. If we're heading somewhere that's 500 miles away, we need to find a place to spend the night on the way there. It seems smart to me to stay inexpensively that night, and then spend a week or two at a nicer RV resort once reaching our (temporary destination).

I'm under the impression that I have two options at that point. One is to get the RV refrigerator, and the other is to get the residential refrigerator along with a generator.

Would anyone like to share their experiences with either approach? Is the RV refrigerator simply too small for extended use? We don't mind going grocery shopping every week, or even potentially twice a week if we need to. It may be that it's cheaper and easier to just get the residential refrigerator without a generator, and just stay where there are full hookups every night.

Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. Thank you in advance!
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:38 AM   #2
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With the larger RV frigs, especially ones installed in a slide, reliability has been an issue. Several of us in this park have replaced our dometic 1350s within the first year of purchase. Our replacement continues to work fine after 18 months of replacement but not without some ducting and fan modifications. I vote residential and will insist on that on our next rig. No personal experience, but my understanding is you should be able to overnight running the frig on the inverter setup.
Mike and Lorraine
2002 3655 FL, 2005 3650RK
2010 3665RE, 2015 3910FB
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:34 AM   #3
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We have been full time now for 6 years with the same RV fridge and If/when it bites the dust a RV fridge will no doubt be it's replacement. For overnites the residential should be fine if you have at least two really good batteries, but campgrounds usually will not let you run a genertor overnite so enough battery power is a necessity and most dealers put the cheapest ones they can get in.
Dick and Joyce, Wilsey, KS & Lakewood, NM
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:41 AM   #4
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You will love the residential fridge. Extra room, reliability, ice maker and water dispenser are wonderful. We can be unplugged traveling for a day with no melting of ice. More than that I will run the generator. If you'll plan on staying at FHU parks, you won't even notice a difference. Ours is a Whirlpool Household Refrigerator Type 165A according to the label.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:51 AM   #5
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We are full time and have been going on 7 years. My wife and I enjoy a lifestyle and traveling habits much as you describe yours. If we were in the market for a new Montana or any SOB it would without question have a residential reefer. When we ordered our current Montana we decided the smaller Norcold would be large enough and it has and it has worked just fine but IF it bites the dust it will be replaced with residential. We always overnight on campground water/electricity as a minimum.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:21 AM   #6
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We have a Samsung residential fridge in our 3791RD. We do not boondock, we do not have a generator or solar. We have however, "overnighted" at truck stops and Wal-marts enroute to what ever destination. Although the fridge was powered up while towing, it was not powered up during the overnighters. No problems with thawing or spoilage. The residential fridge in the RV is no different than the fridge in your home. If you lost power at your house for a few days, as long as you don't open the fridge, the contents will be fine.
ATC/NAC Jerry A. Burkholder, USN (RET.)

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Old 01-01-2017, 06:40 AM   #7
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We have the 18 cubic foot Norcold. We've used it for over two years full time with no problems
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:20 AM   #8
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Rock hard ice cream with the residential fridge I think you would want 4 6v anyway, with the required inverter.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:27 AM   #9
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We have a 2015 3440RL Norcold, just love it. I would wonder if the "residentials" can actually take the pounding of the trailer over the years. Just my thoughts. When we purchased our 2015, the dealer who we have a long history with refused to stock Montana's with the non-RV refrigerator, he stated that he had no long term confidence of their durability.
Bob and Nancy Kassl Fall Creek, Wisconsin
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:27 AM   #10
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Thank you, everyone! We were leaning towards residential anyway, but based on the overwhelming support for it, I think that's the way we'll be going.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:16 AM   #11
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We have a 3820FK with an 18 cubic foot norcold rv unit. That is bigger than what we have in our stick built house, so an rv refer doesn't have to be "simply to smalll".
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:46 PM   #12
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We have a 2016 HC375FL with the residential refrigerator. While on the road it runs off the inverter which runs off the battery that is being charged by the tow vehicle. Although we have never camped off the grid , the information supplied states that the fridge will run approx. 12 hrs on one battery. We left home on Oct 16th and wont be back until May. No problems at all with the Fridge. Its size 23 Ft is great, built in ice maker is a plus. Also, it runs so more efficient. Last year my average KWH was 13 per day this year 8.8.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:26 PM   #13
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We fulltimed for 10 years with a 8CF RV fridge. Now we 1/2 time with a 8CF RV fridge. For us, we get along just fine with our 8CF fridge.

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Old 01-01-2017, 03:37 PM   #14
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Residential Fridges have been in MHs for years with no problems. Ours in our SOB hasn't been turned off in the almost 2 years we've had it. We're running four Group 31 12V batteries and can run for 2 to 3 days off the batteries. Now we do have all LED lites so our total drain on the batteries is small. The fridge draws 11 amps off the batteries when running, but the duty cycle is really low.
There are certain things any future unit will have: Residential Fridge, Disc Brakes, Mor/ryde IS, and 17.5 "H" tires.
Michelle & Ann
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:56 PM   #15
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We replaced our Norcold last summer in our 2009 with a Samsung. Last year we drove 14 hrs straight no inverter or generator ... got home everything was solid as a rock, not even a ice cube was starting to melt. As others say, keep doors closed will stay cold a long time. We did purchase the extended warranty since its traveling down the road as a precaution. Does not compare to the RV refrig. We would not have anything else. We also never boon dock.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:30 PM   #16
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Our last, a 2015 Montana, had the Dometic 4 door rv fridge and after the THIRD cooling unit failure we will never have another unit without a residential fridge.
Between thermo switch failure, insufficient air flow for proper cooling and finally a leak in the sealed system we just couldn't continue the RV fridge route.
Darwin & Maureen DeBackere
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:43 AM   #17
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We had the small Norcold in our first used Montana. In our second (new) Montana it had the large Norcold. IMHO neither one worked right and they were small. Our MH has the 22cf residential which works like a charm plus if we ever have to replace it we won't have to spend an arm and a leg.

We never stayed in Walmarts or anyplace where there wasn't 50amp service with our Montana. Even utilizing some extended monthly rates in a couple places each year our annual camping fees were still too high. Now with a residential frig and generator on our MH we mix in a Walmart parking lot when going from one long distance destination to another. We are cutting our average CG fees in half.
Previous: 2008 Montana 3400RL & 2014 3725RL
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Old 01-02-2017, 03:21 AM   #18
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The jury is out for us on replacing with residential if our double door Norcold fails. We put on a lot of road miles and IMO the reliability of the residential models has not been proven. The Norcold is on 24/7/365 off only for the occasional defrost.
We shall see.

We do not boondock, we do not do rest areas, truck stops or parking lots for overnighters. The residential unit would work for us.
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:26 AM   #19
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Late to the party but we love our residential frig. When our Dometic 1350 pooped the bed it was a no brainer. Our Samsung is very efficient and has plenty of room.
Les and Sue Young, 2009 Int 4400 LP, 2015 3610RL, www.ramblingrvrat.blogspot.com, http://s962.photobucket.com/user/myb...Solar%20System
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:17 AM   #20
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We have a smaller Fridge in the underbelly for soft drinks, water, etc and it failed after three years .We did have it repaired here in Florida and the repair facility said the fridge was just not designed to be bounced around in the underbelly. We also have a 10 cu ft freezer in the rear of the RV that has been in two Montana,s over 10 years and has not failed.
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